Raghav Sachar has fulfilled a long-time dream. While most musicians recreate old tracks, the music composer and singer has recreated the theme tune of iconic video game – Super Mario. Announcing the same on his social media handle on March 3, Raghav wrote, “2 Days To Go... Watch out this space to know my favourite gaming character! I am sure it will take you through a nostalgic ride #tribute #gaming #launch #symphony #2daystogo #21dayslockdownindia #raghavsachar #musicwithraghavsachar #quarantine #loveformusic.”
Super Mario has been one of the most influential and popular games for decades. The characters and the worlds created are etched in people’s mind. The theme music of the game is as iconic as the characters and the game.
“Since childhood, I always had a fascination for the theme and anywhere the tune of Mario would play, I would just dance. I am grateful to whoever has composed the music and appreciated it. It’s very catchy and impactful. That said, I knew it would be a complicated piece and not easy to recreate,” says Raghav.
It took him three months to work on the music and another three days to conceptualise and shoot the video. “It took a very long time to edit it because when you see the video, you will realise that there’s a lot of gameplay in it. I always wanted to make the video because otherwise, it wouldn’t have made sense,” he says.
The video shows Raghav dressed as Mario and Luigi, showing the various levels of the game which will take those who have played the game back in time when saving the princess was an important task. The video also showcases every level of the game right up to the dragon and the princess.
Ask Raghav how did he balance between keeping the essence of the original track and giving the music his own identity, and he says, “Because I play multiple instruments, from the beginning, I was clear that I wanted it to be dominated with wind musical instruments. It had to be saxophone heavy because that’s what I am also known for. I did not want to deviate too much from the original song. I couldn’t add melody or lyrics to it; it had to be purely instrumental and symphonic.”
The track, which was created in the 80s, did not have a multi-track recording.
“I am sure the composer had very limited resources back then. I had the option of recording more than 100 tracks. I have personally recorded live with 100 tracks and went on to mix and master it because it’s a passion project. But I did not realise that it’s going to consume so much of my time and would be so complicated,” explains Raghav.
Some of the main instruments that he has used include alto, soprano and tenor saxophones, along with some other woodwind instruments like piccolo and flute. The trumpet and brass have been blended in with electronic instruments like the guitar, seaboard and the keytar.
He worked on the track very systematically. “I wanted to go section by section and all the stages, so I decided that the alto saxophone will be the first part, tenor saxophone when he goes into the tunnel, the soprano saxophone will come in the water section and so on. The electronic instruments have been used when he gets into the double-time mode and dragon stage. All the stages highlight some instrument or the other,” says the singer of Daddy Cool, Love is All I Got and Rustom Vahi.
For the theme track, Raghav has also used the drums, which he hasn’t played in a long time. “The gameplay hasn’t been compromised. There are eight worlds of Mario, and when people watch the video, they will be able to relate to it,” he says.
Speaking about how he’s coping up with the nationwide lockdown, he says, “Just before the lockdown, I created my own portable set up because we could see this coming as we have been following the international news. I took it to my bungalow, which is in the outskirts of Mumbai. Mountains and hills surround it so it’s a very creative space for me and I have been creating songs one after the other. I am getting someone to write the lyrics for me, sending files to singers who have their own setup. I am also getting to spend a lot of quality time with my family.”