Saturday, November 24, 2012
Anyone who has played video games can recall their favorite pieces of music from any given series and the magic they convey when heard. However, what happens when those compositions in all of their glory are redone in a way that puts even the best Overclocked Remix to shame? You get FamilyJules7X, the most talented video game musician cover artist I have ever heard.
After listening to him many times and finding myself a regular visitor to his YouTube channel, I had to contact him in an attempt to get an interview.
Come read as I ask him 20 questions spanning from what drives him to make such amazing video game covers to his ultimate goal as a musician.
Whoa! This guy is good!
Everyone who can call themselves my friend knows that I am constantly blasting music while I am playing my Microsoft Xbox 360 or here at my computer. Even more than that, they are aware that I am often listening to music from video games original soundtracks and remixes. This is what prompted me to find FamilyJules7X.
My friend Ryan Hauser introduced me to his YouTube channel, aware I loved rock and video games and I instantly had a new favorite channel. Hearing his musical adaptions of classics from Jet Force Gemini, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, and others convinced me that he had the type of take on gaming music I was always looking for. The guy was good.
As time went by and I had my website in place, I wanted to grab him for an interview. After shooting him a quick message through his YouTube he agreed, which brings me to the next section of this article.
Actually, this is not the first time I had interviewed FamilyJules7X. I interviewed him once before and he answered every single question before my website was placed on hiatus because I was upset with the look of it. This unprofessionalism on my part lead to a huge waste of time his took away from his musical endeavors for absolutely no reason, something I am still sorry for. Later on after my site was back up and running and I improved the look of it, I messaged him again and apologized and he agreed to do another interview without hesitation, something I am extremely happy for and thankful I was given another opportunity to interview him.
In this interview I wanted to cover a few things: What made him want to start covering video game music, where does he draw his inspiration from, and where he plans to go in the future are only a few of the questions answered. The full interview is below.
- I always like to start these interviews by asking the interviewee why they chose the user name they have; so what makes you go by "FamilyJules7X"? Also, "7X" reminds me of Avenged Sevenfold, any relation to them?
FamilyJules7X was mostly just something I came up with in high school wanting to make a channel of videos of me just dicking around with friends, but there was one video of an Avenged Sevenfold cover which, at the time, I felt had a lot of views (like a bit over 1,000 I think). When I decided to do VGM covers, I wanted to have that total viewer count boost which would push me further up the search results.
So yeah, Avenged did have something to do with the name. They've kinda been a band I've been listening to since I was about 12 or so, so they've been a big influence on me as far as music goes. I also kept the name because it has a bit of an edge to it even without knowing it's a Sevenfold reference at the end. Not to mention 90% of my humor is awkward sex jokes, so I still think it fits. :D
- 90% of your humor is awkward sex jokes? Ah ha! I did not see that coming! Do you feel you have gotten the results that you desired when you begun your music covers?
More than desired! The weekly cover thing was more of a video journal of sorts so I could see myself improve over time, I guess a lot of people liked it. I didn't think I'd get past 100 subscribers!
- So, what is the driving inspiration for you to do so many video game music covers?
The drive to do it is just that I love making music and video game music is just awesome. I remember one day hearing the Dam theme from Goldeneye 64 and thinking, "Whoa! This would be awesome in a metal format!", and after some YouTube searching I couldn't find anything that really did it justice. I guess it kind of became a, "Sometime's you gotta do it yourself" situation. I wanted to hear a metal version of the music so I damn well made one!
- I understand completely, and you do a very good job of it. With that being said, do you only do covers of music you would like to have adapted or do you also look at your fan's comments and work on a piece based on demand?
I'm pretty adamant about not playing music from games I've never played because it would be impossible for the feeling of the game to be encapsulated in the cover. While I do take viewer suggestions, I don't really take requests. Since I'm totally open to trying new games if a lot of people really want me to do the soundtrack.
- I know you must love video games because you do the covers. What type of games are you into?
All kinds, man. Lately I've been immersed in the crazy amount of indie games like FTL and The Binding of Isaac. Also I was really into the Mass Effect and Battlefield series. However I still love relaxing with the old N64 classics like F-Zero X and Ocarina of Time!
- That is pretty awesome. At one point I was in love with the Battlefield series as well as Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. However, I have only been into Fighting Games these past few years, but back on topic. What are your favorite games of all time and what are your favorite pieces* of gaming music of all time?
Oh man, I honestly can't decide between Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Banjo Kazooie, Jet Force Gemini, all three Mass Effect Games, Super Meat Boy, and Battlefield 3. They're all so good and I can't pick a favorite! I would say some of my favorite video game tracks include Dire, Dire Docks (Super Mario 64), Water Ruins (Jet Force Gemini) and the Hospital Dark World Theme from "Super Meat Boy". Not to mention pretty much all the music that Koji Kondo, Grant Kirkhope, Nobuo Uematsu, Dan Wentz and Danny Baranowsky seem to magically conjure.
- What is the average time it takes for you to write out a cover, record a video, and upload it to YouTube?
Literally just about a week! I did a live stream recently showing the process of making a cover and it was a whopping 10 hour long stream, but that was just doing the music part of it. Throwing in the video aspect tacks on another few hours, so I'd say it takes between 15 and 20 hours total to finish one. It also depends on whether or not it's a medley or just a single song cover.
- That is very impressive! I thought it was closer to a few weeks for sure. Most people just put up plain videos of them covering songs when uploading a video to YouTube, do you believe your method of making it a music video has had any effect on your success in being well known?
I think it did to a small. However, I think a lot of the reason why I've had a lot of success with it is that I'm extremely enthusiastic about video game music, and I think people can see that in my videos, with or without the fancy cameras or video editing.
- I have noticed that you usually wear a shirt to match whatever cover you are doing, are these picked up especially for the cover or are they clothes you already own?
Almost always it's stuff I already own. There have been a few cases where I've gotten a shirt knowing that pretty soon I'm going to be doing a cover from it. I like to make a little sense with what I wear, like I'm not gonna wear a Slayer shirt for a soft, easy-going Pokémon cover.
- That is true, I would wonder why you would wear a Metallica shirt if you are doing a cover of a Kirby game, so I cannot fault you for that. Where do you normally go to buy the awesome shirts you normally wear?
I pretty much get all my gaming shirts from Levelupstudios.com. They're really great and I know a few of the guys there. As for band shirts, I usually just raid clearance racks at mall shops for any bands I like.
- Originally I thought that you might be a guitar-only musician, however, I see you play other things on occasion. What are all the instruments you are familiar with playing?
I like to be learned in as many instruments I can get my hands on. I think it's important to being a well rounded musician. I play Electric, Bass, acoustic and classical guitar, as well as dabbles in Ocarina, Cello, Piano, and a few other random things.
- I love music myself and think life would be mundane without it and I do know how to play a few things myself (Baritone, Euphonium, and Trumpet) but I have never had the burning passion to create my own music or write my own covers. So what gives you the drive and ability to "create"?
I always wanted to recreate the feelings that I was given as a kid. The chills down your back when you enter Gerudo Valley or race a track on F-Zero X. I've always loved music and it's been pretty clear that if I were to do anything with my music, it has to be what these video game composers are doing.
- What is your favorite piece of cover music you have worked on?
At this point, it was really fun doing the music video style of the final video of Year 2. However some of my other covers that I think turned out pretty well was the Jet Force Gemini and Castle Crashers Medley. That mostly has to do with my real attachment to the music
- I REALLY enjoyed the Castle Crashers Medley, you should alert Team Behemoth and let them see your work! What is your most popular video and why do you think it is so popular?
Team Behemoth actually did notice me for the medley! Tom Fulp had said some really nice things about it and it was a complete honor. It's always crazy getting responses from the composers or game creators. My most popular video is my Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Medley, probably because it's fucking Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Haha!
- I see you have completed your "Year 2 Complete Collection", are you already making plans to pursue a year 3?
At the moment, not really. I really took a crazy short break after Year 1 and jumped right back into it. I want to take real time to improve my stuff for bigger projects later on. It sucks because doing weekly covers leaves me very little time do ball crunching guitar exercises and just overall practice of all the other instruments. Not to mention I've been dying to put some work into my tones and audio quality.
- You said you have not taken a real break and only took a small one after Year 1. Were you afraid to go on hiatus with your rising popularity and afraid you might lose momentum? Or were you just really eager to get back to it? Will you be going hiatus now?
Both. I was a bit worried people would come to my channel and realize that I haven't uploaded in a long time and choose not to subscribe or something. But more so, I literally started working on the first few covers of Year 2 within like a month of being on break. I couldn't break the habit! I will be going on a hiatus for a bit longer now. I've got a lot of projects to catch up on!
- Have you ever thought about working with a company for the re-release of a game? Such as how Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix featured music submitted by Overclocked Remix?
That'd be really cool and I'd totally jump on an opportunity like that, but I think my main goal is more to end up writing music for original games. I love covering the music but I really want to be writing the music that sticks in people's hearts for years just as it did for me.
- Well, everyone sees that you do mostly guitar covers for songs, is this the type of music you would go for? What types of games would you like to create music for? Personally, I would love to see your talents for the Guilty Gear or BlazBlue series.
I'm down for writing almost everything. I've recently written a lot of songs without guitar whatsoever! However the thought of being a studio guitarist for something like BlazBlue really sounds amazing!
- What is your end goal? Do you have anything you are aiming for with all of this?
As I said, my main goal with all of this is to be a video game composer. I also wouldn't mind being a studio musician for composers. I did some guitar work for the game The Binding of Isaac which was composed by Danny Baranowsky. I've still got a long way to go but I'll be making covers and arrangements the whole way!
- Finally, what do you have to tell people who you have inspired to learn music and try to produce their own covers and original content? Any advice or words of wisdom you can share?
Don't do it for anyone but yourself! Always strive to do better than your last work and don't cut any corners. There's so much more to music than just the notes and guitar sound. Make it count by putting your heart into it and don't worry about viewers and subscribers and comments. They'll come if you just keep at it as long as you can go!
|Picture from his Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Ending Theme Guitar Cover.|
The fact that "The Binding of Isaac" features some of his work shows he is on the right path to finally becoming a video game composure, and with the work he has already done I am quite sure companies will be interested in him soon enough. CAPCOM working with people like BossLogic and ArtGerm for promotional work based on their popularity within their chosen fields proves a company is more than willing to extend its hand to those talented enough to topple expectations, and I believe FamilyJules7X has what it takes.
Overall I hope everyone enjoyed this interview and found out more of who exactly FamilyJules7X is and how he is able to create such great music for all gamers to enjoy. Until next time thank you and sayonara!
Check him out on these sites!
YOUTUBE - YouTube.com/FamilyJules7X
TWITTER - Twitter.com/FamilyJules7X
FACEBOOK - FaceBook.com/FamilyJules7X