Following on from the first article on the sound and music in Immortal Darkness, here is a short interview with Jan Glembotzki, the man behind the music.
Jan is a classically trained violinist, and has been immersed in music his whole life. For the past decade, Jan has composed and produced music for feature films, documentaries, theater and classical ensembles, and has been a finalist and won prizes at major competitions, such as the ‘Transatlantyk Film Music Competiton’ and the ‘International Film Music Competition’ in Zurich. Jan, originally from Hannover, Germany, now lives and works in Tokyo, Japan, and spends his days, working in his studio, teaching music and playing concerts as a solo artist.
ID: Please tell us a little about yourself, and your background. Who is Jan Glambotzki?
JG: Frankly, that’s too philosophical a question to answer for me. Let’s say that every day I’m getting closer to who I think I am… hopefully. 🙂
ID: How did you first discover your talent for music?
JG: At the age of 3 I apparently told my parents that I’d love to get a violin. From that time on my path was set…
ID: What instruments do you play? What is your instrument of choice? Why?
JG: The violin is definitely my main instrument, but being an old metal head I love my electric guitar as well. I studied piano at university, too, though these days I don’t have much time to practice. Having said all that, my weapon of choice is my head; I simply love to compose music.
ID: Do you come from a musical family?
JG: All of my close relatives are involved in the arts. My dad is a composer/multi instrumentalist, my mom is an actress (as well as my aunt, my grandma and grandpa), and my lovely little sister is a gifted opera singer.
ID: What / who are your musical influences?
JG: Definitely my father; he taught me how to survive as a musician, musically as well as financially. Then there are a bunch of classical composers, contemporary artists like James Newton Howard (whose early scores made me want to compose myself) and various rock/metal bands I was constantly listening to as a kid; a huge influence here would be Symphony X, among others.
ID: What is your favorite genre of music?
JG: That’s a tough one. It depends on my mood, I guess. I love the old Massive Attack stuff, ancient anime theme songs, some works of Ralph Vaughn Williams, everything of Mendelssohn…
ID: What do you listen to, to unwind?
JG: Being surrounded by music the whole day, I’d rather grab a good book or listen to a podcast. But I admit there are times I feel the undeniable urge to listen to some 80s rock music. However, since music has a strong, almost drug-like effect on me, I use it rather carefully. 🙂
ID: Have you been in competitions? Any prizes?
JG: As I kid I played a few violin competitions, nothing fancy. More recently I have been price winner of the Transatlantyk Film Music Competition and was invited to Switzerland, being a finalist of the International Film Music Competition of the 8. Zurich Film Festival.
ID: Do you perform in public? Concerts, radio, TV?
JG: I play concerts on a regular basis here in Japan, rather in the classical realm. Have been on Polish national radio, German TV, Japanese newspapers. Nothing groundbreaking though.
ID: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
JG: Mistakes?? 😉 Well, I try to keep my skills at a level that allows me to have a bad day without the audience noticing… hopefully!
ID: What was your most memorable performance? And your favorite venue?
JG: One of the most memorable moment was probably during the rehearsal of the piece I’ve been composing for that competition in Switzerland I mentioned above. They got a world class orchestra to play my score, and the result has been, I say it unashamed, breathtaking.
ID: Tell us about some of the projects you’ve worked on. What was your favorite?
JG: The most extensive collaboration was with a guy from Germany who needed music for the Fantasy musical he was creating at that time. I composed and recorded like 20+ songs within a few month… it has been a tour de force, but I am thankful for the experience. Marc and me have put our hearts into that project, and it shows. 🙂
ID: What was your inspiration for the Immortal Darkness soundtrack?
JG: Well, for one the stunning game art, obviously. As for musical inspiration and style I tried to stay away from any other soundtrack/movie, letting the game (and Chris 😉 alone speak to me. I love the stark contrast between my rather serious music and the dark/cute/adorable/bloody atmosphere that the game visuals are creating.
ID: What is your process when composing and producing a piece for Immortal Darkness?
JG: I don’t use a template or something. Every project starts without any presets; I create everything from scratch, including the EQs for every instrument. This approach might take more time, but I feel less restricted that way.
ID: What music gear and software do you use to compose and produce your music?
JG: I always have been a Windows/Cubase guy. My setup is pretty simplistic: Workstation, monitors, external soundcard. No giant triple screens, no fancy tech. I’m actually pretty mobile with my current setup, which comes in handy at times when I record live musicians at venues other than my home studio.
JG: When I was a kid, my dad had a full blown underground music studio. I can recall the half a dozen tape machines, DAT recorders and the gigantic mixer in the middle of the room. The biggest advantage of a digital environment is certainly the fact that you need a fraction of the money you’d have had to spent on gear during the analog era… but man, dad’s dungeon was MAGIC!
ID: Do you play video games? What is your favorite?
JG: I don’t play regularly, but recently I had some good fun with “Grimrock” and the “Total War” series.
ID: What video games are you playing right now?
JG: Sorry, busy writing the score for a certain game.
ID: Do you draw inspiration from games for any of your musical creations?
JG: Games that had a strong impact on me musically were Dungeon Siege and Diablo, for example.
ID: What other cool projects are you working on?
JG: I’ll produce a CD with my classical project this year, play a lot of concerts, dust off my guitar and read a lot of books. Don’t know if that’s cool though. 🙂
ID: What does the future hold for you and your music?
JG: Who knows? Currently I feel the itch to write for choir… I like to try new things and see where they take me.