Laura Intravia (Flute Link) Interview
Could you tell us how you started getting into music / the flute?
My very first instrument was actually the piano, when I was seven years old. I started up on the flute two years later, and I really fell in love with the instrument. I started really thinking about a career in music when I was 14 years old, and started listening to film soundtracks. I was already a total band geek when I hit high school, but I added on a few music theory classes, joined the school chorus, played in the orchestra, etc. I was pretty much hooked from that point on!
When and how did this music interest intersect with video games for you?
Actually, video game music came first! When I was 10, my dad knew I was really enjoying my music lessons, and got a simple music notation program for me to play around with-he thought I might enjoy composing my own music. I started playing around with the program, combining different instrument sounds, etc.--I had no idea what chords or harmonies or textures were, so it was all trial and error, of course! But I started using the program to transcribe video game music-I loved listening to the music when my siblings and I would play, and at that point, video game soundtracks weren't yet very popular. So, the only way for me to listen to the music without having to play the games all the time was to transcribe it. I think transcribing is one of the best ways to study a piece of music, so I was learning a lot while having fun!
What is up next for you in regards to Video Games Live?
I'll be appearing on their next album, Video Games Live: Level 3, which is very exciting! I performed on a few different tracks, including the Zelda 25th Anniversary medley, which was my first professional orchestration/arrangement. I can't wait for everyone to hear it!
You gained fame from a YouTube video at the 2008 Otakon Masquerade. Is that how you originally got invited to start with Video Games Live?
Yup! The video had been up for a few months before Tommy saw it-a fan from Canada, who is now a good friend of mine, sent Tommy the video on a whim. Since VGL frequently features various video game musicians, he thought it would be a fun addition to the show, and Tommy agreed! ;-) Tommy emailed my buddy who had posted the video, and the rest is history.
Would you share one of your favorite moments from Video Games Live?
One of my favorites was definitely one of our shows in Taiwan, in 2009; we were on a 12-hour time difference, so we were totally fried, and we were performing our 3rd show in a small tour. I was standing backstage during the Castlevania segment at the beginning of Act 2, and I suddenly felt very dizzy. I assumed it was just because I was tired, so I sat down for a minute and felt fine, forgot about the whole thing-until later, when one of the promoters told us that we had had a small earthquake during the show! Of course, the first thing Tommy said was "Dude! We rocked so hard, we had a $@ing earthquake!!"
Could you tell us a little about your experience working on Dragonvale?
It was a huge learning experience for me! I had met Aubrey Hodges during VGL's fall 2012 tour, super nice guy and insanely prolific composer! I can't even begin to list all of the games he's worked on, all the way back to the original Doom series. He contacted me about a year later to ask me to record penny whistle, recorder, piccolo and classical flute. I actually own all of the instruments, but I actually wasn't too familiar with the technique of each, and all of the fingerings are slightly different between them-so I did a lot of practicing before sitting down and recording everything at my little home studio. It was great fun, and now I'm much more proficient on the instruments. We also recorded a new samples I had purchased for my EWI, an English Horn patch-it came out really great! So I learned a lot about not only my own instruments, but recording technique in general. Those are the best kinds of jobs!
What games have you played in the last year that have had a big impact on you? Also, what are some of your favorite classic video games?
I unfortunately didn't get to finish the game, but-I started playing Last of Us during the summer, and WOW. The game itself was super fun to play, especially for a zombie-lover like me! But my favorite part of the game was the voice acting. I thought it was some of the most realistic, natural acting I've ever heard in a game, and it really immersed me in the atmosphere. The music was also really understated in a great way, so it didn't distract from the "realism" of the zombie apocalypse ;-) I've also gotten into Hearthstone recently-my friends and I love card games, so it's right up our alley! As for classic games, I was definitely a Nintendo girl-Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda: OoT and Majora's Mask, Donkey Kong Country, Star Fox 64. One of my other favs that I wouldn't really call a "classic" yet is Eternal Sonata. What an imaginative story!
I heard that you offering private lessons in flute, voice and composition.
I sure do! No matter what the subject is, I really try to put a strong emphasis on theory and ear training, so lessons are usually a mixture of a few different disciplines. I love teaching, it's one of my favorite things to do-maybe one of these days I'll end up at a school!
What upcoming projects are you working on that you could tell us about?
I've actually got two big ones coming up! I'm contributing to a bunch of tracks on Theophany's upcoming Time's End: Majora's Mask Remixed project. He's been juggling a ton of work, so there's no official release date yet, but I can tell you Jason is crazy talented and I am SO EXCITED for you to hear what he's been working on! I did some penny whistle/flute/recorder/vocals already (see, Dragonvale already is coming in handy!), and I know he has a bunch of other musicians that are doing really great work for the album. The other project is Harmony of Heroes, from Shinesparkers-the same people that produced the Harmony of a Hunter Metroid remixed albums over the past couple of years. This is a HUUUGE endeavor of like a billion different artists, so it promises to be an amazing album with lots of varied styles! I'm arranging a Zelda track right now, and hopefully I'll be adding a Mach Rider track too ;-) And I'll also be singing/playing for some other tracks. It's great fun!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Thanks so much for checking out this interview, hope it was interesting! ;-) If you dig any of the projects I mentioned, they all have Facebook pages, so you can check them out over there. Thanks again!
How can people connect with you?
I have the usuals! Facebook, YouTube, my personal website.