horse jumper Love is a rock band from Boston that makes music that you might want to play in your pressure chamber if you’re stuck there for a while and really want the experience. One of their best tracks, 2019’s “DIRT”, is built around a poignant guitar riff and the line “There’s mud and there’s juice / and I mix ’em.” I do not know what it means. I’m not sure I should. Weird slo-core phrasing of their new album natural partfull of equally perplexing songwriting.
In a recent interview with FaderJordan DarvillThe band’s frontman Dimitri Yiannopoulos explained the album’s title track this way: “The tone of the guitar always reminds me of playing a The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time“. Again, confusing, but it was like a curious glimpse into their process. Was this the key to the alchemy of this great group? Video game music?
Lying in bed in an unassuming hotel room somewhere to the south, Yiannopoulos and HJOL bassist John Margaris try to explain themselves via Zoom. They both have beautiful long hair and easy smiles. (Margaris also has a gorgeous mustache.) Both of them are excited about talking about game music.
For Yiannopoulos, it all started when he was about 8 years old with the classics: Tony Hawk professional skater. Yiannopoulos says it wasn’t one of those mallpunk songs, THPS best known for the song “TNT” by AC/DC. THPS4who he loved so much that he forced his mother to take him to the CD store to buy High voltage. “My childhood playing video games may have started my music career,” he says. “Without AC/DC High voltage I wouldn’t get into rock ‘n’ roll.”
For Margaris it was N64 Mario 64 as well as Mario Party 3. “You don’t realize that you are listening to almost fusion music. Being able to listen to something over and over and not get bored was a new experience.” Music writers “used such limited technology, it’s crazy what they were capable of”. What reminds Yiannopoulos of his favorite underwater level meme from Donkey Kong. Beaming at one thought, he paraphrases: “The guy hired to write the music for the swimming gorilla accidentally wrote the best ambient album of all time.” Which then leads them to talk about the various underground levels of video games and how strange the musical cues can be in these changing landscapes. “They change the mood a lot,” says Margaris, intentionally or not, echoing what his band does so well.
They both grew up in Boston and fondly remember the “split screen hang-ups”, the days when they played games like golden eye in basements and living rooms of friends. Now, that’s a big part of their common musical language. “I’m not very good at music theory,” says Yiannopoulos, “but I know a lot about pop culture. Right now I’m going to say, “John, play the bass line that sounds like.” [insert something from their youth]”. Also have Instagram account what Yiannopoulos loves when he posts songs from “really weird and rare Japanese video games from the ’90s, a lot of cool crazy acid house or rave music, and some of it crazy good,” says Yiannopoulos. He sends them all the time to Margalis. Margalis sums up: “They are terribly strange.”
Which brings Yiannopoulos back to his point of view about Zelda as well as “natural part“.
“The guitar tone has a shimmery choir effect and it always makes me nostalgic. There’s some song ocarina of time, and it was that tone that reminded me of that… maybe, or when Link was in the village at the beginning?” Merrily Margalis starts to hum Zelda a little, as he remembers it: “Dun dun greydong dong greydoo-doo-doo-doo-doo.
“Aha, it is!” Yiannopoulos says. “I don’t think the melody is the same, but the tone of that little line and the guitar. For some reason,” he points two index fingers at his head, “it clicked in my head. I didn’t go into a song saying, “I want to write a song that sounds like The Legend of Zelda“but after it’s done, it’ll just connect with all kinds of memories.” Margalis adds, “It may not necessarily sound like a score, but it did.”
Video games were a staunch cultural steward for most of their childhood, but now both guys are more amateurs in space. Yiannopoulos had a moment with Skyrim. Margalis had one with mass effect. They talked about getting a Nintendo Switch for touring. But to be honest, their relationship with video games had an inverse relationship with their relationship with music. Video games have been a secret inspiration for tunes. Approximately in high school, when they seriously took up their craft, games were also replaced with melodies.
“Once I really got into music,” says Giannapolus, “I stopped playing video games. You are always looking for something to melt into. And ever since then, this has been music for me.”
Credit: www.wired.com /