Interview: Greg Edmonson (‘Uncharted’ OST)


Greg EdmonsonBack in mid-November, after finishing part 2 of my review of the various versions of “Nate’s Theme,” I decided to send an e-mail to its composer, Greg Edmonson, because I really wanted to talk to him about his works.  I hadn’t heard from him and followed up, but still found no response in my inbox.

A month after my first inquiry, having given up on the interview, I found myself randomly wondering whether or not spam message get forwarded to one’s main e-mail account from his or her secondary ones (I have many e-mail addresses that route to a singular one).  So, I logged into one of those accounts and looked in the spam box.  Sure enough, spam messages don’t get forwarded.  Sure enough, there was an e-mail from Greg the day after I sent him my first inquiry that read: “Hi Greg, I would be honored to do this… Let me know… I will put it in my book!!”

Yes, he even used two exclamation points.  Talk about facepalm.

I frantically typed up an apology letter and added him to my safe-senders list.  Not too long after that, I got another e-mail from him and we both agreed to get back in touch after the start of the new year, yadda yadda, then I interviewed him on Valentine’s Day.  Now that I’m finally done doing a basic clean-up of the audio of the interview, I present it to you, dear readers!  But first, a post-preface preface:

Firefly OST picI knew that Greg would be great to interview because I had already heard an interview of him a couple of years back.  From the get-go, Greg was just as I had expected him to be: someone who is very amicable, passionate about his work, and someone who has a lot to say and naturally goes into a lot of detail while speaking.  You’ll notice in the interview that I really don’t ask too many questions, and some of the questions I do ask are just me reacting to his narrative.

He is also someone who is very gracious, thankful for what being a composer has afforded him.  He gives credit where credit is due, and when he talks about having opportunities that seem to come with the territory of being in the position that he is as a film and game composer, you can tell that he has not lost the sense of wonderment that one might have when they first get to do the things that he has been able to do and accomplish.

Because of Greg’s great personality, I think that you’ll enjoy listening to the interview as much as I enjoyed giving it.  It’s certainly a long one, but Greg makes it sail by easily.  Sorry ahead of time for the random noises of my chair creaking, my loud laughter, and the technical malfunctions that you might hear.  Also, we jump around a bit during the interview, but I tried my best to break it down below: More


SoundRadar Interview with Greg Edmonson

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I just checked out GamesRadar.com’s new VGM podcast, “SoundRadar,” through its WordPress page.  So far there are only two episodes, the first being with Greg Edmonson, who scored the Uncharted games as well as Joss Whedon’s Firefly, and the second with Brian Tyler of Modern Warfare 3 “fame.”   I have my own opinions on the music of each game (reviewing those two for the blog are on my to-do list), but regardless, it’s interesting to hear the composers talk.  Greg Edmonson’s interview was especially excellent because he seemed very excited to talk about his work in detail and give the listener some very interesting inside information.  It was a joy listening to a very passionate and genuine-sounding guy.

Some topics Greg covers:

– How the game industry is treating “ambiance” vs. “melodic content.”  He talks about how at first he wished to write more melodically for Uncharted but was instructed not to do so, and how only later did he have more freedom to write less ambient music.  I can rant about how… “disturbing” I think the trend towards less melodic VGM is, but I’ll save that–Greg luckily was able to liberate his music and create some great melodies after the first game in the series, showing in turn that even with games becoming more cinematic there is still plenty of room for VGM’s trademark: great melodies.

– The differences in the timelines and compositional process within the video game industry and the film industry.

– How he decided to characterize and convey the environments of the Uncharted games musically.  One of most interesting things he says lies in this topic.  He reveals that, while he used ethnic instruments that are native to the environments for which he was writing, he decided to use the native instruments as “colors” rather than trying to make “ethnic music.”  I think this idea of his is very powerful, and it’s something that I certainly will keep in mind as I continue writing.

Enjoy the episode!  I would love to hear what else people found interesting, and if there are any topics that the reader would like to discuss, please feel free to comment and I’ll be happy to share my thoughts.