Symphony of the Goddesses’ Jason Michael Paul Talks Zelda, Nintendo, Future Projects

The acclaimed Symphony of the Goddesses is about to kick off its 2015 “Master Quest” tour, and we were lucky enough to sit down with the show’s executive producer Jason Michael Paul to discuss his work with Nintendo and what we might see from their collaboration in the future.

[Hardcore Gamer] You’ve produced a number of video game-related symphonies – what’s your personal history with video games?

Well, I’m 38, so my childhood was spent playing everything from Pong to the Atari to Coleco,  NES, Sega Genesis. I’m from that age group. That’s where my introduction began. I always had blood in the industry. And then when I got into adulthood and got into production I had my hands in a number of video game projects, but not necessarily in music.

How did your relationship with Nintendo start?

It began in 2005. I was introduced to the composer, and also the VP at the time I became acquainted with, and she was very instrumental in paving the way for my relationship with Nintendo. She was very excited about the idea. She was so excited they had Kondo participate in the concert. That was really great.

How involved has Nintendo been in the production of Symphony of the Goddesses?

Everything is run through them, the approval process all goes through Aounuma and Kondo. It’s a wonderful coloration. All the marketing is being handled by brand managers from Nintendo. They’re all really passionate about the project.


What has it been like to work with such esteemed individuals as Koji Kondo and Eiji Aonuma?

Humbling and inspirational. They’re men of very few words. Highly regarded individuals. I’m blessed to even have the opportunity to be working with them and doing what I’m doing.

Zelda fans will fondly remember the previous Symphony of the Goddesses – what sort of changes or additions can they look forward to this time around?

Obviously with Majora’s Mask remake we have new footage and arrangements now. We had it before it was even released which was cool. A Link Between Worlds also has a presence now, and I oversaw it myself which I’m very proud of. It’s got a Hyrule/Lorule theme – the visuals are really spectacular. Wind Waker also got an HD remake too, so those movements are all updated with new visuals. We’re also  bringing the repertoire from the 25th anniversary concert. Really the only thing that’s the same is the four movement symphony.

This upcoming tour of Symphony of the Goddesses carries the “Master Quest” subtitle – will this be the last tour?

(Laughs) Oh no. Maybe it’ll be a 3D concert experience next time (laughs). Just kidding. We’ll come up with something cool. It just felt right to call it Master Quest, you know, after we had “Second Quest” last time.


You produced an overture for Nintendo’s 2011 E3 press conference, so with a new Zelda game set to release this year will you be reprising that role for this year’s E3? 

I dunno, we’ll see. I do have a show at the Walt Disney concert hall on the Sunday before E3, and that wasn’t an accident. There’s a lot of stuff. I’m only provided certain opportunities, and I’m just hoping that Nintendo takes them. It’s their ship to sail. I can only create opportunities, and I’m hopeful from a fans’ perspective that Nintendo wants to see them through.

Have you thought about producing similar symphonic arrangements inspired by other famous Nintendo franchises?

I have another idea that I’m hopeful I can deliver upon in the vein of what you’re speaking of. I hope I get the opportunity to do it. Nintendo has volumes of source material, and they’re all equal in respect of what it would consist of in a concert.

What’s your personal favorite Zelda game?

A Link Between Worlds, because it was the first game I’d played since Ocarina of Time. I’ll be honest with you (laughs). I enjoyed it. It has a lot of the cool elements I enjoyed as a kid in the SNES days. I also like Skyward Sword because I was able to be a part of it. I produced the soundtrack CD that was packed in with the bundle, and that was amazing. It was surreal. It’s one of those little geek out moments, you know?

Those interested in attending a show on the Symphony of the Goddesses’ Master Quest tour can head over here to find the destination closest to them.