Thinking Outside the Box: Jason Paul Talks rePlay, his Video Game Symphony

rePlay is somewhat of a spiritual successor to Play! A Videogame Symphony, a series of concerts performed by orchestra, where the performances are accompanied by some visual representation of the music in video form. To find out more about rePlay, we talked to the man behind the upcoming show, Jason Paul.

Hi Jason! Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your job?

I’m just the guy responsible for The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses and Play: A Videogame Symphony, which is now a new show called rePlay which I made an announcement about, and yeah, that’s more or less my title.

The easiest place to start would be just telling us how you got into videogames music and production.

Sure, I’ve always played video games as a kid and being from the San Francisco Bay area I was surrounded by video game companies. I started getting into the videogame industry through marketing and branding. I was beginning to do a lot of work with SCEA out of Foster City, and I ultimately started working with Square, which is the company responsible for Final Fantasy. I just always had my hand in video games whether it was through E3, marketing, trade show booths, special events, and things like that.

And also I continued on my quest to play videogames, and then of course I started getting into classical music production. I started working with Luciano Pavarotti and the Three Tenors as a production manager, more or less staging his shows, and setting up his shows all over the world. That happened after the whole videogame thing, and of course I had things going on with Square, so I kind of had this idea of creating something that was really special combining videogame music with symphony. And then of course doing it with the visuals to really set it in that next level, if you will, of production that hadn’t really been done. I’m just very grateful for all the experiences – ultimately, that’s what led me to where I am now.

How big of a transition was it from marketing to production?

Not very different because, obviously, when you’re working with a marketing agency a lot of production comes into play, so it’s very similar, and they overlap. It’s a lot of organization, it’s a lot of creative thinking, it’s also, of course, branding, and there are a lot of different ways to market. Everything is always production, I tend to try and be creative, think outside the box, but of course there is a certain formula too that we kind of adhere to. But yeah, marketing and production, they really go hand-in-hand.

Tell me about how you decided on The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

They came to me with the plan that they wanted to roll out for the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, and at that point I was more or less trying to digest and figure out what they wanted. I have the very fortunate pleasure of Jeron Moore, who works with me. He’s more or less a Zelda expert, and so I was really able to rely on him and Chad Seiter, my music director, who is another Zelda expert. Really we were able to deliver on what it was: A truly authentic experience that the folks at Nintendo were looking for with the 25th anniversary. We opened up the E3 press conference with a symphonic presentation of the main theme and Miyamoto-san came out. That was really cool to be a part of that. Then they made a bunch of announcements, one of which was that the orchestral CD would accompany the Skyward Sword release, which my company was responsible for.

We also announced the three concerts that would take place in commemoration of the 25th anniversary, one in Tokyo, one in London, and one in LA.

What about rePlay? Where did that all start?

rePlay is basically a production that I’m doing that’s a spin off of Play! A Videogame Symphony, but the great thing about this is that it’s kind of a story that’s going to be told through videogame music and also with visuals. I’m just really excited it, I brought on a producer named Ryan Hamlyn, who grew up with me. He produced the game Lair, which was musically done by John Debney. He’s a very talented producer, and we’ve been working together very closely, developing a story, if you will. We’re going to premier in October in Omaha with the Omaha Symphony.

How big of a production is this for you? You said it was mixing visuals with music, is that something you’re already familiar with?

Yeah, I kind of have a creative formula. I’ve been doing this for so long, I definitely have a lot of familiarity video production, and also obviously the orchestra and symphony world is second nature for me. But all those things combined to make a really wonderful multimedia experience.

 So you’re planning to take rePlay around the states?

Absolutely! We’re planning to take it all around the world, the great thing about it is we know we have a captive audience, we know we have an audience for these type of shows. I think anyone who has seen a show I have produced, this will be the best of all worlds. It’s going to have a catalog of games, not just one specific title.

When is rePlay starting?

It’s in October.

Is there anything else you want our readers to know about rePlay or about yourself?

I’m definitely excited! When rePlay drops, I think– I know it’s going to be a wonderful show, so I’m hopeful that most of the people who are interested keep their eyes peeled, maybe sign up for our newsletter and what have you.

If you think you’d be interested in finding out more about rePlay, click here.