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Published on 1 March 2013

We all know a key element of the Bond movies is the music, and of course,  GOLDENEYE 007 released in 1997 for the Nintendo 64 system was no exception. Who can forget planting the remote mines in the gas tanks while hearing that metallic Facility music or the frenetic sound accompaining the Antenna Cradle shootout? One of the men responsible for that great sound is Grant Kirkhope.

Born in Scotland, he attended The Royal Northen College of Music in Manchester, majoring in Trumpet. After ten years of performing in rock and soul bands, he joined Rareware in 1995 as a video game composer, where his first work was the Game Boy version of DONKEY KONG COUNTRY 2: DIDDY KONG'S QUEST. Shortly after, he joined Graeme Norgate and Robin Beanland to give a timeless sound to James Bond's debut on the 64 bits console. In this lost art session, Grant reflects on the excitement of working with the classic James Bond Theme and talks about his involvement in the XBLA 360 cancelled version.

Where you a Bond fan before composing GOLDENEYE 007? How did you get on the project?
Of course, everyone loves James Bond don't they!!! When I first got to Rare I was given the job of converting Dave Wise's music for DONKEY KONG COUNTRY 2 on the SNES to the Game Boy. Graeme Norgate was busy doing BLAST CORPS and GOLDENEYE and asked me to take over on GOLDENEYE as he was so busy on BLAST CORPS. I was more than happy to help him out, I couldn't wait to get started!

Do you think there was some influence of Eric Serra's soundtrack in themes like Facility or Bunker?
Definitely! I listened to anything and everything Bond that I could find and of course that meant listening to Eric Serra's score to the movie. I have to say I wasn't that keen on his take on the Bond music but it had some moments that I liked.

How much time did working on the score demand? Was it a hard task considering the importance of the Bond sound troughout the years?
Hmmmm ..... I can't really remember how long I worked on it for. I didn't finish it as I was moved onto the team that was doing DREAM (which later became BANJO-KAZOOIE). Graeme returned to finish it off after BLAST CORPS was done. I didn't think of it as a hard task as it was so much fun and I had huge respect for John Barry and what he'd done with the music over the years. To have the chance to use that iconic Monty Norman theme any which way I could was just fantastic ..... who wouldn't enjoy that!

With the impact the game music had, why wasn't the game score officially released on CD?
I don't know really. I suspect it would have something to do with the fact that the Bond theme is very closely guarded by Monty Norman and EON. Nintendo would've had to have jumped threw so many legal hoops and probably ended up making a loss on the CD by the time they'd paid everybody!

Have you seen SKYFALL and the Daniel Craig films? What are your toughts?
I haven't seen SKYFALL yet but I have to say I think Daniel Craig is fantastic as Bond. My favourite of his is CASINO ROYALE so far, so I'm waiting to see what I make of the SKYFALL.

Speaking about Craig, how did you feel about the Activision remake of GOLDENEYE 007 and the fact that Craig is playing Bond there?
I haven't seen the game so I can't comment. I can't decide if remaking games is a good idea or not. We did have GOLDENEYE remade for XBLA when I was at Rare. It was running at a fast frame rate and was really going to be good but as usual Microsoft and Nintendo and EON couldn't reach an agreement on money so it was shelved... shame really, I think it could've been a success on XBLA like BANJO and PERFECT DARK have.

Talk us about your next projects. Anything interesting round the corner?
I'm currently doing YAIBA: NINJA GARDEN Z, DESKTOP DUNGEONS and an unnanounced game.

We thank Grant for his time for the interview. Check out his official site at to  find more info and some interesting stuff about GOLDENEYE and his other works.


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