This is an interview that has been quite a long time coming (the band knows what I mean). This is with Year 200X, a great band that has been featured in numerous articles including one in Volume 205, the July 2006 issue of Nintendo Power. Enjoy! And if you want to hear their music and find out more, then head over to their official site at myspace.com/year200x.
Names? Kyle: Kyle Hoke Tim: Tim Lydon Tony: Tony Oliver Ian: Ian Whiters Rance: Rance Tatroe Jake: Jake Bryan (aka Ganondorf)
How old are you? Kyle: Too young to fall in love, I.E. 21 Tim: 26 Tony: 26 Ian: 21 Rance: 21 Jake: 22
Band Name? Tim: Year 200X Kyle: T.L. and the furious five
How long have you been performing music under this name? Tim: Half a year-ish.
How long have you been performing music in general? Tim: We've all been playing for at least 7 or 8 years live.
Is this your first band? what former bands were you in? What music did they play? Kyle: This is about my fiftieth band. There's been a lot, but only a couple actually did anything worth discussing. My first "serious" band was Prevalent Dreams. We played melodic metal for about 6 years. I actually started out playing bass for that band and slowly made the transition to guitar. It's pretty funny how basically everyone From P.D. made their way to this band HAHA. Yeah, we're band whores...
Tim: Mind Pollution and Summer Dying were the two main metal bands I was in. My first band included actor Brad Renfro. He's in jail for heroin now I think.
Tony: My first band was the stereotypical "bad-metal" band, we covered Metallica and Tool and such. We went by many names, but Broken Glass and Malicious Destruction were two of the ones I remember. Next I was in a thrash band with Tim called Mind Pollution, then a Melodic Death Metal band called Summer Dying. Finally I started my own side project called The St. Valentines Day Massacre, and I still write songs for it occasionally. Its kind of a joke band... super ridiculous breakdowns and extreme tuffness abound.
Ian: Former bands Surreal, Prevalent Dreams, and Churchill Downs in that order, they all played metal.
Rance: Surreal, Prevalent Dreams, Summer Dying, Churchill downs.
Jake: Prevalent Dreams, Churchill Downs, Vega (80's synth rock).
Where did you get the idea for your band name? Kyle: Tim got the Idea because he's a freaking uh-GENIUS! It comes from Mega-Man 2. Tim: Yeah, what he said.
Where do you currently reside? Tim: All of us live in or around Lansing, MI.
What was the first video game console you ever owned? What memories do you have with it? Kyle: Well, that's kinda tough. I've had a Coleco Vision since birth, but I don't remember ever playing it so I would say the NES console was the first. I still remember running to the TV room on Christmas morning and seeing the NES box standing there in all it's 8-bit glory. I spent hours playing that thing. My mom would take out her work aggression on it too, late at night while I was trying to sleep. Good times.
Tim: My first console was an NES. Around the same time I also got a Sega Master System. However, I don't remember much of my childhood. Doctors call it "self-induced amnesia." Also, I just made that up.
Tony: I don't remember if I had an Atari or a Commodore 64 first.. but I definitely have more fond memories with the C64. My dad would play Zork with me to help teach me how to type. I still have all the C64 games I had back then. Lots and lots of games.
Ian: I got an NES for Christmas when I was five and I played the hell out of it, it still works to this day.
Rance: NES, smashing it against a wall.
Jake: Nintendo, Mario 3.
What is your favorite console? Why? Kyle: I love the NES because of the controller. I've always loved the old school configuration in contrast to todays pieces of shit controllers. I think Playstation did a good job on their controller but nothing will match the NES. I loved the Super Nintendo and the PS 1 & 2. But now that I think about it I say the Sega Genesis was my favorite to play overall. That was a good system. Lots of memories. Mortal Kombat. Loved it. Played it so much I blew up my console adapter haha.
Tim: It's hard to say... I have 11 consoles heheh. I like all of them for various reasons, but I think I'd have to go with the old reliable NES, I just have more fun with the games, and they're more nostalgic for me.
Tony: I'm currently glued to the Nintendo DS, just because its easy for me to sit down and play a few minutes while my son is distracted.. close it and play with him for a while. Also, a bunch of awesome games suddenly came out for it. Watch out for Year 200X in Mariokart DS and Valmass in Metroid Prime Hunters online!Although I really suck at Metroid.
Ian: I would have to say the Super Nintendo, a lot of my favorite games of all time were for that console, like FF2 and 3, Mario Kart, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, and Smash TV.
Rance: X Box , I like the controllers a lot.
Jake: I’m not much of a gamer but I’d have to say PS2 because itss sweet.
What is your favorite video game soundtrack? Why? Kyle: Twin Fuckin Cobra! It's so freakin' metal!
Tim: Yeah man, we got to do that game eventually. I personally love the older game music, stuff for the NES and SNES. The newer orchestral stuff is cool, but a lot of it lacks the melody and catchiness of the older stuff.
Tony: Megaman 2 is pound for pound the best music for the NES. They really went all out for that music... every level is etched in my brain. But there are others almost as good... Lifeforce is very underrated, as is the Gradius series in general. Shadowgate has some great music. And Contra, Ninja Gaiden... I could go on forever.
Ian: Smash TV, if you listen to the game music you will pick out some really funky bass, which is what I play.
Rance: Contra, Its has a lot of of the wall melodies.
What is your favorite band/artist? Why? Kyle: Opeth is by far my favorite Progressive metal act. They have it all, aggression, riffs from hell, chops up the ass, dude can sing and growl like a fuckin’ demon. They cover all bases. I also love tons of Jazz, Country, Pop, traditional turkish grooves, bunch of stupid shit.
Tim: Tori Amos. She is a goddess among men.
Tony: Thats a tough one. Its always fluctuating. Some days I think Opeth is the best band ever, and some days its Soilwork or Darkane. Every band has its ups and downs for sure. It’s too hard to pick one perfect band.
Ian: My favorite artist of all time is Frank Zappa, there are so many good albums and live recordings and he always had a really tight band.
Rance: It changes all the time, right now its Between the Buried and Me, phenomenal musicianship.
(Tim responding in Big Jake voice): Oh man, I loooove Opeth. Opeth is soooo good.
What is your favorite video game? Why? Kyle: Twin fuckin Cobra! It's so freekin' metal!
Tim: Come on man, you know that's an impossible question! Well, I've been playing Smash Bros. Melee a lot lately, gotta get my gaming chops up so I can bring the heat to the other bands playing at Video Armageddon 2. But I can put in Zelda 2 any time, that game was awesome.
Tony: Arrrrg... Favorite game overall is probably XCOM: UFO Defense. Its strategy is perfectly balanced. They need to make a 3D remake of that game. As for favorite NES game its probably River City Ransom. I put more hours into that game then any other, I think. But I'm a big fan of so many games... again its hard to pick a favorite!
Ian: It’s so hard to pick one, there are a lot of sweet new games out there but I always seem to enjoy going back and playing old school games, so I would have to say that overall the most brutal game ever is Smash TV, but that's just me.
Rance: That changes all the time too. Right now Its NHL 2004 because I made this sweet team called the Grand Rapids Juggernauts.
Jake: FF7 because the story is sweet.
Do you still play a lot of video games? which ones have you been playing most lately? Kyle: I've been playing a lot of NES lately. Punchout is my latest obsession.
Tim: I try to get a little gaming in every day. Smash Bros., and a couple games for my 3DO have been my recent plays.
Tony: Oh yeah... probably too much. Its kind of my stress relief and my hobby. I've been revisiting some good PC First person shooters; Half-Life 2, Far Cry, Fear, Painkiller. For Nintendo DS I've been playing Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Meteos, and Metroid Prime Hunters.
Ian: I go through phases where I play all the time and then I won’t play for a while, right now I'm pretty busy with school but find time to play a few games of NHL '06, I'm a huge hockey fan.
Rance: Not Really, NHL 2004
Jake: I haven't been playing games much lately...although I was way into FF7 a month or two back.
What type of music besides video game music has had the most influence on you? Kyle: All music has been influential to me. I couldn't just say METAL METAL METAL!!!
Tim: I really try to listen to a bit of everything. And I mean it, everything. Although 200X is definitely more influenced by thrash metal and swedish death metal.
Tony: Definitely metal. All kinds of metal. Extreme metal, mainly. Though I do enjoy good prog-rock like Porcupine Tree.
Ian: Traditionally I’ve always played heavy metal, but I've been listening to a lot of old records lately, mostly classic rock and jazz.
When did you first start making video game related music? Kyle: When Tim asked me to.
Tim: The first 200X song was our Megaman 2 intro, I recorded it in 2002, just for fun. I never guessed I would be in a NES cover band!
Tony: I think it was a couple of years ago, I wanted to make a metal Punch-out song, just for the heck of it. I heard Mini-bosses and thought "Wow thats cool... but what if I made it metal?". Though I distinctly remember when I first started playing guitar having the desire to cover Bad Dudes level 2. I always thought that song rocked.
Ian: When I joined Year 200X.
Rance: Same here.
What instruments and electronics do you use to make your music? Kyle: My guitar and these two hands...and Tim's computer.
Tim: My main guitar is a Jackson with EMG's and a scalloped fretboard. We all use Line 6 amps...and I use Sonar 5 for recording demos and what not.
Tony: The only instrument I play per-se is Guitar. I program drums using Sonar and a synthesizer program. Bass is MIDI if I can't get Tim to record it real-time. Somtimes I'll throw in MIDI effects to songs, but I try to keep them as guitar-y as possible.
Ian: I just play the bass.
Rance: We use just guitars, bass, drums, and lots of balls.
Any advice to other people trying to make it in this genre of music? Kyle: Have fun with it and don't just do what everyone expects you to do. Change it up for keerists sake!
Tim: Try to put your own spin on things...hearing a note-for-note cover of a video game song is cool, but try to make it your own a little. Do something people don't expect and make them say “Wow, that was cool.”
Tony: Just play games, love music, and have fun. If your not having fun with it, don't even bother! Also, its always cool if you throw in your own style into a song, rather then just playing it note for note as the original. I can appreciate hearing the same NES song by all these different bands because they usually interpret it differently than I do.
Ian: Try to be original in your approach. All of these bands play covers which isn't original, but it's all about your style. We try to play game music that sounds cool in a metal style because that's what comes natural for us.
Rance: Don’t be a bitch!
Jake: Say no to drugs! -------
Thanks again to Year 200X for taking the time to perform this interview, and remember to check out myspace.com/year200x.