Aug 222014
 

video game music panel at saboten con

I’m happy to announce that I have 2 panels during Saboten Con 2014 in Glendale, Az (right by Phoenix) on Labor Day weekend. Both of my panels are about video game music and back to back.

Retro Video Game Music 101

About: A look back at the most iconic and memorable video game music from the 8-bit and 16-bit era. This nostalgic panel will cover the music of video games from such legendary systems as the NES, SNES, Genesis, and Game Boy. We will also pay respect to their composers and legacy. Discover the rich musical history of Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Street Fighter, Mega Man, Chrono Trigger, Streets of Rage, and more!

When: Saturday, August 30th, 2014, 3:30 PM
Where: Solana G

Your Favorite VGM: REMIXED

About: With the rise of both video games and dance music to mainstream popularity, gamers and DJ’s often have parallel interests. We have curated a selection of some of the very best video game remixes ever made. Video game remixes demonstrated will range from Sonic and Mega Man to Doom and F-Zero. We will also give some information for those who would like to become video game music remixers including tips and advice on arrangement and effects.

When: Saturday, August 30th, 2014, 5:00 PM
Where: Solana G

Check out SabotenCon.com for information on buying tickets. I look forward to seeing you there. I will also have some free goodies for everyone who comes through my panels!

Aug 042014
 

daft punk - EDM who is that?

I make music. It’s usually some form of hard techno and sometimes house. I’ve even dabbled in trap. But what do those genre’s mean on the radio? Not much. It all falls under the umbrella term EDM. Kind of like, back in the old days, every form of electronic dance music was called techno (it still is in some circles). I think in a lot of ways, EDM is what we make of it. Initially, I found myself fighting the term, because it ignores the specific titles of the genres I love. Like the magic that is a real, groovy house track… Or the happy anxiety that hits during an abstract and creative techno track. However, I also realize, as the sole person who is responsible for marketing my music, that the goal of an artist today is to give people the opportunity to experience their art in a sea of other artists doing the same thing. As an artist, I also understand that at the end of day, the goal for this type of music is to give people the soundtrack to a good time.

disco

Today, that means EDM. In the 70’s that meant disco. By the 90’s, it was called electronica. Each era will have it’s own name for the things we love. However, it doesn’t mean it has to be bad. I think as consumers and as DJs, we have the option of choosing what to support.

Are you playing a track in your DJ mix because you think it will get retweeted by a person who, A) didn’t even make the track you played in your mix and, B) doesn’t care if you played the track on your Soundcloud with 500 followers because their publicist has already made sure the track got 40k plays in a day?

Are you buying the song on iTunes because you really like it, or is it simply stuck in your head from heavy radio play and the two-faced industry of music “bloggers” who post songs based on how much they’re paid (payola)?

payola

By no means am I bashing pop music. I love pop music. Michael Jackson’s Thirller & Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories are among the best records ever made. They are even pop AND dance records to boot! I’m bashing blind support of a commercial machine which doesn’t care about you. Dubstep started off as a rather cool music style, and slowly formed into the madness that is Skrillex’s brand of brostep. However, take note, that Skrillex is out there, doing his thing everyday. I think that’s cool. The real problem is all the people who have dissected his every sound to copy him. A similar problem happened with house music with artists like Swedish House Mafia. Again, I’m not saying your genre of music is bad. I’m saying, supporting copycats and trend chasers is usually something that will not offer a rich level of artistic quality in the long run.

edm

If you’re a DJ… Dig deeper. Find the deep cuts. Don’t be afraid to play a “no name” artist. They’ll not only be more grateful, but you’re also helping them get one step closer to the success they deserve.

If you’re a listener, remember that artists rely on your support. I know you have a lot of options, but try to rely on your own ears for what you want… not “curated” lists created by corporate suits who only want to make more money.

carl cox

So, what is EDM? It’s whatever is financially successful right now. Let’s try to make it some damn good, hot jams.

Jul 212014
 

This weekend, despite being unable to attend QuakeCon in Dallas, Texas, ended up being a pretty great weekend. For the first time ever, I helped create a video game. I’ve always loved video games, and have long since wanted to make one. I decided to go to a “game jam” run by the good folks at Game CoLab called Phoenix Makes Games Jam, which for the uninitiated, is a timed challenge for people to create an entire video game. In this case, we had 48 hrs to make a dinosaur themed game.

The result of that endeavor was Dinosaur Story. A dinosaur survival and life simulator. Thanks to the hard work of our team (Team BINT), we were able to pull together a pretty impressive game in a very short amount of time. The best part of it all, is that we had fun doing it. We were probably the loudest group there, laughing and playing chiptunes the whole way through. Because of this great team, I was able to create inspired music which fit the theme of the game in addition to graphics assets which made up the title screen and some parts of the gameplay.

Dinosaur Story Title Screen

At the end of the day, our hard work was rewarded by winning first place in the competition in addition to winning a science award from ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination for our commitment to keeping the game (reasonably) scientifically accurate.

A huge thanks goes out to the team who made this happen…

Ian Robinson, the bad ass coder who gave us the tech and ability to make this game next level. This guy will definitely be going big places in the future.

Tyler Knecht, our capri wearing shadow coder, artist, and all around nice guy. Thanks to Tyler, we were able to put all of our hard work together into one cohesive piece.

Noti Peppas, our other bad ass coder who very quickly learned how to use tools he never used before (Unity) and created critical parts of the game including the UI and gameplay scripts.

phoenix makes games jam 2014 winners

All of these guys are awesome and talented. If you’re making a game and need some talented developers, I cannot think of anyone else to call who love video games and programming more than these cats.

Special thanks to Ben, Austin, and Alex at Game CoLab for making this happen. Also thanks to all the sponsors, and to the other teams for giving us such fierce competition.

Event Photos:

You can hear a short version of the music I composed and recorded for the game here:

Video of the title screen I made the graphics for and the team programmed:

A (very) short gameplay demonstration:

Expect complete version to be for sale on BandCamp before the end of the week.

All games from the Jam will be playable online shortly, expect links soon. In the meantime, check out the local press we received here, here, & here.