We got to sit down with Julien Mombert, Director and Producer of The Wild Faery Company to talk about Crystaline Resonance: Final Fantasy — an exciting piano concert celebrating the incredible wealth of music of the Final Fantasy franchise. Without further ado, let’s get into it:
GT: First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to talk with us! If you would, please take a moment and introduce yourself and your company?
And thank you for your interest in this tour! I am the Director and Producer at The Wild Faery Company, a company that specializes in creating cinema concerts focused mainly on video games and Japanese anime.
GT: There are a few Final Fantasy concerts that fans can go and see to celebrate their favorite franchise. What makes Crystalline Resonance unique?
First, this is not unique as there are a couple others out there, but this is an official one produced with Square Enix, along with the various original composers of the songs. However, it is the only official piano concert of FINAL FANTASY outside of Japan.
GT: This isn’t the first time that Final Fantasy has received a piano-only concert, is it?
This is the second time, as we made PIANO OPERA: Music from FINAL FANTASY, in 2015-2016. This concert is a continuation of this tour. PIANO OPERA focused mostly on FINAL FANTASY I to IX, and on Nobuo Uematsu’s music. This time the program is extended to cover FINAL FANTASY I through XV and all composers from the canonical episodes, along with an almost entirely new program. Though Nobuo Uematsu is still very well represented, there is also the addition of music by Masayoshi Soken (FINAL FANTASY XIV) with Answers and Heavensward, Yoko Shimomura (FINAL FANTASY XV) with Somnus and Valse di Fantastica, Masashi Hamauzu (FINAL FANTASY XIII), etc.
GT: The music is synchronized to in-game video on a large screen, correct? Was it a challenge making the arrangement fit the scene?
Yes. The biggest challenge is first to synchronize those images in studio, in rhythm and coherence, between what appears on the screen and in the music. Then the second challenge is performing this live, making sure live musicians will preserve the synchronization. And not many can do that!
GT: Final Fantasy holds a special place for a lot of folks who grew up with the franchise over the years. With a game spanning over 35 years, what are some of the tracks that fans can expect to hear when they come to the concert?
For the first time on the piano, you will hear Heavensward (FINAL FANTASY XIV) arranged especially for this concert under supervision by its composer Masayoshi Soken, along with newly arranged pieces under patronage from Nobuo Uematsu, including Mambo de Chocobo (FINAL FANTASY V), Eyes On Me (FINAL FANTASY VIII), Kiss Me Good-Bye (FINAL FANTASY XII), Answers (FINAL FANTASY XIV), and many more! This concert is really a best of the best of 35 years of music from FINAL FANTASY.
GT: How many songs can fans expect to hear in total for the concert?
More than 20, and at least one from each episode!
GT: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to contend with to bring Final Fantasy to life for the stage?
Choosing among the gigantic repertoire of music available! There are so many fantastic songs…
GT: It may be a difficult question, but do you have a favorite song? If so, from which game or sequence?
I do not have a favorite song, but I have favorite songs across all episodes and composers. That would be a bit too long to go into detail here!
GT: How many cities are planned for your tour? Are they all in the United States, or will you be expanding abroad as well?
48 cities in total. The Euro tour was done in November, the Asia tour just finished in February, and the grand finale is the U.S. (20 cities), Canada and Brazil!
GT: Is there anything you’d like to share with our audience?
While a piano-only concert might seem like a less ambitious concert, or like something is missing compared to an orchestra concert, this is completely untrue. This is just a different experience, with its own uniqueness compared to an orchestra show, and with the same quality and attention as any official FINAL FANTASY concert.
The video program was created by SQUARE ENIX, and supervised by its composer and game development teams. The music is arranged in an amazing and subtle way by the best video game composers and gifted arranger Hiroyuki Nakayama, so that it is not a reduction of the original song, but a new experience. Concert-goers won’t even realize more than two hours has passed once the show is over! From our end, we love doing both orchestra and piano concerts the same way. I would really encourage any FINAL FANTASY fan to come and experience this new show! I am quite confident that you won’t regret it…