When it comes to guitar covers of video game music, FamilyJules7x is one of the most popular musicians on YouTube. Having just wrapped up his third consecutive year of weekly video game guitar covers with an epic tribute to the history of video games, Jules has been quite popular lately. I recently got the chance to ask him a few questions for today's very special edition of Metal Monday here on TAY.
Hello Jules, thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at TAY. First of all I want to congratulate you on the completion of your third year of weekly guitar covers. It was quite the impressive feat. I've been a fan of yours for a while. As a huge gamer and metal fan I absolutely love the music that you produce.
Thanks so much!
What is your earliest memory of video game music? Were there any particular games that got you interested in video game music?
Banjo Kazooie and Goldeneye. I must have been about 7 or so when I first played those games. It always kills me when I reveal that that was the time I really got into gaming to people because I sound so young saying the N64 was my first console. I played a ton of NES when I was younger, loved SMB, the original Zelda and Duck Hunt but games like Banjo Kazooie, Goldeneye and Jet Force Gemini hit me at a way more influential time. So the music stuck with me too.
I know exactly how you feel. The N64 was my first console as well. How long ago did you start playing the guitar? When did you first start trying to learn video game songs on guitar?
I started playing when I was 14 so it's been a bit over 8 years now. F-Zero and F-Zero X always was a huge influence on me musically and it was like this unattainable goal to play like that. So naturally I added it to my goals to play and after a while a bunch of those tracks became staples in my warm up routines.
Are there any video game composers who have been exceptionally influential to you? Likewise, are there any rock/metal musicians that have been exceptionally influential to you?
So many. God, definitely Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy, Binding of Isaac, Canabalt) and Grant Kirkhope (Banjo Kazooie, Goldeneye). Then there's Graeme Norgate (Jet Force Gemini, Goldeneye), Scott Lee (Summoner, Red Faction), Dan Wentz (Red Faction) C418 (Minecraft), Jimmy Hinson (Mass Effect 2), Duane Decker (Rise of Nations), Jack Wall (Myst, Mass Effect), Chipzel (Super Hexagon), and then the obvious Nobou Utematsu (Final Fantasy), Junichi Masuda (Pokémon) and Koji Kondo (Super Mario, Zelda). There's so many but they all influence me equally in different ways in all parts of my musical life.
What made you decide to challenge yourself to do three years of weekly covers?
Masochism? Hah, I don't know. I think I made my first medley and it took me a week to make a video after that so I just kept doing it knowing it takes me that long to come out with something new. As I got better at meeting the deadline, the projects got more and more involved.
Would you mind briefly explaining the process you go through when creating a guitar cover for YouTube?
It's usually a super rushed process of one day to arrange, one day to program the drum track. one day to draft the lead guitar tracks, one day to draft the rhythm and bass tracks, one day to lay down the final tracks to video, one day to mix and master, and one day to edit the video, Always comes very close and there's almost always a moment somewhere in there that I consider scrapping the song all together and starting over with something new, but I never let myself.
Out of all the hundreds of covers you've done, are there an particular ones that are your favorite? Conversely, have there been any that you weren't entirely satisfied with?
I had the most fun with my Jet Force Gemini medley since it's my favorite game soundtrack of all time. Definitely not my best but it had this energy because of my passion for it's music. That's why it's my favorite. Honestly because of the time constraint, there's very few videos I WAS entirely satisfied. Mostly why I think it's time to call it cuts on the weekly schedule. I need a bit more time than say only one day for mixing and mastering.
Are there any songs from video games that you haven't covered yet that you really want to?
Oh yeah. I've covered over 450 video game songs over the past 4 years and there's still more I'm itching to do! Even some medley ideas I never got around to as well that I hope to hit up in the future.
What's next for you now that you are done with weekly covers?
Sleep. All of it that I lost over these past 4 years. Hah, nah probably just working on bigger better projects and chasing my dream of being a video game composer
A video game composer, huh? What kind of games would you want to work on? I imagine you will want to branch out beyond just guitar music for that. What other styles of music do you think you would most like to experiment with?
I've played around with solo piano, light orchestra and electronic stuff. I really want to write more jazz and classical stuff and get a handle on all sorts of different stuff. I'm not too picky on what games I would work on but I've been enjoying myself with some of the friends I've made in the indie scene. I'll probably prefer to stay on that side of things rather than compose for the next World of Warcraft expansion or something.
Ready for the lightning round? I'm going to ask you a bunch of quick questions so try not to think too hard about them and just say the first thing that comes to mind.
What's your favorite color?
Purple. I like red and blue so fuck it.
What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
How many guitars do you own?
I think 9? The proper musicians response would be "Not enough."
If you could travel to any video game world, which would you choose?
Hyrule. Have you seen those girls? Money literally falls from trees!
What upcoming game are you most looking forward to?
Immediately? The Rise of Nations steam release. Long term non-re-release probably either the next Zelda or Metal Gear.
I know you're a pretty big Avenged Sevenfold fan so as a fellow fan I need to ask, which of their albums is your favorite?
Waking the Fallen. They've come out with some amazing stuff since then but Radiant Eclipse still pulls at my heart strings the same way it did 10 years ago.
Oh yes, Waking the Fallen is my favorite as well! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. I very much enjoyed picking your brain. Good luck on your future endeavors, I look forward to seeing what you do next.
If you're interested in checking out Jules's work you can check out his YouTube channel for all of his weekly guitar covers of video game songs and other videos. Additionally you can find downloads for his music and many other things over on his official website.
As per Metal Monday Tradition, I will leave you with a relevant playlist. Here are some of my personal favorite pieces of music from FamilyJules7x.
Suicide Mission from Mass Effect 2
Team Rocket Hideout from Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow
Star Wolf from Star Fox 64
F-Zero X Medley
Replay: A Metal Tribute to the History of Video Games
Metal Monday is a weekly column by DisturbedShadow on TAY that discusses all things metal. Every Monday morning, we will discuss something metal related and leave you with a playlist to listen to. If it has to do with gaming you'll find it on TAY and if not you can find it over on TAYClassic.