Simon is gone. I found out yesterday.
Four years ago, it was late April and I had been hard at work on the freeware version of TJD1 for several years. I was rapidly closing in on release and was trying to tie up all the loose ends in whatever way possible.
I had used a lot of sounds from freesound.org and I intended to make sure that the ones that made a big difference, got the credit they deserved. Also I wanted to make sure it was OK that I used the samples for the game.
At that time, the game didn’t have a custom written soundtrack, but rather just had a big bunch of old tracks given to me by a friend of a friend on a “Do whatever you want with them, I don’t care.” kind of basis. Because of this, large parts of the game were missing music and most of the music was sort of awkwardly out of place (there was nothing really wrong with it, it just wasn’t really a very good match for the game, to be frank.) So to fill out these awkwardly silent moments, I had turned to freesound.org.
Luckily once I started looking, I soon stumbled upon Simon’s sax samples. I grabbed a bunch of them and used them to punctuate certain events in the game. To give them some oompaah. And man did it work! I was so happy I had found these excellent samples, so praying that I’d get to use them for the game, I sent Simon an email and asked if I pleeease could use them. This is an exact quote from the email he sent to me in reply:
“Thanks for asking. No problem with using sax sample – if you need anything else musical just ask and if I can I’ll give it a go…”
And so I admitted that, ehh, well, I’m missing tons of music and err.. honestly, I’d like to redo the entire soundtrack. Simon’s response was basically. “No problem, I’ll do it!”
I was floored. I was gonna get a soundtrack written by a saxophone-wizard.
So he started sending me samples and ideas and… I was floored again.
And so we worked together sending samples, ideas, storyboards, movies back and forth to one another for four months, sharing the adventure together, the panic, stress and the fun. In late August 2010 the game was finally released.
When Simon entered the project he raised the bar so much that the game wound up winning a ton of awards, giving me enough confidence to take on the game as a commercial project. So, this meant I could finally pay him for his work and also that I got the great joy of working more with him, as we vastly expanded the game and thus also the soundtrack. Our process was magic. We’d get each other going like crazy, syncing the visuals and the audio to (at least in our minds) epic perfection. We had a wonderful synergy going on between us. He kept raising the bar so I had to do the same… I had an immense blast working with Simon and through the four years that he was a part of my life, we also became good friends.
In August 2012 Simon found out he had a brain tumor. He kept me updated and was almost always staying positive. He kept reassuring me and saying that he wanted to stay busy making music and kept asking me for TJD2 assignments. The guy just couldn’t stop jamming!
I was lucky enough to get to visit Simon and his wife Susan in their lovely UK home last spring and got to first hand see the effects the tumor and its treatment were having on him. He was exhausted from the long fight, but still warm, loving and somehow even happy. It was great finally giving him a real life hug, and meeting Susan, who I’m SO happy Simon has had beside him through all of this badness.
And so yesterday I found out that his time had come and that he has sailed on to the flipside. I’m pretty sure he’s in some other dimension surfing a rainbow right now, happily jamming on his favorite sax, with a huge assortment of brass instruments clinging to his chest. That’s how I picture him, anyhow.
Thanks to Simon I am now working full time on the game I love. I couldn’t possibly ask for a more awesome project to spend all of may days on, I just wish Simon was still here so I could keep on journeying with him.
Simon my awesome friend: I listen to your music and I cry but I find myself with a huge smile on my face. Thank you for sharing the adventure with me, you have been the most fantastic companion possible.
Thank You for the magic.
Simon D’souza, possibly the most awesome person ever