By now we have all heard Brainfreeze, Tactics, and Drok the new tracks for Yuri's Revenge, what other funky names do some of the other tracks have and when can we expect to here some more mind warping music?
[Frank Klepacki] Some of the other names include "Trance L Vania" and "Phat Attack." I don't know if they plan to release another tune or not before the product ships.
Looking at the progression of musical styles through the various C&C games, (rock for Tiberian Dawn, ambient and jazz for Red Alert 1, techno for Tiberian Sun, funk and dance for Red Alert 2, and orchestral for Emperor) where do you see the music style progressing for games like Renegade, Yuri's revenge, and Earth And Beyond?
[Frank Klepacki] Yuri's Revenge will be more of the RA2 style, while Renegade will revisit old school C&C music, as far as E&B, I don't have a set path I'm following as of yet- the music is still in the infancy stage.
Acting as a net runner and doing the voice for the commando in Tiberian Dawn, how did it feel to step away from the mixing board and move in front of the camera for a change?
[Frank Klepacki] It's a lot of fun when they call me in for a camera cameo, or voice over. I am a man of many voices and impersonations actually, so I get called for last minute voice cameos quite a bit. The coolest thing is when I was an Ordos mentat assistant in Dune 2000, I'm the bald guy cleaning off the mentat's mechanical head gear. You'd never know it was me unless I told you- the make up crew is top notch!
This comes up in every Frank Klepacki interview, but what is your favorite song from each of the Westwood games since Tiberian Dawn?
[Frank Klepacki] You're right- that does come up quite bit, but sometimes my favorites change so it can still be relevant
I'm assuming you looking for just my C&C universe favorites, so lets see: TD - "Prepare for Battle," RA - "Hell March," Sole Survivor - "Mud (remix)," RA2 - "HM2, & C&C in the house," TS - "Mad Rap,"
Being a video game music composer for so many years, how do you feel about the effect of music to the overall greatness of a video game?
[Frank Klepacki] Well, it's not really about what I feel, it's just sort of a fact that music is always projecting the emotion for the player as it does in film, and game music has come to this type of a level now, as opposed to 10 years ago when it was just background tracks.
As an avid game player yourself, do you ever notice the game music in other games you've played and said, "What is this! I could do better"?
[Frank Klepacki] Of course, but then there are some games that I check out and say - "Ahh, that was cool- I'll remember that later when I'm composing for such a level!"
Being both a composer and tech savvy producer, how do you feel about Napster and mp3 sharing situation?
[Frank Klepacki] I'm at both ends of that scenario- I think that cd prices are too expensive (no one should pay $18 + for a CD!) and that would drive someone to use Napster. I also think that there are a lot of crappy artists who's albums are not worth buying at all, hence, go find the one song you like by them and download it. But on the flip side, I also agree that artists need to be compensated for their work, and such a file sharing program could very well replace buying cds, especially if the average consumer got smart about the quality they rip 'em at. The average person doesn't know that the huge artists that sell millions of records don't get as much money as you would think. Average profit for an entire band is 50 cents an album, plus they have to payback costs of promotion, videos, tour support, by the record company, which depending on what sum we're talking about, could wipe most of that profit clean, leaving an artist who sold 10 million cds, with 50,000 in the bank after a year. It's very twisted, so you can see that Napster like programs can hurt if it becomes an alternative to buying.
Do you still get that same feeling you got when you heard your music in the first game you ever composed, now that you compose for some of the biggest games out there?
[Frank Klepacki] I do! I write the occasional song that I just start dancing around my office to because I'm really proud of it.
What was your favorite Westwood game to compose for? And which one is your favorite to play?
[Frank Klepacki] My favorite to compose for? That's difficult to answer- I enjoyed composing a lot of them. I suppose Dune 2000 was a great deal of fun for me because it gave me the opportunity to do justice to my old adlib card score for Dune 2! Sole Survivor was a lot of fun too- I got to do cool new versions of RA songs that I wished I'd have done in the first place- but with time not on your side, you have to make hard choices about when you are done with a song. As far as my favorite Westwood game to play, that's hard, I like Emperor a lot, and RA2, and I must say what I have played of Renegade so far is pretty cool. It's a toss up!
When your writing music for a new game do you get inspiration from playing the game itself, story boards, or something else? If it's something else, what inspires you to write such music?
[Frank Klepacki] All of the above. Usually once a style is established, I go with it from there, and see what works and what doesn't. I play the game when possible, but I don't always have that luxury, so I write off of vague descriptions half the time.
For all the wannabe composers out there, what kind of studio setup do you have at Westwood Studios?
[Frank Klepacki] It changes time to time, but right now I use a Roland 5080, Korg Tr-rack, a Novation, and various sample libraries of instruments.
Looking down the line, do you see yourself composing game music 10 years from now? Or are you looking towards another possible career option?
[Frank Klepacki] 10 down, next 10 to go! Ha ha
For all the ladies out there, are you married/engaged/attached?? If so, did you win her heart with your music?
[Frank Klepacki] Ha ha - yes, I have a girlfriend of 3 & ½ years, and yes, you could say we were brought together by my music (she really liked my band Home Cookin' at the time), but also by Westwood- she works here! She is very supportive of all my endeavors.
Would you support Westwood if they decided on releasing a Command & Conquer greatest hits music CD?
[Frank Klepacki] Sure, they already did a box set with Best Buy when RA2 came out- you got all 4 soundtracks in one!
Outside of game music, are there any projects your working on since the break up of Home Cookin?
[Frank Klepacki] I've been writing for myself at home, doing some other funky stuff, and been working on singing a lot. I'm also working on a solo electronic cd for all the fans out there. I have 7 songs done of it so far, when I get up to 10, I will release it on the web. I hope to accomplish that before the end of the year.
Hanging around Westwood for so long have you ever gone bar hopping with Joe Kucan? He has a reputation to be quite the party animal.
[Frank Klepacki] Are you kidding? I had to beg the guy to come to my shows! Ha ha Joe's a good guy- I've yet to see him drunk, myself.
What's in your CD player right now and what's in your CD-ROM drive right now?
[Frank Klepacki] CD player: Soul Cracker CD-Rom: Unreal Tournament
Do you have any questions you'd like to ask the fans? If so I'll be sure to relay them along and get a response to you.
[Frank Klepacki] Sure I got a question for the fans
If there was a type of song you'd like to hear me write, what would it be, and why? Thanks for the interview Adam!
That's all the questions for today folks. I'd like to give a big thanks to Mr. Klepacki for taking the time out of his schedule to sit down and spill his guts for us. I think it is safe to say Westwood's tradition of kick ass music will carry on as long as Frank Klepacki has something to say about it.