Tim Reichert is a composer and audio designer living in Germany. He has played a variety of instruments over the years, and currently plays the euphonium and piano.
He released a free-to-use Visual Novel Audio Pack in March of 2018 which you can get here. His favorite track from the set is “For Everyone” because he loves pieces that are hopeful and inspiring, like “You Say Run” from Boku no Hero Academia or “Fight Ver. 4” from Grandia 2.
His compositions are mostly inspired by Japanese film, anime, and game composers. These include Joe Hisashi (Studio Ghibli), Revo (Bravely Default), Jun’ya Ota a.k.a. ZUN (Touhou series), and pianists such as Tempei Nakamura, Yiruma, and Marasy8.
Tim’s style focuses on powerful, memorable melodies and music which amplifies the emotion of media. His work includes a variety of styles such as jazz, electronic, metal, chiptune, orchestral, and ambient. If you’re interested in working with Tim on a project, head over to his website or follow on Twitter. You can also listen to samples of his music on Soundcloud and YouTube.
We talked with Tim about how he got into music, his inspirations, and his advice for new composers getting into music for games. Read or listen to the interview below.
Click here to show interview transcript
Today we are interviewing Tim Reichert. He is a composer and audio designer living in Germany, mostly inspired by Japanese musicians and composers. Good to have you here, Tim.
Hi. I’m glad to be here too.
What inspired you to get into music? And particularly, composing for games?
It’s mostly a coincidence that I got into music. Back in around 3rd grade, on my way home in the evening, I randomly met a friend of mine and he told me that he was going to a brass corps event where one could try out some brass instruments and join the brass corps if they’re interested. She asked me if I’d like to come along. I ended up coming along and I joined the brass corps, and that’s how I was introduced to music in general.
Composing itself came mostly naturally to me since I really love being creative. Composing for video games, I chose that because I’ve been a gamer since I was really young [since] back when my uncle gifted me a Game Boy Color with some games.
Yeah, I saw you had mentioned Pokemon Blue as one of your early video game inspirations. You mentioned playing brass. What instruments do you play?
In the brass corps, I’m currently playing the euphonium. It’s kind of a smaller tuba. I’m also playing the piano. I was also kind of forced to play flute back in school and I experimented around with guitars for a bit, but I never really got into flute or guitars. I did go through multiple deep brass instruments in the brass corps like the baritone before I arrived at the euphonium.
How does that affect how you make your compositions? Do you think of music in terms of brass, or is that a preferred instrument sometimes? Does it change the way you approach music?
I really love the French horn, and I really love using it in my compositions. And in regards to the piano, I’m actually using that in a lot of my compositions as well because for me it’s easier to make the piano sound realistic in comparison to other instruments. I love using the piano.
Are there specific patches or samples or synthesizers that you use to replicate those instruments?
I really like the Omnisphere one. I think it’s called Key Lab. And I use the Hollywood Orchestral samples from EastWest. Those are really good for making instruments sound reasonably realistic as well.
Yeah, I’m a huge fan of the EastWest stuff. It’s very nice. When you’re composing, what does a typical day look like for you?
I’m more of a night person, waking up at 10 or 11 AM doing all that morning stuff. Then I’m usually getting to the non-composing side: Answering to emails or messages, posting things on social media, things like that. And then I get to actually working on music and sounds. I try to get done as much as possible while doing smaller breaks inbetween. I work most of the week on music stuff, but I try to take at least one day off to just relax.
It’s always important to have those relaxing days. You mentioned using social media. Do you have any tips for musicians and composers who want to connect to other music people through social media?
Engaging with other musicians by replying to their posts. If they’re uploading something and asking for feedback, give some feedback. Share some of your own things.
Sounds good to me. Always important to support other artists. Speaking of other artists, what games and game composers have specifically influenced and informed your work?
In regards to games, I’d say the composer who influenced me early on was ZUN, the creator of the Touhou games. That’s the famous bullet hell series. There’s a huge focus on the melodies in his pieces which I really love and practice in my own pieces.
The composers that influenced me the most are actually the ones that come from outside of gaming, like Joe Hisashi. [He] technically composed for a few games, most well known being Ni No Kuni, but he’s still mostly a movie composer. And there’s also Revo, who also technically did compose for a game (Bravely Default) but he’s mostly known as the leader of the band Sound Horizon which also composes for anime from time to time.
Both of these composers and ZUN have one thing in common: Their pieces have a high focus in melody, making the projects they are composing for even more memorable.
Yes, there’s a lot of memorable tunes from major franchises that people get stuck in their head. Which of your past projects was your favorite, and why?
The game jam game that [I made with] a friend of mine a year ago. I think I mostly enjoyed it so much because I got a chance to try my hand at game design in addition to audio. It was lots of fun to work together and make our own game, and we actually managed to get 9th place out of 70, so the confirmation that it was very well received made me like it even more.
For part of the soundtrack, I focused on a more ambient approach, but a few themes were melody-driven since the game itself was inspired by Undertale which also has really memorable themes. I tried to express that with the music as well.
On the flip side, what is the most significant challenge you’ve faced as a composer developing music?
Sometimes I get commissioned by clients where my composition style wouldn’t fit to their vision. They would demand many and frequent changes, so I think satisfying them was quite a challenge. At the beginning it would be especially hard to only get negative feedback. I sent pieces their way until it became more clear that it might be better to move on to save each other’s time and avoid more frustration.
So it would definitely be not anyone’s fault, but just be bad team composition. But I learned it’s important to accept it if it doesn’t work out, instead of trying to force it.
Do you have any advice or tips that you could give to either composers or game developers to avoid situations like that?
In regards to the developers, it’s good to listen to a lot of the composer’s tracks or demos to make sure their style really fits to the kind of game you’re trying to make.
In regards to the composer, recognizing whether their vision and your style work together. That’s something that can be hard for some composers, which was hard for me as well. So I’d say looking out for whether they want something different that doesn’t fit into your style can be quite important.
Yeah, there’s definitely a kind of “fit” you need for composer and game dev and team in general. So you worked with some vocalists on your recent visual novel pack. What was it like working with them?
It was actually going pretty smoothly and it was quite a lot of fun. I got one vocalist who volunteered to help me on the track “I’ll Be Here.” It was really awesome. She’s a really great singer.
One of the rappers, for the track “The Power in My Hands” was a friend of mine. The last track, “Strange Melody” was a bit harder to record since I composed it last summer and tried to work with two singers on it but both had to cancel the collaboration. But I finally arrived at the singer Yukari. From then on, it went very smoothly as well.
In general, it was very fun to collaborate.
Is there any general advice would you give to someone who’s new to the industry and interested in creating music for video games?
I believe there are many people saying things like, “You can’t become a musician because there’s too much competition,” or “No one cares about music, it’s all about art and story,” and I personally think that they’re wrong for the most part. The competition part is definitely right, but that you can’t become a musician because of it, I really don’t agree with that.
Becoming a musician is a risk, and you have to decide for yourself if you want to go down that route, but it’s never impossible. If you work towards the goal, I can’t imagine that you can’t sustain yourself one day. I’ve been working towards becoming a video game composer for half my life, and I enjoy making music too much to get discouraged by that rather negatively inspired advice.
Absolutely. If you’ve got the passion, then you just need to go for it. What is next for your Music?
Currently, there’s a big visual novel game jam going on called NaNoReNo. Other than that, I don’t have too precise plans for the near future except keeping to commissions, working on the university degree, and building up my home studio.
Sounds like a great plan. Where can people find more about you and your music?
I mostly upload new compositions to my YouTube channel and update my demo reel every now and then. My website is also where one can find my social media links and more info about me and my work.
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