Forza Motorsport 7 Soundtrack Interview

Kaveh Cohen Interview


Forza Motorsport 7 Soundtrack


How did the two of your get started working together and how long have you been working together?
Michael and I have been close friends for about two decades now. We had worked on some projects
together early on but spent most of our time on individual projects before deciding to formally team up
and start our production company, Ninja Tracks, back in 2004. We've gone on to co-score many projects
in film, television, games and movie advertising together over the last 13 years.

How was the process going into Forza Motorsport 7 different from when you both worked on Forza
Motorsport 6?

The Forza 7 score is a complete departure from our approach to Forza 6. For F6, the idea was to give the
score a really filmic sense of depth and scope and to introduce themes to the franchise for the first time.
It was a hybrid score recorded with a large 90 piece orchestra. For F7, our conversations early on with
Turn 10 Studios centered around the idea of "humanizing" the game, from the GUI to the overall
aesthetic look and feel and the music. In thinking of the notion of humanizing the music, the game's
audio director felt this could be translated into a band playing together in a room, which in turn after
some creative discovery, led us down the road of writing essentially a vintage rock score.

What helped to differentiate this soundtrack from your typical racing game soundtrack?
Most racing games have licensed songs from artists. Forza 7's instrumental rock score was all written
from the ground up and features a who's who of rock players and engineers, all of whom have worked on
some of the biggest and most prolific rock artists and albums. It was pretty amazing to be able to work
with such talent.

Was there a particular piece that was cut from the soundtrack that you were sad to see go?
With the exception of some revisions, I'm very happy to say all the music written made it's way into the
game!

How long were you both working on this particular project?
From inception to delivery was almost a year.

How does working on video game soundtracks compare to working with film scores?
Although each medium has it's own particular idiosyncrasies, there are a lot of similarities as well. In film
and television you do typically have to work a lot faster as the deadlines are generally very demanding.
Working in games, we usually have a lot more time to develop a score. I personally enjoy aspects of each
format so it's really refreshing to be able to move from one type of project to another. The videogame
industry in particular has been really rewarding to work in. Our clients have all been very open minded
and have allowed us a lot of creative freedom when approaching our scores.

What inspired each of you to the path of being a composer?
My love of music started as a young child. I started with piano lessons but soon discovered that I could
write my own little tunes. My first meaningful exposure to film music was John Williams' score for E.T. in
1982. I remember being absolutely stunned by what I was hearing so I asked my parents to buy me the
theme from E.T. on a 7" vinyl that I still have here in the studio. I would sit on the floor in front of the
turntable listening to it over and over. As I got a little older, I discovered TV music as well. I would record
the themes to my favorite shows like Knight Rider, Airwolf or the A-Team on a small cassette player. I
think as a result I knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a composer.

What advice would you give for aspiring composers?
I think the most important part of the artists' journey is for the aspiring composer to find his or her own
musical aesthetic or signature. As a composer, you spend years laboring on various projects and each, in
it's own way, helps to shape and mold what over time becomes a very identifiable signature for the
composer. It's important to be writing and perfecting your art all the time. Really make an effort to learn
your craft and the tools of the trade, especially since so much of a scoring career nowadays requires
technical knowledge.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Great chatting with you and thank you!

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us!