Remixing Street Fighter II – Malcos music interview

By Jeriaska . August 15, 2008 . 10:21pm

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is in open beta on XBox Live Arcade until September 5.  The full game is headed to XBLA and PSN, with high resolution sprites by artists at Udon Entertainment and an arranged soundtrack by members of OverClocked ReMix.  London-based musician Malcos has been contributing to the online remixing community since 2001 and is serving as assistant soundtrack director on the game. His arrangements will be featured on the stages belonging to Ryu, Cammy, Dhalsim, and M. Bison.  Here he joins us to discuss the creative process behind his music and his participation on the score for SSFII:THDR.




Siliconera: Malcos, thank you for joining us.  Viewing your remixer profile page, it appears that a number of your online arrangements are inspired by Sega Genesis titles.  Your song "Smooth Ride" is based on Super Hang-On, "Deep Mine" is from Gunstar Heroes, and there are five Sonic remixes online as well.  Has this been the most significant console for you in terms of your interest in videogame soundtracks?


Malcos:  The Genesis (we in the UK know it as the Megadrive) was my first games console. There are so many great soundtracks for that system and the ones I have remixed are among my favourites. The best thing about good videogame soundtracks is that they are so memorable — those particular soundtracks stand out as really being an integral part of the experience.


Siliconera:  You explain on your website that you are a self-taught musician.  Would you say game soundtracks to some extent inspired your decision to learn to play the keyboard?


Malcos:  Most definitely. Videogame tracks are songs that you have heard over and over again, yet good soundtracks never lose their magic. My first gaming platform was the Gameboy, and because of the 8 bit sound it was easy to identify the distinct instrumental parts, even though I was never quite sure what those instruments were meant to be! It was a good learning tool when I first started teaching myself the keyboard at age 10. I've found the process of teaching myself how to play the keyboard great fun. Everything I do is by ear, I hear it in my head then I work out how to play it.


Siliconera:  In what direction were you interested in taking your first Street Fighter II remix back in 2001, called "RyuInterpretation"?  


Malcos:  Ryu's theme is very popular and has been remixed many times. I had so many different ideas for it, and I finally decided to go with something uptempo and just write it as I went along.



Siliconera:  Looking back on your participation on the website so far, what events would you point to as important turning points?


Malcos:  In 2002 I was asked by djpretzel (David W. Lloyd, President & Founder of OverClocked ReMix) to become a judge for the site. That was the point when I became more involved with OverClocked ReMix (OCR). I see it as giving back what the OCR community gave me—there are always lots of people willing to give you feedback on your music.



Siliconera:  For Blood on the Asphalt, the OCR Street Fighter II music compilation from 2006, you served as co-director along with remixing seven tracks.  How did you find the process of arranging the Cammy and Chun-Li themes, together with RedTailed Fox?


cammy-hd-art_tn2.jpgMalcos:   I play a lot of Street Fighter II so I knew the tracks very well. For me it was about sharing my own take on it, keeping the central theme and expanding on it, and having lots of fun in the process. Collaborating with RedTailed Fox (Caio Moraes Ferreira) was great — he started with the Chun-Li theme and I started with the Cammy theme. We both use the same software studio (Reason), and so we just swapped the files, adding and tweaking things until we were both happy with it. We're both mutual fans of each others' music so it worked out very well, and an altered version of the Cammy track will be featured in SFII HD Remix.


Siliconera:  When Capcom approached you to be a participant on the score for the downloadable remixed version, what was it about RyuInterpretation that they responded to? 



Malcos:  Rey Jimenez from Capcom emailed me and Shael Riley (Director of the Blood on the Asphalt project) initially.  We then contacted djpretzel, and the ball started rolling from there. Capcom not only had the Blood on the Asphalt project to select tracks from — djpretzel opened up the entire OCR catalogue for them to choose potential tracks for SFII HD Remix. They earmarked 'RyuInterpretation' as one of several tracks they were interested in. However, that ReMix was made with software that I no longer use, the source file was long lost, and it wasn't a complete ReMix that would be suitable for a game. I remade the track (ReMixed the ReMix?), added the full melody and made some subtle alterations that I thought would make it more fitting for a game soundtrack. I was fortunate that Capcom decided that this track would be the Ryu theme.


Siliconera:  This is a bold step for OverClocked ReMix.  What kind of goals do the participants have coming into this project as representatives of the site, and what are some of your responsibilities outside of remixing? 


Malcos:  As a group we want to ensure that the right tracks go into the game. This is the first time that a fan-made soundtrack has been included in a official videogame release.  The fact that it is a Street Fighter game means that the profile of OCR will undoubtedly be raised significantly. We want to give a good first impression to those who have yet to hear of OCR. As assistant soundtrack director my role was just to make things a little easier when I could, such as emailing everyone information about the tempo values in the original and sped up versions of the stage tracks, reminding people about deadlines, doing final wav mastering/mp3 conversion for some participants, etc. It was more of a facilitator/co-ordinator role really.


Siliconera:  How did the recording process for the game differ from what you have experienced on previous projects?


Malcos:  I personally find it a much quicker and more focused process when I'm writing for any visual scene — the music is a translation of what I am seeing/visualising.  So the music almost writes itself while I try to keep up. With an OC ReMix or an original composition it's more of an exploration of an idea that was already established, and that can take a lot longer – the song evolves over time and the audience only gets to hear the final version.


Siliconera:  And will SSFII:THDR get an OST?


Malcos:  Most likely yes. That's all I can tell you at this time.





Siliconera:  You just released a vocal album called "Both Sides," which is available for free on your website.  You had previously composed a song for OCRemix, a Knuckles Chaotix soundtrack remix called "Over Oceans Blue" sung by Hale Bopp, which won a vocal competition on the site.  Where else do you see yourself headed as a musician?


Malcos:  Although 'Both Sides' is my first vocal album, I had been making the odd vocal song here and there for a few years, most of them for Urbanizmmusic. However with 'Both Sides' I think I finally reached a stage where I was happy with my vocal performance and songwriting, so I asked for the old Urbanizmmusic songs to be removed!  

I'm always looking to expand and improve on my understanding of music and the many ways in which it can be used. I'll be having a couple of my tracks featured in the indie film 'Minty the Assassin', which is yet to be released. I've always said that I'd love to have my music appear in games and/or film, so I've made steps in that direction. I've been very fortunate so far in that I've been approached for projects. I'm currently saving up for a Yamaha Workstation keyboard which will open up new realms for me. I hope more projects will come my way!


Hear more from the musician at and on OverClocked ReMix. Images courtesy of Capcom.   

  • Juan

    I hope this game comes out…oh you know BEFORE Street Fighter IV. This game is taking forever. It was supposed to be out this summer and by the looks of it, that is not happening. >:(

  • G

    Great interview, Jeriaska FTW!

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