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INTERVIEW
Craig Padilla

Craig Padilla is a musician and was also the Penguin Guard of Icycal
in Working Designs Sega CD title 'Popful Mail'
!

MT> You've been composing and creating electronic music for over a dozen years. How did you get started?
CP> I've actually been involved with music since I was five. I've always enjoyed "trippy" music. I remember listening for the first time to The Beatles' "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" album and The Moody Blues' "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" in the early seventies when I was about 6 or 7 and I was totally fascinated with all the unusual sounds because most of the popular music, even today, stays away from sounding different, if you know what I mean. I mean, "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" remains one of my all time favorite albums next to Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon." Anyway, I'm going off here... In the 9th grade on a field trip to the local planetarium, the music of Jean-Michel Jarre's "Oxygene" was playing in the background. The director asked if anybody had any questions about the presentation. Most of the students asked questions like "What constellation is that?" and "Where is that planet?" and I asked "What music is THIS??" Ever since then, I was completely hooked on electronic music. During the summer of '86, I hung out at the local music store and recorded myself playing around on Yamaha FM synthesizers. (Yeah, I know: "What a nerd.") But ever since then, I've been buying synthesizers and composing electronic music!

MT> Why electronic? Why not a more traditional instrument like the guitar or piano?
CP> I've been playing the guitar since I was 5. I've learned the drums, trumpet, brass baritone, and recorder (which a lot of us kids learned in the third grade). I prefer electronic music because of the creativity it can offer. The guitar and piano are nice instruments, and I do use an occasional piano sound in my music. But, for me, I feel that the TRUE art of the synthesizer is to take unfamiliar and unusual sounds and make melodies with it. If a person who prefers mainstream music (like pop or country) listens to my music and says "Wow, that's cool!" then it's a really great feeling. In my opinion, most mainstream new age artists don't do anything too creative. I mean, Yanni is an excellent keyboardist and musician, but I think most of his music is wayyyy to "mainstream" for my tastes. (I would've called it "sappy" but I'm trying to be polite here...)

MT> Your first album "VOSTOK' is about to be published on the Spotted Peccary Music label. Please tell us about this exciting upcoming album.
CP>
"VOSTOK" is a very unique CD for me because it consists of only one track running approximately 50 minutes!! I wrote it to be heard on infinite playback. As a matter of fact, I get tired of hearing my music over and over which is why I'm continuously composing new material, but my wife and I have been listening to "VOSTOK" on repeat at night while we sleep for the last year!! I've never written a piece quite as hypnotically peaceful (and long) as "VOSTOK" and I can't wait to share it with more listeners of electronic music. It's a slowly building composition. It's very minimal for the first 10 minutes. Eventually a slowly rhythmic sequence enters the piece and things begin to build from there. Then, about 25 minutes into the piece, it slows down for another 10 minutes before things slowly build back up. I think it's a wonderful piece of spacemusic and I'm very thankful that Spotted Peccary Music is releasing it!

Actually, I've released about 10 cassettes in the 90's. Beginning in 1996, my friend and music collaborator Skip Murphy helped me produce my first CD called "THE EYE OF THE STORM" which is on my own See Peace Records label. I had about 1000 of these mass-produced. Then, about three years ago, I got on the internet and that has helped open many many doors for me and my music! Right now, Backroads Music in Calfornia and Groove Unlimited in the Netherlands currently distribute this and my 12 other CD's being produced at MP3.com! There's also a label in France called Infinium Records that has included me on their artist roster, and soon I'll be releasing some music on Tony Gerber's SpaceForMusic.com Records label! It's been a long 13 years preparing to get my name out in the world, and living in Redding hasn't made it any easier, but it's finally happening for me! (Man, I LOVE the internet!) As a matter of fact, I have many hours of music available to download for free on MP3.com. You should check it out!

MT> You were the voice of one of the Penguin Soldiers for Working Design's classic 'Popful Mail' game on the Sega CD. How did you land this coveted position?
CP> I work at a local television station making commercials for a living. Working Designs is located here in Redding, CA and they used to have me create all their promotional videos that would be shown in video games stores. (Eventually, they bought their own editing equipment and edit their own videos now.) Victor Ireland (oh oh, I'm name dropping here) uses local voice talent for his games. One day he told me that I had a small "lispy and nasal" voice and wondered if I'd be interested in reading for the Peguin Soldier in his Popful Mail game. I've always enjoyed acting and I was playing everything that Working Designs released for the Sega CD. I figured it would be really cool to be "immortalized" in a video game, so I HAD to say yes! It was a small part in the game which meant that only the actors with main parts were going to be listed in the credits. Oh well, at least I got paid!

MT> Your role, as a Penguin Guard, was to guard the town of Icycal. When the player entered the screen, you prevented them from going any further and then you proceeded to toss them into the slammer. What were your exact words and technique?
CP> Oh boy, I definitely remember the technique. I was told to talk like Sylvester the Cat ("Thufferin' Thuckatash!") while reading my lines. I remember having quite a few lines. The opening line was something like "HALT! Nobody gets past here unless they have permission from King LIPPS!" I remember that my wife got totally hooked playing that game and it took forever to get to the town of Icycal just to hear my parts. The game was fun, but it had some difficult levels that took a bit of patience to get through. And the final boss was a REAL pain to beat, too! Now that I'm thinking about it, I think I'll dust off the old Sega CD and play this game again because it really was one of the coolest games for the system!

MT> Why did you let them out - you could have ended the entire game right then and there!?!
CP> Hee hee! That sounds like a typical "Monty Python" type of ending... that would be rather interesting, wouldn't it? Play the game for many hours and the big climax is getting thrown in the slammer... GAME OVER!! THE END!! No final boss to fight, no reward... heh heh

MT> So, many people wonder what it is like cutting sound bytes for games. Please describe your experience at Working Designs' studios and facility.
CP> Victor is a patient guy, but he REALLY knows what he's looking for in a voice which means that he'll spend ONE HOUR on ONE LINE of spoken audio until the actor gets it right. I mean, I had about one page of lines and it took a little over an hour to read it all! It's kind of hard to act without the other actors being there. I have a lot of respect for people who can do this because it was a lot of work. I'm used to acting on stage with other performers. You get to feed off their energy. But, doing it all alone is an entirely different experience. It's slightly uncomfortable to perform when your audience is ONLY the sound engineer and the president of Working Designs. Like I said, I have a lot of respect for actors who are pros at this sort of thing. But I still had a good time, and I got to be included in a very fun video game! That's very cool!

Regarding the facility, it's a very cool state-of-the-art recording studio located within one of the local music stores!

MT> What type of equipment do you personally use in your studio?
CP> (Oh oh, gear-head talk!) My studio consists of numerous classic and newer synthesizers. I have a classic ARP 2600 synth, two old ARP 2500 sequencer modules, two Sequential Circuits PRO-ONE analog synthesizers, an Ensoniq ESQ-1 and Mirage, a Roland SynthPlus-10 and U220, a Yamaha TG-33, E-Mu UltraProteus, a BOSS SE-50 effects processor, an Alesis Data Drive (which plays my backing tracks so I can perform live in concert), an old Carvin mixer and a Paia sub-mixer. I've recently aquired the new Roland Studio Package for 24-bit recording which included a new VM-3100 PRO digital mixer which I look forward to using! I also take my entire recording studio on the road when I perform live which makes it a bit tiresome, but it's still a fun experience everytime I get up on stage!

MT> Well I have to admit that I do not personally know what allthat equipment is, but it sounds mighty impressive...

Oh yeah, one more thing: I think it's quite an honor to be interviewed by a company that specializes in all the game systems I played when I was younger (so thank you very much). As a matter of fact, I'm REALLY looking forward to playing these new games for the Sega CD that Good Deal Games is releasing. I really had a lot of fun playing games on this system and I still play games on it from time to time so it will be a real pleasure to play some "new" games on it! Keep up the good work!

MT> Thanks for the kind words!

We certianly wish you great success w/ your endeavors in the audio world.
Until Working Designs releases a sequel to Popful Mail...

E-Mail Craig: E-mail Craig Padilla
Visit Spotted Peccary Music Label
Visit Craig Padilla's page at MP3.Com

 

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