||Jeremy Soule Interview & PLAY!
May 22, 2006 John JCal Callaham
Summary: Game music composer Jeremy Soule talks about his work on the best selling Bethesda Softworks RPG, and producer Jason Michael Paul talks about the game music concert series where Soule's music for Oblivion will be presented live.
| Introduction||Page:: ( 1 / 3 )|
FiringSquad: Jeremy, you have written the score for a game that's already being called the best game of 2006. Did you know while creating the soundtrack that you would be making a game that would get so much critical praise?
Jeremy Soule: Well, the game was certainly a home run according to many reviewers and fans. I don't want to speak for Todd Howard, but I am sure that everyone at Bethesda had a feeling that they couldn't take their success with Morrowind for granted when it came to Oblivion. I've written music for some very successful games but I never had a feeling that Oblivion would be an easy project. The number one thing that drove me to improve my music was knowing that there were super talented people working very hard to make this game. I didn't want to let them down. Their work was an inspiration to me.
FiringSquad: How did you work with Bethesda Softworks on the musical score for the game?
Jeremy Soule: Todd provided me with an assortment of images and videos and we also discussed the game. The game itself gave me an idea for a very focused direction. I also had heard that my music was used to inspire certain gameplay elements late in production. It was a very collaborative process.
FiringSquad: What sorts of inspirations did you call upon while you were composing the music for the game?
Jeremy Soule: I really had to dig deeply into my life experiences and sculpt these events into a musical fantasy. I feel that my voice was strong in this music. The score is very personal for me yet it was designed to suit the game.
Around the time that I was about one third complete with the score, I had a terrible car accident that was caused by some freak wind and rain. I ended up rolling in my car several times on an interstate while flying headlong into oncoming traffic. All of this occurred at night in the rural area just south of the Canadian border in the Pacific Northwest.
As the crash was occurring, I remember that I felt no fear although I was obviously concerned for the people in cars that were headed in my direction. I simply just acknowledged to myself that I've had a good life and I would soon have to say goodbye to all of it in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, I ended up safely out of harms way with only a minor scratch on my elbow (as my arm went through the glass of the driver's side window).
In the seconds before my crash ended...that emotion... one that life is indeed precious stayed with me as I proceeded to write the score for Oblivion. I barely mentioned any of this to Todd but it must have had an effect on the music as the score was really void of revisions. What you hear in the game is what I wrote on my first attempt at each piece of music.
| More Souile||Page:: ( 2 / 3 )|
Jeremy Soule: I wanted the music to comment on the human condition and the beauty of life. I didn't have specific characters or events in mind although the battle music was written with a purpose to alert the player of oncoming danger.
FiringSquad: You have sold the soundtrack for the game on your DirectSong.com web site. So far what has the responses been like?
Jeremy Soule: DirectSong has seen a huge surge in interest and I'm a close friend with John Davison who heads the site. He's been very happy with Oblivion and has taken steps to bring the best quality forward for his customers.
The files at DirectSong are 320kbit, which is far higher resolution that what was heard in the game. The audio quality is also superior to what may be on various peer-to-peer networks as everything out there is just a re-encode of the original WMA files or a rip from the game.
There are hard core fans that have generally wanted to show their support for the game and they've bought the soundtrack. Others have wanted to have an out-of-game mastered listening experience for their ipods or cars. Whatever their motivation for a purchase, many folks have written to let us know that the score is absolutely beloved and enjoyed.
FiringSquad: As far as DirectSong.com goes, how has the overall response been like to the site and its way of handling game music downloads?
Jeremy Soule: The response has been positive. The site is still very new and WMA technology is being improved by Microsoft, yet people have been very enthusiastic. I can say that there are now hundreds of thousands of customers that have successfully downloaded and installed some form of DirectSong product. I happen to know that a new version of the site has been in the works for some time and it will be launching in the weeks ahead.
FiringSquad: What's next for you in terms of upcoming game soundtracks?
Jeremy Soule: We just launched Guild Wars Factions and I'm very excited about that. I have also written music for an upcoming project with Gaspowered Games. We also completed a three hour score for Prey which is a next-gen first person action game from 3DRealms.
| Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Music/PLAY! Interview (con't)||Page:: ( 3 / 3 )|
Jason Michael Paul: The PLAY! Musical concert series is the result of a shared passion for video games. I saw the success of Dear Friends- Music from FINAL FANTASY and the success of Thomas Boecker's concerts in Europe and knew that together we can create the ultimate video game music concert. I always knew that I wanted to see this project evolve. In July of 2005 I had dinner with Nobuo Uematsu (composer of Final Fantasy) and he really encouraged me to create a concert that featured other titles. Shortly after Thomas and I were met in Japan and that was when we decided to make this show happen.
FiringSquad: How hard is it to organise such a concert like this?
Jason Michael Paul: The team that I have assembled for PLAY! makes a show like this a lot easier to pull off. I truly feel that everyone that is on this project adds a tremendous amount of value. Truly the only difficulty is proving the show and concept to the world. Our goal in Chicago is to show the world.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the game soundtracks that will be presented in the PLAY concert?
Jason Michael Paul: The game soundtracks are of course the foundations for the arrangements that we will present as part of the show. We have exclusive arrangements for titles such as FINAL FANTASY, Super Mario Brothers, and The Legend of Zelda, etc. We intend to create a one of kind show so it is our attempt to due something that has never been done. For example, we have created an all new arrangement of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. These have never been performed or hear live. We are truly excited for these type of arrangements. In Chicago and Stockholm we will sell More Friends- Music from FINAL FANTASY Live CD. This is essentially a live soundtrack of Nobuo Uematsu's greatest selections.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the actual tour for 2006?
Jason Michael Paul: The tour in 2006 promises to raise the bar of video game music in terms of presenting the music in classy way. We intend to create a show that will evolve both musically, visually, and geographically. The show itself will see major cities across the US. We want to discourage the fans from be disappointed if they do not see their city listed on our tour schedule. We will be making our way to their area soon. All of us at PLAY! personally take pride in delivering what it is that we offer to fans. We only want to offer what we can deliver. We need the fans to support PLAY! So that this tour can continue to bring the music of video games throughout the world!
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about PLAY?
Jason Michael Paul: If you haven't done so already please register at www.play-symphony.com. This will allow you the opportunity to receive information as it becomes available before the general public. We absolutely invite any and all feedback.