David Wise (composer)

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David Wise
Also known asDave Wise
BornCoalville, England, United Kingdom
GenresVideo game music
Occupation(s)Composer, musician
Instrument(s)Synthesizer, piano, saxophone
Years active1985–present
LabelsBrave Wave Productions

David Wise is a British video game music composer and musician. He was a composer at Rare from 1985 to 2009, and was the company's sole musician up until 1994. He has gained a following for his work on various games, particularly Nintendo's Donkey Kong Country series. Wise is known for his atmospheric style of music, mixing natural environmental sounds with prominent melodic and percussive accompaniment.

Career and influences[edit]

Wise has said that he has had a wide range of musical influences. The first instrument he learned to play was the piano, before later learning the trumpet, and learning to play the drums during adolescence. He played in a few bands during his youth, and was active in a band as of 2004. His career at Rare began when he happened to meet its two founders, as he explained in response to a question posted on its company website: "I was working in a music shop demonstrating a Yamaha CX5 Music Computer to a couple of people, Tim & Chris Stamper. I'd written and programmed the music for the demonstration material. They offered me a job."[1]

While working at Rare, Wise gained attention and acclaim for his work on the Donkey Kong Country series. In addition to the percussive and ambient 'jungle' influences that serve as a thematic undercurrent for much of the series, the games feature a wide variety of different musical styles that are reflective of the various areas and environments they appear in. In the January 1996 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Wise stated that his travelling experiences largely shaped the sound and mood of each Donkey Kong soundtrack, further saying that the music for Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest was composed during what he called his "experimental Paris phase". He has composed the soundtrack for the Game Boy Advance port of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!.

In October 2009, it was announced by the OverClocked ReMix community that Wise was remixing a track for Serious Monkey Business, an unofficial Donkey Kong Country 2 remix album. Grant Kirkhope and Robin Beanland collaborated on this track, playing guitar and trumpet respectively.[2][3] On 15 March 2010, Serious Monkey Business was released and Wise's track, "Re-Skewed", was featured as track No. 33. Much like his contribution to Serious Monkey Business, Wise later remixed his own composition, the GBA version of "Jungle Jitter", for an unofficial Donkey Kong Country 3 remix album titled Double the Trouble!, which was released on 1 December 2012.[4] Wise also provided a saxophone solo for another remix, in addition to mixing and mastering the track.

On 14 November 2009, Wise announced his resignation from Rare, feeling that the company had "changed a great deal" and there was no longer an opportunity to create music tracks that Rare is most known for.[5] In December 2010 Wise created a personal studio called the 'David Wise Sound Studio'.[6] In June 2013, it was announced that he would be composing for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, after receiving a call from Retro Studios president Michael Kelbaugh, who previously worked at Rare.[7][8] Wise composed for Yooka-Laylee along with Kirkhope and Steve Burke.[9]


Year Title Notes
1987 Slalom
Wizards & Warriors
1988 R.C. Pro-Am
Wheel of Fortune
1989 Marble Madness
World Games
WWF WrestleMania
John Elway's Quarterback
California Games
Taboo: The Sixth Sense
Sesame Street ABC
Hollywood Squares
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Jordan vs. Bird: One on One
Cobra Triangle
Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II
Wheel of Fortune Junior Edition
Jeopardy! Junior Edition
Silent Service
1990 Double Dare
Wheel of Fortune Family Edition
Jeopardy! 25th Anniversary Edition
Captain Skyhawk
Digger T. Rock
Snake Rattle 'n' Roll
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Super Glove Ball
Time Lord
Arch Rivals
WWF WrestleMania Challenge
Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warpship
The Amazing Spider-Man
Wizards & Warriors Chapter X: The Fortress of Fear
Super Off Road
1991 Sesame Street ABC & 123
Battletoads (Game Boy)
Super R.C. Pro-Am
Sneaky Snakes
WWF Superstars
High Speed
1992 Wizards & Warriors III
Danny Sullivan's Indy Heat
R.C. Pro-Am II
Championship Pro-Am
1993 Battletoads & Double Dragon
Battletoads in Battlemaniacs
X The Ball
1994 Battletoads Arcade
Monster Max
Donkey Kong Country With Robin Beanland and Eveline Fischer[10]
1995 Donkey Kong Land With Graeme Norgate
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
1996 Donkey Kong Land 2 DKC 2 soundtrack converted to the Game Boy by Grant Kirkhope.
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! With Fischer.[11] Wrote new soundtrack for 2005 GBA port.
1997 Diddy Kong Racing
1999 Mickey's Racing Adventure
Donkey Kong Country (GBC version) With Beanland and Fischer
2001 Super Smash Bros. Melee Original Game Staff
2002 Star Fox Adventures With Ben Cullum.
2004 It's Mr. Pants With Beanland and Fischer ("Squeaky Pants")
2006 Donkey Kong Country 3 GBA
2007 Diddy Kong Racing DS
2008 Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise
War World Xbox 360 version
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts The Rare Family
2010 Donkey Kong Country Returns Original music
2013 Sorcery!
2014 Tengami[12]
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze With Kenji Yamamoto
2015 Rare Replay Special thanks
Star Drift[13]
2016 Star Ghost
2017 Snake Pass[14]
Yooka-Laylee With Grant Kirkhope and Steve Burke[15]
2019 Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair With Grant Kirkhope, Dan Murdoch and Matt Griffin[16]
2020 Battletoads Original music, special thanks
Tamarin[17] With Graeme Norgate
2023 Everhood: Eternity Edition Original music[18]


  1. ^ Rare: The Tepid Seat – Rare Music Team (December 2004) Archived 6 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "OverClocked ReMix Presents 'Serious Monkey Business'". dkc2.ocremix.org. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest "Re-Skewed" OC ReMix". Retrieved 16 May 2020 – via ocremix.org.
  4. ^ "Donkey Kong Country 3: Double the Trouble!". OC ReMix. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  5. ^ "MundoRare | David Wise, composer since 1985, leaves Rare (November 2009)". Archived from the original on 19 November 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  6. ^ "Game Music :: Interview with David Wise (December 2010)". www.squareenixmusic.com. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  7. ^ "David Wise composing Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze". Destructoid. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  8. ^ "David Wise Explains How He Got His Job on Tropical Freeze". Gamnesia. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  9. ^ "The Team So Far..." Playtonic Games. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  10. ^ Rare: Scribes (December 21, 2005) at Internet Archive "Robin did Funky's Fugue, Eveline did Simian Segue, Candy's Love Song, Voices of the Temple, Forest Frenzy, Tree Top Rock, Northern Hemispheres and Ice Cave Chant, and the rest was the doing of Mr. Wise."
  11. ^ Rare: Scribes (February 9, 2006) at Internet Archive "…everything is by Eveline except for Dixie Beat, Crazy Calypso, Wrinkly's Save Cave, Get Fit A-Go-Go, Wrinkly 64, Brothers Bear and Bonus Time (along with Bonus Win and Bonus Lose), which were by Dave."
  12. ^ "Tengami Soundtrack". nyamyam. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Former Retro Studios Developer Opens Squarehead Studios". IGN. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  14. ^ Wise, David (16 February 2017). "Music of Snake Pass with David Wise". Twitch. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  15. ^ admin (March 2020). "Yooka-Laylee and Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Soundtracks Released". Playtonic Games. Archived from the original on 11 August 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  16. ^ "NEW GAME: Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair". Playtonic Games. Archived from the original on 7 June 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Tamarin conjures Jet Force Gemini vibes and features music by David Wise". Destructoid. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  18. ^ https://twitter.com/David_Wise/status/1702717197288681893
  19. ^ https://twitter.com/David_Wise/status/1697567604385223010?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Eembeddedtimeline%7Ctwterm%5Escreen-name%3ADavid_Wise%7Ctwcon%5Es1

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