You may remember Rockit Gaming from such music videos as the tinyBuild E3 press conference musical and Rainbow Six: Siege Outbreak – Sick. I recently received the opportunity to interview Rockit (Russell McKamey) of Rockit Gaming, (Vinny Noose a/k/a Vincent Newsom was not available), which I was super stoked for because I still have those tinyBuild songs in my head. I may sing one of them every time my son talks about Fortnite. Of course, I had no idea that Rockit Gaming has been around for quite some time, writing and performing songs based upon video games. They’re rather entertaining songs, at that.
Without further ado, we open the curtain for our Rockit Gaming interview.
We’ll start you off nice and easy. How long has Rockit Gaming been around, and how did it come to be?
Perfect, we like easy! Rockit Gaming has been around since 2015, originating in Chico, CA. The story actually began in 2008 when I (Rockit) released a joke song about Call of Duty: World at War Zombies during college and posted it on YouTube. The song was a massive success, which led me to realize that this would one day be a huge market. Fast forward to the present, the genre that we are a part of “Nerdcore” is insanely popular and is on the rise more than ever.
What inspires you to write specific gaming songs?
Technically, YouTube’s algorithm and trending topics dictate what we create content around. As with any creator in today’s world, we have to follow trends and figure out what is popular to best navigate the algorithm to gain the most viewship. Luckily gaming is extremely popular all around, so we generally have a wide selection to pick from. If I was to say our favorite genre to write in though, it would definitely be survival horror. You can go every which way with them, and they’re all so unique.
Do you consider your songs to be humorous, are they meant to be taken seriously, or a combination of the two? After watching Sick, I got a vibe of somewhere in between.
It all depends on the game. If you watch our live streams, you’ll know we don’t take ourselves seriously whatsoever. That being said, we generally take a serious tone when it comes to our music. We are working diligently to get our music heard by the mainstream, and have ourselves taken seriously by the music industry. When listening to our songs without knowing they’re about gaming, most listeners would have no idea they are about video games. They’re conceptual songs with themes and meanings, which artists have been doing for years!
I also get this vibe, particularly from Becoming Human, that you’re bringing to light some of the deeper and philosophical themes broached in video games, things that non-gamers may not realize are so prevalent in games. Is that part of a message you’re getting out or is that an extra perk?
Absolutely. Because we are trying to appeal to gamers and non gamers alike, it is extremely important to us to find the common theme that is relatable to everyone. We know that people want to relate to the music they listen to, and what better way then to find hidden messages within games, or even create our own. To leave a lasting imprint with our music, we have to do more than just recite Wikipedia synopsis’ of the games we write about. Digging deep to find elements that we all can relate to, is what separates us from the rest.
With the tinyBuild musical, what direction did they give you, if any?
Ha! This is an interesting question. It began with, “Hey guys, want to write a musical?” This later evolved into, “Hey guys, do you want to produce the entire video?” We were thrilled to take on the challenge and had a wonderful working relationship with Alex Nichiporchik, who was incredible to work with. We definitely had a lot of conversations during the initial stages to ensure the direction was what they wanted, but at a certain point he gave us full reign on creativity once the fundamentals were in place.
How involved were you with producing the musical?
Rockit Gaming and our crew was behind the entire production. Vinny, Alex, our director and post-production lead Jared Martin, and myself all had part in the script for the musical. We flew out to L.A. for the filming to make sure the vision was exactly how we imagined during pre-production. Having a handful of creative writers on board was essential to creating the humor, and making sure the story flowed properly. You could say that from January until E3, we were working on this day and night. It was a blast!
Would you like to create more video game musicals?
Oh yes! I think we created something spectacular, that we had no idea we could achieve in the way we did. With writing alt/pop/hip-hop songs during our normal day-to-day, it’s easy to forget our potential when it comes to new territory. In short, we’d love to produce more of this type of content for companies in the gaming industry, as I think it’s valuable on all fronts.
Have you toured and/or do you have a tour planned?
We have not toured as Rockit Gaming yet, due to the nature of our business model. Writing 1-2 songs every week with the full production on our end doesn’t make the possibility of touring very easy at the moment. We’d love to tour, but in order to do so we would need the proper support. We have performed at a few major events, including the 2017 SXSW Gaming Award Half-Time Show which was incredible. Seeing Rockit Gaming live is more of a production that just your average band show, so if we go on tour we want to bring the same level of showmanship with us.
I understand if you can’t answer but I have to ask; which is your favorite song you’ve written?
It might be the question we get asked most, and I’ll say this: It changes almost every few months! Our songwriting skills increase, as do our production and sound quality, making it near impossible to keep a steady answer. If I were to name a few that stick out they would be “Empire,” “Tell Me Another,” “Meantime,” “Sick,” and the recent “Becoming Human.”
What’s your favorite video game of all time?
I can say my favorite video game ever is Halo, although Fortnite seems to be taking over my life. Vinny’s is definitely Kingdom Hearts II!
What video game are you currently playing?
Fortnite. Fortnite. Fortnite. Ha! But not really… Fortnite. While I’m usually tearing my hair out, Vinny is usually jamming on competitive Overwatch!
We’d like to thank Rockit (Russell McKamey) of Rockit Gaming for taking the time to speak with us!