Video game composer and touring musician Frank Klepacki on a mission to fill the world with sound
Frank Klepacki is, in a nutshell, prolific. What that means in this context is that this pre-interview bio will be, in video game parlance, a speedrun.
Professional musician for 11 years, Klepacki has worn several hats over the years: composer, drummer, producer, sound designer, touring musician. He created the score for the massif Order and conquer franchise – a legitimate blockbuster, with over 30 million units sold – and has provided music for games based on the Blade runner, Dune and Star wars franchisees. (The latter took him to Skywalker Ranch for recording and mixing, a dream come true for a huge Star wars fan.)
Klepacki has performed with a number of local bands, including Home Cookin ‘and The Bitters, and toured with several veteran rockers, such as Buck Dharma of Blue Ãyster Cult and Fee Waybill of The Tubes. He has made numerous records, including two only last year, under his own name and with collaborators such as Grammy-nominated cellist Tina Guo. He’s the audio director of Vegas-based video game studio Petroglyph, and he occasionally tours with pioneering funk group Family Stone, starring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Martini.
But that’s just what Klepacki Is. What he is, at the base, is a creator and a passionate and agitated sound experimenter guided by a principle of animation. âI just make the music that I personally want to hear,â he says, âbecause I think there isn’t enough of it. “
I visited you in the studio years ago when you were recording the first one Order and conquer Game; you had the time of your life. Is it still so much fun? Yes! I am always looking for what makes me happy. Sometimes I just complete a task, and other times I really do. I’m just trying to be always in the moment and understand What is it, what does it need and what’s the best way for me to get there. When you are doing creative work for this long, you have to keep your ears and your mind open, otherwise you will stagnate.
Speaking of stagnation, how have you handled the COVID containment? Well, [Petroglyph] closed, and we were all working remotely. I have mine [home] studio, so I was still able to do what I had to do. But I had mixed feelings, because what was once my man cave was now my office, and it was the last place I wanted to be at the end of the day.
I have an old song from my first album called “Virus”, and I thought how appropriate it would be to re-record it and make a fun video of it, with me playing all the instruments and wearing different masks. . It got me going through my back catalog and revising and remixing some of my old tracks, playing them back with live drums, live guitar, live bass, and live keys on everything and very little. programming. It was a fun project to do, and it got me through the year.
It’s one of the albums you did last year. And the other ? It’s an all-metal album, Coded number. It sounds like old-school metal influences – a combination of old Metallica, Anthrax, King’s X, Armored Saint, maybe even a little bit of Pantera. And I was able to involve different guests, a lot of guitar shredders and a few guest singers as well. I asked Doug Pinnick from King’s X to sing one of my songs, which is pretty awesome. A friend of mine here in Vegas, Austin LeDuc â he was the singer on [Vegas bands] Phatter Than Albert and Clockwise â sing on one of the tracks. I have Nita Strauss who plays lead guitar and Christian Brady, Hellyeah’s lead guitarist, plays on one of the tracks. â¦ I met some of these people at NAMM [National Association of Music Merchants] convention they have every year in Anaheim. It’s like going to a convention at the Guitar Center.
The UFC uses some of your lineups on its pay-per-view shows. How did it happen? Back when I started releasing solo albums, the UFC was just starting to gain momentum after the Fertittas took it over. I knew their audio director, who dug into what I was doing on my solo albums, and he said to me, “Some of this stuff could really be what we do in the UFC, if you want to consider a deal to. Licence.” After that, every album I released after that, I always gave them a copy. Sure enough, they continued to use different songs, and my stuff has been part of their regular lineup since the mid-2000s.
It has to be an out-of-body experience, turning on the television and listening to your own music. Oh, man, that was even cooler in person. I was able to attend a few events where they used my music for the fighters’ walkouts. He was exploding on the sound system and the crowd was excited. It was fun to experience it that way.
You’ve done so many fun and cool things, and you’re not slowing down. Above all, what motivates you? This is really the purpose of the project. I try to embrace it and immerse myself in it and then figure out, you know, what kind of decisions I should make. And these are also the people I work with. Over the years, I’ve found that whatever the situation – whether I’m making a game, playing in a band, or working on a production – if the people you work with are cool, they’re all on. the same page and are part of that same energy, it really gets me through these projects and concerts. It makes you enjoy the experience even more. I have come to appreciate it, maybe a lot more now than before.