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Incomparable Zur hits all the right notes in Fallout 4

Nov 30, 2015

By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada

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Fallout 4G4 Canada recently had the opportunity to interview one of gaming's most prolific composers, Inon Zur. In addition to scoring video games, Zur has also scored various television shows, movies and even webisodes. Zur's body of work within the gaming industry includes prominent titles such as Men of Valor, Crysis, Prince of Persia, Dragon Age: Origins, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and the recent critically acclaimed Fallout 4. We chatted with Zur while he was in town giving a talk at the Montreal International Games summit.

G4 Canada: What sparked your interest in composing? 

Inon Zur: From a very early age, three years old, I was constantly singing music and it was always a very important part of my life. I was drawn to compose from the age of eight. The moment I touched the piano the only thing I wanted to do was write my own melodies, as opposed to playing other people's melodies. I guess it's not that easy to explain but as composers it's probably in our nature that we're being drawn to it. I also admired amazing composers and looked up to them and really wanted to create music with a passion. The whole feeling of creating and composing something that was new and not there before intrigued me from a very early age.

G4 Canada: Could you pinpoint the moment at which you realized that you wanted to pursue a career in composing? 

Zur: Probably at the age of 11 or 12, when I attended classes for composition. It was when I thought to myself that this is really what I wanted to do.

G4 Canada: What are some of the differences between composing music for video games, movies and TV shows? 

Fallout 4Zur: TV and movies are essentially the same as far as the necessity to be locked to the picture but it does not allow freeform composition, which games do allow.  In video games you have this freedom to write a whole piece from beginning to end in a traditional way like writing concert music. 

G4 Canada: Could you describe the essence of the talk that you gave at this past Montreal International Game Summit? 

Zur: I was talking about the originality factor. What makes something original. What tools do we have as composers (or audio directors) to initiate originality in a musical score. The vision and choices we make to stand out and be more unique.

G4 Canada: Did you feel any pressure having to follow up your wildly acclaimed Fallout 3 score?

Zur: No, it was a pleasure.

G4 Canada: Are there any other composers out there that have inspired your work?

Zur: I am very open to a wide variety of influences but of course I'm influenced by the classical composers like Stravinsky, Korsakov and Debussy, and film composers such as John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith. I also love jazz like George Gershwin. 

G4 Canada: Do you listen to some of your older work every now and then?  

Zur: Sometimes I will go back and see how I tackled challenges from before and see if there are any ideas to gain inspiration from; not to repeat from before but just to be inspired by or even expand on ideas I did not fully develop.

G4 Canada: What is your natural reaction whenever you hear that your work has been nominated for an award? Subsequently, how do you feel when you win?

Zur: It feels nice to be recognized, that people are noticing what you're doing.  We composers are kind of like lonely animals sitting in our caves writing music and we don't really come into contact with the wider public on a regular basis. More than anything else it is a sign of support for your work and recognition for what you're doing.

G4 Canada: Do you have any musical guilty pleasure(s) hidden away on your iPod?  

Zur: Lorde; she has an interesting voice and I'd like to record a project with her.

The soundtrack for Fallout 4 is now available to iTunes. Plus, a video of Zur playing the atmospheric and goose bump inducing Fallout 4 theme on piano can be found here.

 
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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.