MI6 caught up with "Nightfire" and "Everything or Nothing" composer Jeff Tymoschuk...

Jeff Tymoschuk Interview (1)
6th July 2005

What or who inspired you to become a composer?
Initially I had planned on being a rock star (it seemed like a good honest trade), but I was interested in film music from a pretty early age (I was really into the Star Wars and Superman scores). I bought the Danny Elfman Batman score when I was 15 and was completely blown away by how powerful it was, and how it could instantly change the mood of whatever you were doing, and how it could make driving to the store for milk feel like a life and death situation...I guess I have a really active imagination. I started writing music professionally in 1994, doing guided museum tours, corporate videos, student films, etc, and have been doing it pretty much ever since.

How were you approached by Electronic Arts to score addition material for "Nightfire" and "Everything or Nothing"?
I had quit my day job in December in an attempt to be a full time composer, and by the end of March was completely broke and getting a little desperate. I had gone through the EA website and put my resume in for a sound design job, and when I didn't hear anything for a while, thought it was a lost cause.

My girlfriend Corina took me out for chinese food to cheer me up, and my fortune cookie at the end of the night said "Soon you will be sitting on top of the world." The next day I got a call for an interview at EA, and took my composing demo with me, not knowing what game it was for.

Above: Composer Jeff Tymoschuk

During the interview it came up that they didn't have a composer, so I somehow managed to talk them into letting me do a demo for them. I think it was the enthusiasm that got me in the door, I told them that I was reading a John Barry biography at the time, and that I had gotten speeding tickets driving with Bond music playing, and so a week later I turned in my demo, part of which became the Paris mission.

How eager were you to be involved in a project that is related to such a famous series?
I pretty much couldn't have been more excited. Never mind the fact that it was paying work, I had been a huge Bond fan since I was a kid, I had a bunch of the soundtracks, all the movies on video, played thousands of hours of Goldeneye on N64 (not an exaggeration), and so the Bond franchise had had a huge impact on me. I was well aware of how lucky I was to be contributing in some way to forty years of mythology, and especially to be doing it as my first game project.

Above: Alura McCall



How were you approached to work on "NightFire"?
Through meeting Jennifer Lewis (the Audio Director) at a sound design interview and doing a demo for them.

Did you work directly with Lars Anderson, Jen-Bea Englishman on 'Nighfire'?
Actually, not at all. I worked exclusively on the driving missions from Vancouver, the FPS stuff was all done in the UK.

How did you ensure your material fitted in with what had already been written?
I went with the idea that if I was doing Bond music, and they were doing Bond music, that it wouldn't sound too dissimilar, and if there was any clashes that the audio directors would notice and we'd change the music accordingly.

I think that it all turned out pretty well, and for having a few different people working on it, it sounds pretty homogenous.

How much of the game did you see prior to composing the tracks?
I'd seen a bunch of concept art, and then I worked with animatics of the cutscenes to score them directly. I also had video captures of some of the levels to give me a sense of what the action was going to be like.

The different platform versions of "Nightfire" were varied in length, did this effect your work?
No. I did pretty linear pieces of music that could be either just loops or made interactive, so the length of the mission wasn't really an issue for me.

How much of your completed work made it into the final game?
With Nightfire, all of it. There was a couple of pieces that were re-worked a little, Paris By Helicopter was a little jazzier and trashier originally for example, but for the most part, every note that I did is in there.

Which of the eight "NightFire" tracks are you most proud of? Did they turn out exactly as you imagined when you started work on them?

Nightfire Track Listing:
Paris by Helicopter
Rescuing Paradis
Escape from Drake's Castle
Enemies Vanquished
Ignore That Sinking Feeling
Jungle Assault
The Finger Of Death

I think my favorite is the Enemies Vanquished track, something about it just sounds mean, and there's a bit of skanky wockachicka guitar in there, which is always fun to play. It was also my favorite mission in the game.

Jeff Tymoschuk Official Website (click to listen to the above tracks)

  Above: Raphael Drake

00-Seven Questions

How were you involved in the Bond series?
I wrote the music for the driving missions of Nightfire and some additional music for Everything or Nothing.

What was your first ever Bond experience?
I remember being an extremely pissed off eleven year old who wasn't allowed to go see A View To A Kill in the theatre. After that I saw You Only Live Twice on video and was hooked.

What did you think of the last film, "Die Another Day"?
I thought that the first 20 minutes or so was brilliant, and although it slipped a little from there, it was still pretty cool. Could've done without the surfing bit though.

What is your favourite Bond film?
Probably Goldeneye or On Her Majesty's Secret Service...or From Russia With Love...Living Daylights was pretty cool too...it changes a lot.

Who is your favourite Bond?
I think that Pierce Brosnan was pretty perfect in the role.

Which Bond girl should come back?
I really liked Natalya in Goldeneye and Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies.

What is your favourite Bond moment from the series?
It's a toss up between the pre-title sequence in Goldeneye (for ridiculously cool Bond action) and the whole Bond-being-captured-and-tortured thing from Die Another Day (it added the possibility of consequences into the mix, and I thought it was a great move for the series).

Look out for part two where Jeff talks more about his career and we look at "Everything or Nothing"...

Many thanks to Jeff Tymoschuk. Images copyright EA Games.

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