As was mentioned on GeekNifty the other day, there is an effort in the works to put together a musical album called "Hero of Time" featuring key tracks from the iconic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time video game. The project is being done by Materia Collective, which is a group of musicians and video game enthusiasts that was founded last year to celebrate the music of the Final Fantasy series. Roughly a year in and the group has already evolved into one that produces and releases not only remixes and homages to video game soundtracks, but original music as well.
With "Hero of Time", Materia Collective is looking to let fans of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time game and, indeed, the LoZ franchise itself experience the game's music all over again. Their plan is to record all new arrangements of key themes from the game's score with a 64-piece orchestra. Once finished, the album will be released digitally, as a CD, and on vinyl.
Now that the project's Kickstarter is mere days away from ending and the album, we reached out to orchestrator/arranger Eric Buchholz and Materia Collective founder Sebastian Wolff about "Hero of Time".
GEEKNIFTY: Hi there Eric and Sebastian. To start off, can you tell us a little bit about Materia Collective and your group's latest project, "Hero of Time"?
ERIC BUCHHOLZ: Hi! Thank you so much for the interview. Here‘s a short story! Materia Collective came into being shortly after E3 2015 after the internet was rocked by Square Enix’s announcement that Final Fantasy VII would be getting an HD remake. Sebastian Wolff, founder and director of Materia Collective, decided he would ask the internet if anyone would like to help make a Final Fantasy VII musical tribute album. As it turned out, there were about 190 people interested in the idea and the collective’s first album, "MATERIA", was completed in three months and featured 87 total tracks. After that, everyone decided they wanted to continue making albums, and now here we are working on Materia Collective’s very first Kickstarter-funded project, "Hero of Time"!
GN: The album is being funded through Kickstarter with a goal of $50,000. That seems like a rather lofty number. Why that amount and how has the fund-raising gone so far?
EB: Things have been going extremely well and according to plan! This is the third Kickstarter project I’ve administrated and by far the most ambitious. $50,000 is not an easy number to reach, but we didn’t decide upon this goal amount until after we ran a few Kickstarter simulations just to see what sorts of challenges we might be faced with. The budget includes everything from hiring the musicians for the recording session, booking the studio itself, hiring all of the veteran recording, mixing, and mastering engineers, manufacturing all of the rewards, plus hiring all of the talent that goes into designing the artwork, physical products, and website. Once you subtract Kickstarter’s payment processing fees and taxes, it almost looks like a miracle that $50,000 can cover all of that!
GN: And we understand there's only a little bit of time left to reach that $50,000 goal. Do you think you'll make it?
EB: We’ve really been looking forward to these last few days where it almost becomes a race against the clock! There is a great sense of urgency when supporters share the project with their friends, and it’s really great to see so much concern for the success of our project. There is little doubt in my mind that the project will reach its goal, and there are plenty of statistical measurements that have helped to abate any of my own periodical moments of concern
GN: Do you have a backup plan if the Kickstarter doesn't fully fund the project?
SEBASTIAN WOLFF: "Hero of Time" will come to fruition one way or another. While the optimal case is a fully-funded Kickstarter, we may fall back on a primarily sampled album experience. Between Eric’s vast experience in sample programming and digital orchestration, and our community of incredible soloists and performers, we are certain to create an orchestral album that's unlike anything else currently in existence. Of course, a live orchestra is preferred. Greatly preferred.
GN: Nintendo, of course, holds the rights to the soundtrack for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Have there been any hurdles to overcome? What has it been like working with them in terms of doing what you need to get "Hero of Time" made?
SW: We greatly respect Nintendo’s rights and IP, and it's a true honor to be able to legally produce this project. All musical content will be licensed appropriately, and appropriate royalties will be paid to one of our favorite game companies. It should be noted that while licensed, "Hero of Time" is not an official Nintendo product, and is neither endorsed or authorized.
GN: I noticed that in addition to a digital and compact disk release, you're also looking to put "Hero of Time" out on vinyl. What's the thought process behind that?
SW: The resurgence of vinyl has invigorated the appeal of physical merchandise within the video game music community. If properly produced, vinyl releases are true works of art, worthy of garnishing a bookshelf (or treating the ears of audiophile fans). Like the CD, the vinyl package and release will be superb: an homage of the highest quality. We are excited to team up with iam8bit for Hero of Time. The boutique LA-based art gallery and creative agency has made a name for itself and their excellent products and radical ideas.
GN: Outside of supporting those who donated to the Kickstarter, will folks be able to go online or down to their local record store to purchase the album?
EB: Absolutely! "Hero of Time" will be available to download from all of the popular places people like to obtain their music, and we’ll also have physical formats available for people who want to add something to their collections. We’ll have all of the full distribution details ready to announce at a later date! We’re expecting a March release.
GN: Any odds we'll find a copy of the "Hero of Time" vinyl in our mailbox sometime in the future (wink wink)?
EB: Just how big is your mailbox? (wink)
GN: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions about "Hero of Time", Eric. Best of luck with the album.
EB: Thank you so much! We’re extremely thrilled to have the support of so many in the gaming community.
SW: Thank you for taking the time! Very excited to share Materia Collective’s first fully orchestral Zelda album with everyone.