Videogames, the rock band that writes songs inspired by their soundtracks

Videogames, the rock band that writes songs inspired by their soundtracks


Horse Jumper of Love is a Boston rock band that makes the kind of music you might want to hear when you're stuck in a hyperbaric chamber for some time and decide to really immerse yourself in the experience. One of their best tracks, Dirt from 2019, is built around a penetrating guitar riff and the phrase "And there is dirt and there is juice / and I am mixing up the two". 'is juice, and I mix the two "). I have no idea what that means, and I'm not even sure it's not fair. The latest album by the Natural Part group is full of songs with equally mysterious lyrics.

In a June interview with The Fader site, the band's frontman, Dimitri Giannopoulos, talked about the song that gives the album title: "The tone of the guitar always reminds me of when I was playing The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time". Was this, then, the secret of the band's chemistry? The music of video games?

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From the bed of a room in an anonymous hotel chain, somewhere in the south of the United States, Giannopoulos and Horse Jumper of Love bassist John Margaris try to explain themselves better during an interview on Zoom. Both musicians have long hair and serene smiles (Margaris also sports a notable mustache). They are excited about the idea of ​​talking about video game music.

For Giannopoulos, the love of video games began when he was about 8 years old with a classic: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. He says that it was not one of the mall punk songs for which the title is best known that hit him, but rather Tnt by AC / DC, which he liked to the point of prompting his mother to take him to a record store to buy High Voltage, the album that contains the piece. "Without AC / DC's High Voltage I would never have come close to rock 'n' roll".

For Margaris, however, Mario 64 and Mario Party 3 sparked off. "You don't realize that you are listening to almost fusion music. Listening to some pieces on a loop without getting bored was a new experience". The authors of the scores "used such limited technology that it's crazy what they managed to do." The colleague's words remind Giannopoulos of one of his favorite memes, that of Donkey Kong's underwater level. "A guy hired to write a gorilla swimming soundtrack accidentally writes the best ambient album of all time," paraphrases Giannopoulos. The discussion then moves to the various underground levels of video games and to how psychedelic the musical cues can be in these changing landscapes. "These are huge mood swings," says Margaris, recalling, intentionally or not, what her band does best.

Both Giannopoulos and Margaris grew up in Boston, and fondly remember the "nights with split screen ", switch to playing games like Goldeneye in basements and living rooms of friends. Now all this represents an important part of their shared musical language: “I don't know much about music theory - explains Giannopoulos -, but I know pop culture well. It comes naturally to me to say: 'John, play a bass line that sounds like' [insert something from when we were little] '". There is also an account on Instagram - adored by Giannopoulos - that publishes songs from" Japanese video games. weird and rare from the 90s, a lot of acid house stuff or rave music. In some cases they are incredibly beautiful, "says Giannopoulos.

Which brings Giannopoulos back to talking about Zelda and The Natural Part.

" The tone of the guitar has that chorus effect that makes me always come nostalgic. There is a song in Ocarina of Time, and that key reminded me of it. "With a faint voice, Margalis begins humming the piece of Zelda.

" I didn't start the piece with the I'm going to do a song that sounds like Legend of Zelda. But once completed, the song evoked a whole host of memories - says Margalis -. It may not have the same sound as the soundtrack, but the feeling it arouses in us is that ".

Although video games have represented a cultural beacon for most of their childhood, today the two musicians are more than anything else amateurs in the industry. For some time Giannopoulos has been experimenting with Skyrim. Margalis has dedicated himself to Mass Effect. The two have thought about buying a Nintendo Switch for the tour. But, to be honest, their relationship with video games is inversely proportional to that with music. Video games are a secret inspiration for their songs. Around high school, when they started to devote themselves seriously to music, games were replaced by songs. " to music - confesses Giannapolous -, I stopped playing. You are always looking for something to get lost in. Music has been that for me ever since. "

This article originally appeared on UK.

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