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Insights Into Materia Collective's Hero of Time Album

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Hero of Time Interview

Materia Collective recently launched their Hero of Time fan album in collaboration with Eric Buchholz from the now closed Zelda Reorchestrated. For those who don't know, Hero of Time is a creative album based on the Ocarina of Time soundtrack. We were able to conduct a short interview with Eric as well as Sebastian from Materia Collective. Be sure to check it out below for some insights into the album...

How would you compare your time working on Ocarina of Time with ZREO vs the time you've spent on Hero of Time?

Eric: Back in the old days, Zelda Reorchestrated was an effort to recreate the original Zelda tracks using MIDI and high quality sample libraries. We ended up completing the entirety of the Ocarina of Time soundtrack in 2009, with the vast majority of tracks being a 1:1 transcription of the original, perhaps with some minor orchestration changes.

Hero of Time takes a more creative approach, with a fine balance of tracks that are blended with other sources of inspiration, while others remain much more conservative. This was necessary in order to tell a more immersive story, while still remaining true to the original soundtrack that so many of us hold so close to our hearts.

Did you have any moments in the process of creating Hero of Time where the tracks just didn't seem quite right? Any hiccups that especially stood out?

Eric: The most difficult track for me to arrange was probably the title track, Hero of Time. Originally it was simply going to be an arrangement of Ocarina of Time’s Title Theme, but I couldn’t quite work it into something that I felt represented the album as the title track. Something felt missing. That was when I decided to incorporate the Legend of Zelda Main Theme, and the track finally “clicked.” I’m pleased with the result!

Sebastian: There were some aspects of the recording that aren’t perfect, but that’s one of the things I love about it! The human nature shines through the minor imperfections, setting it apart from what would otherwise be a pristine and exclusively VST-based/synthesized album.

You've been in this field for a while and have learned a lot over the last handful of years. Is there anything new you've learned from this project?

Eric: Every project is a new opportunity to learn and develop as a creator. The recording sessions themselves were especially enlightening, with learning how to efficiently manage a session, making changes/improvements to the score while the orchestra is on the stage, and determining which orchestration ideas fell through.

The biggest thing for me was probably learning more about how I operate under pressure on a daily basis, all while wrestling with planning, budgeting, communicating with the team, and the occasional nights of anxiety and doubt. We only had four months to write all of the music, orchestrate, and format/print out the parts, so naturally there was quite a bit of pressure! Being able to cope with high stress is one of the bars of entry for being a full time music composer.

Sebastian: Great question! This project provided an excellent array of unique opportunities and lessons that I’m happy to share.

First, Hero of Time proved what is now possible with the support of the video game music -- and Zelda fan communities. Imagining a crowdfunded project like this a decade ago is unimaginable; without today’s tools and reach, ambitious projects were simply untenable for even the most inspired of creators.

Second, the baseline of your average “fan” project has been raised again; something that I’m honored to continue to help facilitate through the efforts of Materia Collective.

Third, good accounting and budget planning is hugely important. The old adage, “mo’ money, mo’ problems” applies, especially when working on projects at a larger scale.

What inspired the idea for the Treasure track (it's a surprising one)?

Sebastian: That one is absolutely my fault. We were anticipating (and hoping for) some extra time with the orchestra, so we wanted to have fun... in potentially the most financially irresponsible way. I like magic tricks, and the Shepard Tone auditory illusion is one of my favorites. The endless stairs in Mario 64 made use of that, and I figured it could easily be applied to … an endless treasure chest.

Can you tell us anything about your next project or is it too soon for that?

Eric: I can’t say we haven’t started thinking about what’s next… hopefully we can share details soon!

Sebastian: :)

About the Author: Austin Dickson

Austin Dickson has been around the Zelda fandom for years. He started Link's Hideaway as a small personal project, which later turned into something of which he never thought possible. He enjoys writing articles, guides, walkthroughs, and developing the different Concealed Gaming network sites.

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