October 19, 2021

Behind the Scenes of Bachsmith

"Welcome to Ubisoft! So we're doing this thing…"

In June 2014, the Rocksmith notetracking team, then led by Brian Adam McCune,
brought a long-gestating project to life: modern interpretations of classical
masterpieces, arranged and recorded exclusively for Rocksmith. Five instrumental
tracks, from the five of the biggest names – Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Grieg,
and Bach – led to the cheekily named Bachsmith DLC
. And Brian made it
clear that even though I'd joined the team just two months prior, he really
wanted me to document the recording of these tracks.

[RS+][News] Behind the Scenes of Bachsmith - IMG 1
Sam Schwartz and Spencer Selmon recording at Fantasy Studios, June 2014

Great idea! But I had no idea how to do that. Thankfully, my wife was a
photographer, and I could hold a video camera, so off we went to Fantasy Studios
in Berkeley – legendary birthplace of Green Day's Dookie, Santana's
Supernatural, and Journey's Escape, among hundreds of other seminal
recordings – armed with video gear and a sincere hope that something interesting
would happen.

[RS+][News] Behind the Scenes of Bachsmith - IMG 2
The Fantasy Bachsmith crew: Brian McCune, Shane Gann, Geneva Harrison, Kevin
Cameron, Sam Schwartz, and Spencer Selmon

Something did, and I'm grateful that Jarred McAdams edited together this
three-part documentary – it brings back nothing but good memories of not only
the two days we spent at Fantasy, but also the first rehearsal where the tracks
really started to take shape.

This was a special project for everyone involved, and now that Fantasy has
closed its
I feel particularly lucky that I got to spend any time at all in those hallowed
recording halls. The Bachsmith tracks live on in Rocksmith+, and five more were
joined the collection in 2015; next time you play them, know you're truly
playing Rocksmith history.

Dan Amrich started his music journalism career at Guitar World and Country Guitar magazines. He is the co-creator of Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans and the co-creator, songwriter, and mayor of Hero Falls. He joined the Ubisoft San Francisco team in 2014.

All photos by Katrin Auch. Used with

Interested in playing songs like this? You can learn these and more with Rocksmith+.

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