David Wise (composer)

David Wise (Born 13 September 1967) is an English 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 cult 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.

David Wise
Also known asDave Wise
Born13 September 1967 (age 52) Coalville, United Kingdom
OriginLeicestershire, England
GenresVideo game music
Occupation(s)Composer, musician
InstrumentsSynthesizer, piano, saxophone
Years active1985–present
LabelsBrave Wave Productions
Associated actsRobin Beanland
Eveline Fischer
Grant Kirkhope
Graeme Norgate
Steve Burke

Career and influencesEdit

Wise has said that he has had a wide range of musical influences, though the first instrument he learned to play was the piano, before later learning the trumpet, and then learning to play drums during adolescence. He played in a few bands during his youth, and was still 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 soon gained wide attention and acclaim for his work on the Donkey Kong Country game 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 also composed the soundtrack for the Game Boy Advance port of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!.

In late 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 also collaborated on this track, playing guitar and trumpet respectively.[2][3] On 15 March 2010, Serious Monkey Business was released and Dave 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 as though the company has “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 also composed for Yooka-Laylee along with Kirkhope and Steve Burke.[9]


Year Title Platform(s) Notes
1987 Slalom NES
Wizards & Warriors
1988 R.C. Pro-Am
Wheel of Fortune
1989 Marble Madness
World Games
WWF WrestleMania
Sesame Street 123
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
The Amazing Spider-Man Game Boy
Captain Skyhawk NES
Digger T. Rock
Snake Rattle 'n' Roll
Wizards & Warriors Chapter X: The Fortress of Fear Game Boy
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Super Glove Ball
Time Lord
Arch Rivals
WWF WrestleMania Challenge
Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warpship
1991 WWF Superstars Game Boy
Battletoads NES, Sega Genesis, Game Gear
Battletoads (Game Boy) Game Boy
Beetlejuice NES
Super R.C. Pro-Am Game Boy
High Speed NES
Sneaky Snakes Game Boy
Sesame Street ABC & 123 NES
1992 Wizards & Warriors III
Danny Sullivan's Indy Heat
R.C. Pro-Am II
Championship Pro-Am
1993 Battletoads & Double Dragon NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Game Boy
Battletoads in Battlemaniacs SNES
X The Ball Arcade
1994 Monster Max Game Boy
Battletoads Arcade Arcade
Donkey Kong Country SNES, Game Boy Color, GBA with Robin Beanland and Eveline Fischer[10]
1995 Donkey Kong Land Game Boy with Graeme Norgate
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest SNES, GBA
1996 Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! with Fischer,[11] wrote new soundtrack for GBA port.
1997 Diddy Kong Racing Nintendo 64
1999 Mickey's Racing Adventure Game Boy Color
2002 Star Fox Adventures Gamecube
2004 It's Mr. Pants GBA with Beanland and Fischer
2007 Diddy Kong Racing DS Nintendo DS
2008 Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise
War World Xbox 360
2013 Sorcery! iOS, Android, Windows, OS X
2014 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Wii U, Switch
Tengami[12] Wii U, iOS, Android, Windows, OS X
2015 Star Drift[13] iOS, Android
2016 Star Ghost Switch
2017 Snake Pass[14] PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
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 Tamarin[17]


  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. 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. 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. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  16. ^ "NEW GAME: Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair". Playtonic Games. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Tamarin conjures Jet Force Gemini vibes and features music by David Wise". Destructoid. Retrieved 16 May 2020.

External linksEdit