Photo courtesy of top dollar pr
Jesper Kyd

Date of Birth: 1972 Copenhagen, Denmark
Education: Music and Business
First Game Worked on: USS John Young (Amiga)
Favorite Drink: Margarita on the rocks & Sangria
Favorite Food: Mexican
Favorite Music: Cinematic, experimental, electronic
Favorite Movie: Dead Calm, Donnie Darko, PI, Fifth Element
Favorite Games: Vice City, Burnout 2
Hobbies: Photography, experimental film making
Influences: Anything unique, different, experimental
Studio Gear & Sound Tools:

Yamaha CS-80, Yamaha VL1, Yamaha FS1R, Alesis Andromeda, Oberheim OBXa, Ensoniq TS12, Roland V Synth, Roland TB303, 606, 707, Roland Juno 60, Roland JD990, Roland JP8080, Oberheim Matrix 6, Korg DW8000, Akai S2800, Emu 6400 x2, Technics 1200, Sherman Filterbank, Electrix Filterfactory, Yamaha O2R, Mac Computer, 4 PCs running Cubase, Gigastudio, Kontakt, FM7, Absynth1+2, Sound Forge 4, Culture, Stylus, Vienna Orchestral Cube.

Web Sites:

RocketBaby: What was your first musical experience?

Jesper Kyd: Playing the Piano where I grew up. My parents had a piano and so did my entire family. Everyone we visited, when taking vacations to visit family, had a piano. So when you are in the middle of nowhere for 3 weeks, the piano becomes a good way to have some fun.

RB: How did you get in to the games business?

JK: I started a game company with some Danish friends of mine and SEGA bought our first Sega Genesis/Megadrive game. We then moved to Boston in the US and started working on our next game. A few years later the company we worked with (Scavenger) crashed and my friends decided to go back to Denmark and start IO Interactive (developers of the Hitman series and Freedom Fighters). I decided to move to Manhattan and build Nano Studios and start my company Jesper Kyd Productions.

RB: What do you enjoy about creating game music? What do you hate about creating game music?

JK: I like the fact that I am able to learn something new every day. I keep pushing my music further, so there are no boundaries to this profession. The worst part is when you are asked to limit the creativeness and make something “ordinary” sounding. Also, when asked to create lots of music in the exact same style, it
becomes quite boring.

RB: What do you think about the state of today’s game music?

JK: In the US and Europe there are not too many creative soundtracks. Right now it looks like we might be getting closer to sounding like the scores of Hollywood, which doesn’t really interest me. I like more original sounding music. I like the music of Japanese games such as Rez & Samba de Amigo.

RB: When creating your music how much freedom do the developers give you? How do you interact with the designer/producer/director?

JK: About half the time I get creative freedom, which is something I always aim for. I often meet up with the developers to discuss music ideas. Then I start experimenting, and getting lots of feedback from the developer during this time is very important to shaping the music style. As far as interacting once the score starts, we basically do a lot of communicating through phone and email.

RB: Why do you create music? What inspires your melodies?

JK: Because it’s something that I love and can’t stop doing. Whenever I go for a couple of weeks without writing music, I start feeling like half a person. I don’t really have much of a choice. I have to write music. The atmosphere of my studio environment, the city I live in (Manhattan), the mood I am in, the story and atmosphere of the game I am writing music for, pictures, photos, art shows, concerts & my friends.

RB: What is the quickest you have composed a tune? What is the longest?

JK: On the C64 some songs I composed in a few hours. The longest would be around 3 weeks.

RB: What is your process for creating music

JK: I try to vary the writing process as much as I can. Sometimes I have the whole soundtrack thought out before writing it (Freedom Fighters) and other times I spend lots of time experimenting with ideas and music writing styles (Hitman2). When writing an electronic score (like Brute Force) I spend most of my time on creating and experimenting with new sounds. I work in an atmospheric studio (Nano Studios) full of weird lights, inspiring pictures and 6 computer monitors. My strengths are melodies and rhythms. I have now worked with a big orchestra on 3 scores, but I still have a lot to learn.

"In the US and Europe there are not too many creative soundtracks."
-Jesper Kyd 2003

RB: Please share your thoughts on the following games:

Todd McFarlane's Evil Prophecy
Lots of music was written for this project. Probably the largest collection of music I have ever written for a game.

Brute Force
I had a lot of fun experimenting with the music style for the alien planet. It ended up sounding like slow techno mixed with melodic themes.

Hitman 2
This was quite a challenge since it was my first score working with a large orchestra and choir. The soundtrack is available to buy from my website.

Minority Report
Intense scifi type dance music.

Crazy experimental stuff, done together with Albert Olsen.

I wrote some intense dance tracks for this game and remixed some Fear Factory songs.

Written when I was listening to mostly trance music, so the score is quite trancy!

Dark, gothic score with melodies I still like today.

Adventures of Batman and Robin
The most insane thing I have ever written. The more insane the music, the happier the developers were. It was a great experience.

Red Zone
C64 inspired score, with songs inspired by the likes of Martin Galway.

My first Sega Genesis score.

Global Trash
Lots of fun just playing around.

RB: How did the idea for Organizm blossom?

JK: After buying a DV camera I just had to tell this story. It was produced together with Jorg Tittel (the actor playing the lead role). We got a small crew together and started production.

RB: How would you compare directing and composing? Which do you like better? Which was more difficult?

JK: Well, composing and directing are difficult, until you learn it fully and can start feeling a bit comfortable. Organizm was my first time directing, so it was difficult

RB: What advice would you give to those who want to create music?

JK: Never stop writing. It took me 6 years of composing pretty much every day, until I started feeling ok with the quality of my music. Music is something that can be learned without formal training, but it takes time and patience. You have to stick with it and make sure the music becomes as good as possible, especially since the game music business is very competitive.

A big thank you to Jesper Kyd for taking the time to chat. Thanks to Greg @ Top Dollar.




What's New


      JOIN OUR

      Anime, Music,
      Games, Art,
      Reviews, News

      Back Issues

      Other Links

      FOR YET