MATERIA: The Facebook Group

So after the announcement, the first order of business was accounting for everyone who wanted to participate in creating a Final Fantasy VII arrangement album. Well, at least that’s how I saw it – I imagine there was quite a bit more work on the legal side of things (completely dealt with by Loudr – but that’s a story for another post!)

We then moved over from Twitter to the most logical place for organizing plethoras of people – Facebook. In some ways, the Facebook group was – and still is – the heart of Materia. It brings all of the people together into this group of musicians, brought together by Final Fantasy and constantly growing from a love of game music.

We were asked to select a track that we wanted to arrange – choosing multiples was acceptable, even encouraged, so the end result was a sprawling tracklist that included several versions of some of the really great themes from the game, like the main theme and “Aeris’ Theme.”I particularly enjoyed getting to see the behind-the-scenes of Materians at work. The Facebook Group was regularly updated with track progress, requests for mixing or orchestration, and questions about the game itself.

Everyone in the group was at a different level musically – some were professional musicians, and some casually updated Youtube channels (I fall in the latter category). But in this group, we were all equals: people who loved both music and Final Fantasy VII. Because I was a little intimidated at the amount of talent, I was nervous about choosing a track that other people would choose, quite certain that mine would be compared. Luckily, I have specific musical tastes (even for the VGM world!), and went with a track that had caught my ear since the first time I heard the FFVII score: the short-but-sweet “Interrupted by Fireworks.”

The final tracks started pouring in with a wide range of styles. Some of them were epic; of course “One-Winged Angel” had to get the rockestra treatment, and the “Planets of the Cetra” became, if possible, even more haunting than the original with an eerie combination of instruments and synth treatment. Others were silly (see: The “Essence of Aeris” – only if you don’t mind FFVII spoilers! – or “Waltz de Chocobo,” performed with a unique medium).

Bwak Chicken Choir

All in all, the Facebook Group was a huge success, allowing us to not only create our first album, but also interacting with other musicians who had not always known each other. I was surprised to see many of my favorite cover and professional artists (sometimes both), but I was even more surprised in seeing people react to each other’s posts with reactions along the lines of, “Oh my gawd, you’re that guy on that channel!” – it was great introduction to the community of game music.

~ Emily McMillan