J-pop veteran Masato Nakamura’s soundtrack for the original Sonic game was an instant classic. Tom Holkenborg on reimagining that bold music for the big-budget film version
If you’re a video game player of a certain age, the words Green Hill Zone will immediately bring to mind not only a certain blue spiky hero but also the sound of bright, crisp, high-tempo synth chords and a drum-machine beat. The music to Sonic the Hedgehog, composed by J-pop veteran Masato Nakamura, encapsulated the look and feel of the game, with its driving pace, luscious landscapes and azure skies.
When soundtrack composer and electronic music producer Tom Holkenborg was brought in to provide the score for the new Sonic movie, it was Nakamura’s work that he looked to for inspiration. “I did a huge amount of research into the Sonic music and how it has developed over the last 30 years,” he explains down the line from Los Angeles. “A lot of the music is on YouTube, and it’s amazing how many views these pieces of music have – they really take people back to their first experience playing the games. For many, the Sonic music has the same nostalgic quality as an old Bing Crosby Christmas song – you can immediately picture yourself back there in front of your TV.”