When you think of video game music, you might hear Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. original score, or maybe FlyLo FM from Grand Theft Auto’s licensed soundtrack. Either way, video games have long held promise for composers and musicians. Like movies, video games are naturally a broad medium with room for different musical experiences. Games also provide a lucrative revenue stream for some artists. One composer, Chris Remo, who has worked on recent hits like Gone Home and Firewatch, joins us to talk about how he got into the video game industry. We also hear from Steve Gaynor, co-founder of indie game studio, The Fullbright Company. Kotaku editor-at-large Kirk Hamilton gives us a rundown of current and past trends in game music. To end the show, we get an idea of how video game music has influenced an entire music genre, and hear from Spencer Seim of Nintendocore band The Advantage.
Music has the power to inspire people and change lives. On this episode we spotlight one organization using music education to empower and amplify the voices of young women and girls. Portland’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls was founded in 2001 and provides tools and education for girls interested in music. Along with the camp’s director, Kristi Balzer, we talk to some of the women who have been influenced by and serve as role models for the camp, Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Jenny Conlee (The Decemberists) and Fabi Reyna (She Shreds Magazine).
Touring, playing festivals, meeting loyal fans. Sounds like life as a successful musician, right? On this episode we look at a different audio and performance-driven art form: stand-up comedy. There are many parallels between the comedy and music industries, especially when it comes to releasing albums and booking festivals. We talk to comedy festival pioneer Andy Wood about the ninth year of Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival and how it’s affected the nation’s comedy landscape. We also have comedian and writer Shane Torres in studio to help shed light on the similarities among those working hard to make it in the creative world.
Every kid dreams of being a rock star, but what does the job actually take? While touring can be fun, the realities of life on the road can be difficult to sustain. How do working artists balance their careers with day to day life? We talk with Rafael Cohen of !!! about creating stability as a “middle-class” musician. Then, Taraka Larson of Prince Rama walks us through the duo’s touring schedule and unconventional recording process. Portugal. The Man’s Zach Carothers shares what he’s learned over the last fifteen years of working in the band, including a few tour bus cooking tips.
“Young people [are an] underserved population when it comes to the music industry.” That’s the point our guest Andre Middleton drives home on this week’s episode of The Future of What. In our discussion with Middleton (Friends of Noise, RACC) and Todd Fadel (The Meow Meow), we look at the logistics and pitfalls of starting and sustaining an all ages venue. Like many cities with rising rents and strict liquor laws, Portland has seen a slew of beloved all ages venues close in the last decade. Many people, young and old, still see the value in all ages venues. We talk with Claire Gunville (Semi Ok Collective) and Maya Stoner (Sabonis), both in their early twenties, about building an inclusive all ages community even without venues to turn to. The Vera Project in Seattle is often lauded for their all ages model, and their Talent Buyer Andrea Friedman gives us the low down on how they’ve survived for so long.
In this episode, we ask several notable comedians the question, “Is comedy the new punk rock?” Naturally, the answers varied from comedian to comedian, but the discussions were all very insightful and frank when discussing the similarities and differences between the two arts. Amy Miller draws parallels between punk rock shows and stand-up nights, Nathan Brannon talks about taking his politics as a person onstage as a comedian, and Hari Kondabolu talks about the fine line between comedy and political activism, and what people’s expectations are when they buy tickets to see him perform.