In 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 Studios
- 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
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