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Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions: Interview with Chad Seiter and Jeron Moore

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August 10, 2018

Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions: Interview with Chad Seiter and Jeron Moore

APA chats with composer Chad Seiter and Jeron Moore about their favorite moments in the show along with their experience working with original Pokémon composer Junichi Masuda.

by Mai Nguyen, Kalai Chik

Date Published: 07/07/2016

Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions

APA: What’s your favorite Pokémon song in the symphony?

Chad Seiter: For me personally, I equate it [the songs] to children. I love them all and they’re all unique in their own special ways. But I do have some favorites. I like the “Team Rocket” piece. I would say my favorite one is “Lake Guardians” which ends our first act. But the finale is also gorgeous. I don’t know. I can’t pick one. I love them all.

When writing the arrangements, I always try to give every arrangement something new and different. This problem would arise for everybody. I don’t want anyone to say, “Oh, this one is my favorite.” I want everyone to be confused and try to decide which one they like the most.

APA: What are the most memorable moments from this tour? Have you seen any interesting cosplays?

Chad Seiter/Jeron Moore: The Sydney symphony, where we did three concerts. That’s probably my most memorable because we usually just do one rehearsal and one show. But with this orchestra, just artistically, we were able to express so much. We all knew the show very well and we were able to make notes and express ourselves more passionately with each show.

APA: This show is very engaging, with its inclusion of scenes from the game and some silhouettes asking the crowd, "Who’s that Pokémon?"

JM: The “Who’s that Pokémon” activity, preshow and intermission, was something that came up when Chad and I were conceptualizing the program and the show itself. It was always something that I thought, “If we do this show, we have to do ‘Who’s that Pokémon?’” It was just meant to be. When we pitched that idea to the Pokémon Company, they were all on board. We tossed them a few ideas and created the visuals, which were inspired by the television show, brought up to date to match the aesthetics of the show. They gave us their choices for what would be included.There’s some pretty vanilla choices in there. It’s not really hard stuff. But it’s fun and you get a lot of fun interaction.

CS: They’re all Pikachu.

APA: How did you become involved with producing and arranging for Pokémon? Previously you both were involved in Zelda.

CS: It was obvious we were going to do another show. When we were thinking about what to do, both Jaron and I thought long and hard and said, “Well, how about Pokémon?” And I smiled and thought, “That’s perfect. That’s what we have to do.”We took it to our friends at Nintendo and they connected us to our friends at the Pokémon Company international. It all evolved really quickly.

JM: No pun intended.

CS: [laughs] It was a Mega Evolution. We went through it pretty quickly and started putting the show together. We had good synergy and everyone was excited. It was coming together as a really strong product. So we’re all really proud of it.

APA: The fans feel the same way. I overheard people who were coming here after seeing the first tour.

CS: Good!

APA: How was your experience taking this video game music and composing it for an orchestra?

CS: I personally like taking the older music and arranging it because it was never intended for an orchestra. I get to use my imagination a lot more. I get to say, “This line would sound best in French horns. The violins can soar with this one.” Orchestration is one of my favorite parts of the arranging process. 8-bit music lends itself to that creativity. So I always have a good time putting a show together from earlier repertoire.

But that being said, it’s fun to address the newer repertoire too because it was written with orchestra samples and it’s fun to hear it come to life more vividly than it did in the game. They both have different rewards, but they’re both great once you hear it all together.

APA: Whose choice was it to select the music for this tour?

JM: Chad and I both approached that together. We had a lot of music to listen to. There was over 20 years of material. There were some hard choices and things that we wanted to do, but we had to set aside some in favor of other things. We collaborated really closely with the Pokémon Company to make those choices and get it cleared with Junichi Masuda and make sure that this represented a comprehensive retrospect on the franchise.

CS: It’s shockingly hard to fold 20 years of music into 90 minutes. You have to play favorites and look objectively. It’s hard. We made some hard choices and spent a lot of time on the phone talking and arguing about it because we were sad something wouldn’t make the cut. In the end, we created a very solid show, so we’re very proud of that.

APA: Going off that, what was the most challenging part of picking, choosing and arranging for the tour?

CS: Well, there are two things to think about. Jaron and I approached it from a story perspective. We don’t do songs if they don’t pertain to the story. We had to look through the games and make sure we understood the story and the evolution of the story. Only then could we start putting together a list.

We have an epic Excel document of everything. It’s got Youtube links to videos, it’s very organized. We would start listening to them and going through it to see what would tell the story the best. If something didn’t make the cut, we had to let it go as much as we loved it sometimes. We personally feel that if you’re not telling a story correctly, it’s going to lose the audience.

APA: Whose decision was it to include the American Pokémon theme song “Gotta Catch’em All”?

CS: I wouldn’t say it was a decision so much as it needed to exist. It was a no brainer and we had to do it.

JM: Just as it made sense to start the show with the main theme of the game, “Gotta Catch’em All” had to be somewhere in the show and makes a nice bookend.

CS: It’s got a lot of energy and we did a cool new arrangement of it you haven’t heard before. So it’s one of the pieces I’m particularly proud of, even though I love them all.

Be sure to check out our other Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions coverage!

Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions Electrifies Los Angeles

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Kalai Chik

Kalai Chik

Pop culture writer focusing on animation, music, and games. Los Angeles native, USC alumni, and contributor for Asia Pacific Arts since 2015. Follow me on Twitter, @kalai_chik.