We all love video game soundtracks. The music in a game may be all we need to immerse us in the experience. And you know what’s really cool about video game music? Seeing it be transformed by the community and morphed into something new and unique. That’s what FamilyJules does on his youtube channel. He takes video game soundtracks and the proceeds to melt your face with it. We caught up with FamilyJules (through the internet) to ask him a few a questions about video game music, his process and of course video games. Big thank you to Jules to take the time to do this with us.
In the beginning of all this, was this the direction you wanted to take with your channel?
Not really! I started my YouTube channel as more of a means to put something out. I was really bad at finishing projects and also wanted somewhere I could have a portfolio of my work for whatever I’d need it for in the future. The format of the channel was really inspired by CSGuitar89 since I really wanted to something similar with Video Game arrangements but wasn’t sure how to make it engaging on YouTube and he always had the cleanest look and sound to me. No way I’d ever imagine I would gain the following I do on YouTube now!
Some of these gaming soundtracks are just simply amazing. Over the course of your career doing this, have you noticed any shift in video game music at all?
Yes. There was a long wave of video game music that really put the melody to the side and made everything just rhythmic and drone-y. I feel like the peak of that was where the soundtracks for Battlefield and Call of Duty ended up going when their original OSTs had really awesome melodies. I think over time music in popular media, in general, tended to take the direction scores like Inception and the like to just make music that was designed to be more “hype” than generally musical. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with that, just doesn’t work for EVERYTHING.
How do you choose the songs you cover? Is it based more on games you like?
Yes! I almost never do covers of songs that I don’t have a strong emotional attachment to. In some projects, I was forced to do some songs that I haven’t played but generally, my rule of thumb is that if I really want to make the best arrangement I can of something, it’s important for me to appreciate the context around the song rather than just the music itself.
When transforming these songs into metal goodness, do you have a certain process that you stick to? Or does it really vary from song to song?
There’s a template for sure. Over the years, I’ve noticed the things I do for every cover, like how I arrange the files and learn everything and the general format of, drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, etc. I think these days once everything is down and recorded, that’s when I deviate a bit to serve the individual song.
How long does it typically take, from start to finish, to complete a cover?
That depends. Almost all of my projects were done within the constraints of a week or could have been done within a week. Hours wise I couldn’t tell you. It really depends on how thick the song is or how long it takes to learn and record down.
Do you have a video/song that you would consider your favorite?
I think I’m most proud of the Super Mario Super Medley I put out earlier this year. That was a huge challenge and the pay off was amazing because I got to work with so many extremely talented musicians.
Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about some video games. Have you even had time to play a lot of games this year? Any games you really like so far?
Yeah! Octopath Traveler has taken the crown by far for favorite game this year. The soundtrack is mind-blowingly good. I also really enjoy Beat Saber. I’m hoping to try out No Man’s Sky and also Okami. That’s probably gonna be my rest of the year.
Are there any games that you are really looking forward to?
I’m really excited to finally try Red Dead Redemption, I’m cautiously optimistic about Fallout 76. E3 was pretty good to me this year, looking forward to almost everything Bethesda announced in addition to the new Trials game next year.
What kind of game is your favorite to play? Do you prefer multiplayer games or are you more a single player kind of guy?
Really depends on how I feel at the time. I think mostly I prefer single player, but some of my favorite game experiences have been multiplayer.
I saw you just performed at ConBravo and the fans seemed to have loved it! How was that?
It was amazing. ConBravo is probably my favorite convention right now. Everyone is super nice and it’s a really awesome convention to perform at!
I am sure performing live in front of your fans is a little different than uploading videos. What’s the biggest challenge about leaving the studio and playing in front of the people that watch you every day?
Everything, haha! A lot of the reason YouTube appealed to me is that I have pretty bad performance anxiety. I enjoy doing it, but it’s tough to go out and play for real people for me. It’s something I’m striving to get over and work through because it always is really rewarding.
I like to ask this to everyone I interview. Any advice for people trying to get into youtube and more specifically create music on youtube?
Find what makes you different from the rest and really drive that home. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be brave about projects that you yourself would want to hear and don’t let the feeling that people might not like it stop you. There are so many people making music online now and you have to be aggressive and confident with yourself but compassionate and encouraging to others to make it and feel your best while doing it!
Also… can you beat Jonathan Young at Mario Kart?
I don’t think we’ve ever played so I don’t know.