7 - Why aren't scenes without music used? What reasoning has been given, and
what's the longest length of silence they would allow?
This is basically just directorial requests. They wanted music to help tell the story, so it's used very much all the way through. There are some places where the music's not overly active, or it's soft in the background. Sometimes maybe too soft, but that's like playing all the multiple possibilities of what it could be. The lack of long pauses of silence is a directorial style that was being sought, in that they wanted the show to be more musically based.
Jon: If you felt that there was a need for a good sized portion of silence to accentuate a
scene, would Funimation allow it, or is it pretty much up to them?
Well, since we started, we've kind of developed creative rules, or structure rather, of how you're going to handle the process. It kind of becomes part of the overall treatment and style for the entire series. You don't want to all of a sudden do something that's bizarre, and I've seen that happen on other shows that I like to watch on television, where somebody will "break the mold" and they'll do something from outside, and you find yourself going "what? I don't understand," and it becomes confusing.
8 - The biggest complaint your detractors have had is that they
feel your music for DBZ is "too synthesized sounding," making statements
such as "the songs would sound fine if they were performed by real instruments,"
or "it's hard to take seriously when it's so obvious that it's Midi."
There's probably like, fifteen answers for this question. We're past the 90's and we're into the new millennium. We're permeated with instruments that are extra instrumental. As far as real instruments go I can comment that the performances are all real, and it's kind of like one of the things that I avoid when I'm performing something, where I avoid allowing the computer to take over. The computer's just a recording device. Another answer I can give is that if you were going to have a feature film soundtrack with the London Symphony Orchestra, that would be all well and good cool, but that would cost a whole lot of money, and I definitely don't have that kind of a budget to work with. Plus I'm on a pretty tight schedule. I think music is very expressive, and there's all kinds of different moods, so the question is really a kind of a slam. I think some of the people who are the detractors are going back to the concept of the songs needing singing, and that sort of thing, and I think the singing kind of gets distracting at times. I've watched movies where there's songs, and a lot of times, they get very distracting for me. Of course then there's your B movie that always ends in a pop song and then you just want to groan. It's a bit cliché'd. It's like "get that pop song out of there, you're ruining your movie." Could you see Star Wars ending with something like that? I don't think so.
9 - What changes were made within Cakemix Recording that made the
soundtrack more versatile after season 3?
Well, Cakemix Recording is my recording studio, and Faulconer Productions Music is my music studio, so I'm Faulconer Productions music, but Cake Mix is where I record what I come up with. CakeMix recording does all kinds of different projects. We record bands there and the whole deal.
Jon: I guess I would redirect the question more to Faulconer Productions
The main reason for the increase in versatility, is there were new characters that came in, and once again, there was a directorial meeting where we sat down with the director and discussed "how are we going to represent these characters and keep them separate from the other characters that have already been established?" So as the music person I offer some ideas, and if we do different styles for different characters, it can be really helpful in clarifying who's who, and maybe who's winning a fight, or whatever. It just happened at one point that, I know that some people really like Trunks's music a whole lot more because that's the kind of music they like in general. In some sense it's a good thing that I'm using so many different styles because then different people have their favorites out of the whole score. As the seasons continued forward, more and more characters were added, and more and more different styles were added so that then of course what happens is you've got all these different kinds of styles, and therefore it's much more versatile. For a long time it was just Freeza, and all of the good guys, so there was kind of a mood and a tone and everything set up for him and the good guys, and then some new people came along, and particularly Cell was a challenge. Because with Cell, he goes through all these incarnations and the attempt there was to have the music represent those incarnations.
Jon: Yes, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.
10 - What is your favorite tune that you've come up with, and why? What songs
got the most requests for your CDs?
Geez, my head is spinning. I guess you can pretty much look at the tracks on "Best of DBZ" volume 1, the Trunks Compendium, and Best of DBZ volume 2. It's difficult to say which had the most meaning to me. I'm too close to it, and at this point I'm just having a blast at whatever's being worked on at the time, like how I enjoy what's been going on at the time. As were what songs got requested the most, SSJ transformations, Gohan being angry, and some of the Cell stuff. I'm starting to get a lot of requests for the Buu stuff now that everyone's seen Buu. That's another example of a new character spawning with another style. Some of Trunks stuff got a lot of requests. I tried to formalize and take a survey of this, but I get so many emails that I'd have to hire someone to do that for me. Definitely the things that are on the CDs I've released and the one I am releasing next all came from the fans.
One of them I like a whole lot too is Android #18's, and I've made a song and put words to it and everything too, and the words were written by the lady who plays the character, Meredith McCoy. She also did the performance, so I'll be releasing that sometime. I'm saving that one for the CD release, and I hope to get it out sometime in the Spring. I don't really have a title for it just yet, but it's kind of a love song between her and Krillin.
Jon: Will you try to use this in the series at all?
Oh, I'm not sure. You never know. I think in Dragonball GT it might be easier to find a good scene for it than what's left in DBZ. I've got some other ideas for songs in the works like this, but this is the one we've got right now.
11 - Have you ever played any of the Dragonball Z video games? Some
similarities have been found between your work and the music contained
in some of the games.
I haven't had a chance to yet. Some people have emailed me about theirs, and I look foreword to having the chance to play some of them.
12 - What instruments do you play?
Piano was my first instrument, and I've kept it up all my life. The next one I learned was the trumpet, and I kept that up for a long time. I kind of had to give up some of the instruments I've learned to play because writing and practicing a bunch of instruments is really difficult, but I also learned flute, clarinet, cello, double bass, and some of the percussion instruments. I messed around a little with some of the other brass instruments, but I pretty much have an intense working knowledge of all the instruments in the orchestra. I've even played a little guitar. Guitar's a little harder for me to play. The reasons that really make piano my instrument are the reasons that make the guitar a harder instrument to play, since your hands are in such different positions to play them. To the same effect, cello is a better instrument for me than violin, because of the way you hold it and use your hands. It's that intense knowledge of the orchestra and how to write for it that helps me to write music. I've had world class performers who've played my classical music around the world compliment me on my knowledge of how to write for their instruments. I had a performance in the Netherlands of a piece for strings for percussion and piano, and they complimented me in the same way, in addition to enjoying the piece.
13 - A number of fans were confused as to how King Kold's and Perfect
Cell's themes related to their respective characters. Could you tell
me what you were trying to accomplish with each of those pieces?
I really wanted to give them something different. With King Kold it was just trying to do something kind of psycho for him, I suppose. For Perfect Cell, I can answer that one a little more easily. We talked a little bit earlier about his transformations, where first he's imperfect Cell. The director Barry Watson and I talked about this and it was kind of like "let's make Cell's transition be something that also happens in the music," and so he starts out real grungy, because he's imperfect, and than as he gets purer you have this pure and cleaner sounding kind of a theme that's still evil and hard, and trying to keep moods going there.
Jon: What about the chorus? Many thought that since it got so repetitive
and high pitched that it was a tad annoying.
That was done for a reason. You know how in some pop music (and I'm not going to give any examples), there's certain kinds of music that's very very repetitious, and it was kind of like some of the creative direction that I was getting played upon those kinds of styles tracks, and so it was kind of like, my preference is to do things that constantly change, but it does fit that style to be very repetitive, and that's probably one of those more annoying places that it happened. I guess I just went over the top and it got too annoying. It probably annoys me too, but in a way Cell's kind of annoying.
Click here to listen to "Imperfect Cell"