Throughout the Nintendo Life Video Game Music Festival we're speaking to a range of composers and musicians for a mixture of in-depth interviews and shorter, sharper (and perhaps a little goofier) Q&As where we ask just ten rapid-fire personal questions; we're calling these shorter features 'Quick Beats'.
Today we're catching up with the legendary composer behind countless VGM classics, including a run of Rareware NES classics too long to list, the Donkey Kong Country series (of course!), and more recent work such as the incredible soundtracks to Tengami and Snake Pass, not to mention Playtonic's Yooka-Laylee pair.
So, let's find out about David Wise's musical tastes, favourite songs, and all-time heroes...
What was the first song or album you remember buying?
X-Ray Spex, Germ Free Adolescents.
What was the last music you listened to?
What was the very first video game you wrote music for, and how do you feel listening back now?
Slalom on the NES. Not so bad – the beginning of a very long musical journey.
Which piece of yours are you most proud of?
Aquatic Ambiance – technically, it enabled a much bigger sound pallet on the NES
Which piece by someone else do you wish you had written?
I never experience this – always happy to hear what other people have come up [with]. I really admire Uptown Funk and Get Lucky – well-crafted songs.
What do you listen to while you’re driving?
The sound of the engine.
Do you have a musical hero?
Many. My most recent heroes are musicians I used to watch at gigs / festivals who were also on the same line-up. Stan'Ley Samuel. He and his brother Chris had the most amazing band called SaQuii – they were a huge influence on my music. Stan is presently playing guitar on the Specials Tour at the moment.
And Su Robinson. Fab Sax player, who happens to be playing on tour with The South.
Which decade had the best music?
This is a hard one. There have been some amazing songs over the last decade. The most influential was probably the '80s. I was really inspired by Trevor Horn.
Ocarina, harp or bongos — which magical instrument do you take on an epic adventure?
If your house were on fire and you only had time to grab one keepsake before you flee to safety with your family, what would you take?
Our thanks to David — follow him on Twitter @David_Wise. Be sure to check out our other Quick Beats interviews with the likes of Austin Wintory, Yuzo Koshiro, Darren Korb, Jake Kaufman, Lena Raine, Manami Matsumae and more, and keep an eye out for as the Nintendo Life VGM Fest continues.
Check out Daft Punk's new single "Get Lucky" if you get the chance. Sound of the summer.
OMG Germ Free Adolescents by the X-Ray Spex is THE greatest punk record ever put to vinyl.
I guess greatness recognizes greatness ❤
@CharlieGirl It’s probably the original riot grrrl album along with Cut by The Slits. There’d definitely be no Sleater-Kinney or Bikini Kill without it.
Misleading title for sure.
Just going through that youtube link with the compilation of all his work. I gotta say there's a lot of my favorite VG music here, and had no clue that it was all from the same guy. The Wizards & Warriors theme has always been a personal fav.
Damian Wise has no peers in the realm of video game music IMO, the man is responsible for many, many unsurpassed classics.
Anything DKC fills me with an abundance of childlike glee.
Quick beat off
How do I not remember some of these DKC:Tropical Freeze songs? Seashore War. Omg.
Amuses me how so many VGM composers pick the Eighties as their favourite decade for music. Obviously makes sense, as they’re electronic music specialists, but still tickles me
DKC definitely has some of the greatest video game music of all time.
David Wise loves X-Ray Spex! This. This is a factoid I can get on board with.
"What do you listen to while you are driving?"
"The sound of the engine."
This dude is amazing.
Amazing, this man is so awesome and his music is so special and recognizable!! ❤️
@CharlieGirl It's weird because I love first wave punk and female singers but I couldn't get into Germ Free Adolescents, I will give it another try though.. Crass and Penetration on the other hand I love.. Good to see some old punks on this site! 🎸🤘
Pretty cool short and sweet interview! Thanks for posting this.
"Ocarina, harp or bongos — which magical instrument do you take on an epic adventure?"
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is all well and good, but I don't think that game alone makes bongos a magical instrument, per se. Name one time someone's ever pulled out their Bongos of Time to channel a rainstorm into existence.
@Not_Soos Goron Link in Majora's Mask?
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