Rik Schaffer is an American musician and composer, born in 1970, who is best known for his video game soundtrack “Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines”. Many of his fans consider the soundtrack one of his best works so far yet few are familiar with Schaffer’s other works like Womb (1996) or multi-artist soundtrack projects like the Elder Scrolls Online or Neverwinter Nights 2 (2007).
Just like his mysterious and dark music, Rik Schaffer is an artist who likes to speak through music sheets rather than social media. This article focuses on Rik Schaffer’s discography and aims to dig out some of his older or less famous works.
Rik’s early career unfolded with the band Tomorrow’s child where he played as a lead guitarist. Formed in 1987, the glam rock band appeared on record for the first time with the song “Walk in The Woods” in the compilation album “Street Survivors” (1989). The band was ready to take the next step and release their very own first album, however, the record company at the time kept on refusing the recordings. Despite all the struggles and disappointments, the band continued composing songs and planning for their second album. After four long years, the band was finally released from their initial record company and managed to issue their first album “Tomorrow’s Child” in 1993, under the label Dream Circle Records. By that time, the band was already disbanded but despite the issues, they managed to release their second album as well called “Rocky Coast, Rough Sea” in 1996.
Both albums have this 80’s “glam” ring to them. The music is not really aggressive, rather light actually so don’t let the genre description deceive you. Personally, I would not categorize these albums as hard rock, progressive rock or heavy metal. Still, the best thing to do would be to listen to them and decide for yourself.
Engines of Aggression
The issues with the label caused the fall of Tomorrow’s child and its resurrection into Engines of Aggression. The industrial metal band was formed in 1993 and included ex-members of Tomorrow’s Child such as drummer Craig Dollinger and lead guitarist Rik Schaffer. Little is known about the band’s history apart from the few singles and album they released in 1994 named “Inhuman Nature”. The vocalist Tripp Holland states in a YouTube comment that “We were on par to make it big. Unfortunately, the record label dropped the ball and let us slip through the cracks right when we were ready to break. Chalk it up to bad decisions by the people who held the purse strings. We had a great ride though, got to play shows with Korn, System of a Down, Danzig, Rollins and Curve (to name a few).”
No matter the reasons and consequences, Inhuman Nature remains a fantastic 90’s rock album, reflecting the band’s captivating image, energy and rage. I strongly recommend checking it out if you are a fan of this genre. Here’s the full album.
Womb and Nectar Solo Projects
The accumulated experience in the music industry inspires Rik Schaffer to form Womb Music in 1996 and produce his first solo grunge rock album “Bella” accompanied by the vocals of Todd Miller. All of the 8 songs are quite pleasant to listen and emit the typical grunge vibe with a pinch of nostalgia.
In case you are a fan of the game Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, you might recognize the instrumental versions of two of the songs (“Clean” and “Selfless Doubt”) which are present in the original game soundtrack. As a fan of the game, I was not aware of their vocal version.
Another prog-rock solo project by Schaffer is Nectar – Afterglow released in 1997. Unfortunately, I don’t have much information about it. All I could say is that it sounds like a mix of “Womb” and “Tomorrow’s Child” albums: a combo of glam, grunge and prog-rock genres. Still, it’s quite unique so do check it out. You may find it extremely difficult to find Nectar online but there’s the full album published on YouTube by some good soul. The quality is not optimal but at least you could get an idea of it.
If you wish to support Rik Schaffer and the rest of the artists, you can find all the albums I mentioned and purchase them on Discogs.
Recent Projects and Game Soundtracks
Womb Music has been existing for more than 20 years now. Together with his partner Margaret Tang, Schaffer has worked for more than 120 game titles, various TV shows and movies, as well as commercials. Some of his recent game soundtrack projects involve Elder Scrolls Online (VG, 2014), Non Sequitur (Short, 2009) and Neverwinter Nights 2 (VG, 2007).
Womb Music was also working on the soundtrack for the latest Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 game which was supposed to come out in 2019. Unfortunately, though, the game is still in development and from the look of it, it may take a long while till it’s finished. The game publisher Paradox stated that the project has not been canceled and the game is still in progress. Therefore, just like Cyberpunk 2077, we simply have to equip ourselves with patience and wait.
Apart from music production, Womb also does voiceover, directed by Margaret Tang. She’s been casting and directing for numerous reputable giants like Universal, Disney, Sony, Cartoon Network and many others.
The early years of Rik Schaffer’s music career must have been fun, yet rough. Just like most bands, it’s difficult to enter the music industry and make a name for yourself. Money, connections and competition can sometimes overpower talent and leave you soulless. Schaffer, however, did not give up and continued to do what he does best. His “child” Womb Music and his long portfolio are proof of that.