Ned: First I have to get this generic interview question out of the way
because I am genuinely curious about it and I'm sure that our readers are as
well: how did you come up with the name of your band?
Bryn: When we started Bang Camaro, forming a guitar driven hard rock band was
about the furthest thing from what was cool at the time. It was before there was
a resurgence in hard rock/metal. People didnt even know who Dragonforce was
back then. So, it was a very rebellious move on our part. All of our friends in
indie rock bands thought we were either crazy or stupid. The name Bang Camaro
didnt come from an event or anything specific. When we said it, it just sounded
like everything that was opposite from what was going on in the current music
scene (Sigur Ros), and perfectly summed up the sound we were going for. When you
hear Bang Camaro, you already have a pretty good idea of what youre going to
Ned: How did Harmonix "discover" your band and what did you think at first
when they asked to include "Push Push" in Guitar Hero 2?
Bryn: Harmonix is based in Boston, just like us. We had already played a few
shows in the area, and the buzz about our band was pretty big at that point.
Previously, most of the songs on the Guitar Hero titles were by older, more
established guitar driven bands. We were one of the few bands at the time making
music with over the top guitar solos and huge anthem choruses. Luckily for us,
they thought it would be a great fit for their game. Since then, I have started
working for Harmonix. When Im not touring around the country with Bang Camaro,
Im a part-time coder.
Ned: Were you surprised that your appearance on the Guitar Hero 2 soundtrack
was your springboard to fame?
Bryn: Ha. I guess it matters how you define fame. One time a guy in NYC gave
me half-price on my hotel room because he recognized me. Does that count? But,
no, we were all very excited to be part of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games.
Karaoke-like nights had already popped up in bars across the country, and
younger people seemed to be getting more excited about guitar oriented rock
again. We knew the games were going to be huge, and wanted to be part of them.
The first time we ever played in LA, we ended up packing the Troubador. The only
reason people out there knew about us was because of the games. It was very eye
opening and a dream come true for me.
Ned: Your music has appeared in a wide variety of games including Guitar Hero
2, Rock Band and Rock Band 2, Titan Quest, and The Sims 3, and now you're
breaking into the sports genre in Madden NFL 10. What is it about your music
that makes it appealing to such a diversity of game genres? Is there a genre
that you feel is particularly suited to your music?
Bryn: Everything we do in Bang Camaro is over the top. You just cant have
a middle of the road song when you have 8 guys singing with wailing guitar solos
and a crazy rhythm section. I think that translates well to a number of video
game genres. Sports games are probably an easy mix since there is always action.
We would probably also do well in some of the most intense shooters out there.
On the other hand, I dont think our music would be a very good fit for more
atmospheric games, like Bioshock.
Ned: How important do you think that a good soundtrack is to a game?
Bryn: I think it matters what genre youre talking about. For a sports
oriented title, I think you just need some aggressive music that makes you want
to destroy someone with a tackle, or jam the ball in someones face. The overall
cohesiveness of the different songs arent as important.
For other titles, the mood of the music as well as the interactive sound
effects are EXTREMELY important. Have you ever played a survival horror game
with the sound turned off? Its not nearly as scary. Proper music and sound
effects can have a major impact on the emotional response to a game.
Ned: Are you gamers yourselves? If so, what do you enjoy playing? Do you
spend any time with Rock Band or Guitar Hero?
Bryn: Well, I work at Harmonix, so Im probably a little biased. Ha.
Although, I have to admit that Im not a great Rock Band player. I have been
destroyed by people at my own songs a number of times. People find that
hilarious its kind of embarrassing.
I just finished Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on my DS. I thought the game
was ok, if not a little easy. I have realized that I will play ANY Star Wars
game to its completion though, just because I love the music so much. I guess I
should have mentioned that in one of the previous questions. Ridiculous.
Lucasarts could probably release a PONG game with the John Williams soundtrack,
and I would play it for hours.
Ive been playing Ghostbusters a bit lately, but I have to admit that Im
not that into it. Maybe its because Im more of a fan of shooters on the PC
over consoles. I find the mouse-keyboard interface far superior, but it could be
because thats what I learned on.
On tour, a bunch of us have our DSes and get into some heavy Mario Kart
competitions. Everyone else is trying to sleep, and were all screaming at each
other. Good stuff.
Ned: Some artists such as Jack White and Jimmy Page have spoken out against
games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, believing games to be a poor way to learn
about and experience music. How would you respond to this sort of criticism of
Bryn: I would say Hey Jimmy. No one under the age of 15 would know who you
are if not for these guitar based video games making your music important
again. Then he would reply Who the hell are you?! and I would walk away
But seriously, from what I have seen, these games have made guitar playing
cool again. Ive received TONS of e-mails from younger people who loved the
games, and then decided to play real guitar. Interestingly enough, there is now
a bit of a divide where younger real guitar players look down on their video
game playing counterparts. I guess there will always be some form of caste
system necessary in 8th grade. Ha. (Thats a rough age to live through!)
Ned: When you think about the future of music, do you see games as a
legitimate launch platform for new songs and artists?
Bryn: Well, in a lot of ways, it worked for us! We are far from being a band
the size of U2 or the White Stripes, but we have done pretty well. And we owe a
lot of what we have to the video games that we have been a part of. Of course,
well see what happens in the future with RBN. Its an exciting time.
Ned: What about your future? Do you see yourself continuing to launch new
singles through games and My Space or will you begin to rely on more traditional
Bryn: We havent done anything in a traditional way yet, and I doubt we ever
will. The music industry is going through some HUGE changes right now, and Im
happy to say that we have been on the leading edge of it. Now, Im not saying
that we have been the most successful band, but we have done everything our own
way since day 1. Alex, Doz, and I still run our record label (Black Sword
Records), still own our master recordings, and decide what music well put out.
We dont have any annoying industry executives saying things like We dont hear
a hit yet. In fact, a band like Bang Camaro would have never started in the
traditional industry. We were doing everything wrong! Its a huge amount of
work, but were very proud of what weve accomplished.
Ned: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Bryn: If you readers are into what were doing, they should follow us on
www.twitter.com/bangcamaro, be friends with us on MySpace at
track us down on facebook. This is a tough industry to take on alone as weve
been trying. We need all the help we can get! So, get involved with Bang Camaro.
Send me an e-mail, and maybe we can make it to your town before long.
Ned: Thank you for your time!