When you get the chance to sit down with a concert producer who has continually worked to bring the video game industry we all love into the theatre, you don’t lose your words, you make some up! Last week, I got to speak with Jason Michael Paul before his globe-trotting adventures bring his The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of The Goddesses show to Australia and New Zealand.
Having worked with a ton of video game music previously in his career, from games in the Nintendo stable such as the Legend of Zelda and Kirby series, to more innately orchestral fare like The Elder Scrolls, Jason is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. This doesn’t change the fact that his family time is his most valuable, and I tell you that so I can tell you this: In order to do our interview as scheduled, Jason took time out of a day with his daughter at Disneyland to chat with me, and I greatly appreciate his doing so.
I had the rare gem of getting out of my house a few years back and enjoying the rePLAY: Symphony of Heroes Concert at the Sydney Opera House that you were also involved in, are we going to get to see Zelda: Symphony of The Goddesses show in Sydney one day soon as well?
It just didn’t work out this particular time around, but we will be back, we got more tricks in the bag.
You have been involved in a ridiculous number of projects throughout the years and with stars such as Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, The Three Tenors and most of the video game studios such as Sony and Konami, I must ask the question, out of everyone you have produced concerts or projects for besides this new Symphony of The Goddesses, what has been the most outstanding for you?
Besides Symphony of The Goddesses? That is tough, Symphony of The Goddesses has been a real high for me. I would say learning what I did with Luciano Pavarotti was a highlight of my career, just being around greatness kind of inspired me to do what I do. Here I am twenty years later doing what I love, it’s a good feeling ya know!?
You are now largely entwined in this world of video games and their music, such as the long running Final Fantasy series, do you enjoy playing any games yourself?
Of course, it’s taken on kind of a new life. There is my daughter who loves playing games, she is a Minecraft fan and we have had the pleasure of playing The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask together. I have been playing more than usual now because we were doing a lot of new music for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, so I got a chance to explore that game which was so much fun. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is another game I have been playing, A Link Between Worlds is another and I have a nephew so we get into Super Smash Bros as well. So yeah, I still play.
You have of course been to Australia before with RePlay as mentioned earlier, what else have you got up those sleeves of yours and anything else for Australia?
I am working on an addition to rePLAY (Symphony of Heroes), a rebranded show, it’s called Heroes: A Video Game Symphony! It’s more an alternate take on rePLAY, I’m also working on another project with the Elder Scrolls series, hopefully have an announcement of that soon and I am even working with the series creator Todd Howard himself so, that’s pretty exciting for me especially now they are releasing it on [Nintendo] Switch. I am also working on Kirby, there is a 25th Anniversary coming up and concerts they have had in Tokyo and Osaka were hugely successful, so I’m in the running for that, possibly get something like that to Sydney!
After a long hard day or night of work, what is your favourite thing to do to relax and take a breather?
I just enjoy my downtime with my family, it’s really the most important thing to me. I am also active, I play Basketball. I also am a big coffee enthusiast and even have a pretty successful coffee chain in San Francisco (Coffee Cultures SOMA) and I’ve been in specialty coffee for over a decade. I am looking forward to trying some of Melbourne’s coffee when I’m over there.
Do you get the time to watch any TV shows or films in your down time and if so can you name some of your favourite composers of the two mediums?
I love animations, I have been watching Castlevania on Netflix which is kinda cool. I really love getting my fix of Netflix. I just watched all The Godfather’s 1,2 and 3. I catch up on movies when I’m on planes, catch up on a lot of films when I am flying. Curb Your Enthusiasm is another show I like to watch, just watched the latest season.
As for composers, I like John Williams, he’s one of my favourites, there is a lot! John Debney is another one I enjoy, he did Passion of The Christ, Elf, Iron Man 2. Henry Manchini who was famous for Pink Panther. I am a producer so for me I like to hire a lot of those types of composers.
Cannot wait to see one of your shows again when and if you make it back to Sydney! Until then, I am sure your Melbourne show will be remarkable and we will be keeping a keen eye on your future projects, thanks so much for the chat!
Zelda: Symphony of The Goddesses arrives in Australia starting from 24th August 2017 Click on the links below to purchase Tickets!