Hey! Listen! The Oneups
Two weeks ago I introduced you to the fine Brazilian folks of 8 Bit Instrumental. This time we are going to calm things down a bit. Dim the lights a little. This week I introduce you to some smooth jazz rhythms. This week we will discuss the darlings of the OCRemix scene and some of my own personal heroes, The OneUps.
The OneUps (theoneups.com) is a group out of Fayetteville, Arkansas made up of some of the most talented musicians in video game inspired music. By name they are individually known as Anthony Lofton (Sax/Keyboards), Tim Yarbrough (Lead Guitar), Greg Kennedy (who has since left the band) (Violin), William Reyes (Rhythm Guitar), Jared Dunn (Drums), and a person I consider the apex of amazing artistry (I must admit I have a bit of a man crush on him since I heard his music on OCRemix years ago), Mustin (Bass).
The band was officially formed in 2002, although a beta version of the band came together in 2000 to record Costa Del Sol for (the sadly defunct) Project Majestic Mix and their album “A Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu”. The band has gone through several members over the years, but have retained both the same amazing talent as well as their love of video game music. Not all has been sunshine in The OneUps proverbial garden though, in 2006 the band decided to break up, because as Mustin puts it, “Things just slowed to a crawl.”
A few months later though, they received a call from the folks over at Penny Arcade to perform at PAX 2007, which they were more than happy to do. This put the band back on the map, and a much larger map at that. After performing at PAX they garnered a huge number of new fans and from there started performing more shows and announced work on a new album. They were also invited back to PAX in 08 to perform another amazing set full of new material. Mustin describes the experience, “PAX is amazing. The crowd is there to be a bunch of nerds and we love giving them what they want. The first year was just incredible for the band. Singing all those CDs and taking all those pictures with people – it was great. 2008 was just as great. It’s the best venue for a nerd band, that’s for sure. What’s better than playing for thousands of screaming fans?
In 2005 The OneUps released their first album, The OneUps Volume 1, which was an amazing piece of work, and belongs in every video game fans music library. The album covers music from more recent fare such as Katamari Damacy and Super Mario Sunshine, to classics like Paperboy and Maniac Mansion, not to mention many songs from the years of gaming in between. There is definitely something for everyone on this album
After their success at PAX 07 The Oneups hit the studio hard to lay down not one, but two discs worth of music to release in 2008. Volume 2 was released in the fall of 08 to a lot of anxious fans. This album collected a ton of tracks from Mario Paint to Nintendo Wii’s Mii Channel, from Mega Man X to Luigi’s Mansion, and Super Metroid to Sonic The Hedgehog. The OneUps blew expectations for the album out of the water.
Mustin also spoke with me about a few of The OneUps future plans, “Plans for the future are to work on Volume 3 (no, it’s not going to be three discs – just one!). We’re also getting around to that Super Mario Kart album I’ve always wanted to do. Looks like that’s coming sooner than later. No big shows are lined up, but each member has plenty of music choices for the future. I know I’m excited about “The Moon” from DuckTales and eventually getting to some more of my favorite stuff like Streets of Rage 2 and Final Fantasy IV.
For everyone interested (which should be everyone ever), you can find the group online at TheOneUps.com and myspace.com/theoneups. Volume 1 and Volume 2 are available on iTunes, AmazonMP3, Napster and other fine eTailers. Mustin also mentions that, “T-shirts are coming to the Web store soon, along with copies of the PAX DVD from 2007 (and hopefully the 2008 in a few months). We’re going to keep recording music as long as you keep supporting it!”
I would also like to mention that if you know of any amazing musicians inspired by video games, definitely let me know about them! Now I will end this article with some footage of the group performing music from Metroid and Final Fantasy VI live at PAX 2008. I would also like to thank Mustin who was kind enough to answer a few questions for this article!
Anthony “genoboost” Ruybalid runs the game music website gamemusic4all.com and is way too obsessed with any music inspired by video games. It is his thing.