Not one to follow the scenester-ridden music charts, when I heard Enter Shikari were working in partnership with Xbox, my initial reaction was "Enter what!? What's a curry take-away got to do with the Xbox?!" Nevertheless, when I bunny-hopped over to their Myspace and joined the millions of other young whippersnappers who'd downloaded their explosive tracks, I became rather keen to see exactly why this new 'hardcore metal and euphoric trance' band were hopping between the white-and-green bedsheets with Xbox. Luckily I got the chance to catch up with the four-piece English band yesterday for a few hours, and found out all about their exciting new collaboration with the mighty Mr. Gates, and exactly how pro their gaming skillz are.
You might remember that back in February the Scissor Sisters helped launch the Xbox Soundtracks program across Europe, and so in further promotion of the scheme, it was officially announced yesterday that Enter Shikari are to follow in their glittery-footsteps by creating a soundtrack for the Blue Dragon trailer, which will be available in September for us UK-bound campers. Already available in the US and Japan, the RPG has been done in a manga-style animation, which fits perfectly with Enter Shikari's dance/metal fusion.
All four members of the young band are avid gamers, with several of them professing their love for the Sega Mega Drive, which was the first console lead singer Roughton Reynolds ever owned. Listing Road Rash, Golden Axe and Streets of Rage as some of his favourite games, the singer proclaimed "it was the best thing on earth!" Good to see that signing away their souls to a major corporation like Microsoft hasn't stopped them pledging allegiance to yesterday's saviour, the Mega Drive!
They were quick to add that they were all huge Xboxers, with names such as Crackdown, Pro Evolution Soccer, Guitar Hero II, Gears of War and Viva Pinata being thrown at me faster than their energetic choons. According to the boys, when Roughton has a spare few minutes on their current European tour, he's "always playing Viva Pinata and tending to the garden", much to the obvious amusement of the other three sportswear-clad lads.
The electronic tunes in early games on the Mega Drive apparently influenced their chosen style of music, with much of the dance and trance samples being inspired by gaming soundtracks of the '80s. When Xbox approached Enter Shikari several months ago to help launch the Soundtracks scheme, they were 'very humbled' to accept the generous offer, which will no doubt help their attack on the public's ear canals and wallets.
This being the first time they'd ever created music to match visuals, they initially found it rather challenging, but soon enjoyed matching sounds like a drum snare to the animation. When asked if they'd ever do something similar again, perhaps even create their own game (they briefly pondered on what a game involving Johnny Sniper, the band's mascot, would be like), they displayed a huge amount of enthusiasm, particularly if ''it involves another trip to Japan!''
The several representatives present from Xbox spoke about how they were placing a huge emphasis on user-generated content, with the Live service being perfect for those who wish to create exclusive music for games. Infact, Xbox will be launching a competition on May 9th in order to find the 'hottest new UK music talent', where artists can create their own soundtracks to 360 game trailers. Any aspiring musicians wishing to be the next Enter Shikari or Scissor Sisters simply have to download any chosen trailers from their online site, then upload their track along with the video back to the site, where other users can vote on which is the best, web 2.0-stylee.
Lead singer Roughton added towards the end of the day "hopefully other musicians out there will feel inspired by games too and want to get involved", and with the prize involving a session in a recording studio with a professional production team, it's certainly an incentive. Head on over to the Xbox music site on the 9th of May, and get crackin'!