"I really had to learn exactly what Don did
and then continue to work within that frame of mind. It really wasn't
a question of me doing something brand new."
As the The Matrix
franchise retakes theatres all over the world, the Wachowski
Brother's, along with Atari and Shiny Entertainment, are about to
take over Playstation 2s, Gamecubes, Xboxes, and PCs, with the video
game, ENTER THE MATRIX. Tracksounds catches up with the man behind
the music of this groundbreaking game - Erik Lundborg.
CC: Were you involved
at all with the original Matrix film?
Erik Lundborg: No, but I've known Don
(Davis) for sometime.
CC: So how did you meet Don Davis?
Erik Lundborg: I met him at a conducting
workshop in New York with Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland
Orchestra...and that must have been about 10, maybe even 12, years
ago. We have kept in touch since then. Then in 1996, I made a serious
move to LA. Later when he needed some help he called me.
CC: What was your first project with Don Davis?
Erik Lundborg: It was HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL.
CC: So it was somewhat natural for you to move into working with Davis
on these mammoth Matrix projects: 2 film scores, the Animatrix shorts,
and the game, ENTER THE MATRIX.
Erik Lundborg: Yes. Somebody told me that
with Reloaded, which has about 90 minutes of music, Revolutions, which
also has another 90 minutes, and the video game, which as 130 to 140
minutes of music, we have almost 6 hours of music!
CC: And also FINAL FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS from THE ANIMATRIX.
Erik Lundborg: Yes, so better make that
almost 7 hours of music!
CC: How much time would you say you've devoted to these projects?
Erik Lundborg: I knew about these projects
in September of 2002 and I knew that I'd probably be working on them.
I think Don (Davis) was originally going to handle (ENTER THE MATRIX),
but there was just too much music. So he asked me to adapt and
incorporate his music into the game. Of course there is actual movie
footage in the game that required scoring, so all the music is there
is derived from THE MATRIX RELOADED AND THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS.
CC: I've been told that you and Don Davis could actually be considered
co-composers for ENTER THE MATRIX.
Erik Lundborg: Yes. I guess you could regard
it that way. (Don Davis) just let me have free reign with it. Of
course, he wanted to have some control over the music and that was
something that the brothers (Wachowski) wanted as well. It's very
tightly controlled in terms of the approval process.
CC: The Wachowski brothers are quite well known for that. How was it
working with them?
Erik Lundborg: Well, it was fine. I didn't
see them very much but I would submit the music to them. You know, you
don't "hang out" with the directors as much as you submit the music.
They listen to it in their office and then they send back notes saying
what they liked and didn't like.
CC: It must have been difficult keeping everything straight in your
own mind - working on ENTER THE MATRIX, arranging and orchestrating
for THE MATRIX RELOADED AND REVOLUTIONS all at the same time.
Erik Lundborg: Actually, it wasn't that hard
to keep straight. The composing part was entirely separate from
orchestration part of RELOADED. I started on ENTER THE MATRIX in
mid-November of 2002 through early February 2003. I jumped onto THE
MATRIX RELOADED right after that.
CC: Do you have a similar composing style to Don Davis?
Erik Lundborg: I really had to learn exactly
what Don did and then continue to work within that frame of mind. It
really wasn't a question of me doing something brand new. Actually, I
did do about 30 minutes of my own music for ENTER THE MATRIX which are
derived from his (Don Davis') themes and ideas. We do have a similar
background, so I understand where he is coming from and I've
orchestrated four or five of his motion pictures, so I know how he
thinks. I don't know if HE thinks I know, though! (laughs)
CC: Have you seen the finished product and how the music plays within
Erik Lundborg: I actually haven't, but I will probably see it when I get back to
CC: For ENTER THE MATRIX, did you record with the same orchestra as
for the Matrix films?
Erik Lundborg: No. It was recorded in
Seattle with a contracted orchestra.
CC: Do you plan to stay in that genre at all?
Erik Lundborg: Oh, I'd love to. I found it
absolutely thrilling...just a lot of fun!
CC: Would you say that scoring a video game presents you different
challenges than scoring a film?
Erik Lundborg: That's a very good question,
because it certainly does. There are different environments of the
game: whether you're fighting, or just wondering around someplace
looking for something. In each of these environments you encounter
some enemies, or an agent and whenever these things occur the music
has to change. So in essence the player has control over what sort of
music "kicks in" at any given point.
As a composer I'm not so
concerned with that so much, because I wouldn't know when or where a
player was at any given instance. What I, as the composer, am required
to do is write "longish" pieces that give you a certain amount of
freedom in a certain tone or mood. And that's what I liked about
working on the game, because I could write these rather prolonged
musical compositions that express a given idea over time. There's a
certain amount of freedom in that.
Now, when you are scoring a film, you are really controlled quite
specifically by what takes place on the screen at any given point in
time. You have to be very careful about making those hits and
addressing that issue at all times. So you need to underscore
something much more carefully because you are controlled by the
CC: In film, a score's presence or absence really has an important
role in the emotion felt at any given moment. Would you say it works
the same way within the context of a game?
Erik Lundborg: I think so. I think it is the
precisely the same, except for fact that the player determines when
the music changes.
CC: Do they employ any electronica within ENTER THE MATRIX as they do
with the films?
Erik Lundborg: Yes. There is some electronic
music, but I didn't compose it.
CC: Are you slated to do any future Matrix-projects, like an expansion
to ENTER THE MATRIX?
Erik Lundborg: I don't know if they are
planning to do one or not, but I'd certainly love to do it.
CC: Thanks for your time