GZ Interview: Jack your ears into Enter The Matrixs soundtrack

Jack your ears into
Enter The Matrix’s soundtrack

by

Louis Bedigian

 

Orchestrator Erik
Lundborg helped incorporate The Matrix Reloaded’s stellar music into the game,
Enter The Matrix.  Erik gives GameZone the details and tells us about his
career in the entertainment industry.

 

Very few musicians have been
involved with as many masterpieces as Erik Lundborg.  He’s done orchestration
for one of the greatest movies ever made: Face/Off.  He worked on the
action-filled war flick, Behind Enemy Lines.  Spy Kids 2, The Prince of Egypt,
and The House on Haunted Hill were also blessed by his talent.  Most recently
he worked with Don Davis (composer of The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix
Revolution) to incorporate The Matrix’s stunning music into the game.

 

Late last night, a
mysterious man hacked into our brains and told us to “follow the white
rabbit.”  He said that the white rabbit would lead us to an interview with
Erik Lundborg.  Not knowing the white rabbit’s current location, we got out
our RPS (Rabbit Positioning System) and began tracking the animal.

 

The RPS lead us into a
woodsy area a few miles away from the office.  As we approached the target, we
noticed a few familiar faces: a small deer, a friendly skunk and several
chirping birds.  Then we spotted it – the white rabbit!

 

No, wait a minute…that’s not
the white rabbit.  It’s Thumper!  While disappointed, most of the GameZone
staff decided to stick around and get Thumper’s autograph.  The others went
deeper into the forest, looking for trees that could talk.  I suggested that
we jump into the lake and follow a small orange fish, but my colleagues
insisted that finding Nemo is his dad’s job, not mine.

 

When we returned to the
offices, we were surprised to find Erik Lundborg sitting on the couch, playing
a game of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.  As it turns out, he was the one
who had hacked into our minds!  It was only a trick to get us out of the
office so that he could spend the day playing video games.  Sneaky, but in
return for the trouble, Erik provided us with a great interview. 

 

When did you begin playing music? When
did you begin composing?

Erik Lundborg: I began playing the piano at eight years old and improvised
little pieces at that time.  A bit later, started to play the viola, the
composer’s instrument, and in college I learned the oboe.  I wrote and
performed a piano concerto when I was 15 and worked on a very long oratorio at
18.  Ever since, I have composed music in a variety of styles, including
12-tone music and rag-time.

When did you first realize that this is what you wanted to do for a living?

EL: That is a difficult question, since I have never done anything else, so
the choice of profession seems to have been designated by some hidden hand.  I
have been so compulsively driven to do this kind of work that making a living,
especially in Hollywood, seems like a dream.

 

 

 

If Ghost could hear Enter The Matrix’s
killer music,

he probably wouldn’t look so angry.

How did the music composing process work for Enter The Matrix?  Were any
new songs written specifically for the game, or were all of them taken
directly from Reloaded?

EL: Actual songs were written or licensed by other songwriters than myself and
I was not part of that decision-making process.  I was hired to incorporate
Don Davis’s music from The Matrix, Final Flight of Osiris and The Matrix
Reloaded.  That process involved expanding the duration of the original music
to much longer pieces of music.

Is it hard to go from working on an upbeat, kid-friendly movie like Spy
Kids 2, to a dark, adult-oriented film like The Matrix Reloaded?

EL: It is not hard at all.  You immerse yourself in the mood of the film and
the tone of the music and live in that particular sound-world.  Moreover, it
is a lot of fun to work with so much variety and to try one’s hand at many
different styles of music.

Having done orchestration for a lot of big motion pictures, have you found
that it is harder or easier to work on video games?

EL: Very good question: it is both harder and easier.  First, there is more
music required, at least for Enter The Matrix.  I had to compose, orchestrate
and conduct 3 hours of music, some of which was Don’s music from Reloaded and
some was tracked from what I composed for the cineractives (animated
pictures).  So, the enormous amount of music to produce is a challenging
task.  And additional element in video games is the inevitable repetition that
occurs while playing the game.  Consequently, the composer needs to create
interesting variations of the musical material, so the soundtrack does not get
too dull and repetitive for the game-player.  On the other hand, there is more
creative freedom in game music, since the composer is not controlled so
rigidly by the demands on the screen.

Do you have a favorite instrument?

EL: It is hard to favor just one instrument.  I love the piano, but favor
French horns, viola, English horn and low brass, such as bass trombone and
cimbasso.  I tend to switch favoritism depending on what I am listening to or
studying at the moment.  Right now, I like the woodwinds and horns in
combination from Mozart’s "Gran Partita."  At other times, I might gravitate
to the rich string sound of Richard Strauss or Jean Sibelius.
 
Is there any one thing in life that has had a significant impact on the
music you compose?

EL: Love.

 

Yeah, love…

Some composers have said that they’ve heard music in their sleep, woke up
and wrote a new song.  Have you ever experienced anything like that?

EL: Yes, but like any dream, the reality does not quite match that dream-like
experience.

Which types of songs do you think have the greatest impact on human
emotions?  (Sad, upbeat, intense, eerie, etc.)

EL: Hard to say, I would think.  All of those moods and emotions have their
own impact, so I think they are all great in terms of their power on human
beings.

 

 

Scenes like this just wouldn’t have been
the same without great music.

Which type of song do you enjoy writing the most?

EL: Bittersweet songs.

If you weren’t composing music, where would you be and what would you be
doing?

EL: Nothing, except maybe living in a desert.

What are your next film and game projects?

EL: I have irons in the fire, so I cannot reveal that information at this
time.

 


Thank you for your time,
Erik.