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Comments: 374 • Responses: 102  • Date: 

solarplexus721 karma

Do you still hang out with Victor Lucas?

Tommy_Tallarico13 karma

We see each other at conventions about 2 or 3 times a year. He lives in Vancouver and I'm in Orange County, CA. We did a really cool reunion show at San Diego Comic Con this year! It was great fun working with him again! I wish I could do it more!

We also saw each other at the Toronto Fan Expo in August and hung out a lot.

Here's a little chat we had at E3 earlier this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaYhwFzn9M4

King_Henselt18 karma

Are you satisfied with the footstep sounds in modern games? Or do they still have a long way to go?

Tommy_Tallarico21 karma

Hahaha! I can honestly say that most footstep sounds in games are pretty acceptable. I haven't run into anything lately that has stuck out to me. They must have FINALLY listened! :)

coffeepunk15 karma

Level with us, Tommy... will we see more Gamer Warz?

Tommy_Tallarico9 karma

HELL YES!! Any ideas for the next one?

coffeepunk7 karma

In an ideal world we could get more of Kojima in Mega64 but he's already been super cool about working with them (and based on the podcast we know how much they appreciate that!).

Personally I'd be okay with anything! - I really dig when you collab with those guys.

Tommy_Tallarico7 karma

Yeah! They are really cool, good friends and super fun to work with! I think we're due for another Gamer Warz soon!!

koncertkoala12 karma

Which elements make a good game score since the medium is very different from tv and film? :)

Tommy_Tallarico18 karma

Great question! Melody is of course very important for most music. I also feel that dynamics within the music are important as well.

For me, another important aspect when creating video game music I always want to know what the emotion of the character is. Not if they are in Ice World or Lava World. Environment is secondary to me.

The greatest thing that separates games from TV & Film is the interactivity! Even great composers like John Williams are restricted in how he creates music, because he still has to sit down with George Lucas who tells him where/when to put the linear music... at which frame, etc. Because of the linear nature of the medium, the direction will very much be. "At 3:51 the music changes to dark and moody as Darth Vader just walked into the room, and at 4:00 the music does this because the Death Star blows up".

In game development, a designer will come to me and say, "Here's the deal. There are a hundred guys on horseback with swords coming at you, and they've all come to kick your butt. Write me a three minute piece of music!". From there my mind can go wild, as I don't have the restrictions of a film or TV composer, and even then the interactivity can send me in different directions. For example, I'll have this theme for 100 guys kicking my butt, but I may have to do a different theme for 10 guys kicking my butt, and another if no one was anymore.

It's this kind of diverse appeal and approach that we have that I feel that if Beethoven were alive today, he'd be a video game composer. Besides… he wouldn’t want people talking over his music like they do for film & television! :)

koncertkoala7 karma

Thank you so much for your insightful answer! I'm an aspiring video game composer so this is super helpful. Attending VGL two years ago actually inspired me to create my own game ensemble! :D

Tommy_Tallarico20 karma

Great! Hopefully we'll be playing YOUR music at Video Games Live someday! Here are some helpful tips about getting into the video game industry for audio...

Whenever I speak at schools/universities/conferences, etc. I always talk about how passion and networking is just as important as talent! Believing in your dream and working/doing whatever it takes to get there, never giving up, etc. is most of the battle.

As gigantic as the game industry seems, it's also a pretty tight industry and very easy to get into (unlike film/television, etc.) especially if you know and meet the right people.

Networking and keeping a positive attitude will allow you to achieve anything you set your mind to!

You'll want to prepare some kind of demo CD (or easily e-mailed links) of your work so that you'll be able to let people hear what you are capable of.

In regards to game audio specifically, there are a few things you can do to put you ahead.

  1. Join the non-profit organization G.A.N.G. (Game Audio Network Guild) at www.audiogang.org. Over 2000 game audio professionals from around the world are involved. There is a student membership which you would qualify for. An amazing resource for anyone looking to get into the industry. The website has a ton of info and it's like the Facebook for Game Audio folks! If you join the Guild, make sure to check out this story on "How to get a gig": http://www.audiogang.org/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=How-To-Get-A-Gig.html&Itemid=47

  2. Get the book "The Complete Guide to Game Audio" by Aaron Marks and "Audio for Games: Planning, Process, and Production" by Alexander Brandon (amazon.com has them both). Incredible resources, advice and insight!

  3. Join the IGDA (if there is a local chapter in your area). www.igda.org. They also have some great resources on their website such as: http://www.igda.org/breakingin/resources.htm A great place to meet up and coming game developers and like minded people in your area.

  4. Check out the website www.gamasutra.com. There is a TON of game audio information and they do a monthly magazine called Game Developer Magazine.

  5. Aside from joining G.A.N.G., the BEST advice I could give you is to definitely attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. www.gdconf.com. This is the networking mecca of the entire game industry! Over 15,000 game developers from around the world and nearly 1,000 game audio composers, sound designers, etc. are there. An absolutely fantastic place to meet and network with people. And you'll learn more in 3 days than you'll ever imagine! There is special Game Audio Pass for around $700, and as a member of G.A.N.G. there is a $50 discount as well.

I hope this helps.

Talent is important, but just as important is "networking". The above mentioned things will really help you to increase your profile among the people who you need to be in front of.

Good luck!

koncertkoala5 karma

Thank you so much! :D I look forward to attending future VGL concerts! They've been the best concert experiences I've ever had.

Tommy_Tallarico5 karma

Thanks!!! That really means a lot!

BriProv8 karma

Do you have fondness for working with the more primitive technology of the 16-bit era, or are you grateful that that the fidelity for games now is almost limitless?

Tommy_Tallarico5 karma

I love both era's. In the old days (20+ years ago) the simplicity of the music with the challenge of technology was also fun and interesting to deal with. Being able to do something on a new system for a first time was really cool.

Having no technical or production limits now is great from a composing standpoint. But all too often people get caught up in all the production and forget about the simplicity of a good melody is still the most important thing. In the old days... it's all you really had (because of the technical limitations) so people spent more time on trying to NOT be annoying. :)

M3wThr337 karma

Any opinions on the demise of G4? What you wish it would have become?

Tommy_Tallarico19 karma

I'm glad it's finally gone. It should have been put out of its misery about 8 years ago! :) It could have been AMAZING!! Unfortunately they didn't have enough GAMERS on camera or running the programing. It was mass confusion.

Frajer7 karma

What's your best Steven Tyler story ?

Tommy_Tallarico8 karma

Whenever Steven does a pre-show Meet & Greet with fans he walks in the room and tons of people come up to him to say hi, get pics taken, autographs, etc. Steven asks them to hold on for a few moments and tells them he will get to all of them. Then he looks around the room and sees the few people in the corner that are too scared to approach him. He walks over to them and says... "Hi! I'm Steven Tyler... what's your name?".

And THAT is Steven! He's a guy who cares DEEPLY about all his fans and wakes up EVERY DAY appreciating the fact that he's a rock star. Total down to earth guy who loves what he does. I've learned a LOT from him in that regards.

David20512 karma

A great man indeed... when I think of him I think about 6 degrees of separation rule in some kind of way. Aerosmith was the first rock band I heard as a kid... Some years later I'm one of the biggest fans of his cousin without knowing you were related untill the Bonus Features of Level 2 Blu-Ray.

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

HaHa! Cool! I always wondered if anyone actually watched or listened to the Bonus Features!

joenforcer6 karma

Hey Tommy, I understand that you have achieved a lot of success throughout your career, and were able to put out VGL Level 1 & 2 without crowdfunded support. Can you help us better understand why you needed to turn to Kickstarter for Levels 3 and 4 when you didn't need it the first two times? It doesn't seem to be a "need" when your success should be able to fund itself. Pardon me if my question sounds rude.

Full disclosure: I am a backer of this and the previous VGL campaign, and I love what you do.

Tommy_Tallarico25 karma

No worries! It's a totally understandable question! The first album came out in 2007 on EMI. They took a chance and spent over 150,000 to record the album. It never recouperated its initial cost so it lost money for them. Once that happens... it's VERY rare for any record company to spend money again. Because they can see the sales figures and they know what it takes to make a big symphony album.

The thing to remember is that a LOT of film scores come out all the time... but the MOVIE BUDGETS is the thing that allows them to put it out at virtually no cost. We don't have anything behind us... so the $200,000+ needs to come from somewhere!

For our second album that was funded personally by me and was a live recording from our PBS Special. That PBS Special cost $850,000 to create! I took out a loan and put a second mortgage on my home in order to raise the money. And quite frankly... I still haven't paid back that loan!

No Record Company is going to spend $200K on a product that it only going to sell 25,000 - 50,000 units. After all the royalties are paid to the game publishers... it just doesn't make financial sense. Especially in the current music market.

With Kickstarter... it's like taking pre-orders! It's the guarantee and money up front to create something that people want and will get.

There is no other way for us to do it.

thelegendblue6 karma

Tommy! I am a big fan of your work and have been following you for a while from reviews on the run all the way to Video games Live. (Is High Heat Baseball 2003 still your least favorite game of all time?) I just want to say thank you for all your amazing work in the video game industry, and for really opening the eyes to many gamers and non gamers alike on how important music is with video games it truly brings the emotion out in video games. (Not to mention you look awesome in this ad ;) http://extralives.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/tommytallarico_ad.jpg)

I have a few questions.

What is on your list on future games of possibly adding to Video Games Live?

What is the most negative response you have gotten from Video games Live?

And finally, Where do you see Video Games Live in the next 5 years?

Thanks again Tommy you kick ass!

Tommy_Tallarico10 karma

Thanks for the kind words! It really means a LOT! I was wondering how long it would take for that Ad to show up. Answer = 4 questions! :)

  1. Future games we are adding to VGL in 2015: Y's, Okami, Katamari Damacy, Devil May Cry 4, Phoenix Wright, Earthbound/Mother AND MORE!

  2. Negative response about VGL was actually when I did this last year on Reddit and bunch of traditional close-minded stuck-up fools were trying to tell me how VGL is HURTING Classical music because our shows were taking dates away from Classical programs instead. It's mindless thinking like that which helps to keep Classical music in the shadows for young people.

  3. I see it still going as strong as ever! ...and more lasers! :)

shinigami33 karma

Katamari and Phoenix Wright? Can't wait for next year :)

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Me too! :)

instomach3 karma

Phoenix Wright and Earthbound!?? You can't be serious! :D I hope you plan on coming back to Porto Alegre (Brazil) while those are still on the setlist, I'll be thrilled! Last time was in 2011...

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

Yeah!! We're talking about doing a HUGE 10 year anniversary tour all over Brazil in 2015!

Igi_Ari6 karma

In the rain or in the snow?

Tommy_Tallarico7 karma

I got the funky flow!

Cr0w855 karma

What is your Favorite Video Game of all Time?

Tommy_Tallarico8 karma

Super Mario World for the SNES. Shadow of the Colossus & Red Dead Redemption are up there as well! And lots of stuff on the Intellivision (which I still have hooked up to my big screen and have played it more than ANY of the current next gen machines!) :)

John_Bot4 karma

Coming back to Wolftrap, VA this coming year!? :)

Mind telling my friend Chris hi? It'd make his day :D

Love the job you guys do and I'll see you at MAGFest I hope!

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

We're speaking to the folks at Wolf Trap. But with so many other video game symphony shows out there now... they like to rotate. So if not 2015 then probably 2016.

Tell your friend Chris I said "YO!"

MAGFest is AWESOME!! Love that conference! Hope to be there in January again!

ZarxcesHappyLand4 karma

What's the best interaction you've had with a fan on stage?

P. S. Loved you guys in ATL this year! Keep it up Tommy.

Tommy_Tallarico5 karma

I've had about 10 marriage proposals on stage over the years where someone will e-mail me and ask if they can ask their girlfriends to marry them. So we arrange it (without the girlfriend knowing) like they won a contest... then I hand them the microphone and they take a knee. Always a GREAT moment! We just had one 2 shows ago in Rochester, NY!

Sparlos3 karma

Hey Tommy! I'm a really big fan of your work with Video Games Live, been to 2 shows in Toronto, front row center! You're so inspiring to me as a musician and arranger, and I'll be out of school in 2 years with a BA in music. My question to you is, what is the best way to break out into the video game music scene today? Thanks so much for your time.

PS shameless self-promotion of a medley of songs from Smash 4 that my band made. We formed largely because of how cool we think VGL is and wanted to arrange some of our favourite tunes. Thanks again, for everything.

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Wow! So cool to think that VGL has inspired you guys to create!

Here's how to get into doing audio for video games...

Whenever I speak at schools/universities/conferences, etc. I always talk about how passion and networking is just as important as talent! Believing in your dream and working/doing whatever it takes to get there, never giving up, etc. is most of the battle.

As gigantic as the game industry seems, it's also a pretty tight industry and very easy to get into (unlike film/television, etc.) especially if you know and meet the right people.

Networking and keeping a positive attitude will allow you to achieve anything you set your mind to!

You'll want to prepare some kind of demo CD (or easily e-mailed links) of your work so that you'll be able to let people hear what you are capable of.

In regards to game audio specifically, there are a few things you can do to put you ahead.

  1. Join the non-profit organization G.A.N.G. (Game Audio Network Guild) at www.audiogang.org. Over 2000 game audio professionals from around the world are involved. There is a student membership which you would qualify for. An amazing resource for anyone looking to get into the industry. The website has a ton of info and it's like the Facebook for Game Audio folks! If you join the Guild, make sure to check out this story on "How to get a gig": http://www.audiogang.org/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=How-To-Get-A-Gig.html&Itemid=47

  2. Get the book "The Complete Guide to Game Audio" by Aaron Marks and "Audio for Games: Planning, Process, and Production" by Alexander Brandon (amazon.com has them both). Incredible resources, advice and insight!

  3. Join the IGDA (if there is a local chapter in your area). www.igda.org. They also have some great resources on their website such as: http://www.igda.org/breakingin/resources.htm A great place to meet up and coming game developers and like minded people in your area.

  4. Check out the website www.gamasutra.com. There is a TON of game audio information and they do a monthly magazine called Game Developer Magazine.

  5. Aside from joining G.A.N.G., the BEST advice I could give you is to definitely attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. www.gdconf.com. This is the networking mecca of the entire game industry! Over 15,000 game developers from around the world and nearly 1,000 game audio composers, sound designers, etc. are there. An absolutely fantastic place to meet and network with people. And you'll learn more in 3 days than you'll ever imagine! There is special Game Audio Pass for around $700, and as a member of G.A.N.G. there is a $50 discount as well.

I hope this helps.

Talent is important, but just as important is "networking". The above mentioned things will really help you to increase your profile among the people who you need to be in front of.

Good luck!

Deneteus3 karma

When are you going to find some way to bring us another Battletoads?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

That would be pretty epic! Hopefully it will be easier!!

firehawke3 karma

Hi Tommy! What are the odds that VGL can get Lindsey Stirling as a surprise guest?

For that matter, are there any particular special guests from the new album or upcoming shows that you can tell us about?

scherbadeen3 karma

Hey Tommy, loved the Atlanta show this year!

Are there any particular musicians you would like to collab with in the future? Personally, I think it'd be cool to see something happen with VGL and say... Lindsey Stirling, or 2CELLOS, even if only for a few shows.

Stay cool, dude.

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

You mean like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNx9AzSOTPk

:)

We've worked with Lindsey, Malukah, Peter Hollens and so many more amazingly talented folks! Always an honor and pleasure!!

LegalKestrel3 karma

Which of the soundtracks that you worked on moved you the most as a person?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Advent Rising! I used it as an excuse to write an Italian Opera. Something I always wanted to do! I spent almost 3 years writing and working on that and it took a lot out of me. Still one of my personal favorites from a compositional standpoint.

David20513 karma

And I know why... 3 month ago I couldn't get out that soundtrack out of my head and at 1a.m. I just went on Amazon and bought it, still give me goosebumps hearing it after you told me the lyrics were from Divine Comedy and other classical stuffs. Great work there Tommy.

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Thanks! Dante's Inferno too!

DC119613 karma

What part of Italy is your family from? My family comes from Milan and from Corsica.

Tommy_Tallarico5 karma

On my father's side (Tallarico) it's Miglierina, Catanzaro, Calabria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miglierina) and Palermo for my grandmother (Spinuzzi). For my mom's side (D'Amico) it's Ceccemaggiore, Italy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cercemaggiore). I'm very proud of my 100% Italian heritage. Currently learning to speak Italian cause I was only interested in learning all of the bad words growing up. :)

HouseOfFourDoors3 karma

Hey. My family is from the same area too! We met up at the concert in Tacoma. You're touring with one of my friends from college, Laura Intravia!

Take care!

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Laura is GREAT! I'm working with her now for the Donkey Kong Country symphony arrangement she's doing for the next VGL album (LEVEL 4!)

NorbitGorbit3 karma

what are payment structures like for game music -- do you collect royalties? Do you still own the music for soundtrack sales etc...?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Every deal is different and every game publisher offers different deals to different composers. I personally DO get royalties or bonuses for my music and in some instances (like Earthworm Jim 1 & 2) I own the music 100%. It really depends on how much the game publisher really wants you for the project (and how good a negotiator you are). Royalty deals aren't the norm (unfortunately)... but they do exist. Soundtrack royalties are typically part of the deal though. So thats good.

liliamagda3 karma

Three questions!

1) Have you ever considered working with Kate Covington (Katethegreat19 on Youtube) for your shows?

2) Do you think you'll ever play the Ozar Midrashim from The Legacy of Kain Series or music from The Legend of Dragoon?

3) Will you ever come back to Detroit? We miss you!

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

  1. I'm not familiar with Kate. Can you send me some YouTube links so I can check it out?

  2. Not too many people ask for Legacy of Kain or Legend of Dragoon... but I know that the music is BOTH those games is EPIC! I will add that to my future "to do" list!

  3. And we miss Detroit!! It's been difficult to get back there because the Detroit Symphony went out of business and the economy there is still a little rough. VGL is a super expensive show to put on so a lot of financial risk needs to be taken by a local promoter or symphony or venue. Getting someone to do that in Detroit has been challenging. But we won't stop trying!!!!

TetsuNoKobushi3 karma

Why aren't you giving a concert each month in The Netherlands? I honestly wish I could just force you to stay in The Netherlands forever. Then again, you wouldn't be able to spread your absolute awesomeness over the entire globe. So I'll just wait patiently for the next concert! Just keep doing what you do, and I'll keep supporting you.
 
As for the real question: Will you ever go back to working with developers on game music?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Amsterdam was an incredible city! I never knew how great it was until I visited it. In the U.S. you only hear about the hookers and pot.... but the city is beautiful with all it's waterways, bridges, local shops, etc. I walked around the city for 10 hours and still only saw about half of it. Looking forward to returning! I took a boat tour... but didn't have time to check out all of the amazing museums.

I'm having way too much fun with VGL to go back to doing game music. In order to accomplish doing another game I would need to take a year or two off from VGL. Not interested in doing that at this time. Might change in the future... but I've been doing VGL for over 13 years now... full time for about 8 years... and I'm still excited every night I go on stage!

Fuzzmosis3 karma

Do you have any fun stories from working on Reviews on the Run?

Secondly, why did you always pose with your car?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Anything from this page have the best stories! http://tallarico.com/index.php?s=electricplayground

Out of the thousands of promotional pictures that have been done and posted... I can only honestly remember 2 pictures where there is a car in the photograph. If there are more than two... please send links! :)

jjustice3 karma

Hey Tommy, they finally found a way for the Genesis to do 5 FM + 4 PSG + 4 PCM @14 Khz playback. It's cool but obviously a decade or two too late. Do you wish you had this available to you back in the day?

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

The only difference from the early 90's is the 4 PCM channels (we only had 1 back then). Everything else was the same. But YEAH! Would have LOVED 4 sample channels instead of 1! Then again... it wouldn't have been as challenging (which was half the fun!). :)

Beegee77303 karma

Which was your favourite dinosaur to color?

Tommy_Tallarico6 karma

The Herpesaurus!

:)

wandabee3 karma

Hey, Tommy! Just wanted to say that I'm a big fan, and can't wait for the next VGL album (I was part of the most recent Kickstarter). Since this is an AMA, I figured I'd ask: when you're composing for a video game, how do you decide on what themes you build upon to accompany a game? Do you give the game a play through while its in development, or do you compose with only a bit of reference to the game? One final thing: your rendition of the Castlevania theme is impossibly good. Are you a human/guitar hybrid?

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

I like playing the game with no audio and just waiting for themes to come into my head. Then I'll go over to my piano and figure out what is in my head. From there I go upstairs to my studio and start figuring out different instruments and filling it in with a computer.

Yes... I'm always playing the game as much as possible when creating music.

Not a human/guitar hybrid... but a perfectionist in the studio. It takes me a long time to come up with something I love on guitar. :)

wandabee2 karma

That's so cool! I never really thought about the process of composing music for games or movies, even though I listen almost exclusively to such soundtracks. It must be eerie to play a game without an accompanying soundtrack, since music adds so much to the atmosphere of a game! Has there ever been a game that you've played where you get an itch to compose a new score? Thanks for your answers! Your perfectionism does show in your work :D

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Yes! Would love to take a crack at Zelda!!

moricat3 karma

Your tunes from MC Kids have been stuck in my head for the last 22 years. Should I seek professional help now, or give it a few more years?

Also, what are your favorite video game themes to accompany the following real life actions:

1) Driving a car

2) Walking around/exploring

3) Chilling at home

4) Fighting a giant enemy crab

5) Sexy time

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

  1. Street Fighter II
  2. Chrono Trigger/Cross
  3. Ecco the Dolphin
  4. Liberi Fatali (FF8)
  5. Journey

That was fun! :)

DracoVolans2 karma

Hi Tommy! I'm glad I actually got to back VGL this time around.

Any chance you'll come to Columbus, Ohio sometime soon?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

We'll be in Lorain, OH at the end of January. Probably the closest to Columbus we'll be in 2015.

DracoVolans2 karma

Thanks for the reply. Looking forward to the album!

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Me too! :)

TwistedKites2 karma

Hi, Tommy! Big fan of yours across all mediums (though you're my favorite in Gamer Warz). Thanks for all you do.

My question is: Is there a video game soundtrack that you wish you'd written?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Yeah! Anything from Zelda or Final Fantasy!

ShinyLetsBeBadGuys2 karma

Hi, and thanks for doing this AMA! I wanted to let you know that your shows have been an excellent tool for introducing our son to symphonic music. I wonder if you would ever consider a show geared toward younger crowds. Like a new age Peter and the Wolf type of thing?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

That would be GREAT! I have a few different show ideas in the works and two of them would be geared towards the entire family.

SnailHunter2 karma

What software do you use to compose/create music? Have you ever used Reason, and if so what do you think of it?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Cakewalk/Sonar, Sound Forge & Vegas. Many of my EDM friends use Reason and love it. I've never used it.

thiefx2 karma

What is one moment in gaming that you'll always remember due to its musical track?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

GREAT QUESTION!

Probably Donkey Kong climbing the ladder in Donkey Kong! And the different ACTS in Pac-Man.

The opening to FF8 "Liberi Fatali" was also amazing!

SpoonOfDoom2 karma

Hi Tommy,

what would be different about your work and concerts if budget wasn't an issue? Is there anything you'd like to do that's just not possible on a realistic budget?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

More lasers, more (and bigger) video screens, more cameras, 3D environment mapping on stage, more soloists, tons of game composer special guests at every show!

SimplyComplex3142 karma

[deleted]

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

The answer is VERY simple! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z99RV0PYSTQ

:)

lawnmowerdeth2 karma

I saw VGL in St. Louis way back in 2008, I thought it was amazing!

Any chance you would think of coming back? (I promise to drag more people along!)

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

Yeah! For sure! The FOX Theater was AWESOME!! I still remember that amazing lobby with those big ass lions! For anyone who has never seen it... check it out! https://www.google.ca/search?q=fox+theatre+st.+louis+lobby&client=firefox-a&hs=UIU&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Y3J2VLCVFreHsQSXzoKYAw&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1360&bih=646

The BEST thing to do is to write the local symphonies and ask them to PLEASE bring Video Games Live to St. Louis! Just a few e-mails from a few different people will make ALL the difference!! It really does!

lawnmowerdeth2 karma

Thanks so much for that info! I had no idea it's up to the local symphonies, I will definitely send them a note. It truly is a beautiful venue.

I guess all these years I was just assuming you guys were mad at us because it wasn't a full sellout! :)

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Hahaha... no way! That makes me even more motivated to return!! :)

mralex2892 karma

How are you today?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Exhausted! Been working 20 hours a day trying to boost our Kickstarter in its final days.

<INSERTING SHAMELESS PLUG HERE>

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1916334303/video-games-live-level-4-lets-do-it-again

:)

Rugir2 karma

Hey Tommy! Nice that you are doing an AMA oh here!

I've got two questions for you:

  1. Are you guys always having a special guest on the show?

  2. Is Martin Leung ever going to be on the show again? Loved his performance in Leipzig, Germany back in 2009.

Other than that, me and my friends had a blast in Stuttgart and I'm looking forward to the show back home in Vienna, Austria where we actually come from! (I'm also really hoping for T-Shirts this time ;)

Thanks again and never stop doing these amazing shows ... and keep coming to europe as well!!

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

  1. Not all the time... really depends on the city.

  2. I don't think Martin is interested in performing video game music to a live audience anymore.

I can't WAIT for the Vienna show! I'm a HUGE Beethoven fan and have never been to Austria before... so I'm really looking forward to exploring the city and streets that Beethoven walked!

We will DEFINITELY have t-shirts in Vienna! We ran out really quick on the European tour. That won't happen again as we're having them made in Europe this time!

WhiteScottishBiclops2 karma

Are there any games that you really wish you could have worked on, or composers you'd love to work with in the future?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Koji Kondo & Zelda!

Melorix2 karma

Hi, Tommy! Saw VGL July '13 in Irvine -- what an amazing experience. I'll still gush about it to anyone who'll listen. It gave me the chance to meet two of my score idols (Russell Brower and Austin Wintory) -- and you! -- which I'll always be grateful for.

Were you always encouraged to follow your musical dreams as a kid?

How have you dealt with the various naysayers throughout your career -- you know, the ones who hear you write music for video games and give you that slow nod and say, "That's....nice?"

Thanks for taking the time, Tommy! :)

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Yeah! I was always encouraged to follow my music dreams. I was lucky to have parents who saw something in me and helped me to develop it.

I try to ignore naysayers and only focus on positive stuff. I'm a big believer in "The Secret". :)

jakers112 karma

Favourite classical composers?

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

Beethoven #1. Mozart #2.

jakers112 karma

Can't go wrong with either. I'm fairly partial to Rachmaninoff these days. But I think Beethoven will always be my #1

I've run into you a few times after VGL shows, or walking the floor at PAX and loved that you strike up conversation with us fans for quite a while even when you have to be somewhere. I know all of us appreciate it.

Thanks again for all you do and I can't wait to see VGL again.

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Thanks!! Hope to see you again someday!

jakers112 karma

I think I'll have to watch my copy of gamer warz today which you signed largely across the cover with "this movie sucks." A true collection piece ahaha

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Hahaha!

NeverEndingRadDude2 karma

I'm a big BT fan and it's nice to see you're producing his next album. Is there any info on specific tracks that will be doing on the electric opus album/tour? Is it all re-worked and re-imagined songs that already exist, or will there be some brand new songs? Has production already started? If so, what's your overall impression working with BT?

Tommy_Tallarico5 karma

BT has been a great friend for many years and in my opinion is one of the most talented song writers in the world! We are trying to potential put a track on there that has NEVER been done before. Blade Runner was a HUGE influence on him growing up... so we thought it would be amazing if we did a Blade Runner Remix for the 21st Century with old synths & symphony! It will depend on the time we have... but I'm pushing hard for it!

The rest of the material on the album will be songs that people have heard before... but in a different way! We're not taking his music and just putting an orchestra over it... we're mostly re-creating them all from scratch. They will still be Electronic based... but will include orchestra and in some instances more guitars.

BT is AMAZING to work with and his ideas for stuff always blow my mind. He just thinks differently than most people. He's a mathmatical genius and it shows in his music.

Sprinterstar72 karma

Hello Tommy! I just saw you at your most recent Video Games Live performance in Bethlehem (I was the one who gave you a laugh by saying I remembered watching you on Judgment Day). As sort of a history buff I take great pride in seeing how far the games industry has evolved, even before my lifetime, for example the story of how Sony got into the console market because they were betrayed by Nintendo is always fascinating, but I digress. What would you say would be the biggest difference you have seen in developing/composing game music in the 8-bit, 16-bit, and even the N64/PS1/Saturn era vs. doing so in the modern era?

Edit: Also, congrats on the successful Kickstarter campaign! The Bethlehem VGL performance was my first VGL concert so I'm interested in hearing how the audience can suggest pieces that they would like to see performed live. What's the normal procedure?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

When CD-ROM storage hit in the mid 90's... THAT was the game changer (yes... pun intended!). :)

For suggesting material... go into our Facebook Events Pages for the particular show and I'll ask what people want to hear. I look at that when creating the setlist for that particular city/country.

bakabakaneko2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA Tommy. Loved the last show that you did in Malaysia and I hope that you will come here to do another show again.

Here's my question:

1) For which game did you enjoy working on its music the most ?

2) Will you convince Hibino-san to perform music from the Zone of the Enders franchise ?

3) We want more solo guitar covers from you. Please ?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Thanks! We are looking to come back to Malaysia in the summer or fall of 2015!

  1. Earthworm Jim
  2. That would be awesome!
  3. I'd LOVE that!

WhatTheDeef2 karma

Hey, Tommy! Absolutely loved the performance you all had in Huntsville this year, tied for the best concert I have been to alongside Trans-Siberian Orchestra with all other concerts having eaten 3 courses of your dust by now. Loved your reaction when the Guitar Hero winner, Dominic (coincidentally one of my friends), told you he only did Expert. That concert actually inspired me to go into researching auditory neuroscience, the effect that sound has on the brain, just because it was so absolutely incredible. So I have a couple questions:

  1. Do you still get so called "chills" down your spine when you are hearing or composing music anymore? What music caused this for you?

  2. Do you see VGL ever doing anything from Dance Dance Revolution games? I feel like Xepher would be amazing!

  3. Pancakes or waffles?

Thanks again and good luck in everything! I will be supporting VGL for as long as you keep it around.

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

  1. Oh HELL YES!! I literally jump up and down all over my studio when something starts coming together perfectly.

  2. Yeah! I've talked about putting DDR in the show to replace Guitar Hero. Would be cool!

  3. Pancakes. I make a great vegan pancake!

omegamendes2 karma

What do you think that was the hardest challenge you've been faced in all these years trying to make this dream (VGL) come true ? which do you think that is the major difference between the USA, Europe, South America and Asian Audiences ?

And thanks for come to brazil last year and share this awesome show with us. Cheers from Brazil to you and all VGL crew!

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Great Questions!

Some of the challenges has been getting the word out and marketing! The show is difficult to explain in a sentence or even a flyer! Another challenge is all of the other video game symphony shows that have come after us... they take some shows that we would normally do so it takes us a few years to return to certain cities.

The major difference between the countries is that NOWHERE IN THE WORLD is as LOUD as Brazil and Chile!!!!!!!

Looking forward to going back to Brazil in a few weeks!

redisforever2 karma

Hey, very excited for your show in Toronto in March, since it's they day after my birthday, and I've been wanting to go for years. It was awesome running into you at Fan Expo this past summer.

My question is, are there any video game scores you really wanted to perform in Video Games Live, but weren't able to?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

I've been kicking Katamari Damacy around for awhile!

redisforever2 karma

Ooh, that would be really cool. I know a couple of friends who would love to see that happen.

On a slightly related topic, are you familiar with The Last Express? It's an older adventure game with an incredible score by Elia Cmiral (who also composed for Spec Ops: The Line, and a bunch of movies), and I think it's different enough from most video game music that it'd make an interesting contrast if done at Video Games Live.

For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPndNi2WwHM

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

I'm not familiar with that. Will check it out for sure!

BigNikiStyle2 karma

You have said that Final Fantasy 8 had the best soundtrack of any video game? Does this still hold true for you?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Yep! Liberi Fatali, Eyes On Me... great stuff!!

BigNikiStyle2 karma

Holy shit, I didnt think I'd get a response! Tommy, your work on the Earthworm Jim games is inspired.

And yeah, 8 is one of the all-time greats.

Looking forward to attending s other VGL show one of these days!

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Awesome! Hope to see you soon!!

Hiberna2 karma

[deleted]

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Good stuff! Just checked it out. You should definitely use more reverb though... especially on the brass.

Here are my tips about getting into doing game audio. Hopefully we'll be playing your music in Video Games Live someday!

Whenever I speak at schools/universities/conferences, etc. I always talk about how passion and networking is just as important as talent! Believing in your dream and working/doing whatever it takes to get there, never giving up, etc. is most of the battle.

As gigantic as the game industry seems, it's also a pretty tight industry and very easy to get into (unlike film/television, etc.) especially if you know and meet the right people.

Networking and keeping a positive attitude will allow you to achieve anything you set your mind to!

You'll want to prepare some kind of demo CD (or easily e-mailed links) of your work so that you'll be able to let people hear what you are capable of.

In regards to game audio specifically, there are a few things you can do to put you ahead.

  1. Join the non-profit organization G.A.N.G. (Game Audio Network Guild) at www.audiogang.org. Over 2000 game audio professionals from around the world are involved. There is a student membership which you would qualify for. An amazing resource for anyone looking to get into the industry. The website has a ton of info and it's like the Facebook for Game Audio folks! If you join the Guild, make sure to check out this story on "How to get a gig": http://www.audiogang.org/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=How-To-Get-A-Gig.html&Itemid=47

  2. Get the book "The Complete Guide to Game Audio" by Aaron Marks and "Audio for Games: Planning, Process, and Production" by Alexander Brandon (amazon.com has them both). Incredible resources, advice and insight!

  3. Join the IGDA (if there is a local chapter in your area). www.igda.org. They also have some great resources on their website such as: http://www.igda.org/breakingin/resources.htm A great place to meet up and coming game developers and like minded people in your area.

  4. Check out the website www.gamasutra.com. There is a TON of game audio information and they do a monthly magazine called Game Developer Magazine.

  5. Aside from joining G.A.N.G., the BEST advice I could give you is to definitely attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. www.gdconf.com. This is the networking mecca of the entire game industry! Over 15,000 game developers from around the world and nearly 1,000 game audio composers, sound designers, etc. are there. An absolutely fantastic place to meet and network with people. And you'll learn more in 3 days than you'll ever imagine! There is special Game Audio Pass for around $700, and as a member of G.A.N.G. there is a $50 discount as well.

I hope this helps.

Talent is important, but just as important is "networking". The above mentioned things will really help you to increase your profile among the people who you need to be in front of.

Good luck!

tculpepper2 karma

Favorite game to work on?

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

Earthworm Jim! Metroid Prime & Tony Hawk are close seconds.

Teburninator2 karma

Hi Tommy, I went to VideoGamesLive in Toronto this past year and loved it! The whole experience was pretty great and I'd definitely go again. I just have two things to say:

  1. Will the new show be different enough for me as a previous attendee?
  2. Do you think you can upgrade the art you used on the big screen? Some of it made my artist friends upset (the quality wasn't the greatest).

Thanks again! Loved Album 3 and VideoGamesLive

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

  1. Absolutely! TONS of new stuff in Canada for 2015. The show will easily be 80% - 90% different!

  2. I'm not I understand. Most of the art on screens is from the games themselves. So I'm not sure exactly what they were upset about. Can you give me more detail?

Thanks!

nihilisticzealot2 karma

For video games live one year, you played my home town. The symphony played music to Shadow of the Colossus and my girlfriend sitting next to me shrieked like those girls in footage of the Beatles. So did about 1/3rd of the audience. Do you get that reaction often when you play that score?

Also, any chance you can work in the music to Final Fantasy Tactics one year... Maybe if you're near Vancouver >.>

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Hahaha!! Yep! That one and Kingdom Hearts usually gets the females in the audience to scream.

Yeah! FF Tactics would be AWESOME!! What are some of your favorite tracks??

breezysk8er2 karma

Do you ever see yourself visiting conventions like PAX to discuss composing?

Tommy_Tallarico3 karma

Yep! I do all the time. I've done a bunch this year including MAGFest, Salt Lake Comic Con, Toronto Fan Expo & Anime Expo! Best thing to do is to follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter as I'm always posting appearances and upcoming speeches there. Hope to meet you in person someday!

WhiteTongueEY2 karma

Hi Tommy. I've been to 3 VGL shows, and at the beginning of every show you said something along the lines of "We want to show the world that video game music isn't just a bunch of bleeps and bloops, and that today it's amazing and beautiful music that is made with just as much heart as any other music out there." Defiantly not your exact words, but it's close I guess haha. I might feel a composers job is to make music that fits best with what their composing for (whether it be a game, movie, etc.) But also I feel the music itself should be the kind of music anyone could listen to.

So... This is kind of a weird question but... What do you think is more important? How good the music is, or how well it fits in the scene?

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

Great questions!

In games... for me... it's ALWAYS been about how good the music is. Sometimes I didn't even care if it fit the scene exactly or not. Earthworm Jim is a PERFECT example of this. If we were talking about movies... I would have a different answer. But for games... it's okay that the music is out in front all the time. We get the "action" scene on almost every occasion. People will remember GREAT music and will want to hear it even after the game is shut off. For me... THAT is a major accomplishment! But some composers would disagree with that statement.

naimnotname2 karma

Can you get me Mia's number? Please.

Tommy_Tallarico2 karma

She would kill me! :)