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World of WarCrafts: Mixing it up with MrVoletron


World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself; contact our tips line (attention: World of WarCrafts) with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.

It's only been six months since MrVoletron burst onto the YouTube scene with his exuberantly earworm-ish "XT-002: Bad Toys Remix" remix. Already, he's built a fan base of WoW-playing fans clamoring for the next mix -- and he just keeps on producing. His latest release (posted just three days ago) is "Invincible" (above), a spin on the three-minute piece of the same name released by Blizzard last month. We've got "XT-002: Bad Toys Remix," the hilarious classic "Onyxia Wipe Remix," a sampler of the full-length "Music for Spaceports" (inspired by EVE Online), and an interview with MrVoletron himself, after the break.

World of WarCrafts: Who the heck are you and where is your spawn point?!? Seriously, you're obviously experienced at what you do. What's your music and mixing background?

MrVoletron: I've done some formal training and study of music theory at the college level, from 1998 to 2000. From 1998 to 2004, I was a techno DJ in Canada and did some amateur music productions. In 2006, I participated in the Red Bull Music Academy program in Melbourne, and in 2008 I released an album of electronic music tracks on a Berlin-based netlabel called Yuki Yaki. That's essentially the relevant extent of my music background, unless you want to count the endless hours spent messing around in my bedroom on music gear!

What about your WoW side?

I've been playing WoW since June 2007. I rolled a hunter, and he's still my main. I'm a relatively hardcore raider. My guild is usually in the top 1,000 on WowProgress -- or was, actually. My raid team is disbanding! Our GMs came to us, completely exhausted, just a couple of days ago and decided to pull the plug on our raid team. Guildmates are going every which way; some are staying, some are transferring, some are quitting WoW entirely. Our raid leader -- he was a really great one -- applied to a top 10 guild Monday afternoon and was raiding with them on Sindragosa HM that night! As for myself, I've applied to a couple of guilds in hopes of finding my own new raiding home.

So when you're AFK (from either WoW or the mixer), what do you do?

Thankfully unemployed at the moment, haha. Well, this kind of situation is probably not good news for most, but for me it was a very fortunate circumstance because it's allowed me so much time for creative endeavors. I've been able to make the WoW remixes, the "Music for Spaceports" album and create a portfolio web site (which will be going up in a few weeks). I'm hoping to turn my music endeavors into a profession, over time. In the meantime, I expect I'll need to find a day job soon.

(Note: The video below is Not Safe For Work.)

(Note: The video above is Not Safe For Work.)

Tell us a little about the technical process of creating your tracks.

In my video "Bronjahm's Jam + WoW Remix Tips," I share some knowledge about my tools and work process.

To elaborate a bit, the process starts with the inspiration I feel from hearing the voice work done in the game. That's really the most vital part. From there, I go through the process of figuring out what kind of style I'm going to do and make more detailed choices about the form, like the tempo, the musical character, the length, the sounds I'll use and how I'll treat the source audio. That's the start of the arranging.

From there, I'll make different parts. I'll add, remove and edit elements -- things like music and voice samples, instrumentation and effects -- and basically just play around with parts, looking for fun and making changes I think will positively engage listeners. All the while, I'm fitting all different parts together and trying to make a listenable piece of music.

It's a rather haphazard process, in truth. My description of the process is far neater than the reality, though there are a couple of ground rules I follow: Showcase the source audio (the WoW voices, for example); don't add unnecessary elements (my music teacher used to advice us on the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid); and keep it fun -- make it mean something to the audience. That's very important.

I'd like to suggest that people download the MP3s, which are linked in my YouTube info, because uploading to YouTube actually degrades the audio quality somewhat. There's a significant improvement in the sound of my work if people listen to the MP3.

How long does it take for a typical track to come together, from concept to completion?

Exactly 45 minutes, including tea time.

I'm kidding. I worked very quickly on "You FACE Jaraxxus" and had it uploaded the same day I conceived it. That was about eight hours. Algalon took me about three weeks to make, due in part to learning how to use a vocoder, which I'd never done before. Mimiron was a three-month process, because I finished it only in part and stopped work on it for some time because I went dry on inspiration. Then out of the blue some two months later, I got the juice to finish it. if I didn't take such a break, it probably would have been about a two-week process -- there was a lot of micro-editing in it and demanded more time than the others. Host of Souls was quick and took two days. XT-002 was about a week-long process. Bronjahm's Jam, Thorim and Onyxia Wipe each took about five days.

I actually started "Invincible" last night after supper, worked on it until 6 a.m., went to bed and uploaded it when I got up. Pretty quick piece of work.

Have you received any inquiries to use your tracks in machinima?

There's been some interest. Baron Soosdon approached me several months ago wanting to make a music video for the XT-002 remix. I've seen a 30-second clip of it, which I thought was amazing. But I haven't heard from him about it for some time. /sad. I hope he finishes it!

Otherwise, I haven't thought about having machinima made for my songs. I certainly can't do it myself, because my video production skills are very limited. I would not pass my own quality testing, haha. Actually, that's not true. I could learn to do it, I'm sure. I think the truth is I'm unwilling to take the time. I have other things I would rather do. Though I often get requests from players asking to use my tracks in their FRAPS videos, which is always cool by me. If machinima producers wanted to make machinima for my songs, that would be fine by me, too.

You just put out a album-length release, "Music for Spaceports." What's that project all about?

"Music for Spaceports" is a new album featuring nine tracks of original music inspired by EVE Online, which I also play. The album is essentially an exploration of the question, "If I were to make music for EVE, how would it sound?" So no remixes of EVE music here, but rather my own original compositions. I made this album because I wanted to explore more ethereal styles of music and broaden my portfolio. My hope is to make new connections in the game industry through my portfolio which will lead to me producing music for video games. So this album was made as a fan project, as well as a move towards making music a career. Though I certainly believe music fans can enjoy the album of its own accord. One of my guildmates was listening to it during a night of Lich King wipes last week and told me it was a relaxing balance to the stress of learning the fight. I thought that was nice of him to say.

Inquiring MrVoletron fans want to know: What mixes are coming up next?

Murlocs. Lots and lots of murlocs. Hahaha ... I'm kidding. Well, it could happen. Who knows?

In all seriousness, I have an idea for what I think is a funny Lord Marrowgar track. Something a little bit ... different. Kind of a tongue-in-cheek poke at all the Bonestorm requests I've been getting, as though a devil in me is saying, "You want Bonestorm? I'll give you Bonestorm!" ... I've done some work on it the last few days, and I'm still laughing over it, so unless things go horribly off track with it, I'll expect it'll go up within the next couple of weeks. Otherwise, I have a few remix ideas floating around in my head for other bosses, including more from ICC as well as some BC and vanilla content. Fans can expect more WoW music from me for some time, I think.

I also have a sort of MrVoletron dream project, which is to play a live set of MrVoletron WoW mixes at BlizzCon -- though not just the tracks that people have heard on YouTube, but a full, hour-long showcase of new tunes, familiar tunes and WoW bosses, characters and WoW audio interspersed in some of my favorite techno, house and drum n bass tracks. I think it would be an amazingly fun experience for WoW fans, and I really want to do it.

We'd be dancing in the aisles, most definitely. Thanks, MrVoletron, for helping us get our groove on!

World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself by contacting our tips line (attention: World of WarCrafts); not-for-profit work only, please.

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