“Symphonic Evolutions” Interview Part 3: Suggestions and Arrangements
Welcome to the final part of a three part interview series of Jeron Moore and Chad Seiter, who are behind the upcoming tour Symphonic Evolutions, a tour playing orchestrated arrangements of music from the Pokémon series.
We wrap up this interview by talking a bit about what goes into planning an orchestrated tour, the duo’s interactions with the fans, and Chad talks a bit about his arrangement of “Terra’s Resolve” from the Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin album.
If you haven’t seen the first two parts, you can click these links:
Matt: So, one thing I did notice, when we talked about last year’s Zelda Symphony in LA, you guys came on stage, and you kind of [said something like], “Here are a couple of arrangements that we’re just showing today.” Is there going to be stuff like that in this tour as well? Are there going to be some cities that are going to get a few new surprises?
Chad: You mean musically?
Chad: What we make sure of is this show is very modular, and we look forward to fan feed back in terms of what they loved about the show, and what they would love to see, if they didn’t already get it. The cool thing about this, even over Zelda, is that we are able to switch out material and put in new music cues.
We read all of the feedback we get, and we keep a tally of what people ask and where they ask us. We do the best we can to include different music wherever we go.
Matt: I noticed on Chad’s website that Symphonic Evolutions will feature electronic accompaniment?
Chad: heheheh. I’m really excited about that. We have done some cutting-edge electronica sounds along with some of the music, and it is sure to shake the entire concert hall. This will be an interesting experiment. We’re looking forward to hearing it combined with the orchestra.
Matt: Now I really feel like I have to hear this. So do you guys feel like you are pretty prepared for this tour now?
Chad: Yeah, I wrote the very last note of music last night. On the music side, we are a little ahead of the game. Tomorrow I am sending it all off to Masuda-san for final approval. From there, we’re polishing the video, and getting the technical side lined up. Right Jeron?
Jeron: That’s exactly the case. We’re on a steady course to the finish line at this point. There are always a myriad of things that we will continue working on as we approach the first show date. It’s all coming together. There are a lot of things that I have to do before I can get on a plane to Washington DC, but I cannot wait to get on that plane. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Matt: This is kind of a fun question. Do you ever take suggestions to heart? Because I was definitely thinking that you should have a Pokémon battle in the middle of the concert, and have it scored.
Jeron: You mean like an actual Pokémon battle?
Matt: Yeah. Chad has a 3DS, Jeron has the other one, and Chad’s wife, whose name completely escapes me, I’m sorry.
Chad: Haha, it’s Susie.
Matt: Ah. Have Susie conducting the battle music and when she sees the final Pokémon go down, she plays the victory theme.
Chad: We’ve actually tossed that idea around.
Jeron: There are some technical hurdles that we have to think about and consider, before we can execute that the way it would need to be executed. You don’t know how long a poké-battle is going to last, but we do know how long we can be on stage before we run up a humongous bill with the orchestra. [laughter] But it would definitely be fun if there was a way to do that in a controlled way.
Matt: You know, I hope you can find a way. I’m rooting for you. That [all the questions] from me/ Though on the side, Chad, when I was doing some research on you, I found out that you were the one that did “Terra’s Resolve” for that OC Remix Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin Album.
Chad: Oh, I was. Yeah! I had a lot of fun doing that. I recorded it over in Bratislava when I was recording my score to the latest Star Trek game. So that was a really cool thing.
Matt: Did someone ask you to do that, or were you just going, “You know, I think I am going to write some Final Fantasy VI music today”?
Chad: I had a little time left with the orchestra, and I had [written “Terra’s Resolve”] for another show that Jeron and I had worked on together; Jeron had produced the track. We had three or four days for scoring for Star Trek, which was incredible. When time was wrapping up, I thought, “You know, I might be able to slip this in.” So I had my assistant furiously make parts for the orchestra from the arrangement so we could do it. [“Terra’s Resolve”] was actually performed with a 120 piece orchestra. It was just absolutely huge.
Matt: That sounds amazing.
Jeron: It’s probably the largest orchestra that Final Fantasy music has ever been performed by.
Chad: It’s probably one of the largest orchestras that a video game has ever had, period. [laughs]
Jeron: Distant Worlds?
Matt: Yeah, or 2200 or something like that… *Note: The Album is 20020220*
Jeron: Oh, I know what you are talking about. I don’t know what size those orchestras were. That was a recording orchestra, and it had a budget to be large and completely ridiculous, which was the goal. Whereas with a touring or show orchestra, it’s never practical, unless you’re doing a one-time thing, and your tickets are in the sweet spot. You have to have a lot of things clicking in order to make that profitable, or even to break even.
Chad: Or even probable, hahaha.
Jeron: Yeah. So a large orchestra like that is kind of tough to pull off for an actual show.
Matt: I understand that. That’s a lot of traveling, and a lot of paychecks to write.
Jeron: Absolutely. And a big union contract to negotiate.
Matt: Something occurred to me. How did you recruit the members of these orchestras? Is this a part of Princeton Entertainment?
Chad: The thing that we are exceedingly proud of is that we use local orchestras wherever we go, no matter what city. We’ve been able to employ literally thousands and thousands of musicians at this point with Zelda and what we hope to be Pokémon, and they’re all Union, and we’re proud that we can share this music with these players.
We always get wonderful feedback from them. They always have a great time playing the show, and they always ask, “When are you coming back?”
Matt: If I would have known that, I would have dusted off my trombone.
Chad: haha, well it’s not too late.
Matt: You’re absolutely right. I’m going to go look for that thing right now.
Matt: I want to thank you again for talking to me. I had a lot of fun talking to you two and learning a bit more about what’s going on with Symphonic Evolutions.
Jeron: We look forward to having you, and I hope you are able to make it down to DC.
Symphonic Evolutions will kick off on the 15th of August in the Warner Theater in Washington, DC.