We did it!
Excited to say that the premiere of The Hard Modes is in the books. On Saturday, September 30, we debuted 7 original jazz arrangements of video game music at C'ville Coffee in our home of Charlottesville, VA.
About 40 people showed up to watch us perform, which met a personal attendance goal. During the show I had asked the audience whether they had come for the jazz or video games, and the split was pretty even, with a few folks committing to both. It was exciting to see that the separate camps were well-represented, not to mention to see that both camps stuck around between sets.
On the video game side, it wasn't uncommon for folks to be familiar with only one or two of the tunes. But, their interest in what was being done with the tunes that they were familiar with was enough to get them to stick around. On the jazz side, many people said that it didn't matter that the arrangements were built around game music since they were just into the jazz aspects (the stylized harmonies, rhythms, improv, etc.).
One of the things that I wanted to uncover in this project was that video game music can be adapted by jazz arrangers due to its high level of musicality - especially in regards to its melodicism -, and in doing so, these two worlds that are seemingly disparate can - and should - be brought together. With the audience's reactions in mind, I think it's safe to say (albeit on a small scale): mission accomplished.
I would like again to thank everyone who has supported this project thus far, especially my wife, Jen; the band; Thomas Kovach (for the poster art and street team support); Nick Cordle (for the rehearsal space); Jenn Chambers (for press release advice); the C'ville Coffee team; and, last but certainly not least, everyone who came to the premiere.
There are a few next steps to focus on in the coming months:
- Getting the word out. Internets, here I come! I'm going to try to spread the audio and video of the show to get as much exposure and feedback as possible.
- Gigging more. After a successful premiere, I'm going to be looking for more places to play, most likely in the Charlottesville and Richmond areas.
- Expanding the repertoire. I definitely want to write more tunes so that if focus come and see us multiple times they'll get exposed to new and different material. I already have one tune half-written and some ideas for more.
Since the beginning of this project I've had grander, more far-reaching goals. For now, I'll start with the above and go from there. In regards to the third point, one thing that I do want to focus on a bit is making sure that I have a good mix of tunes that are accessible to all gamer types. I recognize that our current selections are JRPG-heavy, and while JRPG OSTs arguably provide some of the best content to work off of, I do need to be cognizant of other genres and eras.
Another area that I need to focus on is how to advertise and reach new audiences. Now that we have audio and visual material I think it may be easier to interest potential patrons and entice news sources--I'll be using those resources to the fullest.
Hope to see you all out at future shows! In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on our material, so please feel free to contact me or leave a comment on this blog or on the media directly. And, don't forget that I have plenty of social media goodness to go around, which you can access by the buttons to the right and at the bottom of the page.
Thanks for reading, and until next time...!