Swoosh Interview

This is my first of three more interviews for the launch of gamemusic4all.com. I hope you enjoy. this interview is with Swoosh, who you can check out HERE. Name: Adande

How old are you? 25, 26 in July. Go cancers.

So how long have you been making music? In my head, since middle school. Outside of my head, since 2000.

How long have you been making music under your current artist name? I've always gone by Swoosh, but didn't get on Myspace until this year in February. It's always my friends who get me into stuff.

Yeah, That’s how most people got on myspace, a friend. Well I was on myspace, since August 05, but my boy would tell me, “You got hot beats, you should put some up on myspace.” Honestly, MY beats are hotter than what you guys hear on myspace. They're all original, and I know people who get some serious ideas and 'borrow' the ideas that are laced in most of them.

Care to expand on that? Well, I recently did the music for an animated film project and there are about 20 tracks for that. My friends would all want copies of it for their ipods and they finally got around to "You should put these on myspace" and I started to, but then I realized that could get me in trouble down the line because a lot of these beats are for scenes and will rely on the audiences to hear them for the first time with what’s going on; on screen ...so... I had to start making myspace exclusives.There was one, man. I'll tell you after the interview after you get sworn to secrecy, but it's sick. I almost posted it just to see how people would flip out but I chose not to.

So you've already gotten yourself into a bit of hot water, huh? Well... yes and no, all the beats on myspace I made on the side with my free time JUST for myspace. I'm interested in what soundtrack money will look like, but I’ve said too much already.

Okay, we’ll leave that at that then. So what gave you the idea of remixing games? One of the beats I had in my head since around ‘95 or ‘96 was the Chun Li beat remixed with hip hop and that beat was in my head for years. So in 2001 I finally did it. I could go anywhere and throw it on and people would go nuts. So when it came to myspace, I knew I wanted to do something meaningful to people. I know others are very passionate about gaming. I was just that gamer that loves music and [the music] was kind of my gift to everyone.

So do you think you'd be in a different place right now if you did original tunes for myspace rather than game remixes? Oh, most defintely. For instance, I've heard stories of people who put my music on their page and their friends over hear it and say, "Is that the HALO BEAT?!" And they go nuts. They send me emails and add me and tell their friends. With original music that no one has heard yet, all it is is, “wow, that’s a hot beat.” And most beats are the same rifts over and over. People don’t get as worked up on a global scale as they do with a song that brings back memories like the video game tracks do. Kids can hear the mushroom kingdom remix and go nuts, you know?

Yeah, definitely, So you think the nostalgia factor has helped you out a lot? Yes sir. With my next remix, that’s particularly what I'm resting on. It's tough at the same time though because you have to keep it cool and interesting. People hold these games in a special place, especially the music for them. You mess it up, bad things, man.

What sorts of equipment and instruments do you use to create your songs? For my video game beats, I use the most unheard of method. I use my PS2. It gives the perfect sound. When you want that bit of analog feel to it. That video game feel. What better way to stay focused than to make the beats on a video game system? I use the game Music Generator 2 and the sampler you can get for like $40, might be more now depending on how hard they are to find. I was about to collaborate with an unsigned hip-hop group, and they heard one of my video game beats, and they were all bobbin their heads, then they looked at me and asked "Yo, what did you use to make this one?" And I said, “My PS2.” And they all died of laughter. Lets just say the meeting was over shortly after that.

That brings me to my next question. How do you feel about game music and game remixes not being taken seriously by the music community at large? It’s kind of sweet, when I got in here, I was like, “yeah, there’s a lot of love here.” But it's only a matter of time before people are forced to notice. They might not take us seriously now, but they will. It’s already started. These guys Startmobile, they've made ringtones out of my game beats. All it'll take is one person to break through and it'll open the floodgates like the music industry and reggaeton. Daddy Yankee gets big, [then] guys like Pitbull get big, all of a sudden, BAM! It’s everywhere, everyone wants to be featured on a reggaeton track. Snoop, Jay z, Ja rule, But for now-- I love the community on myspace with the game beats. I'm starting to notice divisions, you have your 8 bit guys, your remix guys, etc. And it's all love. Never seen anything like it.

Do you still play a lot of video games? God yes. Xbox Live, best thing that ever happened to next gen consoles, but I've been into online gaming since the SNES days, Xband anyone? I'm the real deal man! (laughs)

Xband, huh? Now that's a throwback. You remember Xband? Props man. I'm going to kick everyone else off my top 8 and just have you now! (laughs)

Well I’ve pretty much dedicated myself to the study of video game history. Anyway... So what games are you playing the most lately? Dead or alive 4, Uno on Xbox live, Table tennis, Burnout revenge, Need for Speed Most Wanted... too many to name, man. It's hard trying to get to them as much now because the traffic at myspace is out of control. I sign in on some days and have 4 pages of friend requests and I've made it a duty to reply to each and every single person who sends me anything. So with the VGCats comics and all, it takes up a lot of time.

That reminds me, I had to ask this. What's your favorite VGcats strip? Awe man! The Mario party one, where he spoofs the house party with the Nintendo characters.

Well back to video games. What was the first console you owned? What are some of the memories you had with it? Oh man, Christmas day 1988. I flew downstairs and darted to that rectangular box (an NES console) that was wrapped up, I think I was using my teeth to open it at one point. The first system I had was the Atari though. It got stolen, my E.T game also.

Well E.T.'s not much of a loss. (Laughs) Man, the two frames that it had, kept me going for hours.

Probably because there was no coherent point to the game. (Laughs more) Oh man! But the memories. That’s part of the reason I came out of the gate with a Mario beat. I mean the original Mario beat has been done to death. So that’s why I did one outside of that circle but still would strike a core with people.

So what were some of your favorite games for that grade-A Christmas gift you got? There was this flying game, something force. I had 3 games for Christmas Mario/Duck Hunt and that flying game, but once I got duck tales it was over! Almost did a duck tales remix, but went with Halo instead.

So what is your favorite console of all time? And the games for that console? Oh man, here come the hard questions. I'm gonna have to go off hours on this one. I'd say a tie between SNES Mortal Kombat 2, Street Fighter 2, Killer Instinct and Xbox 1 with Dead or Alive Ultimate. Xband and Xbox Live raised the bar and swallowed me. With killer instinct on Xband, I was waking up at 4 in the morning to sneak some games in before school. I didn’t have a job when the SNES was out either so that was life. And don’t get me started on Secret of Mana. I think I failed English and History in middle school because of that game.

I think Squaresoft may have taken quite a few grades down for SNES owners back in the day. Man, I wasn’t big into RPG's either but when I got my hands on that it was over. Same thing with college, when Zelda came out for N64... I skipped college algebra class to go get it from target I could take up the rest of this interview with memories. (laughs) Teaching my girlfriend how to play smash brothers but, well I wont go into that one. (laughs) next!

Well here's what may be another tough question. Favorite game? I was right. The hard questions... That’s like picking my favorite child, but I'll try... Don’t tell the kids okay? Favorite game? Dang man. I'll say the first Sims. First game I would ever dream about. On the PC, not the consoles. People are going to be let down with that one, but the amount of creativity the game allowed, THAT’S what I loved about it. The open endedness about it. I like creative games. That and Pikmin were the only two games that I could never describe to my friends. If I was forced to pick just one as far as favorite I would say that or Mario 3. I mean, I day dreamed about that one ALL the time, but it never went to the subconscious like Sims did.

So do you have any favorite video game soundtracks? Final fantasy, love that one. Halo is hot. Burnout 3, even though it’s all "various artists" I love every song on there, the piano songs from Sims, I listen to those on my ipod a lot! Splinter cell OST. oh! And Fable! Good god! Perfect Dark N64 soundtrack. I'm done, no more. (laughs) See you hit a core man, games and music, with me. Now had you told me to pick just one I would've exploded.

So now on to a few music related questions. What type of music, besides video game music, has been most influential to you? Hip-hop, techno, rave, breakbeat, R&B.

So pretty eclectic influences huh? I like a lot, no death goth and no death hip-hop. Country isn't much of an influence but I love it man. I mean, 80's cartoon theme music is on constant rotation on my ipod if that tells you anything.

So do you listen to any other video game music composers, or remixers? Any particular favorites? A lot comes by me. I also try to do what people AREN’T doing. Not just to be different but I always try to bring something interesting to the table. To open up the next remix, though I may make an exception to that. But there is one guy you linked to on your page. He was making a video game documentary...[the remix hosted on his site] WOW! He's got some street fighter remixes. Sick stuff. I also love when people sample the 8 bit beats and make their own original track from it. There’s a song called diplo rythum, perfect example of what I'm talking about. First time I heard it, I couldn't believe my ears. By a fellow Floridian called Diplo. Not sure if you've heard of them, but he's on myspace also. He's not a VG head but he has one track where he does it... good for the ear.

So any favorite non-VGM musicians, or groups? Craig Armstrong, John Williams, Hans Zimmer.

Plan on performing any time soon? You know, I've thought about that. I was thinking of maybe creating the beats from scratch in real time. Have a big screen up there and open up music generator... and just start playing Quickly make the beats so you see the entire process and it’s entertaining at the same time, but that’s much later on. It all depends on how this ringtone thing and the other projects go.

What do you think about the next generation console wars? I see what’s going on in the "unseen movie" right now. Not sure if many people out there know who Major Nelson is, but he's the director of Xbox Live. Grab some of his podcasts from the end of ‘05 and listen to how much he subtly starts dropping Nintendo’s name. All in a good way. Then I start picking up static on the radar. Talking to some of my sources in LA... and some people in the industry here in Florida... and Nintendo+Gates vs. Sony... might be what’s over the horizon.

Any thoughts on the PS3? I want a video game system. I'm loving the fact that it's gonna have blu-ray. But what games are going to be on there to compete with what Microsoft is working with? A lot of parties are happy that the PS3 games will be able to store 25 gigs on one disc but if you don’t have an HD TV... I'm paying all this cash for a blu-ray player that I might not want. And the lines. Gamers have been prepped. They saw first hand what happened with the launch of the 360. So now in a lot of peoples mind they're saying, "Crap, I have to spend the night outside the store to get a system." People will do it just to turn around and sell it on eBay. From what I've heard, Sony is planning on actually meeting the demand, but we'll see. People have their theories. But I love all the gaming systems. When everything is said and done. I want to be entertained.

Any thoughts on the Wii? The Wii is not HD, first red flag. Not a lot of parties are really amped on working with the Wii but I'll grab one anyway. I love the fact that Nintendo doesn’t have to rest on "The object of every game we make is to kill, kill, kill!" I mean to be honest, Nintendo has fallen off with a lot of North American gamers. I remember a time when I was checking in at my local EB for game releases and every time I went in there was a kid, with a book bag full of Gamecube games and their Gamecube system, getting rid of it. Also, not sure if you remember before the 360 was in the picture. All the game commercials, all you'd hear at the end of them was "coming soon for the Xbox and PS2." No mention of the ‘cube.

Yeah. it's been a bit of a tough time for Nintendo fans. I'm not trading mine in EVER! I still break out my Dreamcast when I feel like it.

Speaking of Dreamcast. Do you wish Sega was still in the hardware race? Yeah man, I used to really not like Sega. After their "Genesis does what Nintendo don't" campaign, I didn't really like them too much. But once I played the demo for Sonic on the Dreamcast and that whale popped up... They got back in my good books, So, yeah, I kind of wish they were around but I predicted this would happen. As soon as the Sega presidents would keep quitting back to back. I knew something was up. Crazy Taxi and Space Channel 5 on the DC... oops did I say that last one out loud? I mean err... (laughs)

Something most people think is that Sega died because of the PS2, when it was piracy that really killed them. Just a little fact if you didn't know. Piracy... Yeah, it’s best we not get into that. I don’t smile on it. Guys, don’t steal video games. Please!

Okay. One more question. Any advice to other people trying to make it in this genre of music? Guys, originality is where it’s at. If you're going to pour your hours into creating a remix track or any kind of track, first do your homework. It's good to have an idea of what people think is "cool" nowadays. And understand also that no matter how hard you work, someone, somewhere, is gonna be there waiting to hate on you. So be ready for that. Also make sure you make the music for yourself first and foremost and just let everyone else enjoy it. Once you get to a certain point, then you can start making music for others.

I’d once again like to thank Swoosh for this interview. Be sure to check him out on his myspace site!