Classically trained with an extensive music repertoire in orchestral, electronica, jazz and other contemporary music genres, Richard Jacques is a multiple award-winning composer of music for video games, film and television.
He is internationally recognized as one of the A-list composers in the video games industry, recently described by PLAY Magazine (US) as “One of the truly distinctive game music composers in the industry today.” A leader in the field of modern game music Jacques was the first video game composer to secure a major budget for a live symphony orchestra, the first to record a live orchestra for a PSP handheld video game, the first to have his game music featured in art galleries and live concerts in Europe, Japan and North America, and the first western composer to have his game soundtracks released commercially in Japan as well as Europe and North America. Jacques has received numerous awards and accolades for his music including Best Music awards from both GameSpot and GameSpy and the Game Audio Network Guild Recognition Award, in addition to multiple nominations including Music of the Year, Best Original Instrumental Song, Best Live Performance Recording and Best Original Soundtrack Album.
Born into a musical family in Warwick, England in 1973, Richard Jacques began learning the piano from the age of 5, followed by the trombone two years later. Having been awarded a scholarship to the Junior Royal Academy of Music in London he was rapidly being exposed to many different musical experiences in a diversity of genres largely through playing in ensembles ranging from symphony orchestras and wind ensembles to jazz and rock bands. He continued his studies by following a traditional classical music education, whilst also pursuing tuition in percussion, drum kit, and guitar. This eclectic background and multitude of influences has provided him with an acute ear for musical style.
It seems Richard was destined to work with one of the all-time great developers and publishers of video games. During the final year of his B.A. Honours Degree in Music, in which he specialised in 'Performance, Composition and Arrangement, and Music Technology,' he saw an advertisement for an in-house music position at SEGA Europe in London. Soon after applying for the position and submitting his demo reel he was immediately hired and started the job just two days after completing his music studies. Jacques began writing music for games at SEGA Europe as the in-house composer and sound designer, working on a distinguished list of game titles spanning from DAYTONA CEE to the infamous SONIC R, and from a guest appearance on the soundtrack to JET SET RADIO to the genre defining METROPOLIS STREET RACER.
Inspired by the classic arcade racing game OUTRUN, Jacques wrote over 30 original songs of various styles for the groundbreaking interactive radio system in METROPOLIS STREET RACER featuring designated music for each channel. “Cool Drum and Bass, Intelligent Jungle, Garage, even a shot of Rhythm and Blues served neat. But the highlight will be the Jazz tracks Jacques has overseen,” critiqued Computer and Videogames Magazine. Many of the tracks featured live players and session singers, T.J. Davies (Gary Numan, D:Ream, Lisa Stansfield, Sash) to name the most popular, in addition to tracks performed and produced by the ever versatile and prolific composer Jacques himself. Indeed this desire to push the boundaries of music in games would prove to be the driving force for his next ambitious project.
Paving the way for others in the video games industry to follow, Jacques’ live orchestral score for Sega Europe’s cinematic action/adventure title HEADHUNTER was the first game soundtrack to utilize the world famous Abbey Road Studios’ Studio One and record with the A-list musicians of the London Session Orchestra. Each member of the orchestra has either held a principal seat in one of the major London orchestras, or has enjoyed a successful soloist career on the concert platform. The orchestra’s long list of credits includes the film soundtracks to The World Is Not Enough and The Mummy. Since its conception in the 1920’s and subsequent opening in 1931, Abbey Road has been at the forefront of the recording industry. Over the years it has attracted artists, producers and engineers of the highest calibre, The Beatles making it a household name. Studio One, the venue for the recording of HEADHUNTER, is one of the largest purpose-built symphonic recording studios in Europe and has some of the best symphonic acoustics in the world. With Jacques at the helm, these historic sessions at Abbey Road raised the bar for live orchestral recording techniques that have since been employed by some of the biggest names in the movie industry. The music was highlighted for its Hollywood calibre and set the benchmark for recording live orchestra and enhancing music quality for video games.
Leading film soundtrack magazine Music From The Movies acclaimed, “Jacques' combination of ear-shattering orchestral dramatics, smattering drum loops and soaring, heroic themes is completely breathtaking…Headhunter is one of the most refreshing orchestral scores in many years…This is music that would fit an epic action blockbuster film.” As well, The Guardian attested to HEADHUNTER's “Excellent symphonic score” and Performing Right Society Magazine affirmed, “Richard Jacques' majestic work on Headhunter set the benchmark.” Due to popular demand the score was commercially released by the Hollywood film soundtrack label La-La Land Records as a 2-CD soundtrack set including the equally lauded sequel HEADHUNTER: REDEMPTION.
In 2003, Richard Jacques received the Game Audio Network Guild Recognition Award for his work on HEADHUNTER at the annual Game Developers Conference in California. Additionally, HEADHUNTER was nominated for G.A.N.G. Music of the Year, Best Live Performance Recording, and Best Original Instrumental Song ("Jack's Theme"). Game Industry News readers also voted HEADHUNTER as finalist for Soundtrack of the Year.
In another groundbreaking move, Richard Jacques' music for HEADHUNTER and HEADHUNTER: REDEMPTION featured as a world premiere suite in the first ever symphony concert to celebrate the best music from Western and Japanese video games. This world-exclusive rendition of the HEADHUNTER score, arranged and orchestrated by Jacques, was performed by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in front of a sold-out Gewandhaus concert hall during the opening ceremony of the 2003 "GC" - Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. This was the first event of its kind outside of Japan.
In 2001, shortly after the European release of HEADHUNTER on the Dreamcast, Jacques left SEGA Europe to pursue a career as a freelance composer working in film and television as well as video games. In addition to collaborating on several cinematic projects with film music editor and sound designer Dom Gibbs (“Die Another Day,” “The World Is Not Enough,” “Tomorrow Never Dies”) Jacques’ dynamic and in-demand composing style also quickly became popular in the television and advertising industry where his action-driven scores were featured in numerous premier TV and movie theatre campaigns for some of the world's largest media agencies (Saatchi & Saatchi, McCann Ericsson) and top name brands such as Audi, Bacardi and Stella Artois. His other notable projects outside of games include programming, orchestration and co-production assistance for Shirley Bassey's best-selling compilation hits album “Thank You For The Years,” which includes new renditions of classic songs from the James Bond movies “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds Are Forever.”
Never straying from his roots and passion for video games, he was invited by Wavemaster, the creators of JET SET RADIO based in Japan, to score original music and remix tracks for JET SET RADIO FUTURE. In JSRF his music featured alongside songs written and performed by Wavemaster in-house composer Hideki Naganuma as well as The Beastie Boys’ side-project, The Latch Brothers. Jacques’ contributions were highlighted by two of the gaming industry’s top websites GameSpot and GameSpy who each awarded JSRF with Best Music of the Year awards.
In 2004, Richard’s fascination with the classic OUTRUN came full circle as he was approached by the creators of the original games to create new remixes of the classic OUTRUN tunes for OUTRUN 2 developed by Sumo Digital Ltd and SEGA-AM2 for Microsoft’s Xbox. Jacques’ renditions of “Magical Sound Shower,” “Passing Breeze,” “Splash Wave” and “Last Wave,” arranged and produced for OUTRUN 2 on Xbox, are also featured in the latest update to the beloved series, OUTRUN 2006: COAST TO COAST. His remixes feature a live brass section and pay homage to the original Latin flavoured tunes that inspired a generation of video game arcade racer fans. Jacques’ tracks were released in a collector’s edition OUTRUN 2 Soundtrack CD available exclusively in Japan and he performed a special OUTRUN medley during the 2005 Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco.
Later that year, Jacques’ anthemic HEADHUNTER music was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl for "Video Games Live" to more than 11, 000 fans of video games and orchestral and choral music. Tommy Tallarico, creator and producer of Video Games Live said, “The main theme from Headhunter is one of the greatest pieces of video game music of all time!” Not only was Jacques’ music selected for the world’s largest video game music symphony concert, accompanied by cinematics on the big screen and laser light show, but given his expertise and knowledge of live orchestra Jacques was also asked to arrange and orchestrate the special retro Classic Arcade Medley featuring over 20 games from Pong to Donkey Kong including such classics as Dragon's Lair, Tetris, Frogger, Gauntlet, Space Invaders and Outrun. Furthermore, having scored several titles in the multi-million selling Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, Jacques was invited to arrange and orchestrate the Sonic medley, prompting rapturous applause from the audience and high praise from Sonic creator Yuji Naka himself. In November 2006, Jacques’ music will be performed during the UK debut of Video Games Live at Hammersmith Apollo in London.
In 2005 Jacques also scored the adrenaline-pumping, Hollywood orchestral score combined with modern electronic beats for the Sony PSP launch title PURSUIT FORCE (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe). Simultaneously Jacques was audio tracking consultant for Sony 's BAFTA-nominated SINGSTAR series of games and provided the original music cues for their best-selling EYETOY titles, PLAY 2 and PLAY 3. Renowned for his anthemic and dramatic symphonic styles he was the natural choice to create the original, bombastic orchestral score for STARSHIP TROOPERS (Empire Interactive/Columbia Pictures), the first person shooter game inspired by the Sony Pictures blockbuster movie and animated TV series, for which Jacques received universal praise from music critics as well as his peers for outstanding achievement in original composition. The previous year, his music from STARSHIP TROOPERS debuted at the "GC" game music symphony concert in Leipzig, Germany, performed by members of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
Beyond the concert stage, his music also features in the internationally acclaimed “Game On” video game art and culture exhibition organized by The Barbican Art Gallery. First launched in 2002, Jacques’ works have since been celebrated at arts and culture exhibitions throughout Europe and the US including The Barbican in London, National Museum of Scotland, Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Pacific Science Centre in Seattle, returning to London at the Science Museum from December 2006 - May 2007.
Continually in high demand from the world’s top video game studios, Richard Jacques is currently writing the original musical scores for the Sony PlayStation 3 title EIGHT DAYS (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe), the Xbox 360 title CONFLICT: DENIED OPS (Eidos), and an unannounced Sony PSP title (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) among others. Richard Jacques is also writing music for film trailers and is in talks to score an upcoming major motion picture.