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One of my fondest memories as a kid was going to the video store on weekends to rent (yes, rent!) an SNES with one game. The very first time I went, my mom picked out Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Being only about 9 at the time, it was just the right thing to get me into RPGs and the Final Fantasy series. I soon discovered Final Fantasy III, and after taking it home once, I was hooked. It might be hard for anyone to imagine in this modern age of gaming, but each time I rented it I would often have to start from scratch, since people would overwrite my save on the cartridge. But I didn’t mind. The game was so captivating that playing the first few hours over and over was worth it. Listening to the original soundtrack and this remix album calls up those nostalgic feelings once more.
I’ve wanted to direct this album since before I even started the 2007 Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream project, but it was not until 2011 that the decision was made to finally do it. We had talked about an FF6 remix project among site staff for some time, and we all agreed that given how legendary the game and soundtrack are, it had to be done right. When I heard that McVaffe was also interested in such an endeavor, I knew it was time to make it happen. Mike was truly one of my biggest inspirations as an aspiring musician and remixer - I remember listening to his huge catalog of arranged and original music and being awed by his technique and range of styles. When we started talking about the album project, it was clear we were on the same page musically, and thus Balance and Ruin was born!
The sheer level of musicianship on this project is something I never expected when we first started out. Of course, we had personally invited many talented arrangers at the outset, opening it up to the greater community via two remix contests. But the sum of the project goes far beyond that. Maybe it was the success of the Kickstarter that motivated people, the collaboration which we constantly encouraged between artists, our shared love for the game and original soundtrack, or some combination of these things. Whatever the cause, every single artist gave their absolute best for Balance and Ruin - with the calibre of musicians involved, both established and newcomers, that is saying quite a bit!
It’s been about ten years since I first joined the OverClocked ReMix community and began my career as a musician. It’s where I developed my skills, built a fanbase, met many good friends, colleagues, and even my wife, Jillian. Co-directing this project has been a pleasure, but it’s also my way of giving back to this community, and the greater community of game music fans as a whole. I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to be involved, and to work with some of the most talented musicians I know to produce a project that I believe will set a new standard for video game music arrangements.Director:
Coming upon the completion of this project is in many ways for me a surreal experience. A few years ago on a trip to DC, I took some time out from museum hopping and the typical obligatory sightseeing to finally meet up with Dave (DJP) and his awesome wife. We played a few fighting games, we all went out to a nice dinner, and as the night ended Dave mentioned ”Hey what do you think about a FF6 project with yourself and Andy (Zircon)?“ I hadn’t been much into game music - or the Overclocked community itself - around that time, but if there was any game I could lend an ear to for a musical project it would be Final Fantasy 6.
It’s safe to say that FF6 is still widely considered one of the greatest RPGs - and games - of all time. Of course it feels somewhat quaint and “retro” now, but playing it back when it came out in 1994 was almost a holy experience. The graphics were rich and colorful. The characters were deep and had detailed histories and interwoven storylines. But arguably the most memorable part of the game has always been it’s gorgeous, sprawling soundtrack. It was the first game soundtrack CD I had purchased at that point, and to this day it remains my favorite soundtrack of all time.
And while I already had an interest and appreciation for game music back then, it wasn’t till I listened to the music in FF6 that I really started to recognize the unmistakable character of the medium and the genius of this composer specifically - who was somehow able to squeeze these little miracles out of the Super Nintendo hardware. It was this soundtrack that inspired me to actively listen to many other game soundtracks at the time, and ultimately begin cover them, remix them, and eventually create compositions of my own. Suffice it to say, Final Fantasy 6 and its music had a huge impact on me back then. So despite knowing that this was going to be a gargantuan project which would likely have a million people working on it and take 15 years or so to complete, There’s no collection that I would’ve been happier working on.
Having been part of the Overclocked community since it’s humble, orange/yellow beginnings, this project was very personal to me in so many ways. In addition to having a deep connection to nearly every note of the source material, the roster of contributing artists was staggering. It included several folks like myself, who have been around and watching the community grow since the late ‘90’s. As well, it included some phenomenally talented younger artists whose talent-to-age ratio is downright scary. And as the drafts and songs started to slowly trickle in over the months, Andy and I would bounce ideas and comments back and forth and it was abundantly clear even early on - this project was going to be something very, very special.
So at the end of this journey I’m certainly feeling a bit of relief, but moreover I feel incredibly grateful. Grateful to be included in this amazing compilation, grateful for all the absolutely kickass music that these artists have worked so hard to put together, and that in the process we were all able to help out the site somehow. It was incredible to have been involved with a project featuring music which has been such a huge inspiration to me personally throughout the years. In all, the whole process has been quite the journey, and luckily I’ve had amazing, uber-talented friends along for the ride.
Balance and Ruin features seventy-four tracks from seventy-four artists, arranging from the soundtrack of Final Fantasy VI for the SNES. It was made by fans, for fans, and is not affiliated with or endorsed by Square Enix; all original compositions are copyright their respective owners. This album was produced to help promote video game music, Nobuo Uematsu's amazing compositions, and the talented artists that contributed to this project.
On October 25th, 2012, OverClocked ReMix successfully funded its first Kickstarter project for this very album. Our funding goal was $30,000, which would go entirely toward the physical production of the 5-disc Balance and Ruin, licensing fees to Square Enix, and hiring of live musicians. Thanks to 2,509 fans from around the world, we greatly surpassed our original goal and ultimately raised a total of $153,633. These additional funds enabled us to print and ship copies of additional projects like Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream, Final Fantasy IV: Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption and Final Fantasy I: Random Encounter as well as expand the scope of the project and bonus DVD.
We want to thank ALL of the backers who helped make this incredible project a reality, and in particular those backers who went above and beyond and donated $250 or more to the cause.