004 IVGM – Grant Kirkhope, Balor – Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

InsideVGM-150In this episode, I talk with Grant Kirkhope, a long-time game composer who wrote the soundtrack for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. We talk about his boss battle song “Balor.”

Grant is a member of the Classic FM Hall Of Fame, and his video game soundtracks have sold more than 25 million copies.

In my interview with Grant Kirkhope, we cover the following:

  • His musical background, attending The Royal Northern College of Music, playing in metal bands, and working at Rare, Big Huge Games and 38 StudiosGrant Kirkhope
  • Grant has been fortunate to have a live orchestras record the soundtracks for Viva Piñata, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Viva Piñata 2, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, CityVille 2 and Civilization: Beyond Earth
  • Grant writes the music and creates a MIDI mockup, before handing it over to someone for orchestration
  • During the recording, Grant stays in the control room, making sure the performance is right while recording engineers, conductors, mixers, and mastering engineers handle the tasks they specialize in
  • When making MIDI mock-ups or for pieces not being performed by a live orchestra, Grant uses Hollywood Brass, Strings, and Orchestral Woodwinds libraries from EastWest Studios
  • From playing trumpet in orchestras, Grant has great knowledge of what the different instruments can do and what they are great at
  • He listened a lot to the first three Harry Potter soundtracks composed by John Williams
  • I then played “Balor” from Kingdoms of Amalur Boss Pieces with Endings
  • He talked about the looping version for the game and the versions with endings for the soundtrack
  • Grant likes to use motifs that pop up in different pieces throughout the game and soundtrack
  • He liked working with Curt Schilling, although he did not know about baseball
  • Grant talked about working with his friend Danny Baranowsky on the Desktop Dungeon soundtrack
  • He likes working with indie developers and how they focus on great gameplay
  • One of Grant’s favorite all-time games is The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • He likes games that use Danny Baranowsky’s and Jimmy Hinson‘s (Big Giant Circles) music

You can find Grant Kirkhope on Twitter @grantkirkhope and his website is grantkirkhope.com. You can find Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning on Steam, Playstation and Xbox

Is there a game composer you’d like to hear from? Let me know and I will reach out to them for an interview. Email tom@insidevgm.com or tweet at me on Twitter @TomSnively.

You can hear my music at TomSnively.com on the Music page or the Credits page. You can try Match Em and Molecular Music Box by finding the links on tomsnively.com/credits.

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