Many of you will know the fantastic VV Brown from her hugely succesful debut album Travelling Like the Light last summer. The album was inspired by 1950′s and electronic music as well as sounds emitted from Gameboy and Nintendo. VV Brown’s songs have been featured in many American TV shows such as Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, The Hills and The City to name but a few.
As well as performing the album on the road, VV has also been busy being creative in other ways as she has contributed her skills to a Comic Book Anthology called “Ctrl.Alt.Shift” with some of the best-known comic book writers, as well as writers better known for other things, such as fellow musician Lightspeed Champion (legend, seen him live – Andy!). The Experimental Youth Initiative brought together an eclectic mix of comic book and graphic novel work in a bid to politicise a new generation of activists through the medium of popular comic culture.
However, what many don’t know is she is also has a huge love of gaming. With so much in common with the gang here at This Is My Joystick, we feel very fortunate to grab an interview with the talented singer.
Q. When did you first discover your love of gaming?
“First Gameboy; classic, addictive, simple but beautiful. Ahh, the feeling of completing that Mario game, Nintendo utopia.”
Q. We hear you collect old consoles and old school games, which are your favourites from your collection?
“Old classic Gameboy. White with black and white screen.”
Q. Would it be fair to say some of the beats/sounds in your music have been inspired by your love of retro gaming?
“Yes, we underestimate the melodic organisation of the notes in gaming. They are like mini symphonies clothed in bleepy gritty sounds, taken up a higher bpm. I realised that beauty and frequency and thought it would advance a contemporary record and give it and interesting twang to the ear, brain and chemicals.”
Q. Would you ever consider having your very own games room with all your favourites in there from your life?
“Yes, it would be like an arcade. All the big hardcore machines. It would have the Street Fighter games and the Tekken games, with Pacman in the corner to the virtual games. It would be an orchestra of bleeps and crashes.”
Q. Music in video games is an art form in itself, what is your favourite Video Game Soundtrack?
“Good question. I like the sound when you hear game over in Pac Man. Sounds like a bleeping diminuendo of violins on crack and the pentatonic Chinese influenced melodies and sounds in Tekken, Japanese like in style with a euro electro twinge. Then there’s the Super Mario theme when you jump down the secret tunnels. They are like the iconic building blocks of Gameboy songs, like the Snow Whites and Sleeping Beauties of Disney.”
Q. Do you think Video Game Soundtracks can inspire people in the same way as traditional music?
“Absolutely. You can be inspired by anything. Even nothing.”
Q. When on your tour bus, you have been known to heavily play Xbox; what are your favourite games on tour?
“We play Tekken. That’s the only game the boys can play well, the band that is. Just joking, they’d kill me if they read this! Nah it’s mostly that one really. I don’t bring many games on tour with me. I’m prone to losing everything.”
Q. Is it true that you claim to be able to beat anyone at Tekken?
“Yes, even you!”
Q. Were you disappointed with Tekken 6?
“Kind of. I’m kinda bored of modern games. I’ve gone back to my Gameboy to be honest.”
Q. Tell us about Ctrl.Alt.Shift and your involvement.
“It’s a charity to engage the awareness of the youth in many areas and issues within our society, so they become conscious of the things that happen and the things that they can do to possibly help. This particular project was associated with the idea of expressing these views through comic art. Our comic is very much about liberating the mind under a regime that holds you down, becoming a better human being and being enlightened all in a very metaphoric fantasy style story. They like the concept and asked us if we wanted to get involved. We were chuffed and submitted our sections of our comic.
We are putting out the actual full version of Volume One in March via our website, thecityofabacus.com, which will be up and running and come March will be available to buy. We will then consecutively put out four other volumes ending in the opportunity for people to buy the graphic novel. This is a very exciting project for me and my friend David Allain. Hope you like!”
Q. When not kicking ass on Tekken, playing on Xbox or old school games, do you ever dabble on the Nintendo Wii?
“Yes, the Wii fit. Fabulous for what I do. There is no time to go anywhere so when you can at home it’s great. Don’t underestimate Guitar Hero, that will get your thumbs and toes muscular.”
Q. What is your favourite gaming memory?
“Completion of Super Mario Land once and the 311th time.”
Q. What was your favourite game last year?
“Like I said, I’ve buggered off back to my Gameboy. Games are losing their innocence.”
Q. Are you looking forward to any games this year?
Yes, a video game that makes me sell a billion records and keeps me touring till the Mayan calendar says stop. Oh that 2012 isn’t it?
Q. Have you ever come across any other gaming celebrities on your travels?
“Yes, Ladyhawke, and to be honest that’s it. However on another note, love the gaming but table tennis is my absolute love. After all the gaming I’d trash anyone at a game of that!”
Is there anyone out there that is brave enough to challenge VV Brown to a game of Tekken or Table Tennis? I didnt fancy our chances so instead politely thanked VV Brown for her time.