Musical Mayhem – with NekoJonez!

It’s been a while since the last Musical Mayhem – which was a fun one, by the way – but we’re back, baybay! Let’s just say we’ve just been on an inter-season break, and this is now the long-awaited premiere of Season Two of Musical Mayhem. The format’s largely the same – I chat to one of my friends from the blogworld about their taste in gaming, music and all sorts of other stuff, then head off to compose a track for them – but we’re now working with some software that should hopefully make it all sound just a leetle bit… less MIDI-ish. Winning.

 

Our first guest for the auspicious debut of the new and improved Musical Mayhem is NekoJonez, he who put together the Zelda Project and appears in the 999 playthrough! He’s one of the people I’ve met through blogging who’s become a genuine friend, so I’m glad to be able to do this for him. As usual, I’m in italics and Jonez is in bold. Let’s join the chat! (Jonez is, by the way, a very eloquent dude who can talk about subjects in a lot of depth, so this looks more like a sort of magazine interview with short Q’s and long A’s rather than an informal chat. That’s his style, and I dig it!) (Also – I have to apologise for the weird formatting. I can’t for the life of me get it to be less weird, which I’m not happy about, but at least it’s legible. I’ll do better next time!)

 

Right, let’s get something started on this Musical Mayhem nonsense. You probably know, but the way it works is we basically just chat games and music until we get to the point where I know a bit about your taste, then we decide on the kind of thing I’m going to write for ya, I wander off for a week or so and then come back for your reaction!
So my first question is usually this: tell me a bit about your early gaming experiences and some of the soundtracks that have stuck with you!

 

My earliest gaming experiences. I do remember a lot of my earliest gaming experiences. One of the first games I played was Pac-Man on the Gameboy. Yes, quite a unique way to start a gaming career/life! I fell in love with handheld gaming – mainly because my parents were strict on the time I spent on my PC. So, I didn’t experience a whole lot of computer games. DooM, Wolfenstein, Call of Duty II… Those games I all experienced way past their release date. 
My first console was the Wii. One of my nephews I visited every Saturday had a NES with a flash cartridge, which allowed him to play any ROM he found online. I played Duckhunt and Mario various times. But, I was quite happily playing games on my Gameboy. You don’t want to know how many times I replayed all my games. I still own most of my early childhood cartridges in box to this day! 
When I was allowed to play on the PC, I played games like Freddy Fish, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Disney Tarzan, the early Tomb Raider, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Age of Empires, the Sims, a ton of flash games online. But it didn’t take long before I set up my own website and YouTube channel to express myself. I always had some project running I was working on. And after a while, I started to get an interest into computer science… and yeah, the rest is history. It would make for an article on it’s own.
(Sorry for the lengthy replies, feel free to shorten them as you wish. When I tend to tell a story, I tend to ramble on and on. Bad habit of Jonez.)
Hey, it’s all good! Gives me a lot to work with, and it’s interesting stuff!
Some soundtracks that stuck with me, I could cheap out and say that you could look at my articleBut, here are 5 soundtracks that I enjoy in quite different styles and why:
Time Hollow OST – For a similar reason I enjoy the soundtrack of the Zero Last Reward series. It’s so atmospheric. The main theme has been my ringtone for years. The lyrics of the theme song actually means a lot to me on a personal level. But, just listing to the game takes me right back into the amazing experience. It also builds tension that helped me when I wanted to write thrilling moments in the short stories I used to write.
Rise and Fall Civil. At War — Does Jonez like orchestral? Yes he does. Just the amazing orchestral soundtracks. I remember copying the MP3 files from the game folder onto my MP3 and running in the woods as a young kid pretending to be a warrior in a fantasy landspace. To be honest, my best ideas for my short stories came from the inspiration the inspiration this soundtrack gave me.
Corpse Party 3DS OST — This one blew me off my socks. Hearing a similar returning melody is just great for my melodic loving mind. Also, mind you, Corpse Party is a blood and gore horror game and then hearing pure tech and dance tracks in a soundtrack is just mind-blowing. It does work. It’s amazing.
When I don’t listen to soundtracks, I tend to listen to a lot of dance/hardstyle/techno… And then this game entered my life: Electronic Super Joy. Do I seriously need to explain why I like this?
And then to finish off, one of the latest soundtracks that seriously impressed me: Outlaws. You do have to play this game while the soundtrack is playing to understand how good it is. Western game with western music. Ear candy I tell you.
 
I could say more, since tracks like Blue Bird Lamination (ZTD), Gerudo Valley (Zelda series), I Don’t Want Too Say Goodbye (Pokemon Mystery Dungeon), Zelda’s Lullaby (Zelda series) are just a few game tracks that can bring me to tears.
So, I think I will end it here to answer your two questions, otherwise I will go on a big ramble.

 

I don’t mind the long answers – the others so far have been much briefer replies, but it’s just what works for you – and this gives me a lot to go with, so it’s helpful!
What sort of stuff do you listen to outside of gaming? Is your general music (ie not game music) taste very broad too? Seems like you like a pretty wide variety of game soundtracks.
I listen to a lot of melodic music. But yeah, it’s very broad too. I have a give or take 120GB of music in my library. Artists like Simple Plan, Yevgeni (Flemish one), Basshunter, JubiPhonic (look it up on YT), Sabaton, Dunderpatrullen, Twilight Force, Darren Styles… various euphoric hardstyle artists,I could some up bands and artists for hours. I also listen to movie and anime soundtracks. Or to remixes on the internet from various YT’ers. If it sounds good to my ears, I add it to my song library. And it keeps growing.
Yet, there are a few styles that I don’t like. Any metal /punk style genre where they scream and you don’t understand the lycris without looking it up; is something I don’t like listing too. I do have some friends who adore this music style, all the power to them, but it means nothing for me. Just like dubstep. I mean the “pure” genre, the problem I have with the genre is that I enjoy hard basses that sound melodic and don’t drop in the middle of a song to something you didn’t expect when you are a fan of melodic hardstyle. Let me say it again, I personally don’t like the genres but that doesn’t mean I hate them or think they are bad genres.
 
Also, the soundtrack of a game is a great way to easily “relive” a game. I tend to listen to the soundtrack of a game when I’m reviewing it. On repeat! I have a sort of associative mind. What I mean is, that I link memories to a certain location, song or event. And when I hear it, it helps me to write about a certain thing of the game I wanted to mention.
Nathan and I said something similar – there are very few genres we’ll write off straight away, cos it’s all about the individual track or song, but ‘happy hardcore’ is one for him and I suppose screamo is for you!
As someone who speaks multiple languages, do you have a favourite language to listen to music in?
I speak Dutch, English, little bit of French. I understand basic German. Overall, I enjoy my music either without lyrics (or your typical vocal sounds but no words ya know) or English. In 2nd place we get Dutch and Japanese.
Is there a lot of music in Dutch? I’ve found that my favourite languages (when there are lyrics – as you say, without is good) are probably German (it’s just the best for hard rock and great for classical too) and Japanese (for pop). Also really into Mongolian music at the moment, which is just a really cool sound. It almost doesn’t sound like a language to my uneducated English ears but I rather like that.
Oh, and there are some hymns in Icelandic and Finnish which are absolutely beautiful.
 
There is more Dutch/Flemish music then you might think. We have a lot of pop artists. If you enjoy German music, you might enjoy Dutch music then too. Since Dutch and German sound quite similar in my opinion. It’s quite confusing as a Dutch speaking person to learn German. If you want, I can send you some examples.
Oh, yeah, hit me up with Dutch tunes! I don’t know much about Dutch as a language but it’s always looked and sounded quite interesting – people think it’s very similar to German but I think it looks quite distinct, at least when you see it written down.
For Dutch music, Yevgueni
From the Netherlands, you have carnival music from Gebroeders Ko.
Well, Dutch is, like English, a Germanic language. So, we are in the same “category” when it comes to languages. That’s why learning English went easier for me than French. Since French is a Romantic language. The inner teacher is coming through here. Besides working in IT, my other dream is to be a teacher. But, talking about that would get us too far from the subject here! 
But, in the dance/techno/d&b/… scene, there are a lot of famous Belgian artists that make their music in English. That’s why there are so many big festivals here in Belgian that get a lot of people from all over the world. Like from Asia or Australia. Rock Werchter, Pukkelpop, Tomorrowland, Graspop… Music is big here in Belgium.
Language families do interest me a lot – I’ve studied literature rather than language mainly, but studying Tolkien’s fictional languages for my dissertation gave me an interest in language families in the read world.
 
I wish I was able to learn more languages but I dont have enough… what I call language feeling. Just look at the huge amount of grammatical errors I make.
Your English is pretty much spot-on, I’d say – better than a lot of people whose first or only language is English!
You are flattering me. Well, I can switch between Dutch and English on the fly. Like I can recall several times I was in a skype talking English and my mom entered the room to ask me something and fully replied in Dutch and continued in English on the Skype call after that. Leaving the guys in the call confused. Saying: “Which sim language did you just speak?” Well, Dutch of course.
Did you start learning English pretty young? I’ve found that most of my friends from non-English speaking countries learned it really early either through school or just TV or something, so everyone seems to speak English really well. I think it’s made us lazy, though; we just assume everyone will speak English so we don’t bother to learn other languages as much.
 
Yes. I started to learn English thanks to games. In Belgium all kid shows are dubbed into Dutch. Also, my mom teaching English in high school and we had some exchange students in our house. So I was able to practice my English. Also, when I got interested in Computer Science, I started to learn a lot more English.
So what’s your spoken English accent like? I knew a few people at uni who were from various places around Europe and a lot of them had American-sounding accents because of course they’d learned English from games and TV shows where that’s the usual accent.
(At this point, Jonez and I went off on a very long string of sending voice recordings back and forth so we could each hear what the other sounds like out loud. It was interesting, but alas, unusable in blog format. Eventually, we remembered what we were supposed to be doing.)
So, where were we about the music interview?
This is very interesting to me, although totally not what we started out talking about… Er, yeah! Music! It’s fine, though – the others have all diverted to totally irrelevant stuff, and I actually really like that I’ve been able to talk to people about lots of cool and interesting things beyond just the music thing. Just to jump back to that, though, what’s the last game you played where you were like ‘dang, that’s a kickass soundtrack’?
That would be outlaws on PC, I send you earlier. The reason why too!

 

Just listening to that track from Outlaws now, it’s pretty sweet
You a fan of the music from Bastion? That’s the other game that I can think of that’s done western music really well, albeit with a bit of a trip-hop spin…
I haven’t played Bastion yet. But it sounds like a more modern-ish style western? Like still the western style but more machinery?
Understand what I mean?
It’s definitely not the classic sort of Western, it’s more industrial with more electronic instruments and stuff. But it’s definitely inspired by kind of frontier music, and the visuals are too. There are a couple of songs with vocals which are really good;
this is a great one –  and this one’s sung by the narrator, who just has an excellent voice.
Then this is one of my favourite non-vocal ones. Gives you a good feel for the soundtrack as a whole! Transistor by the same guys also has a really great OST, but totally not the same style at all!
It reminds me of those amazing times I had when I was on a trip with the scouts. The campfire and guitar. Love it.

 

Yeah, it’s that sort of feel. The whole thing is a bit like that! Hang on, let me find a couple from Transistor… Again, one with vocals here. Same singer as the other one. I think.
Oh, and this oneAnd let’s get one with no vocals while we’re at it.
This is lovely, I so need to play these two games.
Not expecting you to listen to all of these, but they’re there for ya if you want ’em!
 
Yeah, I think they probably have two of the best OSTs in indie games. They’re both good games too, by the way, but the music is far and away the highlight for me. I LOVE THE ACE ATTORNEY MUSIC!
OH, if you didn’t know… Ace Attorney had once a cross over with Professor Layton.
I heard, but never played it!
I recommend. It’s good. I think I wrote a review.
I think you said the Zero Escape soundtracks were some of your favourites too, right? I think they’re underrated, the music really plays a big part in the atmosphere – at least from what I’ve seen so far. There’s a few VNs with good OSTs – Danganronpa, and you said Corpse Party too? (Is Corpse Party a VN?)
Yes, it’s a VN. There is so much text. Compare it to Zero Escape. But instead of escaping a room, you are exploring a school. It’s more of a Survival-y horror VN adventure hybrid thing-a-gic.
That sounds right up my street! Maybe after ZE that’ll be the next thing… If we haven’t all died of exhaustion by the time we do the entire trilogy.
Oh, take it from me…. If you want the fullest and best experience. Either emulate the PSP Corpse Party or buy the 3DS version. Don’t bother with the Steam version. It’s a MEH port. About the ZE soundtrack, there is one song that hits my heartstrings quite hard. Don’t worry, no spoilers with this vid … Except when you scroll to the comments that is.
I’ll stay far away from the comments!

 

Most of my loved soundtracks are on handheld devices. The oracle soundtracks from TLOZ or Monster Tale on DS are other examples. Also, I remember that one time, I claimed that I was able to recognize a lot of video game soundtracks by just hearing a few songs of them without much effort.
I remember playing an Animal Crossing game on the DS for the first time and thinking ‘wow, this is some nice music’. I reckon I could recognise most of the games I really like from one song!
They put me to the test and put on like 50 ish games ranging from Sypro, Freddi Fish, Metal Gear, Silent Hill…. I got a 41/50, right, I only derped and called Shovel Knight Mega Man. How my brain derped that hard, I have no clue.
That’s pretty good! I bet there are websites where you can do OST quizzes. I’d probably get a couple of really obscure ones and just totally whiff on some well-known ones that I’ve just missed out on.
I tend to hate silence apart from when I’m studying or sleeping. So, when I’m working, I’m always listening to music.
Yeah, I tend to do that as well. I didn’t use to be allowed to, so now I can I’ve spent some time trying to find the best music to help me work. I can’t listen to the same stuff I would listen to in the gym because I wouldn’t be able to concentrate so I need more… ambient stuff… But not too ambient or it just annoys me that it’s not doing enough.
Well, lately I listen to this at work. Or stuff like this. Or to radionintendo.com or radiohyrule.com.
Radio Hyrule? That sounds awesome! Hang on, let me find some of my music of choice lately… This guy is awesome, he has a lot of live shows on YouTube which are just brilliant. 
What do you think about this style of music? Hearing the two tracks you sent me reminded me of this.
I’d have to listen to a few tracks, this sort of thing takes a while to grow on me. I think it could be the sort of thing I might enjoy though! To be honest, your thorough replies have probably given me enough to go on for this interview!
The last thing I need to ask you is… what kind of track do you want me to write for you?
I mean, your taste seems pretty varied so I don’t think I could capture it all in a single piece.
Depending on how much time and such you have for it… 
I’ve got an hour or two a day for as many days as it takes!

 

You know what would sound interesting? Like some intro tune I could use if I ever start a video review show or something? Intro / outro tune? Or, what if it’s an intro tune to my life if it were an anime! Maybe that last one was a bit too crazy.
I could certainly try to make something that could be cut down into an intro/ outro section, for sure. That’d be really cool actually! Still not sure what kind of genre, what sort of instruments to use and so on though.
Since, my whole life I have been creating content for people and such. Well, I would have no idea either. I tend to like a mix of instruments. When it’s melodic, I’m happy.
So something with a strong melody? That’s something I’m not always great at, actually, so it’d be good to focus on that for this.
Yes, example of what I mean with melodic is Dunderpatrullen.

 

The word ‘dunderpatrullen’ to me sounds like a comedy about bumbling German policemen… Ooh, I like that! I can definitely do something similar to that.
Also, if it helps, I have been watching people like AVGN, Dex The Swede, SpaceHamster, BrutalMoose, Caddicarus for years now. And I love their intro / outro a lot. ProJared might be added on that list too.
I’ll have a listen to their intros and see if I can come up with a longer track out of that, but one you could take a short section of and use for your intro.
Thanks in advance mate, this was a lot of fun and now that I know you a bit better, I know I should talk to you more.
Thank me after you’ve heard it – everyone else has liked theirs so far but there’s always going to be a first crap one, hehe.
You’re definitely up there with the People I’m Most Glad To Have Met Through Blog Stuff
and indeed I reckon you’re probably a good friend more than most people I know in real life at this point… but that’s maybe just cos I don’t speak to a lot of real life people any more :S

 

Good luck and have fun. Can’t wait to hear it!
(Many months then passed. Well, maybe not many months, but more weeks than I’d have liked. As you might remember, I’ve recently moved to some better software for music production, which means I’m still getting used to putting it together. Eventually, though… this happened.)
LOOK WHAT IT IS. It’s a link to a track!
I listened to a lot of Dunderpatrullen, eventually came up with some ideas. This was the first time I used FL Studio to compose rather than just arrange so it was an interesting challenge. Not sure all the bits fit together and I still suck at mixing and ending but I quite like some of the parts.
Did you like Dunderpatrullen? They are so creative when it comes to visuals and such. The song is quite chill. Trance music yet motivating you know. Like how I am.
But you know, it reminds me prefectally about my love of chiptune and old school pc/gbc games. Ah man. Great work. The song really has a lot of elements that people would connect with me you know!
I didn’t really see any visuals, just had it all stuck on in the background at work! But yeah, I liked their music a lot Kind of new style electronic but with an old bitpop chiptune sort of feel.
 
Just check the Dunderpatrullen YT channel. It’s nuts with the visuals! Watch them get coffee… I wish I could see them live once to hear gems like this.
Would you care to give me a quick paragraph or two of your thoughts on the track? What you like about it and what you might have done different?
I wouldn’t have done anything differently. Simply because my music taste is so broad, I think this song captures my more favorite electronic, trance, tech and chiptune style. It’s relaxing and motivating. You did a good job Chris, you should send me the MP3 so I could put this as my alarm tone or ringtone you know!
Hey, I’m really glad to hear that! It’s not a style I’ve done before, so part of the reason this took so long was just trying to work out what that actually sounds like! I think there’s a bit in there that you could use as an intro/outro, y’know.
I know right. I wish I had the time to make more vids… but with all my running projects, I lack that time 😦
Well, you’ll have a theme tune now for when you do get back to it! I’m really glad you like the track, anyway, and I’ve found some new styles of music that I really like. Plus the chat was just really interesting, so thanks a lot! Do you want to quickly let people know where they can find you? (Twitter, blog etc)
My twitter & my blog. All my other socials are in the side bar of my blog.
Thanks a lot for being involved – it was good!
*
Well, there ya have it. The track for this edition: ‘Jonez Makes It Happen’!

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Musical Mayhem – with NekoJonez!

  1. This has been so lovely. Thanks for doing this buddy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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