Brotad is one of many music composers who has used his interest in gaming as a source of creative inspiration. This young man from Ohio has carved out a niche for himself despite the competition. With the recent release of his Animal Crossing-inspired album Solace, he has collected some of the coolest and calmest songs from the franchise and added his signature twist to them. With his style added to the artistry of everyone from fictional guitar-playing dog K.K. Slider to Animal Crossing: New Leaf composer Manaka Kataoka, this series' music becomes even smoother.
When did you start making video game music remixes and what sparked your interest to get started?
I started with the whole video game remix thing back in 2013 but didn't move into electronic music until fall 2016. My number one major influence was Emdasche back in 2012-13. He's constantly changing the game up and still inspires me to this day.
What inspired you to make an album completely dedicated to Animal Crossing?
The music and atmosphere. I've grown up with Animal Crossing games being in and out of the forefront, and the music still brings me back to this day. There are so many amazing qualities about the series that go so unnoticed.
Furthermore, why did you title the album: "Solace"?
To represent the kind of game Animal Crossing is, but also because of the style of music I show off in the album. To me, the things in Animal Crossing — the rain, the night skies, the beautiful atmosphere — are all things that help me achieve solace. I hope to give someone their solace through this album.
Is Brotad a character who represents you in the world of Animal Crossing like on your cover art? Or is he merely a clever Pokémon Lotad pun regarding a brotherly archetype of the derpiest pocket monster around?
Both! Another one of my musician friends called me that as a play on words of my previous alias, and I liked it so much that it fit!
You collaborated with some other notable musicians on "Solace" such as NoteBlock, InsaneintheRain, and Kamex. What was that experience like for you?
It was really cool! Kamex and I are good friends, and NoteBlock and I are buds as well, so it was really interesting to see everything come together! InsaneintheRain is someone I don't know personally very well, but our connection was cool because it was a combination of raw love for music, and the Animal Crossing games.
If you had to describe this album to someone who had not yet listened to it, how would you describe the music and what you brought to the series' iconic tunes?
I would describe it as soul-soothing. That was my goal, at least.
Your album is incredibly relaxing to listen to, much like Animal Crossing music originally is to begin with. But in my opinion, you've taken it to the next level. Was it your goal to get people to relax when listening to "Solace"? What else have you envisioned people feeling or doing while listening to your album?
Thank you so much; that means the world! It was exactly my goal to help people relax. When creating "Solace," I envisioned people around a campfire, or inside watching the rain fall down — cozy things like that!
"11PM" from Animal Crossing: New Leaf might just be my favorite song in the series. I'm so glad you created an even chiller version of it in the form of the song "Static Leaves" on your album. What was the process like for changing that specific song and others like it?
Lots of connecting and imagery! I took some of the actual source on Static Leaves and used it (for example, the intro) to help convey my ideas. Each piece has a specific image to it, whether it be a whole scene or just a simple color (i.e Light Blue).
Speaking of favorite songs, what is your favorite song you created for "Solace"?
It has to be, well, Solace. I was feeling unsatisfied with the rest of the tracks (when I started Solace, it was my fifth track I had started to work on) in the album, and got very discouraged with my musical ability and motivation. I got inspired to create a different type of style, with less percussion, and went for it. When Solace was finished, I had this sense of euphoria, and I remember thinking to myself, 'This is the kind of music I want to make.' From there, I finished the album.
What is your favorite original Animal Crossing song?
I simply cannot choose. It's why I had to create a whole album! I'm personally attracted to the evening/night themes, but the daytime themes are iconic as well.
An Animal Crossing game is likely headed to the Nintendo Switch sooner or later. Musically, what would you like to see them do in that game that hasn't already been done?
I. Would. Freak. Out. Honestly, I'm not sure! It would be cool to carry the same style, but also adding a twist at the same time.
For a music producer, you are quite young. What advice do you have for fellow aspiring musicians and producers?
My biggest piece of advice is to never stop experimenting. A lot of young artists (myself included) become overwhelmed easily with DAWs [digital audio workstations] and such, and it can ruin a creative flow. Even when you're in a low, still continue to create. I was in an eight-month break where I didn't release anything, but the whole time I was creating still. It helps so much. A second piece of advice I have is to not worry! Of course, it's easier said than done, but worrying will only destroy the creative flow and mindset.
In what ways can they get people to listen to their craft?
There are a few ways you can get people to listen! The first one, is to, well, put it out there! YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Clyp, anywhere! You can't get out of the house if you stay on the floor, ya know? Another HUGE tip is to get active in communities. Join a Discord, get a Twitter, Facebook, network! I've made so many friends just from this. Lastly, it's cliche, but never give up!
What do you have in mind for future projects?
I'm not really sure! I know I wouldn't mind creating another lofi album (maybe an original lofi album even!), or something like that. I know I have a few ideas for remixes until the rest of the year, but who knows the kind of excitement 2018 will bring?!
Where can people pick up "Solace" and listen to your music otherwise?
People can pick up "Solace" at brotad.bandcamp.com/album/solace . I also have a Youtube (Brotad) and a Twitter (@TheRealBrotad)! Thanks so much for having me!
We at Gamnesia thank Brotad for the interview! You can learn more about Brotad and his music at the links above.