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Kristofer Maddigan p4

Soundtrack composer and percussionist Kristofer Maddigan talks about some of the influences that went into specific tunes he created for the Cuphead soundtrack...

READERSVOICE.COM: You started working on the Cuphead songs in 2013. What was your working method? Did you watch various levels of the game provided by your friends at Studio MDHR, and then improvise, or did you look at it and think that it would suit a particular musical style and then go away and compose a piece; or did you use some other method?

KRISTOFER MADDIGAN: A bit of both. The game and music were being worked on simultaneously, so many of the ideas I was working became full fledged tunes before being applied to any particular bosses, while in some cases (ie: the train, the frogs) we knew early on that those tunes were going to be for those particular bosses and then proceeded accordingly. Something like the last boss tunes were specifically written with the Devil in mind, and the Mausoleum was only for the Mausoleum. Much of the process was just me, composing big band tunes at the keyboard, and then figuring out how to make it work later down the line.

RV: In addition to listening to 1000s of jazz, Dixieland, Big Band, Swing and other albums, and reading scores of people like Duke Ellington, as well getting advice from the conductor of the recordings on Cuphead, or advice from the 42 musicians, what other research did you do before and during your compositions for Cuphead?

KM: That’s pretty much it.

RV: What influences went into The Mausoleum and Legendary Ghost?

KM: For the Mausoleum I was given free reign, so I just did what I wanted. I had some ideas that wouldn’t really fit anywhere else (the use of theremin being one) so I went for a real ‘kitchen sink’, spooky ghost approach, although in hindsight it definitely has a very Danny Elfman vibe, however unintended. For Legendary Ghost early Duke Ellington was my primary influence.

RV: What styles went into toe tappers like Murine Corps and Threatenin’ Zeppelin?

KM: For Murine Corps I was very influenced by a famous dance scene by Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers from the film Hellzapoppin’. I just wanted something very ‘riffy’ and up. For Threatenin’ Zeppelin, that’s all Benny Goodman/Lionel Hampton/Gene Krupa.

RV: What are some of your plans?

KM: No writing plans at the moment, I will continue my usual practicing and freelancing schedule until something else comes up.

– See Kristofer Maddigan’s website krismaddigan.com. To listen to some great jazz, swing and ragtime, look up Cuphead on Youtube or Itunes.

– copyright Simon Sandall.