Interview with Nicole Adams and Starla (injury) of OCReMix

About a year ago I had the pleasure of running across Nicole Adam's music via myspace and was immediately amazed by the music she had there. I soon asked her if she would like to contribute a track to the 2nd GM4A anniversary compilation Welcome to World 2. She was kind enough to agree and submitted the song Permutation for the album, and I was of course blown away by how well it was all done. Another thing I was amazed by was that she worked with Starla AKA injury of OCReMix fame who provided her amazing voice and handled lyric duties on the song verses. Together they created a sweeping arrangement of the Donkey Kong Country song Fear Factory which has been the highlight of the album for many people.

Flash forward a few months and now the song Permutation is featured on OCReMix and has been getting some great reviews. Due to the slightly momentous event I decided to shoot some questions to Nicole Adams to discuss what it is like to have her first song on OCR, and also Injury, who has returned to OCR with this song after a lengthy hiatus. I also took this opportunity to ask them about their music influences, upcoming projects and more. Check out the interview below, then be sure to check out Nicole Adams music myspace and check out Injury over at her new website!

How long have you been writing music and video game music in particular?

Nicole Adams: I have been writing music, including both original material and video game remixes since late 2003, which is also when I got into music production.

injury: I actually started because I wanted to pay homage to megaman music via remixing. Back in 2001, I downloaded a Fruity Loops 2.7 demo and fooled around until I figured out how it worked. I had learned how to play piano at a young age, so long ago i'd forgotten how - but it certainly helped me in terms of understanding music structure and pitch.

When did you come up with the idea for “Permutation”? Did you want to remix that track specifically and then decide on the style, or did you want to do something in this specific style and then choose the track based on that?

Nicole Adams: I came up with the idea for “Permutation” in January or February of 2008. I believe I wanted to start a remix of “Fear Factory” after Mustin e-mailed me a BT remix that contains a section similar to the break in “Fear Factory”. I was listening to a lot of Telefon Tel Aviv at the time so I wanted to remix the track in a style similar to theirs.

How was it writing the lyrics for the song? I understand Nicole Adams had come up with the chorus, how was it building the idea from there?

injury: The whole idea of the theme is based around oppression. This strongly reminded me of Fear Factory's CD "Obsolete." This CD tells a story throughout, of an oppressed world in a police state, and the small glimmer of hope people had. The lyrics are meaningful to me, and I took quite a bit of inspiration from that.

Any songs or projects you are working on currently? Anything we can hope to hear soon?

injury: Nicole and I are hoping to do more tracks together. I feel that we both enjoy creating a fun sound together, and plan to both create more remixes and originals.

Nicole Adams: I always have projects in the works. Some productions that are almost complete include an 8-bit-inspired remix of La Bouche’s classic dance hit, “Sweet Dreams”, my remix for the Donkey Kong Country 2 project going on at OverClocked ReMix and a downtempo Chrono Cross remix. I wish I could tell you when you’ll be able to hear these tracks, but I’m horrible at setting dates and sticking to them.

Clip from the Sweet Dreams remix by Nicole Adams and Injury

How does it feel to have one of your songs make it through the OCR panel and get posted on the site?

Nicole Adams: It feels great to finally have a remix on OCR. Like I said, I’ve been doing this for quite sometime so I knew my first submission had to be good. I am very happy that it was direct-posted and that it has received so many wonderful reviews!

How does it feel to have a new song on OCR after the long hiatus from making music for the site?

injury: I really didn't expect it after the standards had risen so high. When I had left, there was no judges panel and very little quality control. I'm a fan of listening to all good music out there, often times this means that I listen to music that my friends have not, since they are lesser known. I also listen to video game remixes from many other sites, honestly I am happy that a piece of music with my name on it was posted on any of them at all.

Who are some of your influences in the video game remix community, as well as game music composers and more mainstream musicians?

Nicole Adams: This is a tough question to answer since so much has an impact on my music. I would have to say SGX, starla, Hy Bound and Big Giant Circles are a few influential community members. Dave Wise and Yasunori Mitsuda are two video game composers whom I also draw inspiration from. When it comes to more mainstream musicians, I would have to go with BT, Hybrid and Telefon Tel Aviv. Though, they aren’t really mainstream artists. I also really dig Yasutaka Nakata’s work. His electro-heavy productions have had a big impact on my latest tracks.

injury: I've had the fortune of being able to speak with some very talented people. Early on, AE, Beatdrop and McVaffe were kind enough to offer me direct feedback on my work. Nowadays, there are so many supportive people willing to offer sound advice. I try to learn from their music itself - Virt, Suzumebachi, Shael Riley, The Megas, Powerglove, Armcannon... Their composition is excellent and I strive to be more like them.

How was it working with Nicole Adams on the song "Permutation"?

injury: A pleasure! Sometimes I have people asking me I will collaborate with them, and I get very little feedback from them on what I am supposed to be doing, what parts are to be recorded at what point, and so forth. Nicole was very flexible with me and guided me to what was the end product.

How was it working with injury on the song?

Nicole Adams: It was great working with starla on “Permutation”. She recorded quite a few takes and was always incredibly polite upon hearing my criticism. Thanks to our collaboration, I consider her a good friend and we even have more music in the works.

Any songs you hope to remix in the future that you haven't had a chance to work on yet? Also, any artists you hope to work with in the future?

Nicole Adams: I don’t have a list of video game tracks I’d like to remix since I already have so many projects in the works, but I would like to remix BT’s “The Force of Gravity” sometime. As for artists to work with, Big Giant Circles and I have been talking about collaborating. I would also like to collaborate with SGX again. We both worked on a remix of his Planet3 track, “Different” back in 2005, but we have both grown so much since then. Hy Bound is another artist who would be great to work with. (The guy seriously deserves more attention.)

injury: I would love to learn how to compose and master better so that I am one day able to release an original album of my own with no ones help. As far as video game remixes go, I'm open to collaborations, as long as they are as coordinated as Nicole :)

Anything you would like to add, or any project or person you would like to plug?

injury: Recently I have been more involved with Thasauce.net, specifically hosting one hour compos every Thursday (compo.thasauce.net). For those who dont' know, a compo is a timed composition party - in this case, you are given a theme to write a song about, and you are to have this completed within one hour. At the end, we all listen to each others songs and vote on which one fit the theme the best. This is not only a fun thing to do, but it helps improve skills by encouraging you to streamline your work and complete as much as you can in a short period of time.

That's really what all of Thasauce is about, encouraging growth and improving the community as a whole. There is also remix.thasauce.net which offers a home to remixes that may not pass other sites standards (including remixes that are too close to the original, chip covers, too large of a file), as well as wardriver.thasauce.net which is Thasauce's own netlabel. Many future releases are planned, and any member of the community can release an album on this free label.

Nicole Adams: Thank you so much, GM4A, for interviewing me and everyone who listens to my music. I may not have much available right now, but more is on the way!

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I would like to thank Nicole Adams and injury for both taking the time to answer all my questions. Once again I strongly suggest you check out both Nicole Adams myspace and injury's website. They are two very talented and awesome individuals whom I am glad to know and I can't wait to hear what they release next! You can be sure I will post about it here when they do!