Posts Tagged ‘interview’
When the Rock Band Network was originally announced, it was lauded for its ability to put the tools to Rock Band song creation and distribution into the hands of anyone, be it a seasoned music veteran or someone that is just starting out. Artists on the RBN range from musicians who performed at the original Woodstock right next to those who have only written a handful of songs. RBN artist A Talking Fish falls more into the second group, but is just as enthusiastic about their art as anyone.
Having just released their debut track Cheesy Pop Song on the Rock Band Network last week, we recently had a chance to ask Roger from A Talking Fish some questions about his band, himself, and his connection with the Rock Band community. Check out his responses below!
RockBandAide: For those in the Rock Band community not familiar with you, please tell us a little bit about the yourself.
A Talking Fish: My name is Roger Pollard. Jade Richman and I (along with a few other people here and there) are the main line-up for A Talking Fish.
We’ve been uploading videos to YouTube since 2007. We’ve actually uploaded about 100* videos total. Guess how many subscribers we have? Like… 200. Two. Hundred. That’s nothing. For being up there for four and a half years, it’s quite shameful to know that our videos are that bad. I’ve seen people with much worse videos get thousands of subscribers through the shameful tactic of spamming channel after channel until I can’t bear to see their name anymore without an immense feeling of hatred manifesting itself within my soul… and then they stop! They just stop… making… videos. After less than a year. They get a couple thousand subscribers, release 5 videos, and go “well, that was fun”. I mean come on! We may suck, but at least we are persistent! We are failing, but we’re failing in a dignified manner! We can hold our heads up high and say “we know we suck, won’t you join us?”. The truth of the matter is that aside from this interview, which I’m sure will be full of it, we take a strong stance against shameless self-promotion. In the world of YouTube, apparently, that’s a very bad tactic.
Anyways, that asterisk after the “100″ is because we’ve removed several videos over the last few years for various reasons. We have about 70 that exist on our channel, and about half of those are still public. If you want to check out our youtube channel, go to youtube.com/atalkingfish.
RBA: How would you describe your music to people who have never heard it?
ATF: Awesome. It fills the soul with delight, and we rarely make grammatical errors.
RBA: Who were your early musical influences? What album(s) do you remember listening to growing up that had the biggest impact on you?
ATF: When I was a kid, I listened to Scott Joplin. He’s a Ragtime composer from the early 1900s. After that, I started listening to Monty Python’s music (yes, they had music), then Weird Al, then the pop songs Weird Al parodied, then the iTunes recommendations based on the pop songs Weird Al parodied that I liked, then the iTunes recommendations for the songs iTunes recommended based on the pop songs Weird Al parodied that I liked. Before too long, I somehow ended up in 80s and 90s alternative, which led to Weezer, and then somehow I managed to get into Dream Theater. I still expand my musical tastes when I can. My most prominent musical influences are Dream Theater, MIKA, and a grand schmumble of all the interesting chord-progression-based bands I’ve heard over the years.
Some of my childhood influences were Old & in the Way (bluegrass supergroup), Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas music (in fact, I’m listening to some now), and the theme song for the Red Green show. I’d be a fool to say these songs don’t have an effect on my current songwriting.
I’m a web junkie, as I’m sure a many people who visit this site are. While I don’t consciously seek it out, the XKCD comics usually hit close to home with me, and there was one in particular that I found especially funny. An old comic jokes about a music artist self-aware about his song appearing in Guitar Hero, and after reading it, I wondered if/when a musician would write a song about the game itself. We’ve had a song that makes a brief reference to the Guitar Hero franchise, but never one that specifically references in-game mechanics and gameplay. Well, not up until now, anyway.
Enter LeetStreet Boys, a webcomic about an otaku band who write songs about anime, video games and Japanese culture. And while the characters in the webcomic are fictional, the real life band have crafted a one-of-a-kind self-referential song for the Rock Band Network called Expert Mode.
I recently had a chance to catch up with Geoffrey Golden, the writer of the LeetStreet Boys webcomic, and Matt Myers, the lead singer of the real life band, to ask them a few questions about themselves and their unique RBN debut. Check it out!
RockBandAide: Tell us about LeetStreet Boys, both the webcomic and the members of the band.
Matt Myers: LeetStreet Boys is an anime otaku band well known for our catchy music and lyrics, animated music videos and webcomic. I started the band with my friend Ryan “Frogs” McCormack in 2007. It’s kind of this half real half anime concept with fictitious characters and live concerts. The animated characters are Matt (an over-the-top otaku and hopeless romantic lead singer,) Justin (a muscular, handsome and cocky lead guitarist), Rose (a smart, mature lesbian bassist) and D-Dos (a gruff, fire-breathing dragon drummer.)
Geoffrey Golden: Several years ago, Matt saw a student film I made at Emerson College and really liked it. A mutual friend arranged for us to meet. Coincidentally, I’d always wanted to start a webcomic and Matt had a group of awesome, already popular characters. Badda-bing, badda-boom. The premise of the webcomic is that the Leetstreet Boys tour around the world and end up in some strange places.
RBA: Is there any comparison between the characters from the LeetStreet Boys webcomic and the real life members of the band?
GG: Though there are some similarities between webcomic Matt and IRL Matt, there are many differences too. It’s a very cartoony version of him. As for the rest of the characters, Justin and Rose are completely fictional, and I don’t believe there are any dragons in the real life band… yet.
RBA: How would you describe your music to people who have never heard it?
MM: We’ll, we’re a band so our music is driven by guitars, drum and bass. We also have a ton of vocal harmony, and we bring in chiptunes, synths and orchestral samples for good measure. Our fans say our music is really catchy, and the lyrics are often funny and/or romantic. Our audience is made up of anime fans, or “otaku.” We do for otaku what Death Row Records did for gangsters, or what Christian pop does for religious people. I like to believe that there is something in our music for every anime fan.
Promoting yourself as a music artist has never been an easy thing. Up until the recent digital revolution, record companies had a tight grasp on promoting the artists that they wanted you to like. They controlled everything from finding, producing, and distributing music. But all that has changed, and save for a handful of artists from the old guard producing new music and select newer artists who rely on visual gimmicks to sell their music, all the necessary tools for musicians are now good enough and cheap enough to shatter the old regime… provided you know how to use them properly. Aspiring musicians can now turn their bedroom into a professional recording studio, and promote their music through social media, hoping to “go viral.” One such artist that is making the most of new technology and seemingly on the verge of making it big is The Pauses.
Last week, the Orlando, Florida based trio made their Rock Band Network debut with “Go North,” from their first album A Cautionary Tale. The album was possible thanks to a clever and adorable Kickstarter video (seen directly below). Using the proceeds from Kickstarter, the band not only created their first album, but also created their first Rock Band Network song. Late last week, the band unveiled a similarly unique “unboxing” video for the song, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
I recently had a chance to chat over email with Tierney and Jason from The Pauses. Check it out!
RockBandAide: For those in the Rock Band community who may not be familiar with you, why don’t you tell us a little bit about the band?
Tierney: Well, we’re a newish band (2-3 years young) from Orlando who loves coffee, movie-watching and reviewing, traveling in small quarters, and constantly finding the means to bring our crazy ideas to fruition. We just recently self-financed our first album where we saved every penny we had and then filled in the rest of the money gap through Kickstarter. With that, we were able to hire on a great producer, mastering engineer, manufacturer, artist, and even had help from a small label to garner some national attention. It was everything we planned for. We couldn’t have had a better experience making the record.
RBA: How would you describe your music style to people who have never heard it?
Tierney: We’re often compared to some late 90′s indie pop rock bands like Rilo Kiley, Metric, Pinback, which luckily for us, is a style that seems to be coming back (or maybe never went away) and is akin to our musical likings.
The Rock Band Network has not only allowed many artists an opportunity to be featured in Rock Band that otherwise may not have had a chance, but has also opened the doors to other genres of music not typically explored via official DLC. One such genre that has been explored further on the RBN is Novelty.
While the Novelty genre sometimes carries with it a stigma not often associated with other more mainstream forms of music, there are a number of great songs that one should not overlook. Some Novelty tracks may be parodies like Eric Cartman’s “Poker Face” cover, others are entirely original compositions. Songs by bands such as Tenacious D, Flight of the Conchords, Spinal Tap, and many more should definitely be discounted.
One such Novelty artist appearing on the Rock Band Network is Rhune Kincaid, who’s RBN debut single “iPhone” has delighted those who have discovered it since its RBN release last September. I recently had a chance to ask Rhune a number of questions via email, where we talk about his influences, his other songs, and Rock Band. Check it out!
Not content with only one gaming media interview, Alex Rigopulos also chatted with Nick Chester from Destructoid. Many of the same things were discussed over at Destructoid, primarily touching on the future of Harmonix’s two existing intellectual properties, as well as the possibility of new ones.
Nick tried to find out if there will be any new Rock Band titles coming out this year, and while not specifically answering the questions, Alex’s answer didn’t make it seem like there will be any new Rock Band titles. However, he did explain that they are as committed as ever to releasing content for the franchise, so don’t expect any sort of significant slow down in the volume or quality of DLC this year.
Head on over to Destructoid to read the lengthy interview!
Although we’re only two months in to 2011, it has already been a very interesting year. 2010 ended with Harmonix being sold from Viacom to investment firm Columbus Nova, and so far this year Harmonix has been hit with a round of layoffs, and Rock Band’s rival has recently announced they they are taking a permanent vacation from the rhythm gaming genre. While none of these are positive indicators of the future of the music games, Harmonix founder and CEO Alex Rigopulos talks with Edge Magazine about the future of the Rock Band franchise and Harmonix itself.
In the interview, Alex comments on the effect caused by releasing multiple title updates in a single year, and why it was necessary to keep up, to some extent, with a competitor that established such a rigorous pace. He continues on with some great points about strategic opportunities regarding the future of Rock Band now that Guitar Hero is taking a break. Alex finishes the interview by discussing how music games are now an important source of profits for the music industry, and while Harmonix may no longer be under MTV’s umbrella, it helped Harmonix gain the attention of the music industry, and now allows them the luxury of collaborating much more directly with some major players in the industry.
Head on over to Edge to check it out!