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On Her Majesty's Music Service - Interview with Richard Jacques

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Posted November 27, 2010 - By Rick Damigella







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Richard Jacques

You would not believe the dangers The Feed faced to bring you this interview.  Jumping over pools of alligators, battling henchmen ill-trained in hand-to-hand combat, and eyes-only clearance by MI6.  Well, not really, but, The Feed did get to talk with James Bond 007: Blood Stone composer Richard Jacques about the sounds he created to fuel Bond’s latest game adventure.  We've also got some music that's shaken, not stirred, just inside our secret lair.

The Feed:  Tell us a bit about yourself and some of the games and other projects which you have created the music for.

Richard Jacques:  I am a composer of film, television and video game soundtracks, and have been working in the games industry for 17 years, creating soundtracks for Mass Effect, Starship Troopers, Alice in Wonderland and Headhunter, amongst many others.

The Feed:  This is a very big deal creating new music for a beloved franchise with lots of expectations for what it “should” sound like.  What went into composing the score for 007 Blood Stone?

Jacques:  Of course any composer working on such an iconic franchise such as James Bond would want to be respectful of the amazing music that has come before, especially from composers John Barry and David Arnold, and so I wanted to create a ‘classic Bond’ score that game fans and James Bond fans would both enjoy, as well as putting my own personality of action scoring into the music as well.  Due to the fact that the game has a brand new story, penned by veteran Bond screenwriter Bruce Feirstein, I was able to create brand new themes for the various characters and locations in the game, as well as utilizing ethnic instrumentation and percussion for some of the exotic locations that Bond visits, including Athens, Bangkok, Istanbul and Siberia. 

007 Blood Stone Soundtrack: "Athens Harbour" »


The Feed:  Did you go back and listen to any of the Bond film scores for inspiration?

Jacques:  No, I didn’t do any specific research on the Bond film scores since I already knew them well and am a big James Bond fan myself, and so I was confident knowing the direction I wanted to take with the score, as it was inspired directly by the story, characters and overall design.

The Feed:  What was the most challenging thing about creating 007 Blood Stone’s music?

Jacques:  One of the most challenging aspects was creating a score that was very much “Bond” but also a Bond score that was appropriate for an interactive experience, and so I had to ensure the score was created using many interactive music techniques, whilst still flowing from start to finish along with the narrative. 

The Feed:  How much music did you create for the game?

Jacques:  I composed a little over 2hrs 20mins of music for the James Bond: 007 Blood Stone score.

The Feed:  Talk a bit about the recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios.

Jacques:  I have recorded at Abbey Road many times in the past, and indeed my Headhunter score was the first video game soundtrack ever to be recorded there, so it was a natural choice to return to Abbey Road to record the James Bond 007: Blood Stone score.  We actually recorded in Studio 2, which is where The Beatles recorded, so there is a lot of history associated with that particular studio, as well as the history associated with the James Bond franchise.  We had some amazing sessions at the studio, which were also very high pressure since we had a great deal of complex music to get through, but they were a great deal of fun and everyone involved really rose to the challenge.

Richard Jacques         (Photo by Matt Eaton)

The Feed:  We understand that musicians who played in each Bond film were in the orchestra.  Can you tell us more about this? How did you manage to pull such a group together? What did this bring to the overall sound of the score?

Jacques:  As a trombone player myself, I know all of the top session musicians here in London, and so it was easy to put together an outstanding collection of players, many of whom have played on the Bond films.  It was a real pleasure to work with musicians of this caliber, as they gave some outstanding performances that really made the score to Blood Stone come alive.  The musicians are crucial to the sound of Bond and so I wanted to remain faithful to that, and am delighted with the results.

Richard Jacques         (Photo by Matt Eaton)

The Feed:  What was it like doing your own version of Monty Norman’s iconic James Bond Theme?

Jacques:  I deliberately kept the re-recording of theme very faithful to the original, as I wanted to retain that certain degree of swagger that the theme evokes.  It was a wonderful experience to re-record this iconic theme, using musicians that have played on the Bond movies.  I also enlisted the help of my guitarist friend Steve Ouimette (of Guitar Hero fame) to perform the theme and we re-amped his performance at Abbey Road, which sounded amazing. 

The Feed:  Tell us a little about some of the ethnic instrumentation and arrangements that were used for the game’s locales.

Jacques:  The story to Blood Stone takes Bond on various exotic locations, and so I was keen to reflect these in the score.  For example in the Athens and Istanbul sections of the game, I used various ethnic percussion as well as bouzouki and saz instruments to firmly root the score in the various geographical locations, giving the player a sense of belonging when visiting these particular places. 

The Feed:  Activision has been known to release game soundtracks from time to time.  Between your score and the Joss Stone theme, Blood Stone seems like an absolute no-brainer for a soundtrack release.  Do you think there is any chance of one releasing?

Jacques:  Many of the fans have been asking for a soundtrack release but it is out of my hands at this time.  I sure hope we could see an official release however, as there seems to be the demand.

007 Blood Stone Soundtrack: "The Package" »


 
The Feed:  What is your favorite Bond film and which is your favorite Bond soundtrack (not counting Blood Stone, of course).

Jacques:  My favourite Bond movie is The Spy Who Loved Me, and my favourite Bond soundtracks are You Only Live Twice (John Barry), The World Is Not Enough (David Arnold) and I’m also a big fan of the score to License To Kill by Michael Kamen. 

The Feed:  What would be a dream soundtrack project for you? It can be any genre from Film, to TV or Games.

Jacques:  I would love to work on the next Mass Effect or a Call of Duty game, and because I enjoy scoring action and sci-fi / fantasy music I would love to score these kinds of movies.


You can also follow Richard Jacques on Twitter, along with the interviewer, who has seen all the Bond movies far too many times, as you might have guessed from the puns in the article opening.
On Her Majesty's Music Service - Interview with Richard Jacques
http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/708868/on-her-majestys-music-service-interview-with-richard-jacques/
http://images.g4tv.com/ImageDb3/254142_LGST/go_007bloodstone_sndtrk_athensharbour.jpg
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