Interview with Pixietricks

Name: Jill Goldin
Songs: Schala and the Queen, To Far Away Times

Pixietricks is a vocalist contributor to the project, and a darn good one. My interview follows:

1. Singing on remixing is a rarity, and your presence endows the project with something truly special! How'd you find out about Chrono Symphonic?

I first heard about the project through Andrew, who PM’ed me about singing for a couple tracks. From the songs that were already up on “ye olde” site, I was duly impressed. And reading over the forum history, it was clear that he already had a slew of people involved and enthusiastic. Remixers, artists, web designers—everyone had something to bring to the table.

2. How'd you take on an affinity for singing in general?

Hee hee hee… All right, you asked for it! ^_^ Here’s the story. Once upon a time, my dad was in a rock band at MIT. After having a couple kids, he started to feel a little old. So he did what many middle-aged men do: hark back to their college days. My uncle, a musician at the time, agreed to lend him some recording equipment for a while, so he started to tool around with that.

After writing a silly song, my dad decided it would be cute to include my older brother’s voice saying something or another. (I was only five at the time, but I vaguely recall that it might have had to do with octopi…?) Well, naturally, I asked, “Why don’t I get to say something for daddy’s song?” So he wrote another one just for me! It was about saving the rainforests from destruction. I have a feeling I might regret this somewhere down the road… but here you go, for all your listening pleasure.

"The Rainforest Song": http://www.fayhaven.com/The%20Rainforest%20Song.mp3

And what a coincidence! There was an Omni Theater film about rainforests showing at Boston’s Museum of Science, so my dad brought it in and they decided to play it during the credits section. I guess that egged him on, so he bought his own equipment and I continued to record in his studio throughout my childhood. Coupled with church choir, cello lessons, school musicals, and five summers at a performing arts camp, I started to really enjoy music.

It wasn’t till my junior year of high school that I realized I wanted to make my career in singing. There, I had the joy of working with three incredible teachers who continue to inspire me to no end. And I think my summer in Tanglewood’s vocal program was what finally convinced me. (For those of you that might not know, Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.)

I’m now a second-year undergraduate at Peabody Conservatory of Music, studying classical voice (i.e. opera and art song). And there you have it. Please don’t blackmail me? ^o^

3. When did you first play / why do you like Chrono Trigger?

As a matter of fact, this project is what influenced my decision to finally play the game. The music is awesome, for one thing. I got all misty when I first heard Reu’s rendition of “To Far Away Times.” And I’ve always been interested in the idea of time travel and alternate dimensions…perhaps from watching a little too much Star Trek TNG. ^_~

4. Was there any difficulty pronouncing the Japanese syllables correctly?

Not too much trouble with the words. I take Japanese classes, watch a lot of anime, and have had the experience of singing in the language before. Mainly for ‘Prayer,’ my Zelda remix, and a Nakada song cycle that I’m currently studying for my recital in Japan this summer. But I think the hardest syllable to get right is “u,” because it’s not really a “u” in the American sense of the word. Or French, or Italian, or German. It’s a neutral sound, but not quite a schwa. Eh! Someday I’ll get it right… o_O

Syncing the rhythm for “To Far Away Times,” however, was probably the greatest challenge. Because Reu had originally recorded the piece solo, it was difficult to sing through the accelerando’s without sounding like I was following the piano. (Typically the pianist would follow the singer in live performance because it is easier to cue from her breathing.)

5. What recording equipment do you use?

At school, I use a combination of my mini-disc recorder (with a better mic), and the built-in speakers that come with my mac powerbook. I’m hoping that I can convince my recording friends to sneak me into the real facilities for future remixes, but it’s slightly illegal. Shhh….

At home, I use my dad’s studio for the main stuff, and my laptop for more background-y things that I know are going to be covered with effects anyway.

The studio:
- Alesis ADAT digital recording modules
- Mackie mixing board (CR1604)
- Tascam DA30 digital audio tape recorder
- Audio Technica (AT3035) large diaphragm condenser mic

6. Are you currently attempting or planning to become a mainstream recording artist?

Good question. I’m currently studying to become a mainstream classical singer—in opera, art song, or both—but I wouldn’t rule out other possibilities. I try to be a flexible performer, and because I have a wide variety of interests, I don’t know if I could actually restrict myself to that one category. It’s something I sort of need to figure out, over time. I really love the New Age scene, and electronic music has become a beloved hobby, so who knows? I like where things are going so far! It’s very rewarding to branch out… I think that many classical musicians are missing out on some incredible stuff when they say “poo poo” to anything that doesn’t fit their narrow definition of good music. Not that all of them do. ^_~


7. What’s new with your vocal studies?

I made my international solo debut in Japan this summer, and it was an enlightening experience. Since then, I’ve been studying more Japanese vocal repertoire in preparation for a recital this January. You’d be surprised how wide a selection there is, and so much of it never reaches the light of day! So I’m really excited about that; it’s become somewhat of an obsession. Additionally, I’ve been cast in two early music operas—"Actéon" by Marc-Antoine Charpentier and "Dioclesian" by Henry Purcell—to be performed in February.

8. Plan to work on another site project?

Yes! I have been asked to join the Tales of Phantasia/Symphonia “Summoning of Spirits” project, in which I’ll be collaborating with another of OCR’s talented pianists, Dhsu. And for “Milkway Wishes: A Kirby Superstar Collaboration Project,” RoeTaKa and I have something in the works as well. ^_~

9. How does it feel to be part of a Chrono Trigger OCR site project now that it's complete?

Wonderful. Although Dark Side of Phobos was eventually released before Chrono Symphonic, this project will always hold a special place in my heart as the first I was heavily involved in. Moreover, the music of Chrono Trigger is some of the best out there, and the idea of turning that into an orchestral movie score was…well…perfect. I am proud to have worked with, directly or indirectly, so many talented classical musicians. You have made this all so worthwhile.

10. Anything you'd like to say to Chrono fans?

The legend lives!

Anyway, thanks for the interview, and congratulations to everyone that has been involved in this project! It’s been a lot of fun, and something to be very proud of.

Author Comments on Tracks

Schala and the Queen - With “Schala and the Queen,” I imagine an epic battle scene in which an ethereal voice soars over the turmoil below. It provides a sense of peace amongst chaos, as if the only thing that can keep our band of heroes from turning home is this ultimate image of serenity. “Shadows of fate on the horizon”; the image resonates in the distance, never fading. Hope.

To Far Away Times - One could argue that “To Far Away Times” is a love song, and I would agree, but one of beautiful comradeship. This is a journey we have concluded together, and the memory will always be with us, even if we must go our separate ways. The incredible power of love—being able to depend on one another—is what got us through. And now we may pause to reflect upon our past, to guide us toward a better future.

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