1) YOU ARE A STRONG SUPPORTER OF USING LIVE MUSICIANS IN SCORES FOR GAMES. WHY DO YOU THINK IT MATTERS SO MUCH?
When it comes to making music, there can be no substitute for the organic energy and creativity of live performance. Listen to a synthesized cello alongside a live cellist, and tell me which one you connect with on a deeper level. The heart, soul and emotive output of a real string section, real horns, real woodwinds being played with real passion by professional musicians is the key to genuine emotional engagement. Yes, you can tell the difference. And I guarantee you that gamers can feel the difference.
2) PART OF YOUR JOB INVOLVES THE HIRING OF COMPOSERS. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE QUALITIES YOU LOOK FOR IN A PERSON BEFORE ANY SUCH DECISION IS MADE?
Quite simply, I’m looking for great composers who understand and embrace the technical and creative opportunities of interactive entertainment. They are masters of their craft, and they bring their enthusiasm, their energy and their artistry to our titles: Mark Mothersbaugh. Steve Jablonsky. Mike Giacchino. Hans Zimmer. Ramin Djawadi. Danny Elfman. Trevor Morris. Sean Callery. Junkie XL. Chris Lennertz. Harry Gregson-Williams. These are the world’s top composers for movies, for television, and now for games.
But we’re even more proud to be working with dozens of unknown yet uniquely talented young composers on the rise. Because this is about bringing music’s most adventurous, idiosyncratic and gifted professionals to the game. But mostly it’s because the emotionally engaging experience of gaming will continue to evolve through the art of original composition.
3) BILLBOARD MAGAZINE RECENTLY LABELLED YOU AS ‘ONE OF THE YEAR’S MOST INFLUENTIAL MUSIC INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES’ IN THEIR NASHVILLE POWER PLAYERS LIST. DOES AN ACCOLADE LIKE THAT COME WITH A MOUNTAIN OF RESPONSIBILITY ON YOUR BEHALF?
It’s a responsibility I take very seriously and pursue with great enthusiasm. Last year, I produced orchestral scores for EA’s Star Wars The Old Republic, Madden NFL, FIFA and Dragon Age titles in Nashville. My colleagues recorded projects like the new Call Of Duty and the Emmy-nominated score for the 10-hour ‘Texas Rising’ mini-series there, too. Every day, Nashville continues to prove that it can meet – and surpass – all technical and creative expectations. It is expanding its reputation as the city where talented and free-minded music people can pursue their craft and prosper. The result is that Nashville is now becoming a world-class destination for creating/recording orchestral scores of every kind.
4) WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE WHILE WORKING ON THE MUSIC FOR A GAME?
The best games are visually compelling narratives that unfold like movies, and therefore require original scores written, produced and recorded on a Hollywood scale. And like every great movie, every great game must create its own unique emotional connection. In other words, the score of a first-person military shooter will be different from that of an immersive fantasy world. My job is to always understand that connection, and to continually work with like-minded talent who share that vision.
Today, what was once two notes from JAWS or seven notes from STAR WARS can now be the theme to The Sims or Titanfall 2. Which means the greatest challenge for my colleagues and myself is to keep raising the bar for original music in games for generations to come.
5) OVER THE YEARS YOU HAVE PRODUCED OVER 100 SOUNDTRACK ALBUMS FOR EA. DO YOU FORSEE ANY TRENDS IN GAMING MUSIC OR TRENDS IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY THAT MAY DIRECTLY AFFECT COMPOSERS?
From the simple synth themes of PacMan and Donkey Kong to the orchestral scores of DragonAge and Battlefield, music has always been an essential component of games. For EA, this means composers must embrace the same challenge we do: Crafting iconic original music for the next technical and creative frontier.
I want to keep raising the bar. Keep recording with live orchestration. Keep embracing technical breakthroughs and new platforms. Keep meeting – and surpassing – gamer expectations. And I want composers – from any and every entertainment medium – to always feel the same way.