TSS Interview: Return to the Remix Factory

TSS Interview: Return to the Remix Factory

UK based music production studio Remix Factory have come a long long way, but you wouldn’t think that one of the main areas they’re making waves in is the Sonic community. The studio, who are all pure Sonic fans through and through, first made an impact making two remixed tracks for Shadow the Hedgehog.

Now studio head Lee Brotherton (aka LB, who has actually dabbled in amateur Sonic remixes under alias ‘LeeBro’) has a much bigger role in producing new tracks for the Sonic series. Including work on Sonic the Hedgehog and upcoming Sonic Rivals, LB also has a solo album via Remix Factory coming out, and is pushing for a UK release of the next gen OST. We sat down and had a chin-wag with the dude and play catch-up.

  • Visit the Remix Factory website to find out more about their upcoming projects!
  • Check ‘Music’ and ‘Solo Projects’ on the site for a brand new Dreams of an Absolution remix!

TSS: LB from Remix Factory, it’s a pleasure to speak to you again. It must have been fun working on the new soundtrack, especially now you have a bigger part to play. Can you give us a little commentary on your work for Silver’s theme, Dreams of an Absolution? How you approached it, the process of the track, what was most difficult about working on it…

LB: It was a lot of fun, but very hectic. Especially doing ‘Rivals’, album promo and other remixes simultaneously. The meaning behind DOAA was actually first-hand experience from something I was going through at the time – which was completely unintentional – but with a little extra spin I managed to make it very relevant to Silver and the general game plot of ‘changing the past’ . I wanted to write it in a way that was relatable as a song so if someone heard the lyrics they wouldn’t instantly assume it was written for a character from a video-game.

TSS: You’re credited to doing Silver’s theme, but has Remix Factory worked on any other pieces for the game’s soundtrack?

LB: For ‘Sonic’ I’ve done some more production work (as DOAA wasn’t produced by myself) but I can’t talk about that just yet. It’ll be a pleasant surprise.

TSS: What was your approach musically when you understood that Sonic the Hedgehog was to be a ‘back to the roots’ kind of game? How did the atmosphere, story and ambiance of the game help direct your work on the project?

LB: Well, as you know, I’m a huge Sonic fan so I’d already seen early footage of the game when they asked me to work on the soundtrack and knew the music had to match the gameplay excitement, anticipation and plot intensity and drama that a rebirth to the series would inevitably have. Coupled with my personal excitement and anticipation for the game made things quite easy. (And yes, I’ve already noticed the similarity in the bridges of DOAA to the original Green Hill music too!)

TSS: When we last spoke to you on the Shadow soundtrack, your nature of work was very remote, working on tracks and using the grand ol’ Internet to send copy to Jun Senoue. Did you work on Sonic the Hedgehog in the same way, given that you created original pieces for the soundtrack and had a lot more involvement in the project?

LB: Believe it not, yes. I did eventually meet the team when work had started but before and long after then it was all done online. It was slightly crazy because I was using SEGA USA to help communicate with SEGA of Japan but on the odd occasion when I couldn’t quite understand what was being said I had to e-mail America again for them to translate! But it was all part of the fun, we had a giggle. Another issue though was the deadlines – try syncing up with San Francisco and Tokyo when it’s a sleepy Sunday afternoon in the UK and you’re still recovering from a press party and a chest infection… ah memories…

TSS: It seems you’re pushing for an official UK release of the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack. This will no doubt please a lot of fans if this turns out to be successful – what exactly are you guys doing to help bring the OST over here and do you think it could happen?

LB: I work very closely with a lot of labels here in the UK and when I mentioned the idea to SEGA they basically said ‘why the Hell not?’ It’s tough because I’m honestly not sure how certain labels will view the marketability of a project like a Sonic soundtrack. The response I’ve had so far has been incredibly enthusiastic so who knows, it’s very possible but I’m not holding my breath just yet.

TSS: We understand Remix Factory is releasing their own album soon too, would you like to tell us more about it? Will it all be remixed material or some original compositions too?

LB: Haha! It’s a common misconception. The Remix Factory album is basically my album as a recording artist. The reason it’s going under the Factory name is because it’s partially collaborative. It’s all brand new original material – aside from the odd couple of covers. It’s just been promoted in Europe and Asia and now (finally) has a confirmed release for next year. The new artist website has been implemented so that people can find out more about the Remix Factory album and follow its progress towards release.

TSS: As an overall package, what is the best thing about the soundtrack to Sonic the Hedgehog? Do you feel it’s a set of tracks that effectively captures the personality of the series?

LB: That’s a difficult question because, as you have said before, it’s slightly unfair to compare ‘Sonic’ to the rest of the series since it’s supposed to be a rebirth. However it’s incredibly hard not to. The best thing about the music is that it captures the look and feel of the new title perfectly, especially the gameplay – in my opinion. Also I was mighty impressed with the production. Haha! I’m such a suck up! But seriously, I really do love the new soundtrack and I’m just so happy it’s being received with the warmth it deserves.

TSS: Finally, what’s your favourite Sonic soundtrack and why? And what’s your favourite track on the StH soundtrack? We have a massive favouring for Wave Ocean – The Inlet and the White Acropolis tracks.

LB: In terms of composure I’d probably say ‘Sonic 3 and Knuckles’ – it’s a classic! But soundtracks on a whole I’d say ‘Sonic Adventure’ – but I have a sneaky feeling the new ‘Sonic’ soundtrack might rival it. I love the Wave Ocean track too, but my other favourites are the final boss from the last story and one from the vocal collection – which you’ll have to wait for because I’ve had my wrist slapped for saying
too much about that already!!

TSS: I guess you’re not going to talk even if we tortured you Casino Royale style eh? Thanks for speaking to us LB, great to catch up.

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.