of Birth: 1972
Education: Music and Business
First Game Worked on: USS John Young (Amiga)
Favorite Drink: Margarita on the rocks & Sangria
Favorite Food: Mexican
Favorite Music: Cinematic, experimental, electronic
Favorite Movie: Dead Calm, Donnie Darko, PI, Fifth Element
Favorite Games: Vice City, Burnout 2
Hobbies: Photography, experimental film making
Influences: Anything unique, different, experimental
Studio Gear & Sound Tools:
Yamaha CS-80, Yamaha VL1, Yamaha FS1R, Alesis Andromeda, Oberheim
OBXa, Ensoniq TS12, Roland V Synth, Roland TB303, 606, 707, Roland
Juno 60, Roland JD990, Roland JP8080, Oberheim Matrix 6, Korg DW8000,
Akai S2800, Emu 6400 x2, Technics 1200, Sherman Filterbank, Electrix
Filterfactory, Yamaha O2R, Mac Computer, 4 PCs running Cubase,
Gigastudio, Kontakt, FM7, Absynth1+2, Sound Forge 4, Culture, Stylus,
Vienna Orchestral Cube.
RocketBaby: What was your first musical experience?
Jesper Kyd: Playing the Piano where
I grew up. My parents had a piano and so did my entire family.
Everyone we visited, when taking vacations to visit family, had
a piano. So when you are in the middle of nowhere for 3 weeks,
the piano becomes a good way to have some fun.
RB: How did you get in to the games business?
JK: I started a game company with some Danish
friends of mine and SEGA bought our first Sega Genesis/Megadrive
game. We then moved to Boston in the US and started working on
our next game. A few years later the company we worked with (Scavenger)
crashed and my friends decided to go back to Denmark and start
IO Interactive (developers of the Hitman series and Freedom Fighters).
I decided to move to Manhattan and build Nano Studios and start
my company Jesper Kyd Productions.
RB: What do you enjoy
about creating game music? What do you hate about creating
JK: I like the fact that I am able to learn something new
every day. I keep pushing my music further, so there are no boundaries
to this profession. The worst part is when you are asked to limit
the creativeness and make something “ordinary” sounding.
Also, when asked to create lots of music in the exact same style,
becomes quite boring.
RB: What do you think about the
state of today’s game music?
JK: In the US and Europe
there are not too many creative soundtracks. Right now it looks
like we might be getting closer to sounding like the scores of
Hollywood, which doesn’t really interest me. I like more
original sounding music. I like the music of Japanese games such
as Rez & Samba de Amigo.
RB: When creating your music how much freedom
do the developers give you? How do you interact with the designer/producer/director?
JK: About half the time I get creative
freedom, which is something I always aim for. I often meet up
with the developers to discuss music ideas. Then I start experimenting,
and getting lots of feedback from the developer during this time
is very important to shaping the music style. As far as interacting
once the score starts, we basically do a lot of communicating
through phone and email.
RB: Why do you create
music? What inspires your melodies?
JK: Because it’s
something that I love and can’t stop doing. Whenever I go
for a couple of weeks without writing music, I start feeling like
half a person. I don’t really have much of a choice. I have
to write music. The atmosphere of my studio environment, the city
I live in (Manhattan), the mood I am in, the story and atmosphere
of the game I am writing music for, pictures, photos, art shows,
concerts & my friends.
RB: What is the quickest
you have composed a tune? What is the longest?
JK: On the C64 some songs I composed
in a few hours. The longest would be around 3 weeks.
RB: What is your process for creating music
JK: I try to vary the writing process as
much as I can. Sometimes I have the whole soundtrack thought out
before writing it (Freedom Fighters) and other times I spend lots
of time experimenting with ideas and music writing styles (Hitman2).
When writing an electronic score (like Brute Force) I spend most
of my time on creating and experimenting with new sounds. I
work in an atmospheric studio (Nano Studios) full of weird lights,
inspiring pictures and 6 computer monitors. My strengths are
melodies and rhythms. I have now worked with a big orchestra on 3
scores, but I still have a lot to learn.
"In the US and Europe
there are not too many creative soundtracks."
-Jesper Kyd 2003
RB: Please share your thoughts on the following
Todd McFarlane's Evil Prophecy
Lots of music was written for this project. Probably the largest
collection of music I have ever written for a game.
I had a lot of fun experimenting with the music style for the alien
planet. It ended up sounding like slow techno mixed with melodic
This was quite a challenge since it was my first score
working with a large orchestra and choir. The soundtrack is available
buy from my website.
Intense scifi type dance music.
Crazy experimental stuff, done together with Albert Olsen.
I wrote some intense dance tracks for this game and remixed some
Fear Factory songs.
Written when I was listening to mostly trance music, so the score
is quite trancy!
Dark, gothic score with melodies I still like today.
Adventures of Batman and Robin
The most insane thing I have ever written. The more insane the
music, the happier the developers were. It was a great experience.
C64 inspired score, with songs inspired by the likes of Martin
My first Sega Genesis score.
Lots of fun just playing around.
RB: How did the idea for Organizm blossom?
buying a DV camera I just had to tell this story. It was produced
together with Jorg Tittel (the actor playing the lead role). We
got a small crew together and started production.
RB: How would you compare directing and composing?
Which do you like better? Which was more difficult?
JK: Well, composing and directing
are difficult, until you learn it fully and can start feeling
a bit comfortable. Organizm was my first time directing, so it
RB: What advice would you give to those who
want to create music?
JK: Never stop writing. It took me 6 years
of composing pretty much every day, until I started feeling ok
with the quality of my music. Music is something that can be learned
without formal training, but it takes time and patience. You have
to stick with it and make sure the music becomes as good as possible,
especially since the game music business is very competitive.
A big thank you to Jesper Kyd for taking the time
to chat. Thanks to Greg @ Top Dollar.
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