That’s right! The AMAZING TJD2 soundtrack is finally available for purchase – and not only that – The proceeds will all go to The Brain Tumour Charity and to fund awards for new musicians in Simon’s memory. How awesome is that? Very awesome, I say! So, we all know that Simon D’souza is the mastermind behind the TJD2 soundtrack, but he’s far from the only one involved. Who? You wonder, well…
Straight No Chaser are the ones who really helped make the soundtrack truly pack a big-band punch, and Jamie Salisbury is the man responsible for taking over after Simon’s passing, so he too certainly deserves some credit in all of this!
So what parts of the soundtrack did Jamie work on, you might be wondering? Well, back when Simon was still in good health and producing music like crazy for TJD2, we still hadn’t gotten our cutscenes in order, not even close. So at the point when Simon left us, pretty much all of them were without music. (The second intro, the penthouse and the Taxi movie, being the only exceptions). So Jamie bravely took on the humongous quest of scoring the rest of the cutscenes. (Like ten of them, or something along those lines.) He’s also responsible for the sweet “Fire Funk” theme, which is heavily featured in the third act of the game.
Needless to say there’s a hell of a lot to be curious about all of this, but instead of ranting about it myself, I decided to grill Jamie on it instead. So without further ado, I give you:
Theo interviews Jamie Salisbury
So what got you into music? My parents tried to make me play the flute so now I hate the flute. Not the same story with you, I guess?
Well yes and no. I started on piano, but I didn’t really enjoy lessons at the beginning, and used to cram in my practise in a last minute panic 10 minutes before my lesson each week. I tried to give up after a few years, but my mum wouldn’t let me, and looking back now, I’m enormously grateful for that considering what I do now! Then I discovered improvising which changed everything. I took up the saxophone, listened to jazz, and started composing both with pencil and paper for various bands and ensembles and also sequencing with my trusty Atari ST,
In fact, now I think about it, I had started composing a few years earlier in the BASIC programming language on my Spectrum, which arrived in our house courtesy of my Dad’s interest in computing: “10 SOUND 1, -15, 1011, 20″ etc…. it used to take forever…it’s unbelievable how much music technology has changed since then. That was on a Spectrum 48k, the one with rubber keys. I turned it into a pencil case when it died and sold it to my classmate for £2. What an idiot!
Tell us about what you do besides write awesome music for afro-noir-point-n-click adventure games!
I’ve come to composing for games very recently, I’m loving it so far and hope to do much more of it. I’ve just finished a game for Microsoft called “Secrets and Treasures” which should be released soon. Aside from games, I’ve worked on music for film, TV, trailers, contemporary dance, adverts, pop albums, theatre and concert performance – I love working across a wide range of mediums and in multiple styles, for anything from full symphonic orchestra to solo piano, and I’m never happier than when I’m hopping around, doing bombastic epic trailer music one day, followed the next day by an ambient minimalist film/TV soundtrack and a mad classical-jazz-metal-dubstep fusion brief the day after that!!
I’m not stuck alone composing in my studio all day though, I still get out and gig as much as possible on piano/keyboards for various bands and artists. I’m happy to be playing live less these days, but I think I’d go nuts if I stopped completely!
You wound up working on TJD by being personally recommended to us by Simon, and I gotta say your two styles complement each other amazingly. How did you guys know each other?
I first met Simon playing tenor saxophone next to him in a few big bands in and around Brighton when I was studying at the University of Sussex from 1997-2000. Not only was he an accomplished and creative player, he was also warm and welcoming to a young player who was nervous and desperately trying to keep up with the sight reading – I remember feeling like Simon was dragging me along in his wake in some fast passages! Then a few years later when I started my own function band, I called Simon. He played for my band on and off for about 10 years, playing at all sorts of gigs, including a couple of trips to Hong Kong. His playing was great of course, and he used to bust out a great James Brown impression on “Sex Machine”(!), but more than that, there was a great feeling whenever Simon was on a gig – he’d keep everyone’s morale up and calm me down whenever I got stressed – just a fantastic, warm, generous, joyful presence whatever the situation, and I was lucky to spend time with him.
I still can’t really believe he’s gone, but at least there is the music to remember him by. I’ve been listening to his music a lot recently, not just the TJD stuff but all the albums on his Bandcamp page too. He was a great talent as a composer and a saxophone player, a unique voice.
Musically I guess jazz is a big part of both our backgrounds, so that makes sense that there are some similarities. I tried to absorb as much of Simon’s style as possible for TJD2 – it wouldn’t have worked for me to have come in and stamped my own style all over it. I used some of Simon’s melodies and harmonies and developed them in my parts, to try and make the score as homogenous as possible, while not restricting myself too much from following my own instincts.
Becoming a part of TJD2 so late in the process must have been crazy. But you managed to wrap it up beautifully. What was the biggest challenge?
It was a lot of work in a short time, but I’m used to that kind of thing these days! The biggest challenge by far is keeping Simon’s heart and soul in the score, but not having his unique voice on the saxophone. I gave up the saxophone years ago, so I had the phenomenal Sean Freeman (Level 42, X-Factor, Eric Clapton, Joss Stone) do a session, and he did a great job as he always does, but there’s something about Simon’s unique playing, allied with his composition that fits TJD perfectly and sadly that’s now gone and is irreplaceable.
For those folks out there looking to make it big writing music for media, what’s your one big tip?
Write, write and write!! I’m a big believer in the ten-thousand hour rule. The creative people I’ve seen be successful in their fields are always those who have put the time into what they do. There really aren’t any shortcuts.
Thanks for your time Jamie. And for those wondering, yes, Jamie is our number one choice for composing music for TJD3. Check out some more of Jamie’s awesome compositions over on his soundcloud page.