Interview: Timothy Michael Wynn
On February 7th, the world got a taste of “The Darkness II”. The long-awaited sequel was out in the light, for all to see. We gladly take a look back on the game that scored a strong 8 out of 10, from a different point of view. We had the opportunity to speak with Timothy Michael Wynn, who was the composer on “The Darkness II”. Soundtracks are often overlooked. But this one deserved recognition, directly with the man who wrote it. Here is what Timothy was so kind to answer for us.
ROH: Could you tell us a bit about your past? Where did your musical origins begin to form?
Timothy: From the time I can remember, I have always been writing music. It could start as a simple tune and then I’d add the lyrics. I have an older sister and brother so I would always listen to their music. ELO, Elton John, The Beatles, and Split Enz were my early favorites. I was introduced to classical and jazz music in high school and I decided at 13 that music was my future.
ROH: What were your first inspirations? Do you have any notable inspirations in music today?
Timothy: In the classical world I was inspired by Debussy and Holst at the start. Their use of imagery in music spoke to me. On the pop front, Crowded House was very influential to me growing up. Today, I would say the music of James Newton Howard and Jerry Goldsmith are my inspiration. If I were asked to make a list of all of my influences it would be very long. I love all music and always look for ways to incorporate different styles of music together.
ROH: Can you describe the process of writing for something specific such as “The Darkness II” compared to freely writing without boundaries?
Timothy: I think as a writer, you are always looking for inspiration. It could be breaking up with a girlfriend or another life event, there is usually something. I try to use that same motivation for scores. With The Darkness I try to internalize the story as my own. For The Darkness that would be trying to incorporate Jackie’s emotions.
ROH: In writing music. Some parts are more commonly written before others. Is there any template you use while composing from the ground up?
Timothy: With each new project I try to start fresh and create from the ground up. Most often I start with the strings or piano and then take it from there. There’s a saying in real estate – “location, location, location.” For me and composing it’s “melody, melody, melody.” Granted that might not be true with combat music, but it’s always there.
ROH: The song that stands out to many, is the track “Jenny”. This song brilliantly conveys specific themes such as love as well as loss. Can you tell us about what this song represents to you?
Timothy: Thanks for the compliment. It was extremely important to get that one right. To me, it’s a tone poem. I wanted it to a have a visual quality. There is so much violence in The Darkness world I thought this theme was crucial to making the game as great as it is. I wanted to create a piece of music that the listener (without knowing anything about the story) would instantly feel the emotion of Jackie and Jenny. I recorded it without a click track so it has a certain emotional quality you can’t often achieve in game scores.
ROH: Was there anything unexpected or that stood out during this project?
Timothy: Every game has it’s challenges and The Darkness II was no exception, but overall the process went smooth. Recording the score in Prague was a real treat. It was my first time there and the city is amazing. The guys at 2K and Digital Extremes were extremely supportive and are striving for the best score possible. It really makes my job much easier.
ROH: Have you had a chance to play “The Darkness II”? What did you think? Does the game itself make you look at any of your work in a new light?
Timothy: Yes I have played the game. Sometimes it can be difficult to play the game with your music. At least for me. Unlike films where you know how every scene is going sound to sound, in games the “scene” always changes. Music can get triggered in ways not expected. It’s always interesting to see how developers implement your music in the game.
ROH: What are your hopes for your future? Anything that interests you? Perhaps “The Darkness III”, should it ever be announced?
Timothy: I would love to be involved with The Darkness III. The cliff hanger at the end of the story makes me hungry for more! For me, I want to continue being involved in projects with talented and amazing people. I feel very fortunate to be able to write music for The Darkness II and look forward to the next challenge!
ROH: Is there anything you have to say to all the people reading, who appreciate your work and this experience?
Timothy: Absolutely. I love the passion of all of the fans of my scores that take the time to send me wonderful emails or like me on facebook: www.facebook.com/timothymichaelwynn or www.timwynn.net. Music is such an intimate art and hearing from other people that appreciate your work is amazing! Thank you.
We cannot say how grateful we are that Timothy took the time out of his day to reach out to his fans. Musicians and gamers alike, can appreciate the works of Mr. Wynn and his efforts to bring a fictional world to life. A goal that in my opinion, he far surpassed. “The Darkness II” is available now at any major retailer. Just remember. Any game is only as exciting as the music tells it to be. Here is hoping that we speak with Timothy again, very soon!