Donkey Kong Country composer discusses working on the project

A portion of an OCRemix interview with composer, David Wise…

OCR: The Donkey Kong Country trilogy is legendary in VGM circles for setting a new standard for SNES audio. For the first game, you worked with Eveline Fischer and Robin Beanland, then flew solo for Diddy’s Kong Quest, with Eveline rejoining you for the third game. Why the changes in lineup? Was this based on availability, interest, etc. or were there specific creative reasons? As the common denominator, how did you work to maintain a consistent feel across the games’ scores?

DW: Eveline was fairly new to writing video game music, having recently come from college. Robin was writing the music for Killer Instinct, so I took his original track and converted it to run on the SNES. I had already completed some games on the SNES, so I was a little more familiar with the Rare process. As for the lineup changes, it was down to who was working on the various projects we had going at the time.

OCR: Donkey Kong Country’s “Aquatic Ambiance” is a favorite game music composition of yours from both an emotional and technical perspective; many fans paused Donkey Kong Country in order to listen to that theme. Do you know whose idea was it to have the music continue playing while the game was paused? That small detail really allowed the soundtrack to stand out that much more…

DW: As I remember, the pause option was very much a last minute decision. I think we had either overlooked having a pause tune and/or were short on space, so having the music continue playing was the most efficient way to solve this.

Full interview here

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