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Bringing The Love of Music to Gamers: How A Gaming Magazine Wants to Show Music is a Part of the Action

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CGM Magazine

Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, with fans across the globe and in every age range. From your friends, to your parents, chances are they have played or are still jumping onto their console after they finish a long day of work. While there may be countless people loving all games have to offer, from the graphics to the mechanics, few think about the audio and music that goes into the games we love.

While this is often the least covered area of gaming, there are a few publications that view music as one of the most exciting areas of game development. Comics Gaming Magazine (CGMagazine) is a magazine that launched all the way back in 2010, bringing the love of gaming to many people daily with their site, and many more with their print magazine. With 2020 approaching, we got the chance to talk to EIC Brendan Frye about their objective to include more coverage of music and gaming going forward, and how they have managed this in the past.

What Made CGMagazine want to dive more into the music side of gaming?

CGMagazine has always looked at all aspects of gaming, and have tried to touch on music and audio since we first started. We have talked to many composers, artists since we first launched the magazine. Personally, I love music, and it is often one of the most exciting parts of a game. Hearing how the music changes when you are about ready to jump into a boss battle, or how a single track can change the tension of a scene is amazing. With all the new audio tech now on offer with the Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5, audio has never been more exciting, and I hope with this move, we can show the wider gaming community how much audio and music play in all the games they love.

Are there any games you always turn to as an example of music making the game?

Personally, I have always loved Silent Hill for its use of audio and music. It is hard to think of that game series without also thinking of Akira Yamaoka and his iconic scores that shape that game world. Hell, I would argue that many horror games owe that series and that composer in setting that tone and feeling that we all now look at for horror titles, and that includes a score that washes over you as you play.

Death Standing

Even if you look at 2020’s Death Stranding, the soundtrack by Low Roar helped shape the feeling of isolation and melancholy as you walk around the empty countryside. Hideo Kojima knows how to set the mood for a game, this is true for all his titles, and that always includes a soundtrack that sets the tone and sucks the player into the world.

You say CGMagazine has always looked at music in games, what sort of coverage have you done before?

Well we have done a few interviews in the past, including interviews with Tommy Tallarico of Video Games Live, Harmonix for their work on Rock Band and music games, and looked at the Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses and how to bring the music from the games to a live audience is such a unique experience. Music is such a major part of gaming, it is something we have included in many of our reviews, and we try to make that a regular part of our editorial process.

Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses

Photo Credit: Ken Lund / Wikipedia

Beyond that, we have also looked outside the box for interviews and coverage, and have made a series of interviewing people not known for gaming, often in the music industry and talking about how gaming has shaped their lives even if it is not obvious. We have talked to singer Lights for example, and even just learning she met her current husband while playing WoW shows how much these two media cross more often than you may think.

CGMagazine has done a fair amount of this sort of thing already. What more do you plan to do?

We at CGMagazine have tried to make it a part of the editorial process, but we will be making it a much more formal aspect going into next year. We want to have our writers look at music and audio, the same way they look at graphics, gameplay and even how the game works. Of course, it can’t be done equally to every game, but we want to try and have this as a mandate for every game that makes sense.

We also plan to arrange more interviews with the people that make up audio in games, from the composers to the singers and musical talent that makes the games we love so exciting to play. We are still early on this front, but are already looking for talented people to talk to and bring their stories to the page for the full gaming audience to read. We also plan to continue our series and seek out new talent in the music and acting scenes to see what brings them to games, and why this is a medium that is so full of possibilities.

What else is new for the magazine, and is this the only thing planned for the coming year?

I can’t talk about everything we are planning for 2022, but it is looking like a big year for the magazine. CGMagazine now calls the Niagara region of Canada home, so we are looking to give exposure to local talent along with a look at indie studios and developers that may not be covered at other publications.

We are also planning to expand our podcast to bring some of these interviews to it to make it something they can listen to as well as read. We have talked to many talented creators, including David Hayter, David Jaffe, and Ashly Burch just to name a few, so bringing these discussions to an audio form will just add to the experience.

I know we have a lot planned on the video side of things, from streaming, to editorial videos, although much of that is still in the works, so can’t share everything on that front just yet.

If you could see any musical artist work on a game, who and what game?

That is a hard one, I would love to see someone like Ed Sheeran lend his talents to a fantasy game. I loved his work on The Hobbit films, and can only imagine what sort of creativity he could bring to a game given the chance. I mean, I know Warner Bros. still have plenty of Lord of the Rings games in the pipeline, he would be a great addition to those projects.

Ed Sheeran Visits The SiriusXM Studios In New York City

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Beyond that, it’s hard to say, although I am sure as the industry keeps growing, we will only see more talent jump in and lend their sound to more games.



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St. Vincent Covers “Funkytown” For Minions: The Rise of Gru

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Some things in life are inevitable. For a while, that inevitably was a new Shrek movie with an updated pop cover like “I’m a Believer” from Smash Mouth. These days it’s a new Despicable Me movie, this time in the form of spinoff Minions The Rise of Gru. And just as we all predicted, the new Steve Carrell led film comes stacked with a loaded soundtrack headlined by St. Vincent.

For her contribution to the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack, St. Vincent covered “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. Her version was produced by Jack Antonoff and continues a run of luck for the musician that earlier this year saw her win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Antonoff also gave St. Vincent a shout-out for her album Daddy’s Home when he won Producer of the Year at the Grammys.

Announcing the release of her funky cover, St. Vincent took to Twitter and wrote, “Excited to say the @Minions (including @jackantonoff) and I have just released our version of ‘Funkytown’ from #TheRiseofGru soundtrack. Shout out to Gru and them…” Included with the post was a graphic of St. Vincent as a minion.

Joining St. Vincent on the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack are Tame Impala, Kali Uchis, Brittany Howard, Thundercat, Caroline Polachek, Diana Ross, and Weyes Blood, just to name a few.

The album will be released on July 1, coinciding with the film’s theatrical release. You can listen to St. Vincent’s cover of Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” below!



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Parmalee Shares The Music Video For Their Top Five US Hit ‘Take My Name’, A Musical Marriage Proposal.

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Back in October of 2021, Parmalee released ‘Take My Name’ as the second single from their third studio album. It was written with and produced by David Fanning, producer of the massive hit ‘Carolina’ that introduced me to the band back in 2008, Ashley Gorley and Ben Johnson. Robyn Collins of ‘Taste of Country’ described the song as “a musical marriage proposal” and lead singer of the band, Matt Thomas, says it was inspired by the marriage of brother Scott; he says “it made me think about what I would want to say to my future wife.”

Some songs almost become bigger than themselves when they tap into the lives and moods of everyone and this is very much one of those songs. It’s not difficult to see why this song has been adopted by fans all over the world irrespective of their taste in music; its words conjure all the romance and love that you’d hope to feel when you ask someone to marry you. It’s lyrically a shopping list of everything you feel at the moment you realise you’ve met the one, even if that’s after only a short time. I remember proposing to my wife after just 8 weeks and if I try to remember what I was feeling at the point I proposed and tried to put it into words I would hope it was very similar to this song. Now over 31 years later and still happily married I listen to this song and it brings all those feelings back in a rush so why wouldn’t it be the perfect song to overlay a proposal, sing at the wedding or just be part of the moment; it’s how I’d love my sons to feel when they propose to their partners. 

Parmalee are very aware of their fans needs and were quick to record a wedding version for such occasions with a less catchy percussion and a softer piano focussed vibe than the original version. There have even been brilliant occasions where the band has turned up to “crash” a wedding and sing this song to the happy couple reminiscent of Maroon 5 and their song ‘Sugar’. None of those guests will forget that wedding in a hurry!

With all the interest in the song and the brilliant videos and messages the band have received, they felt the time was right to make their own narrative video to accompany the song as an addition to the previously released visualizer. The ‘Wedding Version’ video of the romantic song was filmed in Gallatin, TN and directed by Shane Drake. The heart-warming story follows the journey of the protagonist through middle school and all the way to adulthood featuring kids from a local school, an original 1968 Mustang Shelby GT350 and appearances from the band with the lead being played by frontman Matt Thomas.

Matt says:

“From the jump, the fans have really latched onto this song in such an amazing, life changing way- our fans have been the reason for so many of our own major milestones, so it means that much more to us that folks are using our song for their proposals and weddings and allowing us to be a part of those major moments in their lives. We wanted to pay tribute to the fans who have been on this journey with us since the beginning so in the music video you’ll see a story of love and loyalty unfold across the years-but don’t expect to see any weddings or proposals – the fan created videos far exceed anything we could depict. We love watching them.”

With over 135 million global on demand streams, the song has raced up the Country charts, outpacing the band’s previous single, the multinational Number 1 smash ‘Just The Way’ with Blanco Brown and has been popping up all over TikTok with creators playing the song over proposal and wedding videos and even sparking a trend of using the sound of the song and writing “if your man doesn’t make you feel this way then what are you doing?” over the video. 

Parmalee - Take My Name (Official Music Video)

Coming from their recently released album ‘For You’, an album that has garnered critical acclaim with American Songwriter calling it “authentically real, genuinely inspired” and Billboard saying that “Parmalee find itself in the enviable position of being able to tap into multiple audiences”. What is very clear is that Country music is slowly starting to find a new, younger audience in the UK to stand alongside the existing fans of the genre. Zack Bryan has recently found himself high on the Spotify album charts and UK stars like Ed Sheeran have appeared alongside Country stars like Luke Combs at the Country2Country festival. Even Tom Odell has found himself headlining the British Country Music Festival in the Summer. Parmalee may be the band to really break down the barriers between Country music and the UK Charts with this song as the musical genre of this release is far less important than the honesty and emotion of the lyrics and Romance will always break down all of the barriers, or at least I would hope it would.

‘For You’ is out now and can be streamed and downloaded here. Find out more about Parmalee and their music online on their official website.

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Mercedess Releases debut album ‘Casa Fantasia’ along with lead single ‘Summers Already Gone’

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This Copenhagen DIY pop artist has managed the difficult task of mixing her soulful voice with vibrant dreamy production and lyrics with real streetwise attitude. The result is something that has given her the hit single ‘Obvious’ which Danish radio loved and the internationally acclaimed single ‘Back to Business’. Now she is releasing the excellent lead single ‘Summer’s Already Gone’ which sounds very modern Bond in its lo fi production but tells an unusual love story. Not a story about falling in love with a person, but about the love affair that always ends; the affair with Summer.

She says:

“I wanted to write a song that could represent both the fearlessness of the magical Summer days and the truly blue sadness of the re occuring love story it actually is when Summer eventually comes to an end. I know it’s a heartbreaking, melancholy feeling but it’s also everything I love about Summer.”

The song was written in Mercedess’ living room with Danish indie superstar Goss and the guitarist Søren Breum and is produced by the critically acclaimed artist Vera. It allows the velvet of the artist’s voice to tumble over the muted trumpets, break beats and flirty acoustic guitars and strings bringing to life the seasonal heartbreak. 

The fact that it is about the love and anticipation felt for Summer is almost more poignant this year as we embark upon the first free Summer for a few years. The affair with Summer this year promises to be a torrid passionate affair as we’ve been apart so long but the heartbreak of its end will be felt more keenly. This song will be the soundtrack to the affair for sure.

The single is released on the same day as the debut album from this exciting new talent. Mercedess says of the album: “Casa Fantasia is an album about longing for closeness and honesty. These songs are an escape from reality-a place to feel free and be yourself. Writing it was a personal journey and process to me that hopefully will make space for creativity, art and emotions for others too”

The album promises to do just that with the artist’s melancholy and yet warm and dreamy vocals and marks an exciting new chapter for an artist destined to find international acclaim  with this collection of music. Summer may come and go but I’m sure the appeal of Mercedess will be perennial. 

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