Posted on March 09 2015 by Jeffrey Edelstein
There are a great number of musicians out there who happen to be fervent fans of The Legend of Zelda series. From acoustic covers, to jazzy arrangements, to grand orchestrations, it’s difficult to find an interpretation that mesh with one’s own. This week, we had the pleasure of chatting with one such individual about his work, his relation to Zelda and video game music in general, and his future plans. You may know him from either of his Majora’s Mask arrangements – “Waiting for the Dawn” or “Termina’s Demise (Oath to Order)” – or from his varied compositions on the Harmony of Heroes album of Super Smash Bros. music, or he might be a brand new name to you. Whatever the case, learn more about Daniel “Rozen” Jimenez in our full interview, below:
Thanks for coming to talk with us! Would you mind introducing yourself to our readers?
Hello everyone! As many of you know, I’m Rozen and I do arrangements of video game music.
Could you give us a little overview of your work?
By day, I write music for films and other media. By night, I become Rozen, harbinger of terrible fates, which means making everyone listen to my music now and then. I enjoy working on anything related to video game music, be it arranging for big ensembles such as orchestras or choirs or producing projects that involve more than just writing music.
Did you always know you were going to do video game music?
Honestly, not at all! When I was a kid, writing game music seemed like such a godlike thing to do, I didn’t think a mere mortal like me could do it. But it is something I’ve always been fascinated by and wanted to do. And it wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized you could actually get a degree in that! As you can see, it changed my whole life plan.
Is The Legend of Zelda particularly important to you? Or is it just Majora’s Mask?
Zelda is the one who wears green tunics, right?… Haha. Ok, seriously though, The Legend of Zelda is probably the most influential game series in my life. It introduced me to video games back when I was 3. Having played all of the games in the series so far, its music, art, story and adventure-packed gameplay continue to define my standards of gaming.
Will you be pursuing more Majora’s Mask or Zelda music arrangements?
I’m definitely going to do more Zelda music in the future. Majora’s Mask may or may not be next on the list. It all depends on how people keep reacting to my work and if they would like to hear more from that particular game. I also have to keep in mind that there are already a lot of great MM tracks out in the world. I’d like to show other games some love as well
Have you been to the Symphony of the Goddesses event or heard the arrangements? What are your thoughts?
I’m a huge fan of the incredibly well-done arrangements that are put together for the show. As an orchestrator, it would be my dream to work in such a magical production.I especially liked the way they could fit so many songs in the two-hour concert, hitting extra special places in my nostalgic heart. Thirty years of great gaming experiences flashed before my eyes! My favorite section of the concert was definitely the Ocarina of Time Medley, with a very dark version of Ganon’s Battle.
How did you get involved with Harmony of Heroes? Is there any reason you didn’t create a Majora’s Mask arrangement for that?
At the time, I was in my senior year at Berklee College of Music and I had been arranging video game music for choir. I had participated in one of the tracks for Harmony of a Hunter, so Darren, the producer of the album, contacted me to do another track, this time on my own. It was perfect timing because I had access to a live orchestra and very talented people to help me record and produce that track, which went on to become Final Destination. And I had so much fun with that experience that I couldn’t just say no to making more tracks for him. As for Majora’s Mask, the production team didn’t see fit for us to cover every single track from the Zelda franchise since it’s the one with the most existing covers and remixes. Plus, all the Zelda tracks for the album were already taken when I joined.
How would you compare working on an enormous group collaboration like Harmony of Heroes to working on your individual projects? Do you prefer one over the other?
With Harmony of Heroes, I learned a great deal working with all of the talented artists involved. But it was also tough and time consuming because I had to not only arrange tracks that matched the quality standards of the album as a whole, but I also had to supervise over 60 other musicians to make sure their tracks held up as well. As fun and enriching as being an Assistant Director was, I still prefer taking the reins of my own productions, where I get to work more closely on the music concepts I have in mind.
Your music tends to set an atmosphere of sorts for listeners, usually in grand arrangements. Do you see yourself continuing to create large-scale arrangements, or do you have smaller covers in mind as well?
My goal is always to experiment with new things within my stylistic realm and make the next arrangement different from the last. That said, I do plan on releasing some “simpler” covers soon. Actually, I’m hoping to release little pieces periodically in preparation for my next Zelda album: “Era of Light and Dark,” another collaboration with Reven.
Any final words for the listeners and readers here at Zelda Informer?
I’m very honored and grateful for all the support that I’ve constantly found in this community. Don’t be shy and let me know what you would like me to cover next! And, in the immortal words of Link: “Hyah, hyah hyah.”