Before I say anything else, I'd like to give a big thank you to Bruce for agreeing
to this interview. I'm sure that by now it's pretty obvious how displeased a lot of
Dragonball Z fans are with some of his music and the dub in general, so it's pretty
commendable that he agreed to my invitation for the interview when I asked him, in
what was only our first conversation no less. Let's also take into consideration that
I asked some questions that, while phrased politely, he could have easily taken offense
to, but he went along with every one. I think 007 from Ginga Giri Giri deserves a big hand for providing the interview's title banner with
the awesome rastafari Roshi. Thanks man! What do I personally think of Bruce's music? I think
there's some really kick ass stuff to come out of Faulconer productions. I own both of
his first two soundtrack CDs (thanks Castor), and not that I play them everyday, but
there are some really catchy tracks on them. Paikuhaun's theme, Gohan's various tunes,
almost anything involved with the androids (especially #16's theme, which kind of saved
the character in the dub for me), Babidi/Dabura's theme, and the music for the Trunks saga
commercial all come to mind just for starters, and I think things just started to flow a lot smoother in season 5.
However, there's also some that I really don't care for, like the music that gets used for EVERY SINGLE FLASHBACK, and the early
Freeza/Ginyu stuff really didn't sit well with me, nor does the new dub opening music that replaced "Rock the Dragon."
While it's kind of catchy, It's a far cry from how Head Cha La or We Gotta Power introduces you to each
episode, and I think that at least more could have been done with it for it to be a fitting intro to the show. Another thing that I didn't like
was how the music would swap back and forth too much, where if we were watching two characters
having a conversation, the theme being played would change every couple seconds depending
on who was talking. It's a mixed bag, so I'd like to think that I wasn't too biased in
either direction, except perhaps for the fact that Bruce is a really nice guy to talk
to. I'd like to take a closer look at some of the answers, so let's do that.
I really liked Bruce's answer for question #6, and let me state why. It would have been
very easy for him to dismiss the question by simply saying "No, we try to make every scene
it's absolute best," but instead what I've always kind of guessed was the case has been
confirmed. Let's be honest here, playing corny music or making a stupid joke during a scene
like Krillin being impaled by Freeza does not enhance the scene. In response to his
statement of not being able to compose several different tracks for each episode, that'd
be awesome, but might not really be nessesary to mature the atmosphere. Generally the
difference between a scene living up to it's potential or backing away from the full
impact is in this case determined by adding or leaving out a few extra notes. It could
be considered very anal retentive to pay that much attention to acoustic detail between
the music of the edited and uncut version, but in the long run I think it would make for a
more enjoyable viewing experience for the guy who likes the series enough to buy what could
be thought of as "the home version."
About question #7, and I'm not faulting Bruce at all here because he's "following orders"
so to speak, but I have to say that I think the idea of constant non stop music to keep
kids from changing the channel is really cheesey and out dated, and I think it shows a
lack of confidence in the show's story. Keeping in mind that this dub is for a western
audience, I don't think the pauses in music should be as long as those in the Japanese
version either (unless they use the original score), but a minute or two is all we're asking, and I think it's absolutely
nessesary for the show to be taken more seriously. If this stands out from what's done
normally, great! That's the whole point of doing it! To treat a scene differently is to
draw attention to it, and in effect makes it more important. There's some really strong
blocks of diolague in DBZ that would have and still could benefit greatly from silence.
It's not going to hurt to try it while they still can, as I doubt anyone is going to turn
off the TV and burn all of their Dragonball Z merchandise if they aren't bombarded with sound at
Quesion #8 was the one that I was most worried about asking, but there was no
getting around it as it gets brought up all the time, and this interview would
have lost a lot of credability if it were left out. I guess that as hard as it was
to phrase, it was also hard to understand, because the answer somewhat strayed from
what I was getting at more specifically. The midi patches used for DBZ can simply be
pretty dinky sounding at times. Some of the actual tunes are great, but the way they
actually sound isn't quite on par. For an example, take a listen to Bruce's Perfect Cell
theme, and then listen to part of a remix done for a Dragonball Z Quake mod. Get it? Same tune, but not as
annoying in the way that it's presented. Pretty damn cool, actually. By the way, I thought
his answer for the question specifically about Perfect Cell's theme was very interesting,
and made me (GASP!) appreciate it a little more, as I now know what he was attempting to
do with it. However, I get the feeling if what was done for the remix was done for the
actual series, maybe fans wouldn't have any problem with it in the first place.
I'm curious as to what the "artistic collaboration" he mentions having with Funimation entails,
as we didn't really get anything concrete from question #17 where I asked what he might do differently with DBZ musically
if he wasn't restricted by what they ask of him. I'm sure there are probably other things within either his company or
Funimation that influence what we hear besides the meetings with the director, but I guess that's just not for us to know right now.
I'm just going to touch on a few more questions. I think directorily the ball was
definately dropped by not emphasizing to Bruce the importance of the scene in which
Gohan's first SSJ2 transformation took place, specifically when it starts, and what was done in the Japanese version.
It took me all of a minute and a half to play him some of Spirit vs. Spirit to remind him
of it, and I don't see why that couldn't have been done by the company that owns the rights
to the show in the US. I'm really interested in the songs he's composing with lyrics.
English DBZ insert songs? Who would have thought?! Bruce composing for DBGT? Well, as a
purist I'm afraid I'm somewhat obligated to cross my fingers for the original score, but
I'll leave that one up to you guys. Once again I'd like to thank Bruce for the opportunity
to conduct this interview, and everyone who invested the time to read all of it (I know
this one was a doozy, hehe). For more information on Bruce and Faulconer productions, be
sure to visit his official site at http://www.faulconer.com, where his latest
soundtrack CD "Best of DBZ Volume II" is now available.
Contact: Jon Allen
It wouldn't be one of my interviews without some clips from the conversation.
Here's a an assortment of mp3s from the interview.