Frederic Motte was born in 1970 in the Northern region of France. He eventually got into funk music.
His father was a drummer and so he became interested in music. In 1983, his parents bought an Oric-1 computer. Motte learned how to program on it and wrote some songs on it in BASIC. Later, he coaxed his parents into selling the computer for the upgraded Oric Atmos computer. Later, he ended up selling the Atmos in order to buy a Commodore 64. This led Motte into video game music. He then started collecting video games and listening to computer music more often.
In 1985 and 1986 during the summer, he worked for a company as a programmer in order to save up enough money to buy an Amiga computer. He started using Soundtracker which got him into sample-based music. At first, he didn't do a good job composing, but he eventually learned. After that, he joined a demogroup. Because of this, he was required to use an alias. He chose the name "Moby". For years, Motte composed the music to many demos and started to get even better at music composition.
Because of his demos, he was hired in 1990 by Coktel Vision to compose the music for their game "No-Exit". In 1991, because of his passion for video game music, he quit the university. He eventually reached the #1 spot in demos for game music a few times. In 1992, he bought a bass from a friend of his and he eventually got addicted to it. Unfortunately in 1994, the company he worked for, Atreid Concept ended up taking too much time out of him so he left the demoscene. Later, Atreid evolved into Kalisto and he became the audio director there, composing the music to a vast majority of their games. Because he started to compose real music, he dropped his name "Moby". Another composer took the name and started releasing his commercial music.
In 1998, he and some friends formed the band Plug In and he played the bass in the band. In 1999, their first EP album was produced by him. At the beginning of 2001, Motte left Kalisto and formed his own company, "Elmobo Studio". Near the end of 2002, he and the guitarist from Plug In was hired by Ron Thal to play in his band for his tour.
|| Frederic Motte
| How did you get into doing video game music?
|| It was in 1989. I was a student then, and I was spending my nights making music for Amiga demos in my tiny student room. A friend, from the same institute I was in, was doing an internship in a small game dev studio (Tomahawk, a Coktel Vision studio). He told me they were looking for a musician. I went there with a couple of diskettes to play them some Amiga mods. They barely listened and gave me the job. A few months later, still in the same institute, I met Nicolas Gaume, who was just starting a new game dev studio called Atreid Concept, which later on would become Kalisto Entertainment. I worked for him as a Freelance for a few years, then I got an in-house position in 1993.
| What was the work environment like?
|| When freelancing, it was not so different than today, except that I was mostly working at night back then.
When I started working in-house at Kalisto, it was very exciting. It was the beginning of the 90's, we were all discovering the job and the machines we were working on. We were all feeling like the Enterprise crew. Coders were finding tricks to optimize their code, graphic artists were working pixel by pixel. There were Unreal engine, no Photoshop, no VST plug-ins. We had to do everything from scratch. Every room in the company was oozing creativity. It was very inspiring. I had a small sound studio there, which was actually an office, with no acoustic treatment or soundproofing. The office next to mine was the boss's secretary's, and I was driving her nuts when I was playing some C64 music at full volume :) I brought in my gear there(couple of synths), and later on the company bought me some extra gear, including my first mixing console ! I had no idea how to use it ! It was fun :)
| What was your favorite console/computer to write on?
|| Definitely the Amiga. This is the computer that helped me develop my composition skills. Without it I doubt I'd even be making music today. I spent countless days and nights making music on Soundtracker/Protracker. It was such a pleasure. On top of that, at this time, the Amiga 4 channels modules were the easiest way to produce music with high quality samples. So we kinda used modules for every machines. I've made Amiga modules which were used on Atari ST, Mac, SNES, PC. I even used the Amiga again around 2005 to make music for some mobile phone games, at a time when nobody was playing on their phones... :)
| What was your least favorite?
|| I made a couple of tracks for the Amstrad CPC. It was awful. The machine sounded like crap (today people find the chiptune sounds lovely, but back then I hated it !:)), and on top of that, the tools I'd been given to make music on it were a nightmare to use.
| How different was it making music for a home console compared to a computer?
|| For me it wasn't so different. As I said, most of my early game music was made on Amiga, regardless of the machine it was going to be played on. The big difference came with the Playstation and its CD player. I had to switch from making music on the Amiga's 4 channels to making music with synths and other instruments. I came to Kalisto with zero knowledge about sound engineering, mixing or whatever. My only experience with music and sound came from the Amiga, and while it's a wonderful machine, there was not much to do with it in terms of mixing and sound shaping... So I had to learn by myself how to record guitar and bass, how to mix them together. It was exciting, but I wish I could have had some kind of training before releasing my first CD game soundtracks. But now, in no small part thanks to this experience, I'm running a professional recording/mixing/mastering studio. I learned everything the hard way, but I learned it well :)
| Was there a console/computer you wished to make video game music for, but didn't end up doing so?
|| The C64 springs to mind. This was my first computer music love. I spent so many hours listening to music on this machine... I actually made a game soundtrack on the C64 (Tiny Skweeks aka Brainies), but the game was never released, and I lost the music I made for it. Also, I would have loved to score a SNES game properly. I mean, using the full potential of the console and all. For the SNES version of Pac-In-Time, we used 4 channels amiga mods, because it was easier for the coders. Too bad... :P
| What was your favorite way of making video game music?
|| When I was younger, my fave way was at night with a jug of coffee. I would switch the Amiga on, put my headphones, launch Protracker, and the night would pass like a breeze.
| Did you have any musical influences for your video game music?
|| Sure. Tim Follin, Rob Hubbard, Ben Daglish, Martin Galway... Not that my music sounds like theirs by any means, but these guys made me want to be a composer. They were my heroes when I was a teenager. I was listening to tapes of their music on my Walkman.
| Which game(s) are your favorite work?
|| As luck would have it, some of my own favorite works are also for some of the most popular games I've scored. Definitely Nightmare Creatures 1 & 2. I'm currently remixing/remastering the soundtracks for a proper release ( http://www.facebook.com/nightmarecreaturesproject ). And Fury of the Furries ( http://elmobo.bandcamp.com/album/fury-of-the-furries-ost-amiga ) which might also be remixed in the near future. I'm also quite fond of my soundtracks for Bakugan - Rise of the Resistance on the Nintendo DS ( http://elmobo.bandcamp.com/album/bakugan-rise-of-the-resistance-ds ) and Dolphin Island 3 - Underwater Adventures, also on the Nintendo DS ( http://elmobo.bandcamp.com/album/dolphin-island-underwater-adventures-ost-ds ).
| What is your reaction to your video game music fans?
|| I'm getting quite a bit of fan mail, mostly about Nightmare Creatures and Fury of the Furries. My fans are awesome, and I'm doing my best to reply to every mail I get. And I listen to them. Many have asked where they could buy the Nightmare Creatures 1 & 2 Soundtracks. That's why I started remixing and remastering them. Had to clear some copyright issues and stuff to make it happen, but it's happening !
Fury of the Furries and Pac-In-Time use the KMD file format, a tracker-like format for use with the Ad Lib sound card.
Game Boy Color
Motte used the QuickThunder sound driver by Michael Delaney.
Game Boy Advance
For An American Tail: Fievel's Gold Rush, Motte used Protracker and converted the MOD files for playback with GAX sound engine by Shin'en Multimedia since he got access to this engine.
For his scores with Allister Brimble, Motte used the QuickThunder sound driver by Michael Delaney.
For Winnie the Pooh games and Oggy and the Cockroaches, Motte used Engine Software's sound driver by Jan-Lieuwe Koopmans.
Kong: The Animated Series and Back to Stone use sound drivers unique to both games.