Editor's nook...

An Interview with Carl Leon

  About a week ago, Carl Leon, the composer for Siege of Avalon, stopped by the offices at Digital Tome. Leonís normally in San Antonio because he plays guitar for the two-time Grammy-nominated Tejano and country band Emilio. Emilioís been on the Billboard Latin charts several times and has toured 38 states and 4 countries. I got to interview Carl Leon about his work on gaming soundtracks.

  Leonís first game was for Evel Knievel. He got his first computer in 1998 and as a big Evel Knievel fan, he immediately checked out the web site. He wrote to Knievelís manager, suggesting that Knievel put out a video game and that as a composer, he was available to write the soundtrack. As it turned out, Evel Knieval was already involved with a video game but they hadnít hired a composer yet. That was such a lucky break that Leon named his new company Lucky 7 Music.

  Since April 1998, Leonís done 13 soundtracks and is currently working on three projects, one of which is Siege of Avalon. Siege has really intrigued him because itís his first score in the symphony orchestra mode. Heís also responsible for the gameís sound effects.

  Because Siege is downloadable, it presented a unique challenge. Leon thought about how to provide quality music while keeping the file sizes down so that they could be quickly downloaded. He said Siege is his first game to be totally in mp3ís.

  And I suppose if there isnít any technology blocking you, you could find those mp3ís on your hard drive and play them like any other mp3ís. But, most likely, that wouldnít constitute the grand impressive soundtrack cuz all of itís been cut into itty bitty pieces and used within the game. Leonís pretty happy with how the music is in Siege of Avalon.

  The music in Siege is very atmospheric and by that, I donít mean space-rock, but that it gives you the feeling of being someplace. Itís not flashy because itís not the main focus of the game. What it does is add to the game by making it more enjoyable or heightening the tension.

  To compose the music, Leon gets detailed descriptions from the developers and looks at the artwork for inspiration. The sound effects are culled from libraries or he makes his own.

  Leon says the following about Siege of Avalon: ďPeople are always talking about Ďthe futureí or Ďthe future is going to do this.í People rarely take a step towards the future and the ones that do change the world. This is one of those situations. The gamers out there who are going to buy this game are actually moving us into the future.Ē If you couldnít tell, he is psyched about this game :)

  Many thanks to Carl Leon for taking the time to do this interview.

Til next time,
listening to Cetu Javu ďSouthern LandsĒ

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