Legacy: Interview with Jesper Kyd
BAFTA award-winning composer Jesper Kyd, well known for his work for video games such as Assassin’s Creed and Hitman, just released a new trailer music album, Legacy. Published by Fired Earth Music, Legacy features epic, breathtaking, immersive and inspiring music.
This is your second trailer album with Fired Earth Music. Ultimatum was released in 2011 and described as an album of “Radical Epics”, what can we expect from Legacy?
The album consists of ten tracks in an uplifting orchestral style. The music was performed by members of the Budapest Orchestra who worked with me on my last trailer album, Ultimatum. Legacy also features several tracks recorded with vocals from Melissa Kaplan, the voice of the first four Assassin’s Creed games as well as Ultimatum’s “Aphelion.”
Of the ten tracks on the album, which are the highlights for you?
My personal favorite tracks are “Empyrean”, “Phantasm”, “Rainmaker” and “Freefall”.
What was the direction and inspiration for this album?
I wanted to make emotional and dramatic cues that keep on building into an epic finish. “Let’s make them cry” was one of the tag lines I was working with.
What type of movies would these tracks complement?
I didn’t have any specific movies in mind. I was thinking more about female driven stories, love stories, tragic stories, stories where the character has to overcome immense odds, reflecting back on their life, filmic scenes that focus more on emotion and depth.
Great to hear Melissa Kaplan on this record, the voice behind “Ezio’s Family” from Assassin’s Creed and “Aphelion” from Ultimatum. What’s the story?
I really like her voice and working with her. I often write the vocal performance with Melissa in mind. We first met during The Chronicles of Spellborn soundtrack and shortly after I recorded her for Kane & Lynch.
How does writing for motion picture differ from writing for video games soundtracks?
Well, games are not a linear medium like film. Especially open world games, which are very different in a sense that you don’t know what the player is going to do next. So you have to keep these things in mind and often score for a wider range of possibilities. In games you are also free to score the music without having to hit certain beats, since there is no locked picture to score to.
We have to ask – do you play video games yourself and if so, which are your favourites?
Yes, I still play video games when I have the time. Some of my latest favorite titles are BioShock Infinite and Far Cry 3.
When it comes for writing for motion picture are there any dream titles that you would love to have written the score for?
No, not really. I don’t look at it like that. Some of my favorite movies are also my favorite soundtracks and I can’t imagine these movies without the soundtracks that they have. That being said, I would love to score a huge sci-fi epic where I can fire up all my analog gear and experience working with orchestras and choirs, and bring it all together in one massive musical explosion.
What is next on the horizon for you?
I’m currently scoring the second season of the European live action TV series based on the “Heavy Metal” comic books called Metal Hurlant Chronicles. I am having a blast scoring this series. Each episode is completely different so every episode is like scoring a mini movie. I just finished the first episode of the new season, which is a Western starring Michael Biehn from Terminator, The Abyss and Aliens. I am also working on a couple of other video game projects I can’t talk about yet.
QUESTIONS FROM FANS
Ana Salerno, São Paulo, Brazil: Does Jesper have any advice for young people that want to be composers? How to gain experience for example?
Hi Ana – I would try to work on short films or indie game projects. Experience is such an important part of the growth of a composer. Being able to talk to directors, game designers or producers will help you focus on creating a score with more impact.
Niranjan, Madurai, India: I’m working on a game design, and I’m doing it singlehandedly. What kind of software do you use to create and mix music?
Hi Niranjan – I use Cubase to create and mix my music. Then I record the music to Pro Tools. Best wishes for your project!
William McNamara, Gino Gladden: I often use your music for inspiration on Minecraft builds and can go for hours just off of one song that inspires a city from what I get from the song. To put that much emotion into a song, there must be some epic inspiration! Where does that come from?
Thank you William. It’s great to hear you play some of my music for inspiration. Well, often my own inspiration comes from the project itself. Other times I do a lot of research and try to come up with interesting ways of mixing music styles together to create something new and unique.