Hadouken!

April 20, 2010 at 3:19 am | Posted in Articles, Music | Leave a comment
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Datarock Interview

August 13, 2009 at 1:36 am | Posted in Music | Leave a comment
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Datarock are next EA Artwerk’s endevour to bring great music to the games that you cant put down. Datarock’s Fredrik tells us more what its like for the band…

Mechanical R: Can we have some history on Datarock?
Fredrik: The band was started back in 2000 by me, Ketil Mosnes, Tom Mæland and a guy from Boston called Kevin O’Brien. Kevin moved back to the states even before we even had a name, Tom left after a few years on the road, so me and Ketil kept going as a duo with Stig The Mystical Casio Operator on MT-64 until a few years ago. Nine years down the line we’re now a full on collective with around 50 associated members, close to 600 shows under our belt, two albums and a bunch of EP out, songs in tons of games, tv series, films and adds, we’ve got a top of the line management, label and publisher, and we’re laughing all the way to the bank.

Mech: Who are your main influences when it comes to writing and performing?
Fredrik: DEVO, Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, Happy Mondays and Daft Punk. In that order.

Mech: For Datarock, what’s in store for 2009?
Fredrik: An insane international tour hitting 25 cities in the US alone and twice as many in Europe and Australia. We’ve already released videos for “Give It Up” and “True Stories” but next month you’ll get to see the video for our third single, “The Pretender”. It’s directed by the same guys that shot the classic “Revenge Of The Nerds”-inspired “Computer Camp Love” video. This time The Parallax Corporation took inspiration from the insane John Carpenter movie “They Live” from 10988. As with “Computer Camp Love” we shot it in Paris, and again it turn out pretty damn awasome. Check it out!

Mech: Can you tell us more about the new album Red, which was released earlier this month?
Fredrik: It’s the best thing to happen madkind since the release of the C64. No doubt about it! Which other album has songs in two FIFA games? Besides our debut, of course.

Mech: How long had you be recording/writing for this new album, was the process easy this time round?
Fredrik: These songs were actually written over 17 years and recorded over 4. Most of the tracks are brand new though. Writing them came pretty easy when we finally had time off from touring. We simply decided not to think about any kind of preassure and rather just make another album for us and our friend. And of course to make sure we’d have fun performing it live over the next couple of years. The positive feedback is still overwhelming, don’t get me wrong, but we didn’t really strive to please anyone but ourselves to be honest. That took a lot of stress out of the process…

Mech: What does being under Artwerks label mean for the band?
Fredrik: Well, it certainly helps reaching out to wast masses of people, and hey, it helps getting our songs plugged into some absolutely insane games. I’m really happy we were picked up, man, cause doing what we do, getting picked up by such a powerful force in this industry truly made a big impact on our career.

Mech: How did you get involved with EA and getting your songs into the games?
Fredrik: A guy working for EA in Norway sent Steve Schnur a few of our tracks, he dug it and sought us out at SXSW back in 2007. We sat down talking for hours and got to know the whole music team. We totally clicked and been friend ever since.

Mech: Were you interested in branching music and gaming together before you joined Artwerk?
Fredrik: We actually wrote our own game back in 2003 and we’ve always been joking about reaching out to the gaming indutry. We didn’t think anyone would care to work with us though, and never took it serious anyways, so it cought us by total surprise when Steve called us. I’m extreemely happy he did. Steve’s progressive you know. I guess he and his team has a special eye and ear for potential.

Mech: What’s it like to be able to play a video game and to have one of your own songs pop up in game?
Fredrik: Mindblowing and very, very weird.

Mech: Beyond just having songs in EA Games, what other benefits do you get being apart of Artwerks label?
Fredrik: Getting to be part of an exeptionally progressive group of highly talented people. It’s inspirational, educational, and very beneficial for all sides of what we do, working with innovative professionals such as these. Keep in mind, DATAROCK run a lable called YAP Records where we produce, release, distribute and partly manage 10 bands in addition to ourselves. Getting this kind of inside know-how gives us the upper hand in finding ways to deal with the ups and downs of the current state of the music indutry. Sounds boring, but we have a responsibility for all these artists and I’m happy to say we now have a fairly good understanding of how to survive in a world where most music consumers seam absurdly unwilling to pay for music – physical formats and digital files alike. Under these circumstances one has to focus on the positive aspects of the current situation and try look for a positiv and pregressiv approach. The guys at Artwerk has not only opened the worlds eyes to us, but aslo our eyes to lots of new world of opportunities. A grand but honest answer.

Mech: Do you guys play a lot of video games?
Fredrik: One more than the others, but there’s always one of us glued to some kind of console.

Mech: If so which are you all finding yourselves glued to currently?
Fredrik: Still FIFA’09, but soon to be swapped with FIFA’10.

Mech: Who’s the biggest gamer out of you both?
Fredrik: I’s have to say the K-man.

Mech: Are any of you looking forward to any releases coming soon?
Fredrik: The upcoming expansion pack for Sims™ 3, simply called DATAROCK. Nobody seams to know when though.

Datarocks latest album ‘Red’ release on ‘Young Aspiring Professionals’ (YAP) records.

Catch some of Datarock tracks in games including Need For Speed: Prostreet, Fifa 09 and the upcoming Fifa 10.

From First To Last Interview

August 11, 2009 at 2:22 am | Posted in Music | Leave a comment
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Continuing with our exclusives with EA’s Artwerk label, I got to interview post hardcore band From First to Last, featuring on some of EA’s hottest titles new and old, the group are sure to bring some awesome tracks to future games.

I got hold of their bassist Matt Mannings to have a quick catch up on the band and what’s in store for EA games to come.

Mechanical R: Most people are probably more aware of From First To Last back with the Heroine album and Sonny on the vocals, since that’s changed, your music has taken a massive turn. The music itself and lyrics are a lot more positive and approachable by more music fans than before. Do you feel this change is a large reflection of the changes within your band and have your ideas and directions for FFTL evolved?
Matt Mannings:
Yes I think so, we are pretty happy where things are and where we are going I think that reflects in our music.

MR: Can you tell us more about the new album?
MM:
That record is mostly us just being bare bones about everything. We got to work with some heroes of ours like Ryan Williams and Josh Abraham and Brendan Obrien so we just stripped everything down and created music from the ground up.

MR: As a personal fan of Wes Borland’s guitar work, what was it like to play along side him during the live shows? Did he write any parts for Heroine or contribute anything to the new album?
MM:
WES IS A WIZARD. He definitely wrote a lot and it shines through he has
such a distinct style its hard to miss.

MR: 2008 has seen the release of the new self titled album, what’s in store for 2009?
MM:
A lot of different things going on along side the band. Travis and Derek have a band called the Color of Violence with a new record coming out in the spring and I have a clothing line called Get Free rolling out this year so we are trying to do as much as we can in 09

Far Right – Matt Mannings

Artwerk/EA Trax

MR: What does being under Artwerks label mean for the band?
MM:
FREE VIDEO GAMES!! And working with amazing people who know how to put your band in places other people don’t.

MR: How did you get involved with EA and getting your songs into the games?
MM:
we did a pub deal with them and have just worked side by side with those guys at EA and Artwerk. They have done more cool stuff for us than I would have ever imagined could be possible. I will forever love EA!

MR: Would you say getting your material heard through games is a suitable way of promotion?
MM:
I think it’s a badass way to promote. Video games

are huge and only getting more popular. Its almost as good as getting coke a cola to put your band name on their cans!

MR: What’s it like to be able to play a video game and to have one of your own songs pop up in game?
MM:
hahah that’s the reaction, just a giggle. It’s funny to me. It’s kinda awkward if you’re playing games with your friends though.

MR: What does it mean to you as a band to have your tracks heard by thousands of FFTL fans and new people?
MM:
that’s the most important part all we want to do is get our tunes to more and more people. Growing is the best part of being in band.

Gaming

MR: Do you guys play a lot of video games?
MM: non stop always! Literally… always

MR: If so which are you all finding yourselves glued to currently?
MM:
Call of duty world at war online. I’ve logged in days on that game. I’m waiting on skate 2 to get here cause I’m prolly going to shred that game like there is no tomorrow.

MR: Who’s the biggest gamer out of you all?
MM:
our drummer Derek. i haven’t actually ever seen him not playing video games.

MR: Are any of you looking forward to any releases coming soon?
MM:
resident evil! The previews look so amazing I can’t wait to play that game.

MR: Are there any games you feel one of your tracks would suit perfectly?
MM:
I would like to have a tune in a badass motocross game or something. That would be sick.

Catch From First To Last’s tracks in EA titles including Facebreaker, Need For Speed Undercover, NHL 09, NASCAR 09 and Madden NFL 09.

From First To Lasts latest Self Titled album including ‘Two as One’ and ‘Worlds Away’ is available via Suretone Records.

Jupiter One Interview

August 11, 2009 at 2:10 am | Posted in Music | Leave a comment
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To bring our EA Artwerk exclusives off the ground, I was given the oppertunity to interview a band on thier roster who you may have heard of. With tracks appearing in EA titles such as Burnout Paradise and Fifa 08/09, Jupiter One delivers an indie rock force which cant be helped but to be liked, giving them a signature sound no matter which game they appear in.

I managed to get an interview of the New York 5 piece whilst they had some free time during thier current US tour

Artwerk and the Industry…

Mechanical R: What does being under Artwerks label mean for the band?
Zac Colwell: It means a lot of things, but most obviously it means that there are people who like our music who are actively trying to expose that music to new people, which we value in the people we work with above all else.

MR: What does it mean to you all on a personal level?
ZC: I guess we may feel slightly more validated that we’re on the right track to what’s probably our main goal- to play music that turns all kinds of people on and not just ourselves or one group of listeners.

MR: Do you believe that with the help of Artwerk and EA that more bands will be able to make the next step up to getting there break in music world?
ZC: I hope so. The people at Artwerk and EA are actually cool people who love music. They get excited the way any music-lover would. They are also really at the forefront of what’s always been the most exciting art forms anyway, which is mixing media.

MR: For other budding artists out there, would you say getting heard via video gaming is possibly a good way of getting your name out there, and how did you get involved with EA?
ZC: Yeah, I’m sure it is. At this point- a chilly November night in Connecticut where we’ve just begun recording our second album- when we tour it’s bars and small clubs in towns we may not have been before. But there are almost always at least a few folks who have heard a song in a game. They also usually get a cd and say “hey” after the show too, which is great.

Second from Right – Zac Colwell…

Music and Games…

MR: Apart from yourselves, are there any up and coming bands that we should keep our eyes and ears out for in 2009?
ZC: I’m really looking forward to Grizzly Bear’s new album. Oh, and I think Jupiter One are working on a new one too! I don’t know. I can’t ever think of bands when I have to. Luke Temple is rad. We have a lot of friends who are musicians. Just click on our myspace and see who each of us in the band has in their friends… they’re probably mostly musicians.

MR: I hear you’re all gamers, what games are you currently playing? Do you guys game online or together whilst touring?
ZC: No, unfortunately we don’t have a lot of time right now.

MR: Out of you all, who’s the biggest gamer?
ZC: K (Ishibashi). He likes Call of Duty.

MR: What games are you all looking forward to being released the most?
ZC: I like the new developments of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I suck though.

MR: What kind of feeling do you all get when you’re playing a game and your own song suddenly comes on?
ZC: I’m not ashamed to say that I’m pretty proud. I also get texts from friends if they don’t know that we’re in a game and it surprises them.

MR: Are there any games out there you’d love for your tracks to appear on?
ZC: I’m glad we have one in Burnout Paradise. Racing games are my fav. Plus it’s nice to have songs in the FIFA games. They’re more popular abroad than here and I’d like to take Jupiter One to Europe.

MR: Following on from that question, is there a game already out that you’ve thought ‘Man, our song would fit perfectly to that!’?
ZC: Well, Guitar Hero, of course!

A little more on ‘Jupiter One’…

MR: Where did the name Jupiter One originate from?
ZC: K made it up while sleepwalking. He woke up from a trance and uttered something that we just interpreted as “Jupiter One”. It also happens to be the failed first ship in Lost in Space. We’re big fans of old sci-fi and the soundtracks of those ’70s films which utilize a lot of psychedelic sounds. Mix those with rock and it’s FUN music that seems to fit in well with GAMES…

MR: Besides gaming, what do you all do with spare time when you’re not performing or writing music?
ZC: I don’t remember. We haven’t not performed or written music for a while now. Mostly drink with our friends and try to earn money.

MR: Can you tell us more about your self titled album?
ZC: It’s our first attempt at mixing two of our loves: music that is danceable and mean and rocking, and the songwriting and feeling that we feel is at odds with a lot of that music sometimes.

MR: Without pigeonholing your sound too much, your music is a definite indie pop with a lot of new wave ideas, are there many key influential artists who helped you come to your own unique sound?
ZC: A lot of comparisons are surprises to us. We thought we were showing our clear ’70s inspirations by using lots of synths from that time and generally trying to be, like ELO and The Police and Bowie and especially early Talking Heads and Genesis, but the New Wave thing probably comes about since those bands influenced the New Wave bands. But all that’s over now and it’s the present and we’re also inspired by Of Montreal and The Rapture and MGMT and Ok Go and of course Radiohead and all the other fun stuff now.

MR: Songs like ‘Fire Away’ and ‘Countdown’ can you explain what there about or their influence?
ZC: There’s no telling what Fire Away is about. Countdown is supposedly about the effects of NYC on the young mind and spirit… But you know I’d rather lyrics be vague enough to be reinterpreted depending on the mood or whatever of a listener.

MR: And finally, 2008 is almost up, what else is in-store for Jupiter One come Christmas, early 09?
ZC: RECORDING RECORDING RECORDING!!! We have a bunch new songs and we’re making a brand new album. Then we’ll hit the road and hopefully get to tour with some of our favorite bands now.

MR: Thanks a lot for taking some time out between your tour guys!
ZC: Thanks to you!

Songs appear in games such as FIFA08, Madden 08, NHL08, Burnout Paradise and FIFA09 to date.

Jupiter Ones current Self Titled album featuring ‘Fire Away’ and ‘Countdown’ is available now via Cordless Recordings.

EA Artwerk Feature

August 11, 2009 at 2:08 am | Posted in Music | Leave a comment
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So by now, everyone knows who EA are right? Course. Now, whilst EA have been busy bringing you the games we all play today, they’ve also been bringing us something else. Music.

It was back around the rough timeline of the release of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 when a little something called EA Trax appeared, a small list of songs which made the soundtrack of the game. But rather than created by the developers themselves, these were official licensed music you could go out and buy in the shops. From there EA Trax has appeared in almost every EA title to date bringing us the best new, unheard (and occasionally some oldies we shouldn’t forget) music into our gaming habits. Even I will admit to checking the EA Trax’s list before doing anything when I get a new EA title.

What’s good about EA Trax is it’s not only easily accessed by the public to hear new music but it’s also a good platform for artists and bands to get themselves more noticed. Which is where EA’s next project, comes to play.

EA have formed a company known as Artwerk, which to put it simply are a music label with a twist.

Whilst Artwerk doesn’t focus on the producing and selling of records, they do however put all effort into bringing the music to us, through the games, and within communities such as XBLA. The label itself has the power to sign, launch and promote artists to a whole new level by combining the communities of video gaming and music together tapping into a popular and common ground between them.

Xbla has the exclusive chance to work with Artwerk to bring the music from the games closer and even get a little bit of chatter with the artists themselves. And we’d like to start off with letting you music lovers out there, to get a good idea of what Artwerk is all about.

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