Interview with Andreas Waldetoft - Majesty 2 soundtrack composer
Interview with Andreas Waldetoft - Majesty 2 soundtrack composer
Original Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim was remembered by the gamers as an unique indirect control role-playing strategy. Under this term was good and interesting game with innovative gameplay. Well, can you tell us where could you see units which can’t be directly thrown in battle? And where any unit can upgrade his armor, receive level up and do same kind things without help of the player?
Fantasy world atmosphere was accompanied by the music of Kevin Manthei. Today, sequel developing in Russia by the Ino-Com company and for the music they hire Swedish composer Andreas Waldetoft. Just below you can read how the soundtrack was created and also you can listen to 4 demo-tracks from the game.
Greetings, Andreas. Well, tell us about yourself? How and when did you come into game industry?
for a game developer who liked my music. I had done some film and tv work before this but scoring a game was something I really wanted to do.
I guess I was lucky, as getting your foot into the door can be pretty hard in the game business. I was hired to do the soundtrack for Hearts of Iron 2 which was a world war 2 strategy game. Not the easiest first job but very educational as I had to compose and record the music in a very short amount of time.
We are wondering if you have a classical music education?
I do, I took theory classes when I was a kid and studied music and composition from high-school through university.
How did you get into Majesty 2 project? Did you play original Fantasy Kingdom Sim? If yes, what could you say about Kevin Manthei soundtrack?
The same producer who got me my first game scoring job gave my name to Ino-Co the developers of Majesty 2. They later asked me to send a demo with music ive done, I guess they liked it as I got the job.
Yes I played the original Majesty and enjoyed it very much, so I was really excited to work on it.
I really like what Kevin did with the first one, his themes was catchy and fit the game very well.
I hope people will like my take on the music as well.
Is your soundtrack using canonical themes from Majesty or at least some leitmotivs?
Well there is some hints of it in there but I am using my own themes.
This text will be replaced by the flash music player.Demo-tracks on official site telling us soundtrack will be fully symphonic. What software and hardware did you use for creating this music? Are there any live recorded instruments?
Yes it is mostly symphonic, but not only the big sound. Smaller ensembles was used as well.
The most important software I use is Steinberg Cubase sequencer and Vienna Symphonic Library which is an incredible sample library recorded with extreme detail. I also use some libraries from East West/Quantum leap sample libraries.
I have 1 sequencer computer and a couple of sample server computers which is all connected via a network. I am trying to get rid of as much hardware as I can nowadays. Software plugins are getting so good that you dont need big racks of hardware anymore. This also saves alot of time.
To give more realistic sound I sometimes record live solo players layered with samples, this makes the samples sound much more dynamic. I did this trick with the majesty soundtrack and I also recorded a great soprano singer called Nathalie Hernborg for some of the tracks. Guitar and some of the percussion are me playing live as well.
Where did you get inspiration while you were writing this soundtrack? Maybe you can name some classic composers that influence you most?
They sent me artwork, screenshots and early game builds and this was really helpful for getting the feeling of the game. Written word from the music directors was also very important, they had quite firm idea of what music they wanted.
Some of my biggest influences is Wagner, Prokofiev, John Williams, Igor Stravinsky, Jerry Goldsmith. The list goes on and on.
How much time were you given to complete soundtrack? And how many minutes of music were written?
Ive been involved for quite a few months, first I was contracted to do a trailer, a few months after that I did the main part of the music which took a few months. I have written additional music where it was needed quite recently also.
Im not sure how much music is in the game now, about 40 mins was asked for at first but theres much more in there now. :)
Your previous soundtrack for Europa Universalis was released as a part of the Collector’s Edition. Are there any plans to release Majesty 2 music as separate CD?
I actually dont know at this point, I hope so. I always get e-mails about giving out soundtrack Cds . But its up to publishers at this point though as I am not involved in those business calls unfortunatelly.
Maybe you can remember some funny moments while you were working on soundtrack?
The most funny stuff was while testing some of the really early alpha builds and funny stuff happened on screen. Like buildings get wrecked and bits flying all over the screen, I do not think the physics engine was working as intended at that point.
What differs your Majesty 2 soundtrack from other symphonic works?
It is written for Majesty 2, that will give it abit of a twist wheter id like it or not. As it is truly a unique game. There is lots of different moods in the music, from fast to slow, comedic, dramatic, epic and much more. But I try to have a fantasy kingdom feeling to it all way through.
If it’s not secret, tell us about your current projects?
Im working on Hearts of Iron 3 atm, so im doing war music all day long.
What do you think about future of game music?
I think we will see alot happening in terms of the direction of game music. Not only the music itself but how you score for a game and the actual implementation.
The first problem game music had was that the playback took to much computer power to playback. Nowadays that is not a problem anymore so now I think the big next step is to make the music as interactive as the game itself.
What you can advice to amateur composers? Share the wisdom!
Well Im not a wise man but if your serious about composing, listen to the true master composers and study how they did it. I know it sounds boring but buy books or go to some theory classes to at least get the basics of music theory and orchestration/instrumentation.
Get some music production software and start record on it, its so easy and cheap to get a decent studio nowadays. You just need a computer and a decent audio interface and your good to go.
Regarding recording with samples you really need to work out the kinks in the beginning to get the samples sound dynamic and good in general. Try to use samples who has crossfaded samples so you can control the dynamic with a modwheel. And dont over quantize, you dont want the music sound like a robot is playing. Experiment with tempo settings so that its not same bpm all the way through.
You can have the most expensive set of samples but if you dont know how to work with them it will end up being very stiff and lifeless more often then not.
After that... sky or your imagination is the limit, which is very satisfying to know.
You also usually need to be something of a jack of all trades, doing everything from recording engineer, mixer, composer, orchestrator. and everything in between.
And, to the end, some general questions :)
Do you like to play computer/console games? What game do you play now?
Oh yes Im a gamer for sure, im in the generation who grew up with Commodore 64 and 8-bit consols and have been gaming since early childhood. At the moment Im trying to get through Resident Evil 5, Killzone 2, NHL 09 and I have an Eve-online account I check out sometimes. Dont have too much time to play so I seem to not have the time to finish any of em unfortunately.
What groups/composers are you listening to now? Are there any game music related guys?
I really like Bill Brown (Lineage 2 and Rainbow six/ghost recon games and nowadays CSI New York) and have him high up on my playlist for awhile now.
What do you like to do in spare time?
I like to play games, watch movies. Sitting infront of the piano or computer is not so good for your back so I try to do some workout also.
And, at last, say our readers a few positive words :)
Thanks for a good time and great questions. Game music is starting to get the attention it deserves and its thanks to you game fans who care about the music. Cheers everyone.
We advice you to check Andreas Waldetoft official site and Majesty 2 site for latest news, music samples and other.