Nima Fakhrara Interview: Incorporating Persian Authenticity
Nima Fakhrara is a film composer with an Iranian upbringing that has heavily influenced his work. One of his most recent films was The Girl in the Photographs, the last film produced by the late Wes Craven. In his works, Fakhrara incorporates a wide variety of international instruments to produce distinct sounds and unique orchestras for his soundtracks.
In this email interview, Nima Fakhara discusses his work on his recent score to 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, which is about the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and features a photojournalist who becomes caught up in the revolution upon returning home to Iran. Fakhrara also tells us about some of his work leading up to 1979, including his involvement with other game scores while working in other roles.
Interview Subject: Nima Fakhrara
Interviewer: Emily McMillan
Editor: Emily McMillan
Coordination: Emily McMillan, Ashley Moore
Emily: How did you become involved with scoring 1979?
Nima Fakhrara: I approached Navid Khonsari about 3 years ago when I heard about the project and his research on it. I knew I wanted to be involved in such a project as it hit home for me. I am an Iranian myself and a chance to be involved on such a significantly important story was very crucial to me.
Emily: What were some of the discarded ideas from the 1979 score?
Nima Fakhrara: This score was a very challenging one. Creating a concept that worked for the project was a challenge as we are telling an authentic story, in a specific era, in a non-western location, and a new method of story telling. At first my approach was a very minimalistic type of music but then things shifted to be more of a hybrid score. Both Navid and I knew we had it when the story telling aspect of it was flawless, I had music representations of the late 70’s early 80’s musical and recording methods combined with Iranian instruments and western instruments.
Emily: Although you have a strong background in Persian classical music, was it difficult to incorporate the Persian sounds of 1979 into a traditional western orchestral setting?
Nima Fakhrara: I have extensive training in both Iranian traditional music and western orchestral music so incorporating them was very important to me. An approach that I took was to replace the western orchestral sound with the Iranian traditional equivalents of them. For example the guitar was replaced with an instrument called the tar that come from the same family, but then I played it in the way a guitar would be played with amps and such.
Emily: How much research, did you have to do to create an authentic recording setup to match the time period of the game?
Nima Fakhrara: I love the analog and hardware recording and musical equipment! For me, it wasn’t going too far. I knew I had to use specific reverb techniques, hardware compressors and analog type of recordings and so on. So from early on, recording Iranian instruments in that fashion was an interesting experience for me, the crossing of many cultures and worlds.
Emily: On a different note, this isn’t your first work with game scores – you contributed pieces to both the Metal Gear Solid 25th Anniversary Album, and Resident Evil: Revelations 2. How did your involvement with these projects differ from 1979?
Nima Fakhrara: I came on those projects as a music producer so the involvements was a bit different. I was supervising and sometimes writing something for the project to make sure the project goes smoothly. Building and creating customized instruments was another task assigned to me. So the sound for the final product was very crucial. I have been a huge fan of both franchises so when I was called to be involved, it was an absolute pleasure.
Emily: You are also listed as having been involved with the composers of Remote Control Studios – can you tell us about your experience with this group, and working on a score like Modern Warfare 2 as a score assistant?
Nima Fakhrara: It was an amazing opportunity to learn from some amazing musicians and I am very thankful I was part of it, even in a very minute way.
Emily: What inspired you to begin Zoo Creatives?
Nima Fakhrara: I wanted to create a collaborative environment for artist to be working together on many different fields. Within the Zoo we work in the music, movie, fashion, art, technology and the app world!
Emily: Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Nima Fakhrara: Go play the game and enjoy it!
Posted on May 18, 2016 by Emily McMillan. Last modified on June 4, 2016.