This week I had the pleasure of getting to speak with a talented musician best known by his Youtube moniker of miracleofsound. In reality he is an Irishman by the name of Gavin Dunne and he writes, performs, sings and mixes songs inspired mostly by video games. His channel has been active for over five years now and has reached the lofty heights of 100 million views.
I contacted Gav and he graciously accepted my request for a short interview where I got to ask him ten questions to explore his music and the importance of games.
Q1. Over the years there has been a definite shift in your music from lighthearted to more serious and professional songs such as the transition between ‘You Died’ and ‘Fires Far’. Was this a natural progression as both you and your music matured or a conscious decision to try and broaden your audience and be considered as a “real” musician?
Gav: Good question. As time goes on I realise more & more that the most important thing for me is to make music I’m proud of and that I want to listen to myself. Comedy/novelty songs are certainly fun but they’re not something I can sit down & listen to and enjoy over & over so I stopped making them in favour of music that’s more to my own tastes. I’m lucky that my audience responded well to the change and I think the project has grown hugely as a result of carving out that niche.
Sure, it would be probably more financially viable to shit out jokey Five Nights At Freddy’s songs and get millions more views but right now I’m lucky enough to earn a living from making music I like.
Q2. What is it about video games that you feel inspires your creative process more than other mediums like books and movies? Is it purely the interactive element or is there something more?
Gav: There’s the interactive element for sure – feeling a part of these stories certainly helps to inspire at times. Gaming as art is just beginning to evolve into great things and I like being a part of that. It’s also a medium with a great sense of community and sharing of fun things between fans. It’s a nice place to exist in the world and it has been good to me. Plus gaming is my favourite hobby which helps!
Q3. Are there any games that you would love to do a song for but feel that you no longer can because it isn’t current or already has a song?
Gav: No, if I want to do a song I’ll do it. There are other factors that often stop me, like lack of inspiration (even for good stories) and things like Nintendo’s Youtube copyright shenanigans.
Q4. If you had to recommend one of your songs to a stranger which would you feel best represents your work?
Gav: That’s something I often think about. It’s really hard to pick songs that ‘sum up’ my music. I guess for a rock fan, something like Road Rage, or The Crush. For those into more out there stuff – Wake The White Wolf and Dream Of The Sky are probably good starting points.
Q5. For you, when you play a game, how important is the soundtrack to your overall experience? I personally never really thought about it until Dark Soul’s OST and tend to be disappointed in most since. Is it something that you as a musician pay special attention to? Is there one that stands out as especially great to you?
Gav: The soundtracks are extremely important to me because very often they directly inspire the sound and ‘genre’ of the songs I’m making. You can hear this in stuff like ‘The Lucky Ones‘, ‘Lady Of Worlds‘ and the aforementioned ‘Fires Far‘.
Q6. What would be your advice for people trying to make a name for themselves in a modern creative industry? There are so many people trying to achieve the same thing so how do you get your voice heard over equally talented competition?
Gav: I wish I had an answer for that! All I can say is prioritise what you want from life and go for it 100%. Live it, breathe it and pour the time in.
Q7. Does looking for song inspirations and taking notes affect the way that you play games?
Gav: Yes. I’m often stopping to take notes, recording video of every cutscene and thinking of ideas while I play. Every now and again I’ll avoid it on my first playthrough if it’s a special game to me like The Witcher 3, Fallout or Dark Souls. I find it can take away from the experience if I’m too distracted thinking about work.
Q8. What was the game that got you into gaming?
Gav: My first console was a NES but the first game that really blew my mind was Zelda: A Link To The Past on SNES. The idea that you could go into this entire other world & just exist there, exploring and talking to fantasy creatures & people at your own pace – it was a magical experience and all my favourite games have had a similar ‘open world’ thing going on.
Q9. Are there any projects outside of games such as your Metal Up album that you are wanting to try? You mentioned an example once of wanting to do a Tolkien inspired album, is that still on the table?
Gav: There are so, so many things I would love to do given the time. Yes, a LOTR album would be a lot of fun to make but would take months, if not years to do right. I also want to make instrumental music like on Vistas. I want to make more metal. I want to someday to an album of cover version from artists who inspired me. Were there only more hours in the days!
Q10. To end the interview I would like to ask you what your top 10 favourite games of all time would be?
If you want to check out more from Gav and his Miracle of Sound project then you can listen to his music on the miracleofsound Youtube channel, buy his songs on Bandcamp or Itunes and follow him on Twitter @miracleofsound.
So once again I will thank Gavin for taking time away from Dark Souls 3 to answer my questions and I will leave you all with my personal recommendations to listen to Wake the White Wolf (Metal Version) for a healthy dose of kickass fantasy metal and Amnesia for a hearty moral boost in an often harsh world.
Article by Matthew Roys. Follow me on Twitter @matthewroys and subscribe to PixelFangGaming for more.