Interview: David W. Lloyd, Director, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack
On 25 November, Capcom released Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix on the PlayStation Network for the PS3 and Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360. The official soundtrack of the game was released on the videogame community, OverClocked ReMix, a community of fans who rearrange classic videogame music and make their creations available for all the world to hear. The project to create the official soundtrack to high-profile commercial release like Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix was a huge achievement for the videogame music remixer community. One of the Directors for the album and the founder of OverClocked ReMix, David W. Lloyd, also known as djpretzel, was kind enough to take some time out of his day for a short email interview to briefly discuss OverClocked ReMix’s first commercial endeavour.
How did you get involved with Capcom?
We put out an album of Street Fighter II ReMixes several years ago and Capcom stumbled across that and contacted the project Director, Shael Riley, who contacted me. They wereoriginally gonna hire someone to do the soundtrack, but apparently it was taking too long, and they liked the existing mixes from our album just as much, so they figured it was a no-brainer.
How much freedom did Capcom give to rearrange their original themes?
Capcom didn’t make us color between the lines too much in terms of actual arrangements, but each stage theme had to be two minutes long, which meant trimming out a lot of interpretive, original solo stuff and going for the “meat” of the arrangement — stuff that was easily identifiable. In Jose’s case he had hip-hop tracks with rap vocals, and he had to cut the vocals because they were too distracting in-game, but the backing tracks work really well regardless. I’d say, based on what would be expected for a game like this, that Capcom gave us a pretty impressive degree of artistic control.
Are there any themes you’re particularly curious about in terms of how hardcore Street Fighter fans will respond?
Well, I think certain tracks — Ken in particular – have had a pretty universally positive reception, where others have been more “controversial”… whenever you try to work in hip-hop or reggaeton or jazz, you’ll always run up against more friction than with rock or techno, but I feel like each artist’s approach really makes sense for the stage. Vega (claw) always had a bit of a hip-hop vibe going on, DeeJay clearly is in Jamaica so the reggae-ish vibe was appropriate, and Balrog (boxer) in Vegas… Just had to be jazzed up. We might have been able to put together tracks that more people were okay with, but I’d rather have strong reactions — both positive and negative — while preserving what OC ReMix is all about, embracing multiple styles.
This is the first commercial collaboration for OverClocked ReMix. What hopes to you have for the future for more commercial releases?
We’re open to anything and everything. I’d love to work with Capcom again, as they seem the most interested in community outreach of this nature, but I could easily see other companies catching on as well. There’s a lot of space to explore, with Xbox Live and PSN, where indie and downloadable games can take more risks, which might be more appropriate. Of course, if you ask me, we’ve got plenty of ReMixers who’d do a perfectly fine job scoring the next blockbuster.
Who is your favourite Street Fighter and why?
I’m gonna be boring and say Ken. He’s meat-and-potatoes, sure, but he’s living the life, and he takes bright yellow hair and bushy, dark eyebrows and somehow makes that contrast work. There’s a ReMix on our site called “The Ken Song,” and once you hear it, you never really think of Ken the same way again.
Finally, what is one of your favourite themes on the album and why?
AE & Prozax put together a mean version of Ken’s theme that was used for the title screen, but I actually like AE’s take on Blanka even better. The first time through the melody, it’s straightforward, but later on he plays with the intervals in some really cool ways, keeping it recognizable but really exploring the tune. Great stuff.