Our second batch of interviews from the arrangers of the latest OverClocked ReMix, FF4 Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption, is ready for everyone to enjoy. Remember we asked:
~why they chose their songs
~what they thought was the most challenging part of arranging the track
~what part/sound are they most proud of
I was fortunate in that I joined the project late in the game and still was able to tackle the source that I would have chosen. I wasn’t too familiar with the FF4 soundtrack, and this source was also used in SMRPG — a game I had actually played. FF games always had great boss themes and this one gives serious competition to FFVI and FFVII as my favorite in the series.
The remix actually developed quickly, and didn’t take long once I decided on a style and started working. I’d say the harmonic development was the most challenging part of arranging the track. I wasn’t content with just plugging in the original melodies, and I think it really paid off (especially in the section after the breakdown).
I like how bringing out some of the background elements really worked well in this case. I spent a good deal of time developing and tweaking the basslines (about three different synths working in conjunction). Also, the beats.
I was talking to OA about projects in general, I said I could do a track for his project. Not sure about the details, but I think he offered a few tracks to me, and I chose cry in sorrow. As for my contribution on zeromus, I was asked to contribute something to it. I did.
Lacrima is pretty abstract, it was hard to figure out the dynamics and the progression of it. I was going for a minimalist approach, but eventually ditched it in favour of just making sure there were enough sounds in it to keep it interesting. OA later suggested adding drums, and fitting that with the sound scape was a bit tricky. Finding the right samples was half the trouble, making sure I had a lead or something stronger than the drums being the other half.
I really like the serendipitous interaction between the echoes at the end of the track. Completely accidental, and the perfect ending. I wish I could claim credit for doing it intentionally, not just for noticing it and realizing how awesome it sounds.
To be honest, I came into the project rather late in the game and there were only a few tracks left to choose from. However, after hearing the source, I knew that I could easily do something with it.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the tone from the original. It was meant to be a battle song, but it just sounded a little too peppy/bouncy for my taste. The greatest challenge I faced was trying to take the “sissy” sound I felt and create it into something a bit more epic!
I would have to say the middle section at the tempo change (1:46-3:12) is my favourite part. While the first part of the track sounded great, I quickly realized that I was going to need to change tactics in the song to keep it from becoming stale. The complete turn around that the middle section offers really added to the intensity of the track for me!
Well, there are a few reasons I chose “Welcome to Our Town.” Firstly… it was one of the only songs left by the time I joined the project! Secondly, it’s a nostalgic piece, brings back memories of the game. Unlike some remix projects I’ve been part of, I actually played this game a lot, and hold a lot of the music dear. And thirdly… er, wait. There’s no thirdly. That’s it.
The challenge for me was in the rather unusual method I placed upon myself in the style of the track, in that I made the entire thing with sine waves. Talk about extreme attention to detail! It was work… well, fun at first, for the first section or so, but real work to keep up until I had a full song. That, and keeping it interesting throughout was tough.
I take great pride in the development of the track. In the beginning, it starts slow, and you really have to listen to make out the source tune. Then as it goes on it speeds up a bit, and the source tune becomes more apparent… and by the end it’s moving right along, with a fun and fast lead moving all over the place, and the main melody very easy to whistle along to. Good times.
Bridge to Eternity
This was my first choice if I ever had to choose a track from the game but I ended up taking it over late in the project anyway because of late deadlines. My wife actually pushed me to even be involved with the project and wanted me to do this track as well so it worked out.
This track wasn’t that hard to translate into my vision of a dance arrangement mainly because the tempo was there, the mood is there, and the suspense and builds are there. The building blocks in the original were very easily laid out for me. I wanted something that would stand out and for me that was the bassline, I wrote something similar to the original but slower and a little more in your face.
It is hard to choose just one part or sound I am proud of in this track. I wrote an original melody in the buildup of the track with a heavily reverbed piano that I am proud of. But its the combination of the lead melody, the bassline and the sidechained choir that I am proud of. It gives a very powerful sound overall.
Golbez n Goblins
I never thought in my wildest dreams I would remix this song, its my least favorite honestly… OA actually jokingly suggested I take the song. I took it as a challenge. First of all its 3/4, I seem to be grabbing these a lot lately. It seems the least likely to work as a dance track! It kind of has a halloweenish sound with the organ and all to it so I named it Golbez n Goblins…
The most challening part of arranging this song wasn’t necessarily the 3/4 to 4/4 but making it original and fun and something that would work for dance music. The best genre for that is electro house, something I have been listening to a lot lately and lots of artists are converting in the pro world. I completely rewrote the chord progression for the bassline I made so that was challenging.
Honestly I am proud of every single thing in this song in equal respect. I use the original bassline in the beginning of the motif and buildup into what I made, using the chords and the root key as the bassline, with a disco blip in between bars. Overall I am really happy with the bassline(s) and bass sounds I used especially. I didn’t know what to do with second half of the song so I turned it into a retro 90’s breakbeat section. Everything just really came together in the end.
Path of Deception
I chose this song as a leftover track that wasn’t taken or was abandoned, but I have always loved the original. And once again another 3/4 beat….ugh. This one is a little more obvious and I forced the 4/4 to work with it but the focus of the track is the atmosphere
The most challenging part of this track was getting the tempo AND the time signature to work for progressive trance period.
I am very proud of the chopped female vocals I used. Everything you hear was from 2 samples from voices of passion chopped and edited to all madness. I probably spent 2 hours on that sound alone. I also rewrote the chord progression in the first half and brought the original chord progression back after the buildup. Gives a completely different feel and it keeps the creepiness of the original. Once the part at 3:18 comes I would say the listener would be satisfied. I try to cover all the source and I love that part the most.
I chose Melody of Lute (Edward’s Dream Quartet) because it was the simplest of the sources available (or so I thought). I tend to pick out the simplier sources because they give me a lot more room to explore different ideas and sound without making it unrecognizable.
I chose Rydia as an escape from Melody of Lute. I’d been working on it for so long that I just needed something else to work on, so I played around with Rydia, since it was already taken and I could work on it for fun. Once I played around with it and bounced it off of to Audio Fidelity, it just grew into something absolutely amazing.
The most difficult part of Melody of Lute was that, at first, I couldn’t pull apart the chord structure and form of the source. It’s just a melodic line, that in MIDI doesn’t really explain a whole lot about itself. It wasn’t until I ran the source itself through Garritan’s harp patch that I was able to hear the actual structure of the piece. So, for the first movement, I had nothing to go off of except the notes themselves. So, I struggled to hammer out that movement, using every single note and hoping to God that it made sense.
With Rydia, the difficulty was making the transition from goofy fun bonus track to full blown production. I originally wrote it as just an accordian piece, but I later tried playing around with Finale’s auto-arrange feature, which adds a rhythm section to whatever you write once you put in chord markers. That gave the piece the little spark it needed to push off into an actual track, particularly when Audio Fidelity picked it up.
For Melody of Lute, I’m most proud of the variety I was able to draw out of such a minimal source. I also loved that I could do such a very classical piece and form for an OCR album. I’m not sure that anyone’s really done that for one before. Granted, I haven’t listened to them all yet, but I like that I was able to do something unique like that.
Rydia… I’m just proud of it altogether. It is so very different from what I normally do and the fact that it came off so well, especially for something started as a somewhat joke. I love how cool and chill it feels. And again, how unique the final product ended up.
CYRIL THE WOLF
I chose the songs becuase they were the only ones left at the time! That is the case for OMFG GET OUT OF THERE!!! I was attracted to Rydias melody and the challenge of Palom and Porom.
The most challenging part of arranging Rydia was getting the recording finished and perfected. The arrangement was complete in my head before I even started writing or recording so yes. The most challenging part of Run was getting all the freakin’ electronics to sound good. It was my first real attempt at that style. And palom and porom? The toughest part of that WAS the arrangment, becuase it’s such a weird little song, but Drop-B solved that.
OH DEAR GOD!!! I’m not most proud of anything I did, becuase I’m doing this to improve anyway, and if I didn’t I’d be sad. I AM proud of my little brother for doing all those voice overs in one take. Yes, that’s right one take.
Oh and a shout out to Jayseph for asking me to do vocals. I was pretty psyched about that becuase it wasn’t what I expected to be asked to do for an FF project