We recently had the chance to sit down with Tweex- creator of “The Land of Vana’diel Orchestral Remix Album”. The album contains 18 tracks, each re-imagined and made to sound like it was performed by a full orchestra!
We also talked with Tweex on the newest episode of our Pet Food Alpha podcast (which is so new it’s not out quite yet).
The best part about the album is that it’s completely, 100% free! And it’s available now!
Read on for our interview with its creator!
GE- How long have you been involved in creating and remixing music?
Tweex- I’ve been creating music from an early age when my mom sat me down and tried to teach me how to play the piano. My short attention span and obsession with video games got in the way considerably, but it planted the seed and I later continued music and have kept on with it throughout my life. I started doing remixes of video game music back in 2003 when I joined up with the community over at OverClocked Remix but my first remixing attempts where incredibly embarrassing! Over the years I slowly got a little better and now consider myself a professional noob and I like to release music and all manner of geeky stuff at my site www.tweexgaminggeek.com!
GE- Have you done any other projects outside of “The Land of Vana’diel”?
Tweex- I created a debut album of original music in 2008 called “Alter Ego” as well as doing a lot of music for different clients like Delta Airlines, Coke, Sprint, Nike, and others. I’ve been apart of several OC Remix project albums like “Voices of the Lifestream (FF7)”, “Echos of Betrayal, Light of Redemption (FF4)”, as well as a couple of others. However, “The Land of Vana’diel” is my very first solo remixing project. These kinds of projects are complete labors of love and I’ve tried to poor all of the love and passion I’ve had for Final Fantasy 11 into “The Land of Vana’diel”!
GE- What songs did you select to remix and put on the album? (just a side note, I haven’t released this info yet, so it’ll be an exclusive on the show :))!
Tweex- All the remixes are songs from the original soundtrack. They are:
The Main FF11 Theme/Opening, Vana’diel March 1, Vana’diel March 2, San d’Oria, Batsok, Windurst, Ronfaure, Gustaberg, Sarutabaruta, Airship, Voyager, Jeuno, Selbina, Mhaura, Mog House, Battle Theme, Tarutaru Male, and a final medley of a 2 songs from the original soundtrack as well as the only expansion song to make in the album from Chains of Promathia.
GE- How did you select the tracks that you were going to remix?
Tweex- This was kind of paradoxical in that it was both easy and difficult to decide. When I decided to actually make a full album, I immediately knew that I wanted to stick with the music from the original soundtrack. One of my main goals for the album was to be able to re-live the experience of the game, but to do so through the music. For me (as I believe it is for a lot of other fans of the game), my most nostalgic and fondest memories come from the music of the original soundtrack as that was the music I heard in my first experiences in the game. Unfortunately, by the time I reached a lot of the expansion areas, I had long since turned down the volume of the music and in most cases, forgot to turn it back up. So the decision to go with the original soundtrack was pretty automatic. The difficulty came when I had to decide on the songs I would remix. I originally started with 15 tracks from the game. I ended up getting rid of one and adding 3 different tracks I hadn’t planned on! In the end, the songs I chose where those that I remembered most as well as the songs I felt that the heroes of Vana’diel would love!
GE- How long did “The Land of Vana’diel” take to complete?
Tweex- It took about 3 years to fully complete. If I’m honest, that was about 2.5 years longer than it should have taken :). When I sat down and created the first remix three years ago (“City of the Tarutaru” – Windurst), it came together so well and so fast that I immediately went to the next song, and then the next, and then the next. After just a week or two, I had four finished remixes and I decided to make a full album! When I went to make the 5th remix (“Forest of New Hunters” – Ronfaure), I hit a creative wall that I just couldn’t push past. At the same time, a lot of other projects hit about the same time so “The Land of Vana’diel” was moved to the back-burner and it stayed there. I would pull it out everyone once in a while and try to keep working on the song that I abandoned, but I just couldn’t find the inspiration I had. Fast forward to this past March/April and the inspiration came FLOODING back and in about 2 months, the album was finished!
GE- Was it hard to find a style for each track? How long would one track take to complete on average?
Tweex- One of the goals of the album was to take the music from the game and re-create them to sound as though they had been performed by an orchestra. So in that regard, finding the style was nice and easy since I had predetermined it from the beginning! However, working on each track was a different experience as I was trying to find how to use these instruments to create the right tone and ambience. There were some tracks that fell into place immediately, but there were others that felt like I was banging my head against the piano to find the right direction. However, once I had the direction nailed down, a song could take anywhere between less than a day to a couple of days to complete.
GE- Is there any one track from this album that’s your favorite?
Tweex- It may be a complete cliche, but I’m not sure if there’s any one track that I like more than the others. My musical tastes are very “day-to-day” which is great in that it lets me be around a lot of different genres of music, but it also perpetuates my horribly short attention span :). That being said, I find myself drawn to each of the tracks differently on different days. However, if I really dig down deep, I would have to say that the rearrangement of Sarutabaruta (“Outside the Walls of Windurst”) was the track that surprised me the most in how well it turned out and also makes me feel the most nostalgic. To be fair though, being a Taru from Windurst might make me a little biased.
GE- Are there any future projects you have planned?
Tweex- There are ABSOLUTELY more projects in the works, but I haven’t released information on them quite yet! What I can say is that they do involve video games as well as some other very cool stuff! However, I’m hoping to announce more as soon as possible as well as continuing to release weekly new music, comics, blogs, and more. Anyone can keep up to date on all the projects over at my website.