My name is Skotein AKA Braxton B., and I'm the creator of a project called Pokémon Reorchestrated (http://www.pokemonsymphony.com/). I recently released a 35-track album of orchestral music from Pokémon Red and Blue called 'Kanto Symphony,' now available on iTunes and Joypad Records (http://www.joypadrecords.com/).

Preview of the album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyRIMneJ654

Proof of my identity via Facebook: http://s14.postimage.org/vhsj7ya1b/Screen_shot_2012_10_16_at_7_12_06_PM.png

The album is fully licensed by Joypad Records, a record label based in San Francisco that deals with copyright clearance and legally licensing video game covers such as the ultra-popular Lindsey Stirling & Peter Hollens' cover of 'Skyrim', among others: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSLPH9d-jsI

I've been getting a lot of questions about the album, so let's get down and geeky!

EDIT: The questions have been simmering down a bit, so I think I'll call it a night. I'll be around tomorrow afternoon PST if anyone else has more questions, though! Sleep tight, all.

EDIT 2: All right, I think that concludes this AMA. Thank you, everyone, for all of your awesome questions and checking out the album! Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some music midterms to study for. @-@;

Be sure to Like my project Pokémon Reorchestrated on Facebook for more music news coming in the future:

http://www.facebook.com/pokemonreo

Comments: 486 • Responses: 72  • Date: 

amoebaserious525 karma

Would you rather fight 1 Rapidash-sized Psyduck or 50 Psyduck-sized Rapidash?

skotein398 karma

50 Psyduck-sized Rapidash! 1 Surf and they'd be taken out. A Confusion attack from 1 Rapidash-sized Psyduck might fry my brains.

asmith1125126 karma

I must say this is the fuckin shit kudos to you sir.

skotein58 karma

<3 <3 <3

el_rotato66 karma

If someone only listens to one song on your album, which one should they listen to?

skotein109 karma

Ack. Tough call.

One of my personal favorites that I think sums up the album quite well is 'Into The Hall of Fame,' which contains numerous themes that, all at once, signals the victory of Red against his rival at the Pokémon League, reprises a theme of homesickness and innocence from the first half of the album, and ends with a triumphant bang as Red enters the Hall of Fame with Professor Oak.

The whole album is one giant narrative, so I'd encourage you to listen to the whole thing, of course! ;P

xizorkatarn46 karma

Hi Skotein! Big fan, bought your album the day it came out and I've been following your work for at least a year now! Thank you for taking memories from my childhood and bringing them to life in a way I always imagined them in my head!

My question of course is, when can we expect Johto?

skotein67 karma

Thanks for the support! <3

Johto is an interesting subject. I am currently studying music composition and would prefer to tackle Johto when I am fully equipped to convey the majesty that is the music of Gold and Silver (i.e. when I graduate). The second generation games were my first Pokémon games and naturally have a very special place in my heart.

The album production for Kanto was also a laborious one, so it makes sense for me to approach it once I'm done with school--juggling homework, a part-time job, and a massive album has been very intense. As for an exact timeline, I can't tell right away. But I can tell you that it WILL happen. :)

xizorkatarn8 karma

I'll be following closely! I started with Blue version the day it came out, so I felt that sense of connection with your Kanto album. It really touched me. Also, just know that if you do end up making physical CDs of Kanto, I and many of my friends would definitely re-buy!

skotein17 karma

Definitely be on the lookout for an announcement in the coming months!

Gafinica6 karma

Great. I discovered this whole project some time last year. I hope things work out for you. "Coming months" sounds promising!

skotein10 karma

;)

garlicbananas29 karma

Like so many others, I have been following this project for quite some time now, and have been greatly looking forward to this. But you mentioned something big all that time ago, and it seemed to have disappear. So what exactly happened to Project Pallet, and do you plan to start it back up? If you want my input, please do.

GameGenie7108 karma

I'm also curious, was it just too much at one time to handle, or are you dropping it for good?

skotein41 karma

It was a little too much. I might try to reboot it (I say that when I never actually debuted it...) when I have more theory and notation skills under my belt, but right now, it's beyond my current abilities as a musician who relies more on their ear than anything else.

But I have been contacted by Julia Seeholzer, the director of the VG Music Choir at Berklee College of Music, and she's incredibly interested in helping out, so we'll see where that takes us in the future! Maybe we can get more folks on board to help transcribe sheet music.

aquosspectrum28 karma

I cannot wait for Hoenn Symphony.

What was it like working with the actual musicians, and did you ever have a real orchestra to work and record with?

skotein37 karma

No real orchestra, sadly--but the musicians were amazing. I hand-picked people I knew who were Pokémon fans and understood the emotions I wanted to convey in any given piece. Not to mention they are incredibly talented and were able to execute their solos beautifully, in a technical as well as emotional aspect. Making sheet music for real players was tedious though, as I'm a horrible copyist!

jothcra13 karma

Hi there, fellow arranger/composer here. What program did you use to create these pieces and what sound sets did you use? They are wonderful.

skotein13 karma

Most of my virtual instruments were accrued slowly over time (orchestral sample libraries can be incredibly expensive and required me to scrimp and save). I typically opted for libraries that would ultimately give me the greatest flexibility when working samples while also providing enough realism and depth to put a truly cinematic spin on the music from Red and Blue. You can find a list of companies I've bought from on http://www.pokemonsymphony.com/faq

The sounds you ultimately hear on the album, however, were worked on and wrestled into submission--programming samples can be a very tedious task and requires a very strong ear and sense of orchestration. If the arrangement isn't good, not even good libraries can save your music.

kaiserfearx1212 karma

How difficult was it to get permission to make this masterpiece? (Good luck on future projects)

skotein21 karma

Surprisingly easy. It was made even easier once Game Freak and The Pokémon Company decided to upload their original soundtracks to the Pokémon games to iTunes--Joypad Records was able to get into contact with them and license the album, ensuring TPC is paid proper royalties on all sales of Kanto Symphony.

Please check out Joypad's website if you have any more questions about copyright clearance! They're a fantastic, hard-working bunch of geeks such as myself and really helped to make my dream come true without running into copyright issues: http://www.joypadrecords.com/

Bassau12 karma

I love the album and have been using it as background music while I play Black 2. My question is, what next? Do you intend to go other generations or, dare I ask, other games?

skotein48 karma

I'm not exactly sure what's next for me and my project! I am going to continue putting out music for sure, but I also want to focus on my music education to be the VERY best composer--like no one ever was.

I'm thinking something along the lines of singles and/or mini-albums before I graduate, and bigger stuff afterward.

tomchch11 karma

Any plans to release the album on Spotify? I don't have the funds to buy the album just yet, and I will ASAP but I'd love to have a listen to it on spotify!

skotein5 karma

Not currently. There are probably some licensing issues, and it wouldn't be worth it--the only function Spotify could serve right now is to promote my music, but considering Reddit just exploded this morning... head is spinning

There will be streaming YouTube versions of it on my channel in the coming weeks, however: http://www.youtube.com/user/skotein

Thanks for asking!

coolkidx10 karma

Do you have any other projects that are coming up and if so are all of them Pokemon related

skotein27 karma

I would love to orchestrate music from other video games in addition to Pokémon. MOTHER, EarthBound, and MOTHER 3, for instance, have some of the best music from the talented Hirokazu 'Hip' Tanaka and Shogo Sakai, both great influences on my work.

Littlemushroom110 karma

[deleted]

skotein5 karma

Awww, thank you! ;~; I really want to reach as many fans as possible so they can enjoy my interpretations of Pokémon music. Much appreciated.

Actually, I'm not a cellist. XD; Total poser. I sing and play piano--that's just my stepdad's medium-sized cello. I'd love to learn though, for sure--it's a gorgeous instrument. But yeah, I was in high school choir, and now I'm studying composition full-time!

mycophycophyta10 karma

Hey, I've been following the project and bought the album today. It's fantastic. 1. What software and gear do you use? 2. Would a listening party in the SF area be possible?

skotein10 karma

1.) Most of my virtual instruments were accrued slowly over time (orchestral sample libraries can be incredibly expensive and required me to scrimp and save). I typically opted for libraries that would ultimately give me the greatest flexibility when working samples while also providing enough realism and depth to put a truly cinematic spin on the music from Red and Blue. You can find a list of companies I've bought from on http://www.pokemonsymphony.com/faq

The sounds you ultimately hear on the album, however, were worked on and wrestled into submission--programming samples can be a very tedious task and requires a very strong ear and sense of orchestration. If the arrangement isn't good, not even good libraries can save your music.

2.) You should shoot an email to Joypad Records! They're in SF. :D [email protected]

358days8 karma

I want to have sex with this music

skotein51 karma

Just be sure to use Protect. c:

OavatosDK7 karma

What was the hardest track for you to arrange? Which one ended up being your favorite?

skotein11 karma

ALL of them are my favorites!! Haha.

But the most difficult to arrange was, without a doubt, the original Pokémon theme (Red and Blue - Opening). It's such an iconic piece of music, and I know everyone pretty much thinks of the SSB Melee version when they think of orchestral Pokémon music. I wanted to keep the core of that version intact while putting my own compositional spin on it.

limit_q6 karma

Uhhh...hit me with your first starter pokemon and your favorite in general. I should ask this in a question format...and not sound so demanding. Please.

skotein12 karma

lmao. My first starter was Cyndaquil, and my favorite Pokémon is Charizard. I know, contrived answers. I'm a sucker for big-ass dragons that you can fly on.

Slagathor915 karma

Which track/theme are you most proud of?

Which track/theme are you least happy with?

Which track/theme were you most excited to arrange?

Which track/theme were you least excited to arrange?

And finally, what is your favorite Pokemon?

skotein12 karma

Woo, lot of questions. Here we go:

1.) Super proud of 'The Final Showdown! VS Champion Rival.' The end was the most exhilarating thing I'd ever orchestrated. I kind of had to take a step back afterward and be like, "WHOA. When did I turn into John Williams here?!" That doesn't happen to me a lot, haha.

2.) I could be happier with a few of the smaller tracks, which I ended up trying to drag out to make them a full minute long when they were only 30-second ditties. Very difficult.

3.) I was uber excited to arrange 'The Ghost of Pokémon Tower.' I bask in ethereal, textural music.

4.) I was least excited to arrange 'Trainer Battle' again, just because I'd done before and had to approach it in a completely different way for it to make contextual sense on the album. I think it ended up sounding great, though!

5.) Charizard, no contest.

jewfro19965 karma

Skotein! I love what you've done with this. It brings my two favorite things together, pokemon and orchestra/band. I love it! My question is, what is your favorite instrument? It's the french horn right? ;D

skotein2 karma

I was in choir in high school and primarily self-taught in piano. My only training in orchestration was listening to movie and game scores and trying to emulate my favorite composers. :)

I am also attending school for music composition, but I began only recently. I used to be a hobbyist, but I am now dedicated to honing my craft and studying at a more disciplinary, academic level.

jewfro19961 karma

That's awesome! What's you favorite instrument btw? :D

skotein2 karma

Right now? BASSOON. DOUBLE REEEEDS, baby!

Conflux4 karma

Love the album. Two questions.

1). I live in Seattle. I wish to buy you a drink. And then my friend wants to vicariously live through me and make me buy you another drink. May I buy you multiple drinks good sir?

2). When can we expect the Ruby/Sapphire Elite four track? Cause that thing is phenomenal on a game boy and I want to see what you'll do to it.

Hellowhatisthis4 karma

Did you notice any... supernatural activity while working on the Lavender town tune? Nightmares maybe? Contemplated suicide?

skotein6 karma

White hands on my shoulder? Nah, no such thing as....

........

eddiemejia4 karma

How have you decided on the instruments and orchestrations, software, or inspirations to create the Kanto Album?

skotein10 karma

Most of my instruments were accrued slowly over time (orchestral sample libraries can be incredibly expensive and required me to scrimp and save). I typically opted for libraries that would ultimately give me the greatest flexibility when working samples while also providing enough realism and depth to put a truly cinematic spin on the music from Red and Blue. You can find a list of companies I've bought from on http://www.pokemonsymphony.com/faq

As for inspirations, I was heavily influenced by the orchestral music of Joe Hisaishi of Studio Ghibli fame, Alexandre Desplat (Deathly Hallows, Benjamin Button), and Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts). My goal was to start with a bright, vibrant, and cheerful orchestral palette consisting of lighthearted motifs and LOADS of woodwinds, which would then get progressively more mature as Trainer Red journeys further across Kanto.

yugi12344564 karma

Hey love your work, haven't had a chance to buy or help fund (The kickstarter ended before i knew), but damn your work is really impressive. For the most part, your music definitely catches what it sounds like in the 8-bit music. Questions: 1. Original pokemon fan only, or pokemon fan in general 2. How did you get your start in music, first instrument? 3. I remember reading this somewhere, but did you start this pokemon you thought this would be awesome, or just something impressive to do and satisfy fan needs? 4. Rabbit or Duck?

skotein8 karma

1.) I love all generations of Pokémon. Slightly biased toward a few, but overall, I like 'em pretty equally. I have plushies of Pokémon from gens 1-5 as evidence.

2.) My first instrument was my voice! I sang in choir, and later took up learning piano on my own.

3.) I started orchestrating Pokémon music because I loved the music SO much, and wanted to combine it with a cinematic, film score sound like all of my favorite movie soundtracks.

4.) Uhhhh...frog.

secaggie20124 karma

I love your album, i noticed that you changed up a lot of your music from the earlier releases (i actually preferred your earlier version of SS Anne), what was the reason behind some of your changes? also, as a big Yellow fan, i felt kinda down that you left it off the credits, will you ever orchestrate the yellow intro, you know for the fans?

skotein8 karma

Haha, the Yellow intro is definitely on my list of to-dos. It's short enough that I could potentially save it for a mini-album release of tracks from Kanto coming out early next year.

The changes were prompted by a need to create a cohesive sound across the entire album--while I also enjoy my previous arrangement of SS Anne, the James Horner-Titanic feel didn't mesh very well with the orchestration of the rest of the tracks and stood out like a sore thumb. Same with Trainer Battle--my first arrangement was incredibly bombastic and epic (not to say the second one isn't a bit either), but in context of the entire album, battles against bug catchers =/= boss battle music!!

misingnoglic3 karma

Were you in band in high school? What was that like?

skotein10 karma

I was in choir, actually! It taught me harmonic structure, voicing, vocal technique, and a bit of sight-singing. I think those elements have definitely found their way into my orchestral music, too--I love me some rich harmonies. Otherwise, I'm self-taught in piano.

zfullert3 karma

When did you sit down and think to yourself, "You know, I love classical music and I love Pokemon. I need to combine these loves asap!" Also, how did you get started? How much time did it take to complete the full album? What are your plans moving forwards?

Thanks for the AMA, great work on a great album!

skotein6 karma

It was around winter of 2009. I was bored, it was winter holidays, I'd done a few Pokémon arrangements in GarageBand, but I hungered for something more epic. Thus, PREO came to fruition a few months afterward. :D Also, I've only recently begun to get into, appreciate, and recognize classical music--I come from more of a film/game orchestral music background.

leretro-viseur3 karma

Are you going to reorchestrate the other Pokémon games? If so, when can we expect the respective symphonies of Johto and Hoenn?

skotein7 karma

I'm not exactly sure what's next for me and my project! I am going to continue putting out music for sure, but I also want to focus on my music education to be the VERY best composer--like no one ever was. I'm thinking something along the lines of singles and/or mini-albums before I graduate, and bigger stuff afterward.

Johto is an interesting subject. I am currently studying music composition and would prefer to tackle Johto when I am fully equipped to convey the majesty that is the music of Gold and Silver (i.e. when I graduate). The second generation games were my first Pokémon games and naturally have a very special place in my heart.

The album production for Kanto was also a laborious one, so it makes sense for me to approach it once I'm done with school--juggling homework, a part-time job, and a massive album has been very intense. As for an exact timeline, I can't tell right away. But I can tell you that it WILL happen. :)

0kami3 karma

What would you say where your greatest challenges in arranging and composing this project? I know you've worked on many others before so maybe they've all provided a different set of challenges each time.

skotein5 karma

Finding a unique, cohesive voice that resounded across all of the tracks, and capturing the core essence of each song without deviating too much from the originals.

Literal_LOL3 karma

Any chance of you going on tour a la the Zelda Symphony orchestra? If so please come to the DC area!

skotein4 karma

SOMEDAY. Just gotta poke Game Freak and get them pumped up on the idea. Maybe for a Pokémon 25th Anniversary?

mbowden3 karma

[deleted]

skotein2 karma

This is a question I get a lot, and unfortunately, the answer is no (for now). I am actually a very slow copyist and cannot for the life of me transcribe my own damn music (which is all in MIDI, not traditional notation)! This is exactly why I'm currently attending school for music composition. My computer and samples have been a heavy crutch, and I intend to get rid of it.

CZbwoi3 karma

First off, I wanna say you're awesome.

  1. What's your favorite Pokemon? If you can't decide... then top 3.
  2. What's your favorite region/generation?
  3. I really like some of the original pieces you put up on your YouTube channel first, like the original SS Anne. I thought it was perfect and didn't need any changes, not that I don't like the final album version though. Could you release those original compositions on your website for download?
  4. Your going to release all the songs on your YT channel periodically and they'll all feature separate original cover art by the artist you got to help you. Could you release those in a .zip file or something when all is said and done so we could have the high resolution pictures too?
  5. You're awesome again. Btw. That's not even a question. You just are.

skotein2 karma

D'aw, schucks. <3

1.) Charizard or Ampharos.

2.) Johto, Gen 2 (HeartGold and SoulSilver were also brilliant).

3.) I may release those later, but it's difficult to say because those pieces were made on an older computer and it would be difficult to recover the original HQ wav files for them.

4.) I'm not sure I understand? Kanto Symphony will be released on YouTube featuring some artwork, but we haven't announced anything about a zip file. You'll see soon enough. ;p

5.) Thank you again. <3

tripprex3 karma

When i was a kid my parents gave me pokemon green for my birthday, as you all know that version was never released in america so it was all in japanese, i managed to get through it without even knowing a japanese word (i memorized the symbols and got help from nintendo power's guides...). whats the most bizarre thing you've done while playing pokemon?

skotein3 karma

I did the same for HeartGold! I was too excited to play it and ended up importing it. That was an interesting experience, and luckily I still remembered all the gameplay from G/S, which guided me.

OrangeNova2 karma

With all the amazing free arrange albums of video games put out by Various artists and groups, how do you think yours can compete as a "pay" album for remasters of classic songs?

skotein3 karma

While there are a lot of awesome free game cover albums out there, if they're not paying royalties to give away free downloads, it's technically illegal. If people want to support me, The Pokémon Company, my music that I worked hard on, and rest assured knowing that the album is properly licensed so there are no copyright issues, then they can buy it

Mikuro2 karma

How is this AMA is affecting your sales? I imagine you have analytics that can give a fair answer, and I'm just curious. I just bought it, and I hadn't even heard of this project before.

skotein2 karma

I have no idea about sales numbers or any data like that, but apparently the album is sitting at #26 on the Top 50 iTunes Albums chart, and currently #2 on Soundtracks. I imagine this AMA has uh...helped a little, hahaha. :)

RoosterT132 karma

I subscribed to you guys on Youtube a long time ago, and I have been curious for a while, are there any plans to release a Johto Symphony?

skotein2 karma

Yes.

iGiveWomenOrgasms_jk2 karma

Lavender town gave me chills. Great work

skotein3 karma

:)

klieg23232 karma

When you were arranging the songs for the full Kanto Symphony, were you trying to build off of some of your earlier orchestrations, or go in a newer direction? It seems to me and my untrained ear that your older arrangements stand more on your own, while the complete Kanto Symphony has songs that refer back to one another and effortlessly transition between song.

skotein4 karma

Yes, Kanto Symphony is very self-referential and includes a whole set of recurring motifs or patterns--a signature sound of Hollywood film soundtracks and movie scores--to represent characters, places, or emotions. This allowed me to weave an entire narrative using all of the tracks, not just writing standalone tracks like my previous work.

Phantasm112 karma

Do you have any traditional musical training? Your arrangements are absolutely astounding, so I was just wondering if yours is purely natural or partially learned.

skotein6 karma

I was in choir in high school and primarily self-taught in piano. My only training in orchestration was listening to movie and game scores and trying to emulate my favorite composers. :)

DarkJak092 karma

I love your album. I actually just heard about it yesterday and decided to buy it on a whim. Greatest $10 I've ever spent, easily. Amazing work and I look forward to your future projects!

skotein2 karma

Thank you so much ;~; Orchestrating Pokémon music is a blast, and to hear about how well it resonates with everyone is also music to my ears

pikafan772 karma

What is your favorite song from Kanto Symphony to listen to? How about to compose/arrange?

skotein4 karma

I love listening to 'The Final Showdown! VS Champion Rival.' The end was the most exhilarating thing I'd ever orchestrated. I kind of had to take a step back afterward and be like, "WHOA. When did I turn into John Williams here?!" That doesn't happen to me often, haha.

I was also uber excited to arrange 'The Ghost of Pokémon Tower.' I bask in ethereal, textural music.

InkyBlinkyPinkyClyde2 karma

Any chance of orchestral versions of the short clips like picking up an item or receiving a TM (not to mention Pokemon cries)?

Could make one hell of a mod.

skotein4 karma

YES. The baby fanfares/themes are coming next year as part of a mini-album of bonus tracks!

Carmichaelcarr2 karma

Before my question, I think I should mention that this album is one of the greatest things to happen. Ever.

Anyway, were the tracks on the album all produced digitally or did you use a live orchestra? If it was live, what group was it? And if it was digital, would you consider doing versions with a live orchestra?

skotein5 karma

It was all digital samples, minus numerous solos performed by REAL instrumentalists--I call them my Kanto Crew, haha. I had two violinists: John Streese (http://www.youtube.com/user/jtehanonymous) and Michaela Nachtigall (http://www.youtube.com/user/mklachu), both of whom regularly perform Pokémon covers on their channels and geek out with me about the series.

I also had an alto soloist named Jess French, a violist named Gabriel Vizcarra, and a trumpet player named Dan DeSimone, all of whom will be getting plugs in my upcoming YouTube playlist of Kanto Symphony.

And I would love to use a live orchestra. While it won't be very soon, I'd like to save it for Johto. It deserves nothing less than live players.

911donkey2 karma

  1. I'm a teenager who loves all forms of music, but I lack both any sort of formal training and am on a tight budget. For a while I've been very much drawn towards the idea of being a composer, and people like you have inspired me to pursue it. Where would you recommend I begin in trying to learn composition, and then what tools would you recommend I use to apply it?

  2. Do you foresee yourself re-interpreting the soundtracks of other generations of Pokemon games? I absolutely adore this new album (much as I do Pokemon in general), and I would love to see the Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova themes receive the same treatment.

  3. What's your favorite Pokemon?

  4. Do you still play Pokemon today?

skotein4 karma

Start by buying a music theory book! I'd also find a way to invest in a polyphonic instrument like piano or guitar--something you can use to play music on and help inform your compositions. But theory is important--once you can analyze the structures behind music, you start to see ALL the patterns that make up the fabric of compositions. After that, you can then begin distinguishing instruments in larger ensembles by watching YouTube videos of live concert performances--orchestral, jazz, rock, latin, whatever. It helps to have a mental image for the instruments so you can imagine them playing when you hear them without video!

I will definitely exploring music from other Pokémon games. ESPECIALLY Johto. The other games deserve more love too.

Favorite Pokémon? Charizard, hands-down.

But yes, I play Pokémon to this day. I haven't bought B2/W2 because I'm uber broke right now, but hopefully next month I'll have time to catch up on the latest addition to Gen 5! I will love Pokémon forever.

Flarinite2 karma

I bought your album on iTunes like two days ago, and I've already listened to each song at least three times. It's incredible. I'm especially fond of the Gym Leader theme and Viridian Forest.

No questions, just wanted to tell you how much I love it!

skotein3 karma

Haha, thank you. <3 Very much appreciated. Viridian Forest was fun--Native American flute, woo!

Shippoyasha2 karma

I think it's fair to say that you're one of the most prolific response writer in an IAMA in a while.

As for a question, what is your impression on the Pokemon Black/White Champion theme?. It's the one tune recently that I seem to be addicted to.

skotein2 karma

It's interesting...it sounds very much like one of Pokémon's newer composers Hitomi Sato wrote that piece. I'm not a big fan of hers, personally, as I think she uses too many parallel fifths and sometimes lacks in her instrumentation. But I think this new battle piece, if it's hers, is pretty legit. :)

Light-of-Aiur2 karma

I don't really have anything to ask. I just wanted to pop over and say that I absolutely love your orchestrations. They sound so full of life, depth... I sometimes forget that I'm listening to something generated by a program with sound libraries, it's that good.

So, if you see this: keep up the amazing work. Eagerly anticipating your graduation and subsequent work on Johto!

Oh... BTW, The Campion (Battle vs Lance and Red) is by far the best piece of music I've ever heard (not to denigrate your Kanto symphony: it's wonderful and I listen to it on repeat almost all day). I listen to it almost every day on my walk to uni, and my day is made all the brighter because of your amazing work. Thank you, so much!

skotein4 karma

Thank you! Tricking the ear into thinking it's real is one of my top priorities, so mission accomplished, hehe.

I really appreciate your support. Fans like you make me more motivated to write music and get feedback--I want to be able to have awesome conversations about Pokémon with other people, and I think my project facilitates that well.

glaciator2 karma

How was expanding pieces written for only a few parts into full orchestrations? Obviously that opens up room for creativity. Tell me about it!

skotein3 karma

It was VERY fun and full of creative opportunities--which also made it exceedingly difficult to settle on one idea over another! Ultimately, I wanted to keep the core melodies, or 'essences', of the tracks intact while fleshing them out in a way that made contextual sense for the roles each track played on the album.

darkdasky2 karma

I love that you have such a passion for this music that I cherish. I have spotify so I don't buy a ton of albums. But I will buy this one because I would like to support you and this project.

skotein3 karma

Thank you so much. <3 That really means a lot.

NO_TROLLS_HERE2 karma

Are you planning to publish a conductor's score because I would be bloody keen to buy it!

skotein2 karma

I would if someone else transcribed it. |D; It's all in MIDI notation, sadly.

DamnNoHtml2 karma

Have to say, your Final Battle with Rival music literally single-handedly inspired me to complete an animation about Pokemon Red if it was darker. Thank you.

skotein2 karma

DO IT. And then link it to me!

Goflam2 karma

Discount for us Redditors!!

Just kidding, no real question just wanted to stop by and say how amazing this is. As a huge listener to classical music, combining something with my all-time favorite Pokemon, it's just amazing to listen to! Keep up the good work and I hope to see more amazing things from you!

skotein2 karma

Thank you! :D

scyther12 karma

you are just all kinds of awesome

skotein3 karma

Why sankoo :D

Lordrogersmith64852 karma

I'm a huge fan of symphonic music and all the extended harmony, nostalgia, and refinement that comes along with it, so I was naturally ecstatic over this soundtrack when I stumbled across it. After listening to only the first few tracks, I bought the entire album on iTunes; I've never felt more invigorated to play a Pokemon game than while listening to these powerful enhancements of my childhood favorites. You incorporated so much emotion into these classics, which shows just how brilliant you are as an orchestrator.

I've told all my friends about it, and, furthermore, I've probably listened to the "Red's Journey" theme over a dozen times now! However, my personal favorite is definitely the Silph. Co (Team Rocket) theme; I admired the powerful and sinister momentum throughout, as well as the jazzy violin bits that helps emphasize the stealth which Giovanni and Team Rocket represent.

Overall, a spectacular album! A true delight for all Pokemon fans! It amazes me just how much devotion you put into this. And I eagerly look forward to the Johto Symphony Album.

skotein4 karma

Wow, thank you so much! The Team Rocket pieces were a blast to write, especially Silph. I always imagined the scene in my arrangement of Silph, when the viola enters the mix, to follow as such:

Red walks into the corporate offices of Silph Co. in Saffron City.

Something is amiss. Papers are scattered everywhere.

Cubicles empty. Where is everyone?

Chills run down the trainer's spine as he ascends the stairs in the reception area to a dimly lit hallway, fluorescent lights buzzing and flickering overhead.

And then he sees them. The grunts in black jumpsuits.

The corraled employees of Silph Co., gagged, bound, and tied to a table.

The letter 'R' on a waving tapestry hanging outside the windows.

DreamStreetSkank2 karma

Any plans to release the album on Amazon?

skotein2 karma

Yep, absolutely! It'll be on Amazon sometime soon...I'm unsure at this point since it takes longer to distribute to than iTunes, but I'll be sure to inform everyone when it does on Facebook and my website.

Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/pokemonreo Website: http://www.pokemonsymphony.com/

Soragon2 karma

Hey. I absolutely loved that preview and was going to go buy the album from iTunes. $10 is an absolutely great price but it turns out that's for the US store and not the Australian one (it's $17 here).

Now I am having second thoughts, not because I'm cheap, but because I'm not sure where all that extra money is going. Considering the AUD is stronger than the USD right now, it's like I'm paying double the price than my US counterparts are. Now, if this extra money is going to you, the artist, then I would be glad to pay the $17 AUD with Aussie tax. If not, then is there another place where I may purchase it so that little of my money goes to Apple and most to you?

Are you aware that this price hike occurs? If so, do you have any control over it? You might be getting the bad end of the deal here, I have no idea.

skotein2 karma

I have no idea why this hike exists. Odd. It might be because of royalties for Pokémon's Australian division, but I'd check Joypad Records' website to see if you can get it cheaper through PayPal.

http://www.joypadrecords.com/releases/store

TowawayAccount2 karma

I just want to congratulate you on your success. I'm a brand new fan spawned from your publicity on reddit and I have to say, the album is amazing. It's clear that you put a lot of effort and precision into the creation of this beast. You've done a wonderful job and I can't wait to see future projects from you.

skotein2 karma

Yes, more Pokémon. And maybe even some EarthBound/MOTHER music. Thanks for the support!

Xarkhan2 karma

Did you listen to any other arrangements of Pokemon music as inspiration, and if so which ones? i.e. "Smashing... Live!", the Super Smash Bros. Brawl soundtrack, or any fan arrangements.

skotein2 karma

I usually stayed away from the soundtracks or any fan arrangements so that I could paint a clear picture of what I wanted my album to sound like. I did borrow a lot of elements from Joe Hisaishi scores for various Studio Ghibli films for my orchestration, though. <3

skotein2 karma

I purposefully tried to avoid listening to previous orchestrations of Pokémon music, but I have heard Smashing Live and love the string medley in the beginning!

At first when I read Smashing, I thought of Nigel Thornberry...

FUCK_YEAH_DUDE2 karma

Was this recorded by an actual live symphony?

skotein2 karma

Most of it was orchestral samples with a few live soloists layered on top. :)

Miaou001 karma

As I wish to create music myself and finding your work an inspiration, what do you suggest I do to expand my knowledge of music? What helps you compose your songs?

skotein3 karma

If you can afford it, pick up a music theory book or take a small class. You'll find you can appreciate and understand so many more types of music once you can analyze their structures! I personally listen to a lot of film scores by Joe Hisaishi and Alexandre Desplat for inspiration--in doing so, I've learned to pick out individual instrument sections and recognize patterns in film-type music.

insaneintherain1 karma

So here's my question(s). Does timbre and orchestration come naturally to you, as in you can just listen to a section of a Gameboy 8-bit track and just hear it orchestrated in your head? Or do you have to process the song a lot and wait for something to come out?

How do you keep motivated on such a huge project?

skotein3 karma

Because I listen to so many film scores, yes, I can extrapolate a lot of timbral and orchestral information from a simple 8-bit melody. It's a matter of developing a strong imagination and dreaming up big sounds!

I'm motivated by my love for Pokémon music, and the exciting opportunity to flesh out the skeletons presented by the 8-bit versions. It's a curious, experimental process and yields beautiful results when executed well. Very much worth the tedious hours of programming samples and trying out different musical ideas.

Super_Link1 karma

I only recently discovered your website, and when I heard what you had made, I was blown away. The fact that you put so much extra effort into your pieces by adding unique intros, various instruments, and intriguing dynamics to them, and not just repeat them as they were originally performed in the game (but with a different instrument, like some other "Reorchestrated" sites do), is truly admirable. I'm very much looking forward to downloading the album on iTunes, and listening to it over and over and over and over.

And, I do actually have to ask you a couple of questions: How long to you plan to continue doing reorchestrated Pokémon pieces? Also, If you ever complete what you originally set out to achieve in reorchestrating Pokémon pieces, do you plan to take on another game series?

skotein4 karma

As long as I live and breathe, I'll never stop orchestrating Pokémon music--though the frequency may change over the years, the motivation won't. But I don't think I'll orchestrate 'em all--it's highly unrealistic with my busy school schedule and desire to do original music work too. I plan on tackling music from the EarthBound/MOTHER series along with Pokémon, and maybe other games I'm fond of. Heck, I'd love to get into orchestrating my favorite pop music too! GANGNAM STYLE - ORCHESTRAL? Y/Y?

davidrussell3231 karma

Hey Braxton! Thanks for the AMA! Your symphonic album is absolutely amazing!

Who/what are your musical inspirations? And how did you feel after finishing that final note? What did you do, how did you celebrate?

Here's looking forward to the Johto and Hoenn symphonies!

skotein5 karma

Hey David! :D

1 inspiration is Joe Hisaishi of Studio Ghibli fame (Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke). I worship the man. He is my personal god, and I am head over heels in love with everything he does. You can even hear a little reference to his 'fourth-chord' technique that he uses in a lot of his writing in 'Beyond Rock Tunnel' on Kanto Symphony.

And I kind of squealed and screamed and danced when I finished. My roommates and I went out to buy the cheapest wine (we're poor college students) and just spend the rest of the night lounging around, sipping our wine and feeling all debonair.

whatsthisabout1 karma

I'm listening to the preview right now. Holy crap this is amazing I just nostalgiad all over myself.

skotein2 karma

lawl lawl. bows

Brandon_OBrian1 karma

Hello, I just heard the previews on YouTube. It's Amazing!! Sounds like it was completely a live orchestra! Can't wait to buy it! Question, you said before you listed to film scores, have you ever listened to the music of Akira Ifukube? You may never heard of him. He composed the scores to a good chunk of the Godzilla films, plus nearly 300 other Japanese films.

skotein2 karma

Noooo, but now I want to!! I'm obsessed with a lot of contemporary Japanese composers, but am just starting to discover the oldies and more classical folks like Toru Takemitsu. Thanks for the recommendation!

PwnsumN00B1 karma

Would you ever consider doing the music of the games past Gen. 1 aswell?

skotein2 karma

Definitely!

Onatu1 karma

Alright Skotein, I haven't bought Kanto Symphony just yet (need to gather the funds together, but I will buy it!), but just hearing the samples on iTunes is more than a treat. You've done incredible work here and I hope to see more in the future.

As for questions though, what made you decide to create Kanto Symphony? I mean, there's obviously the love for Pokemon and your musical work, but what sealed the deal for you to pursue creating this album? Going with that, what were the most difficult parts of the project?

skotein3 karma

I chose to orchestrate music from Red and Blue because I felt I hadn't quite earned my Pokémon stripes as a Generation 2 inductee. I missed Gen 1 in its prime and had to replay it, so this is my way of making up for it! I've gained a massive appreciation for what Jun'ichi Masuda composed in the first games, and it's brought me a lot closer to the region that started it all.

The most difficult part of creating this album was striking a balance between capturing the spirit of the original Pokémon tracks, and fleshing them out to the point that they were much richer and fuller in sound, but didn't deviate too much from the originals.

Jewforce1 karma

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

skotein7 karma

Teleportation. I'd use it to visit Japan so I can travel there, study traditional Japanese music, and get inspiration for writing a Johto Symphony.

Beef-Stu1 karma

Hey Sko, big fan for years. Sill have stuff like your old New Bark Town reorchestration on my iPod, just saying.

I've always wanted to know what your first team was. And if you don't remember your first, what was the earliest you remember?

Either that or "What goes through your mind when creating scores the way you do?" I've always wondered this, any time I'm trying to make a cover or something. I've never understood how the whole process takes place.

I don't know where that question went, but I'm hoping you can get something out of it.

skotein3 karma

Oh wow, you've been following me forever! Haha, thank you!

My earliest team...ouch. It's been a while, I feel old. I think it was Typhlosion, Tyranitar, Ampharos, Noktowl, Sneasel, and Houndoom. Those are still some of my favorite Pokémon to date!

And when I arrange or compose music, I tend to think first about the melody, the mood of the piece, if there are any cinematic 'moments' that require deviation or change somewhere between the beginning and the end, and then I begin orchestration. My orchestration is usually informed by the mood of the piece, and sometimes I'll listen to some Joe Hisaishi, Yoko Shimomura, Alexandre Desplat, or John Williams for inspiration for very particular musical scenarios.