The music industry was confronted with a heart-stopping question in March 2020, as if musicians’ lives weren’t already difficult enough. How would we survive without live music?
However, if the past decade of streaming has demonstrated anything, it is that artists will always find a way to make the most out of it. They did, in fact, adapt. In contrast to many of our musical heroes, who had to repeatedly slap themselves until they were finally ready to accept their new reality, some of our geekier idols found comfort in the most unlikely of places – their video games. In this week’s UNDERSCORE, we had a chance to talk to Gab Gamboa of Manila Under Fire.
1. The worlds of music and gaming are completely distinct from each other. How did you become interested in gaming as an artist?
First and foremost, I’d want to explain the time period in which I grew up. It was the technical apex of the 1990s, which was a time of innovation in the use of technology in entertainment and music, as well as in other fields. I’m referring to everything from an acoustic guitar to an electric guitar, and anything in between. Using a complete drumset that has been compressed into a small beat pad From the Atari through the nintendo 64 to the PlayStation, there’s something for everyone. I mean, some of these advancements were already making ripples in the field of innovation during the late 1970s, but I hope my comparison achieves its intended purpose. But, in any case, I was fortunate enough to be alive throughout this time period. My childhood memories include being able to play these famous games while listening to their lovely soundtracks in the background and humming along with them. The first time I heard a tune by Nobuo Uematsu from a Final Fantasy game hummed in public, I had a heart attack. And, as a child, my musical preferences were heavily influenced by hiphop and, in particular, rock music. I used to believe that innovation was synonymous with ‘being different.’ Because of this, I pushed strangely placed melody patterns, inspired by video games I play, anime intros I watch, and rock bands I grew up with as a result of my early musical influences.
2. What was your first console and which classic game(s) are your all-time favorites?
My very first console was the Nintendo Family Computer, which I received as a gift. The vast majority of the systems I had, including portable devices, were from Japan. In the end, I always used the Japanese version of the console. The Super Famicom was the name of the SNES in the United States, as it was in Japan. To be sure, it was all fun and games until I was exposed to the world of role-playing games. On the Famicom, one of the greatest RPG games I’ve ever played was Super Mario RPG, and oh, my, lord almighty, that game was incredible. I was astounded as a fuck! I spent the vast bulk of my free time playing role-playing games. Among the most addicting video games I’ve ever played were Azure Dreams, Breath of Fire, Final Fantasy, and Suikoden, among others. These are, without a doubt, my all-time favorite songs.
3. Name a game you didn’t expect to enjoy but ended up really enjoying instead.
To be really honest, I’m going to go for The Sims. That is to say, I was constantly on the lookout for edgy kinds of games that had a nice visual style for both the characters and the surrounding area. Here comes this game, which was previously installed on one of my old PCs. It is by Maxim! It stated something to the effect of ‘counting your Simoleons’ or anything along those lines. And then, all of a sudden, I was completely sucked into the whole new idea of simulation of human existence. From an empty lot to a bachelor’s home complete with a hot tub and some woohoo, it’s been quite the transformation. In addition, the ladder to the swimming pool is sometimes deleted when someone is in it.
4. How do you come up with the game you’re about to livestream? Is there a strategy behind it?
Well, I’m always of the mentality that I should be able to really enjoy the game that I’m going to broadcast. I mean, I’m going to be playing for hours on end, so I have to make sure I don’t become distracted and decide to switch games in the middle of a game. It comes off as a little disrespectful, don’t you think? Many frequent broadcasters, such as Valorant and Mobile Legends, like to stream popular games all of the time; however, I prefer to expose viewers to new or lesser-known titles. The majority of the games I broadcast are RPGs, massively multiplayer online role-playing games, and a variety of other adventure and open-world games. Aside from playing these activities, I like engaging with the viewers and reciprocating their affection by responding to their conversations in an open and honest manner. As I usually remark in my broadcasts after I’ve been inactive in the game for an extended period of time, “More than eighty percent of the time, I’m yapping and vibing with you guys. In addition, 20 percent is allocated to the phrase “I’m having a good time.” I simply really like talking their brains off and then listening to, or reading, what they have to say about it. Every single viewer is significant.
For this lifestyle to be successful, effective time management and a lot of wide open and awake-y eyes are required. It’s exhausting, but I wouldn’t want to live my life any other way.Gab Gamboa
5. Do you have any other interests or hobbies that are unrelated to music and gaming?
Computers are something I am very interested in. I don’t simply sit in front of my computer and do nothing. It’s also what I use for digital art and other print-based projects. My lack of formal art education hasn’t stopped me from learning how to utilize Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro whenever the opportunity has presented itself. This is the technological era, and the whole of the world’s present information is there for the taking. I spent a lot of time watching videos on how to use these applications and become proficient at them.
6. How do you strike a balance between music, streaming, and gaming while also fulfilling your other responsibilities, such as family obligations?
Okay, so I have to make sure that everything on paper is completed on time. For example, if the work begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., the position is considered to be full-time. Immediately after that, I take an hour’s break before getting back into streaming at about 5pm, or 6pm if I’m feeling lazy. I’ll stream for a couple of hours, eat supper, and then do whatever I want with the rest of the time. I work five days a week and stream four times a week. I want to produce video material on the weekends and publish it for the following week, to the extent that this is feasible for me. I always make a point of getting together with my bandmates in the studio once a week to get some work done, which is typically on the weekends. For this lifestyle to be successful, effective time management and a lot of wide open and awake-y eyes are required. It’s exhausting, but I wouldn’t want to live my life any other way. It’s well worth the effort.
7. Do you think that gaming has an impact on your musicality?
That is definitely true! You may also include Japanese anime on your list! I’ve learnt how to integrate melodies that I’ve heard that would significantly increase the pace of a song. The way I compose music in my mind is very dependent on the emotion I’m trying to evoke in the listener. For example, some pounding music before a boss battle, or if a key character dies in one of the cinematics, are examples of what I’m talking about. Those kinds of emotions are evoked when such occasions occur. These are some of the most valuable things I’ve learnt and incorporated into my musical approach. I always strive to go against the grain with our music and do something no one else has done before, or at least not a lot of people have done before.
8. What are you currently working on in the midst of the pandemic situation?
“A Look Into The Void,” the next studio album from our band Manila Under Fire, is presently in the works. While the majority of this album is about you, it also talks about looking at yourself from a distance and noticing things around you that your normal self would not see. It may be about love, loss, vengeance, triumphs, or tragedies, to name a few topics. We’ve put our hearts and souls into this record, and we can’t wait to see it through to completion. In addition, we are working on another album, titled “Areglo Vol. I,” which will be released concurrently with this one. A collection of cover songs based on music we grew up listening to is the focus of the CD. Song samples from bands such as Incubus, The Used, and Limp Bizkit, but with a distinct MUF flavor added in. I’m jotting down this information right here as a receipt so that everyone will know that we were the ones who did it first. I simply don’t like it when a more well-known band steals our idea.
9. What do you have planned for the upcoming months?
With that said, I’m simply keeping to my routine. I mean, every time I do the same thing over and over again, I go one step closer to becoming the greatest I can be. So I’ll simply keep to my existing goals as long as I’m still physically capable of doing so. To be more precise, we have certain initiatives planned with our brand sponsors in conjunction with Manila Under Fire. Everything points to a fantastic digital rock concert in the horizon. We’re not placing any time constraints on the music for the album, as long as we keep returning to the studio and doing some work. I really don’t know. It’s been a wild, exhausting two years that has consumed my whole existence. It’s a good thing we still have our music and a place to hang out. But, yes, I hope everyone else is maintaining their concentration as well. E specially, my fellow artists. Maintain your current level of excellence, my snazzy dudes.
The number of diverse musical talents adapting well to a post-coronavirus society is very encouraging. While international lockdowns have been restrictive, constricting, and even depressing for some, they have allowed musicians to engage in new and innovative projects and interact with their fans.