Games

Quick Beats: Celeste Composer Lena Raine On Her Love For Ghibli, Hurdy-Gurdies, And Her Cat

Lena Raine

Throughout the Nintendo Life Video Game Music Festival we’ll be speaking to a range of composers and musicians with a mixture of in-depth interviews and shorter, sharper (and perhaps a little goofier) Q&As where we ask just ten rapid-fire personal questions; we’re calling these shorter features ‘Quick Beats’.

Today’s interviewee is composer and performer Lena Raine, whose enchanting music can be found in games like Celeste, Minecraft, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, and the upcoming Earthblade.

Read on to find out about Lena’s (slightly) embarrassing first album, her favourite piece that she’s written, and most importantly, a picture of her very cute cat.

Nintendo Life: What was the first song or album you remember buying?

Lena Raine: Oh no, it’s an embarrassing one. I took my dad to the record store to buy Dookie by Green Day, not because I wanted that album, but because I’d heard a song on the radio that I liked. The song was actually It’s The End Of The World by R.E.M., but the DJ read the song titles out of order so I thought it was by Green Day. I’d not heard much of them before, but it’s what I wrote down, so we put the tape on in the car on the way home & it was 100% not R.E.M. Anyway I still liked the album though.

What was the last music you listened to?

I just put on the Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind soundtrack while waking up yesterday. It’s incredible how well it still holds up and inspired other composers (myself included).

What was the very first video game you wrote music for, and how do you feel listening back now?

The very very first game I wrote music for was a tiny RPG Maker experiment I made in high school. It was a typical JRPG town with a day/night cycle, so I wrote a bunch of variations for the music if you came back during different times. Honestly I’m just amused I was already taking those things into consideration in the early 2000’s.

Which piece of yours are you most proud of?

Right now? The Mountain Top from Chicory. I’ve always wanted to write a vocal song for the credits of a game, and Emi Evans sang it so beautifully.

Which piece by someone else do you wish you had written?

-(ISOLEUCINE)- from 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim by Yoshimi Kudo. It’s everything a piece of game music should be.

What do you listen to while you’re driving?

I don’t drive!

Do you have a musical hero?

It’s a three-way tie between Yoko Kanno, Chick Corea & Stevie Wonder.

Which decade had the best music?

I think dividing up music by decades is silly.

Ocarina, harp or bongos — which magical instrument do you take on an epic adventure?

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