So hopefully everyone is getting ready for Super Mario Kart Album on May 4th now, right? Well it never hurts to tease you a little bit more. The new fantastic album from The OneUps is almost ready for launch, and they’ll be rolling out that sausage all the way, with even a music video to promote the album. We decided to chat it up with Mustin on the process of making Super Mario Kart Album and what is coming up in the future from the talented bad dudes at One Up Studios.
Oh, and we ask why Mustin feels obligated to flaunt his stinky feet during his shows.
Click the jump to read the interview
OSV: Yo Mustin, welcome back to OSV. How have you been since our last talk at MAGFest 8?
Mustin: Busy as all get out!
OSV: So today we are here to discuss The OneUps’s newest CD, Super Mario Kart. Can you tell us a little bit how the idea came to be and why exactly you choose to rearrange this particular soundtrack?
Mustin: It’s been so long that I’m not sure I remember! I just know that the third piece of music this band ever played as a group was the ”Koopa Beach” music as heard on The OneUps Volume 1. That was because of William Reyes and Nathan McLeod. And that was in late 2000 or early 2001. Since then, we had gone on to learn most of the soundtrack. It’s always been a favorite game of the guys in this band and doing the whole score seemed natural.
OSV: In terms of approach to arranging these tracks, how did you sit down and decide on the direction of the many different styles and instruments The OneUps use?
Mustin: We start by working with what’s appropriate. ”Donut Plains” is Latin so we start there. ”Bowser Castle” is heavy so we start heavy. ”Rainbow Road” is driving so we start with a driving beat. The rest just kind of happens as we iron out the details in the garage.
OSV: How long has it taken for this project to finish? It seems you guys have been pretty hard at work with this album for quite some time now, and there was a few delays here and there.
Mustin: Yes, it’s hard to get five people’s busy schedules to work together. The album has probably been two years in the making. We hope it’s worth all of the effort!
OSV: So the cause of the delays were just scheduling issues?
Mustin: So sorry to everyone about not releasing on time. But we wanted to wait and do it up right. A new website. A new music video. A reprint of Volume 1 & 2. And an actual physical CD! I know I said this would be digital-only, but we’ve heard your cries loud and clear. We are printing physical CDs of Super Mario Kart Album and that takes a little extra time. So I hope it’s all worth the wait.
OSV: There are some obvious inspirations nodded to across this album, can you tell us some about your immediate inspirations that come to mind on some of the tracks?
Mustin: The inspirations are all over the place as usual. With five different people and their five different ideas, we always have diverse musical inspirations. I couldn’t pin down any specifics for each tracks – I think the biggest one is the Daft Punk-inspired ”Something About Koopa Beach.”
OSV: Yeah, “Something about Koopa Beach” in particular caught my attention as it is one of my favorite songs by Daft Punk, “Something About Us.” Why did you take such a happy song and apply a rather sorrow full inspiration to it? “Something About Us” is about the feeling of losing someone you love, how do you draw the comparison with Koopa Beach.
Mustin: Tim Yarbrough had that idea. We had already recorded ”Koopa Beach” on our first album, Volume 1 and needed to do something different for this album. We shot ideas back and forth and Tim said, ”hey, what about this?” We tried it out, Anthony and William started going to town on the chords, Jared and I started getting funky and bam. I don’t think we had meant for it to be sorrowful like the original. We just wanted to put a new spin on it and not do what we’ve done before.
OSV: You mentioned in your YouTube videos leading up to the release that you were notified by fans that you left out the ending theme. It’s not on the album, so did you guys run out of time? Any chance we’ll see it at some point in the future?
Mustin: Yeah, we didn’t get it in there, unfortunately. I guess no one in the band ever thought about it. It’s a crime, ’cause it might be one of the best tunes in the game. Maybe we’ll do a version of it later to make up for it.
OSV: When you look at this album now that it is finished, where would you say you see The OneUps in terms of production values and your reach in the community?
Mustin: I’m still not 100% happy with the production value. It’s pretty well-known that I love to listen to my own music and I never tire of it. That remains true. But I do have a love/hate relationship with The OneUps’ albums. Sometimes I listen to them and I can’t get past the recording qualities and it keeps me from enjoying the music. Other times, I’ll be able to listen and really appreciate what we’ve done as a group. Super Mario Kart Album is the tightest yet as far as production goes, but I believe it could still be better. I’m hoping to get outside of our region and have someone else at the helm of the next recording/mixing sessions to see what sort of quality we can achieve. And I’m not sure about our reach in the community – I just hope we can reach them and that they’ll enjoy this album.
OSV: You guys are going all out with this release, and have a music video scheduled to release at the same time as the CD. Would you ever guess you would be recording music videos for video game arrangements 10 years ago? How was the process of filming it?
Mustin: It’s very exciting! I believe this will be the first live-action music video from a video game music cover band out there. It was shot and chopped by my buddy Duncan Skiles of Waverly Films, which is awesome because they’re really doing big things these days and to have him come down and do this video with us was a real treat. We were able to get into a local fun park for filming before they opened for business one day. So early one Sunday morning we all headed to the go kart tracks and filmed until they opened. It was a blast. Who’da thunk 10 years later we’d still be doing this, let alone videos and releasing a third CD. Though, I sure woulda hoped it was more than just three albums!
OSV: You guys are performing live quite a bit nowadays, will we be seeing this material live?
Mustin: The PAX DVDs are the best bet for live footage. The 2008 DVD in particular. You can get it from our website. Great video and sound quality. I’m not sure when we’ll get to making a live DVD – it sure needs to happen with as much material that we have and perform live that hasn’t been recorded. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for more than five years, but it would take a lot of money to get it together. As for SMK, we’re probably not going to be adding this stuff into our live set, unfortunately. More on that later.
OSV: Why do you perform without shoes, anyway? I’d imagine the floors at MAGfest can get pretty grungy after all the acts that come before you guys.
Mustin: I love shoes, but I don’t like wearing them so much. I feel much more comfortable without them. Plus, it’s amazing how much cooler your body temp is without the socks and shoes! Gets hot up on stage.
OSV: Which character do you use from Super Mario Kart?
Mustin: It’s all about the Koopa Troopa, baby. And I’m gonna challenge you – all of you. I SUCK at video games. You should see me try to play an Halos or whatever. I suck. I’m awful. I couldn’t beat the first Super Mario Bros. until I was well into my teens. Watching me play Castlevania is like watching Tyson fight an infant. I DIE. LOTS. But I will rock your balls on Super Mario Kart. Maybe not so much in the Battle Mode, but racing and match race – I destroy souls. There is only one person who can consistently beat me on this planet – he is the greatest Super Mario Kart player in the world. He is my mentor. But anyone else who has challenged me has fallen to their demise. Me and Koopa Troopa. You and whoever. BRING IT.
OSV: One of the most frequent questions I get when I speak about The OneUps is if I know if you are going to run more copies of Volume 1 and Volume 2 eventually. Do you guys have any plans on producing more CDs?
Mustin: Yes! That’s part of the big wait on putting out this album. We’ll be launching with the new website made by Mazedude, and will have a reprint of our previous albums available as a the two-disc Volume 1&2 Combo Pack. No secret tracks, and radio edits on some of the Volume 2 Disc 2 tracks, but it’s still two CDs jam-packed with tunes. Check it out in our store on our new site come May 4 2010.
OSV: On the topic of physical releases, what’s with the move to all digital distribution lately? Is it cost-prohibitive to generate the physical CDs, and do you think it’s only a matter of time before they’re gone completely?
Mustin: Well, we were going digital-only on this one, too. But we’ve heard the cries of the public loud and clear. Some people are like me – old school – “If I buy something I want to hold it in my hand, dang it!” (this is also the reason I had such a hard time paying for auto insurance – I mean, you pay for electricity and you get power; pay for rent and you get a place to live. Pay for insurance and…) So we went ahead and did a printing on this. Yes, eventually, there will be no more CDs. It’s getting down to about a dollar a disc, but to get that price, you need to buy 1,000. Plus you have to pay someone to do your artwork. So it all starts to add up. Thankfully we have sites like Bandcamp.com – where we love to sell our music – and you can add the artwork as a .PDF, music videos, and whatever cool extras can be added into the .ZIP you download when you buy the album. iTunes has the new LP function – bringing back some of that old-school flava of the vinyl when the jackets had picture books and they came with extras. But that LP function seems to be only available to the megastars right now. Bandcamp and iTunes even support track-by-track artwork, so when a track shows up on your mobile, it has its own artwork that is different from the album. Very cool. Yes, CDs will be a thing of the past in our Lifetimes. Get ready!
OSV: What can we expect from you, Bad Dudes and The OneUps for the next part of 2010? Do you plan on doing more specific game themed albums in the future?
Mustin: Not sure about game-specific. After the Bad Dudes’ CHRONOTORIOUS album and now this Super Mario Kart Album, I think my teams and I are ready for some free-for-all action. We’ll hopefully see a new The OneUps album sooner than later and we have the ”Heroes vs. Villains” collaboration between OverClocked ReMix and the Bad Dudes coming by next MAGFest. I’m gonna get my solo album out this year for sure, ”THEW ORLD ISSQ UARE,” and Dale North and I have been talking about doing a new project. I’ve also been branching out more and working with artists on the Internet. I produced half of Beefy’s upcoming “With Sprinkles” album. You’ll want to check that out. I’m talking to other talent about original productions and remixes, also. Lotta good stuff coming up.
OSV: Thank you so much man, I absolutely loved the album, and hope it will be as successful as it is spectacular in quality. I look forward to seeing you again, and hearing about what is next!
Mustin: Thank you! Let’s do business again soon. A++Tags: Arrangements, Bad Dudes, Interviews, Mustin, One Up Studios, PAX, Remixes, SNES, Super Mario Kart, The OneUps