arrangements interview music remix VGM whispers of the plains

Whispers of the Plains: The Arrangers of FF4: Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption

overclockedremixSo hot on the heels of the latest OverClocked Remix release on Saturday, we’ve been speaking to the arrangers that made it all happen! We asked three simple questions to each of them and over the next week we’ll be posting their responses. The three questions were:

~why they chose their songs
~what they thought was the most challeging part of arranging the track
~what part/sound are they most proud of

overclockedremixNathan Rich

“Airship was really the only choice left by the time I found the project out, and it was particularly only challenging based on how short the source material was. 30 seconds and just two “verses”. It came out pretty cool! I wanted it to be synth heavy without coming out as a typical dance track “uhn tiss uhn tiss” and that’s where the hard rock drumtrack came in handy. I guess that’s pretty much it. I’m not too deterred by the minus lukewarm response it got from the judges ya’know!
It wasn’t groundbreaking, just a solid synth rock track. The bridge is probably my favorite section when it starts building up into the final chorus practically that entire half of the song, especially the rhodes outro that was fun to sequence so it had that human element.”

overclockedremixDragonAvenger

I gave OA some options on what songs I would consider singing, and he chose Another Moon. Both the brass quintets were at OA’s request. The most challenging part was actually arranging Big Chocobo, which is not the easiest piece to pick up with little arranging experience.
I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to finish both the Fanfare and Big Chocobo.
All I did for Another Moon was pretty much sing and add some of the words. OA knocked out the rest!

overclockedremixAVARIS

“I chose this song because it has always sent a tingle down my spine. To me the song represents betrayal by someone close to you. My emotional connection to the source tune really drove my desire to mix this track.
The most challenging part of this mix was by far trying to resolve the inherent dissonances from the source tune as I expanded upon the original material.
My proudest moment is the end of the song. The final chord represents that the future is not certain and things will continue to move forward. To me the non-resolution of the final chord just felt right in my gut.”

overclockedremixLEVEL 99

“Well, to be honest, I hadn’t played FF4 before being told about the project. I chose Calcobrena because it had a cool name at first, and decided to do my homework later and actually play the game! Well, I played the game, was awestruck and then proceeded to come up with an absurdly abstract rendition of Calcobrena that would border on the insanely out-of-place. After that was wrapped up, there were a few tracks left, and the bombing of Castle Damcyan was a brief but heartbreaking turning point in the game, one which ultimately sets many of the characters on the paths to destiny. I wanted to give it proper treatment, but didn’t really have the time, so I asked AF to help out and I gave him my ideas and helped me realize them. I would have snagged golbez had bLiNd not already done a great version, but all the tracks have fantastic heart and soul poured into them.

The most challenging part of arranging Calcobrena was forcing myself to actually try and master the track. I’m an instrumentalist who’s been self-taught and not really been traditionally trained, furthermore never had real training in any sound engineering or mastering. That took many months. Also, inclusion of source in that track was always too little. For Damcyan, the hardest part was really the back-and-fourth getting the ideas of sound and music to be expressed accurately without being in a room with AF. Again, not traditionally trained, so I can’t really translate what I’m hearing in my head to speech as well as I could into actual playing. Also, references to theory flew way over my head most of the time, so I just followed along the best I could and I think it turned out pretty good.

What I’m most proud of is two-fold: the guitar battles in Damcyan are epic without being ludicrously show-offish, and the fact that Calcobrena sounds halfway decent mixing wise is enough for me to very proud! Oh, and I’m proud of all the people involved, especially OA, AF, and Avaris. I wouldn’t be where I am right now musically without their help and support (AND NAGGING!). *insert shameless magfest plug here*”

We’ll be back with more arrangers comments throughout the week

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