After Delphine, you went fully independent. Your total game discography is an incredibly long list of titles with many amazing sounding pieces among them. What I found impressive is that you showed during those years an enormous amount of talent in adopting a wide range of musical styles and genres. If it’s even possible, how you would describe your musical style in general?
Thanks again. Well, I definitely DON’T want to have, or describe myself as having, a particular musical style. From my point of view, if you decide to have a style consciously, then you are a bit of a liar pretending to do something, and kind of lacking a bit of intellectual honesty.
Style is not something that should be decided by artists themselves; only by the audience.
Many people told me they could recognize my work, for instance, because I love dissonances, or because I sometimes put a lot of instruments together – maybe too many?
What’s my style, then? I don’t know. You tell me!
It is hard to choose a game from your later era that would really qualitatively stand out from your post-Delphine repertoire. However, on several occasions, your work has been nominated for best sound awards, in both the sound and music categories. Which of those nominations do you value the most?
I don’t know. Maybe I could say I was kind of proud to be nominated by IGN for best soundtrack in 2007, against such a masterpiece as The Legend of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass. The game was Glory Days 2 by Odenis Studio – a great game, you should try it.
But I’m sincerely not very interested in getting awards. It’s nice, yes, but it’s far from being contacted by talented film or game producers or directors who want you to work with them. THAT is the real thing, the real enjoyment.
You know, several years ago, I had the chance to meet and have dinner and coffee with a legendary director, Joe Dante. It’s hard to forget what I felt when the director, who had worked mostly with the other legend Jerry Goldsmith, told me that he really enjoyed my music for feature films like Livid or Among the Living. There was even a time when I was seriously considered – and contacted by the producer – to compose Joe’s next feature film Labirintus. Unfortunately, the film was canceled. However, after that, I said to myself, ‘Now you can die, Raphaël.’
Glory Days and its sequel were both nominated for IGN’s best original soundtrack awards. What is again noticeable, when listening to this music, is your knack for very cinematic music writing. After all, since 2003 you had also been enjoying a film composing career, scoring a remarkable list of titles including seven feature movies. Was that something you’d always been aspiring to?
I would say that I had always been a game and film music addict. I remember myself always listening to the music of my Amstrad CPC games, hearing my parents in the other rooms yelling at me to “stop that annoying headache noise.” They didn’t know these “headache noises” were masterpieces by Rob Hubbard or David Whittaker. This was too new, back then, and older people were not prepared for that.
Let’s say I didn’t imagine myself capable of composing music, but I was dreaming about it throughout my childhood, until the “click” day where I discovered computer music. That changed my life forever, obviously.
You score predominately horror movies. Why is that?
I’ve always loved horror/scary, fantasy and sci-fi movies. So when you watch those kind of movies, you end up making friends and meet people at work who do the same. So, I can imagine that led me to meet, work with, and then befriend Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo. And others later, like Fabrice Blin, with whom I’m currently working on his feature film called The Thing Behind the Door.
But hey, if someone were to ask me to work on a comedy someday, I’d say yes without hesitation, as I love good comedies (very rare, these days). And my ultimate dream would be to compose soundtracks for feature films like 2001, Interstellar, Contact, The Arrival and Ad Astra. I just love them all.Who knows? Maybe, someday.
Do you have an all-time favorite composer in either film or games, or both?
Yes, without hesitation. For films, John Williams. For video games, Tim Follin.
You are an extremely busy person, splitting your time between films and games. Do you also find time for other activities – perhaps even playing games? If so what are your recent favorite titles?
I’ve never stopped playing since about 1977, when I got my first video game system: a pong clone manufactured by “Seb” (a manufacturer we were more used to seeing making ovens and stoves). Moreover, I definitely think a video game or film composer should see films and play games, always and again, to offer the best work when entering the musical collaboration processes. So many game composers don’t even play video games. It’s a shame.
My best recent experiences in video games are Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey, The Last Guardian, Resident Evil 7, Astrobot (I’m a huge fan of VR games), No Man’s Sky (a real masterpiece), and many others.