Interview with Chris Mann
The following is an E-Mail interview conducted between myself and Chris Mann, the composer for the Independence War: Defiance and Independence War II: The Edge of Chaos soundtracks. His skill with the I-War score and other projects have made him quite a figure in the I-War community. If you want to know more about Mr. Mann, you can either visit his website or E-Mail him.
Here is the interview:
1) How long has music interested you as a career?
Since I was around 9. Which isn't that long ago ( ha ha )! My ambition at that time was be a musician and composer (or be a fireman ).
I began session work when I was13, which was a great introduction to the music business.
2) How did you learn to play music? Did you have any sort of instructor or mentor?
I taught myself a few instruments, and am a classically trained violinist. I have a
very eclectic background. I've been in orchestra's and bands,
playing, writing, singing, and have worked with DJ's and MC's in clubs. A great inspiration for me was my music teacher at school. He was
freakishly talented, and could play, and play well, virtually any instrument in an orchestra. When he wasn't teaching, he would be playing violin in the theatre, or organ in the local synagogue,or trombone with some jazz outfit. He got me my first work.
3) How did Particle Systems find you?
Glyn Williams tripped over me when I was sleeping in a cardboard box outside Particle Systems office.
4) What inspires your music? People? Events? Experiences?
Now for the heavy stuff. If I am writing music to narrative or picture, the music I write is an instinctive 'response' to what
I am thinking or seeing. That 'response' in itself, is influenced by my own experience of life, my past, my experiences, films I've seen, music I've
heard etc.etc. It also depends on what I am writing, and why. Sometimes I will write a piece of music instinctively, unaware of musical influences.
At other times, I will strategically choose a combination of tracks, styles, bands or composers, and use them to inspire me.
5) What kinds of music themes can we expect to hear in the I-War II score? Epic/dramatic? Techno? Rock? All of those? :-)
Expect the unexpected.
6) How long did it take to compose the Defiance score?
For the main theme, I spent a few days messing about with something that wasn't sounding great, and eventually, realised I was going nowhere. I woke up the next morning having just dreamt the entire first 2 minutes of a completely new piece, melody, rythmn, arrangement etc. When I was fully awake, I could still remember it all, so I recorded it that morning. (Apparently, this is not uncommon. Creative ideas are blocked at times, but are released when the brain is going through a certain stage of sleep).
7) How will music be implemented in I-War II? Will we hear it a lot as we play or will it be triggered at key events ( à la Half Life)?
This issue is under developement at present.
8) Is the clip on your website entitled "Si-Fi/Techno" part of the I-War II score? I find that and the first clip "Theme" on your website superb!
No, and thank you.
9) Do you have any staff working with you on the music
you make, or are you that good? :-)
Dare I say it. Yes. I'm that good. ( I have recently employed 2 sound designers to work with me on SFX )
10) What's your favorite:
Movie: I love too many films to just pick one. Amongst
Do the Right Thing. ( Spike Lee)
Once upon a time in America ( Sergio Leoni )
Blade Runner, The Godfather, Aliens.
Computer Game (no one will hurt you if you don't say I-War :-): Any shit hot driving or flying sim.
Book: I wish I had time to read. When I do read, I like to
read epic true stories about real things, like culture/society/history/personal journey.
'Wild Swans' is a good example of this.
11) Thank you very much!
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