This work began as a means to monetize YouTube videos. It has grown into something more than that.
I'm going to break the rules and do this in first person. I tire of those pretentious descriptions in which the author writes about themselves in third person. It's silly. I'm also going to ramble and leave everything on the page. I quite enjoy raw honesty.
I remember discovering a few 8bit VST files. They were styled after classic NES and SNES games (mostly). On day one, I downloaded the following VST files: peach, toad, triforce, minerva, monomate, tapeworm, rebar, pippo, and padawan. Later I would download several more vst files, including the magical 8bit plugin. This is the one that produces most of the sounds that your brain classically associates with 8bit video games. It is heavily used on "Video Games", "Earwig", and "Epic".
The first few days were filled with maniacal laughter and evil hand rubbing... that excitement soon gave way as I realized my composition skills were far greater my skills with the software. I am still a novice with the software. I am somewhat glad of that. I focused on the notes and harmonies rather than the effects and dynamics. I aim to use this as a lesson. I will never focus on the fancy effects. However, in the next album I do plan to explore dynamics. Who doesn't like a good crescendo?
On the the name... Initially, I was going to name this "8bit Bach". My later songs weren't as baroque as "Sneak", so I reconsidered. I also wanted a name that had teeth. I do like to slay demons... and ears... and I love flailing things about above my hand. So, Zwëihander makes total sense.
Some of the best songs (imo) were made expeditiously and with a purpose. For instance, "Earwig" was originally entitled "Earbug". I composed a simple bass line... well I was trying to create something simple, but I couldn't quite get it. The idea was to create something terribly basic... think "Look at my horse..." The trouble was that I always wanted more notes. I would play it and think, "Hmm... I should embellish a little there."
I have listened to a ridiculous amount of Mozart over the years... and I really enjoy his extra notes. I have a very hard time when trying to limit myself, especially when I am mentally trying to create something that could be considered "mainstream pop". "Earbug" was going to be simple... annoying... And I was even going to sing something asinine over it. Next, I was going to upload it and watch as thousands devoured it... All the while laughing about how I had successfully created something for the simple-minded masses. It didn't work and I was stuck with a bass line that wanted to be rudimentary, and almost is, but isn't.
SteelSeries sent several products over for review. Among them were a few mousepads (thanks). We decided to make a ridiculously epic (and silly) video with one, and we did. After shooting the video I realized we didn't have a good song for it. I threw the bass like from "Earbug" behind the opening sequence (Qain is walking into the massive Manhattan Post Office on 30th ST) and it fit. Thirty minutes later the song was finished and the video was rendering.
Some other songs were created through similar circumstances but, most were created independent of the videos. After the first song or two, I found that I wanted to create more. I'm a metal head... So it was odd at first, creating something electronic and silly.
The last story that I will share is in regard to "Inferno". Chris Bonnell (the artists behind the album cover) was working on a live-action animated short very loosely based on Dante's Inferno. Qain and I helped build the set and shoot some footage. This piece remains unfinished... But it was freaking awesome. When I am back in NY it would be cool to finish that.
Enjoy the music or I will slay a ghost fox with my mind power.
released September 7, 2012
Composed by Ward "Logan" Hale
Concept art by LittleViking
Final art by Chris Bonnell