We Talk Scoring 1979 With Composer Nima Fakhara

Recently I spoke with Composer Nima Fakhara about his work for the game 1979. Nima was kind enough to talk abut his work and the creative process for scoring the game.

How does scoring a game compare and differ with that of a movie or television show and which do you prefer?

On scoring games and interactive media, the timelines are different and working with a non moving object becomes a factor. On a traditional sense of film scoring, as a composer, you are dealing with a linear story telling stand point. In the other hand with video games, you are working with timelines that are ever changing. A character could go from a stand still in to a sprint, and clash with an enemy, the music has to be able to adapt and change accordingly. With the respect to schedules, mostly, you work on video games longer then films. The amount of music also defers such that the amount of music on a video game is greater then films. For me, I am a story teller, and as long as I am able to tell an effective story within any platform with the collaboration of the team, I am happy.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced scoring the projects and what have been your greatest triumphs?

For 1979 it was it was very tough to be able to find a musical language for the project. Navid and I started very early and explored many different ideas. Staying true to the story, the characters, and that interaction of the users was very important to us. Creating a musical language consisted of, using synthesized sounds in combination with traditional Iranian instruments and utilizing vintage hardware but taking advantage of the modern recording techniques. We also wanted to have a flavor and colors of our home country of Iran. My background in Persian Classical music and the knowledge of the genre helped a lot. We reimagined old tunes from the period for thematic ideas and flavors.

How many hours of music did you compose for the game and how much made it into the final build?

I created about 3 hours of music. I think in the final build there is about an hour and hour to two hours of music.

When scoring the games, how much lead time did you have and were graphics and animation made available early in the process?

Well with this game, I was working with story lines. Since the games story changes constantly and user interacts with the game the visuals were very rough. My writing was more to a timeline verses to picture.

As a follow up, how much did the scores change if any as I am guessing the look and feel of the games continued to change and evolve during production.

A lot, specially with 1979. Not in the respect of changes made based on the visuals, but more as the story became more clear for the user experience. A cohesive story needed to be told so musical changes happened till we finally captured what you hear within the project.

What can you tell us about the games and where you drew your inspirations when scoring the games?

In 1979, it is the story of the revolution of Iran. I am Iranian born, even though I was not there during the revolution, however I have heard stories and been around many different relatives and friends were they spoke of those times. Being a Persian Classical trained musician, specially at a young age, I was mostly trained by much older teachers, their story and experiences of time reflected and created an understanding for me.

How much leeway did you have with the creation of the score or did the games producers give you the framework that you had to work in or was it more of a collaboration?

It was very a collaborative effort in order for us to create a language that spoke correctly within the game. We discussed and explored many different ideas until we finally landed on the final production. We channeled the late 70’s early 80’s music and their recording techniques and combined it with synthesizers and traditional Iranian instruments to create the right colors for the project

What do you have coming up that the readers can look forward to?

I am working on a couple of projects but I can’t officially talk about them too much, but I will just say I am building a lot of instruments 🙂