In addition to kind words about our so-called “business” cards, we’ve gotten some very nice compliments on our songs, and occasionally, they come with comments like “I would buy your songs if you sold them” or “I’d like to support you guys in some small financial way, but there’s nothing on the site to that effect.” Hmm.
We don’t sell the songs. For one, that’s not why we do it. For two, even though we believe we are legally safe under parody laws, we figure we are flying under the radar by giving it away for free. We considered one of those PayPal button things, but that seemed…uninspired. And all we really want is for you to tell your friends about us.
Armed with the new toon ninjas and the fresh 3D logo, Kat whipped up a few designs that we thought you might not be embarassed to wear. Zazzle is cool because you can change it around — if you want a different color or style of shirt, you can customize it until it’s something you would want to buy. Like for instance, Dan decided he wanted to do the 3D logo in Scorpion yellow but on a maroon shirt. And the moment he put it on, he was struck with creative inspiration, as you can see:
So, successful closed beta. That works.
Right now, there’s the four colors of the 3D logo, a variation on the toon ninjas, and a special shirt with some of the “Halo” lyrics on the back, in dark or light. (Plus the prerequisite mousepad, for people who do not wear clothing.) If you’re feeling really spendy, we made an embroidered hoodie, but that was basically for ourselves and we don’t expect anybody else to buy it (but if you do, use the coupon SPRINGZAZZLE for $5 off orders of $45 or more until the end of June). We’re skipping crap like aprons and tote bags, but if there are other items you would actually like to buy with our logo on it or variations on the existing designs, just let us know. (A new shirt will unlock shortly after the new song appears this week.)
We think this solves the “support” problem nicely. We make a (very) tiny bit of cash on each shirt sold through Zazzle. More importantly, with you as our walking billboard, it gets the word out at LAN parties and comic book stores across the country. So by getting a shirt, you are supporting us twice — once by buying it, once by wearing it.
And if you don’t wanna do either, well, the songs are still free and we still love you.
Jude and I have learned an important lesson over the last five songs, and “Halo” really typifies it: In 2009, a song does not exist until it exists on YouTube. I’m happy to say that usethefork’s fantastic video caught the eye of Owen at Kotaku and he posted some love for it. Kotaku commenters are…unrestrained in their dislike for things that they dislike, so seeing so many positive responses and compliments on what we made and what usethefork took even further really means a lot.
When we did the lyrics, we were sweating details. We realized they had to be realstic — for instance, there are no Carney Holes on Desolation, but there are on Isolation. I knew if we didn’t get stuff like that right, we’d get busted by the fans. So I hereby apologize for this one, which xmywreckingballx pointed out:
xmywreckingballx: at 3:40 he says “losing in valhalla to a guy duel wielding maulers.” Guess what buddy??? Forge forbids you from using maulers on Valhalla!!! I’ve tried it! nice one.
Doh. I admit, I haven’t played with Forge enough to know that. But as I was looking for lyric fodder, I couldn’t resist the internal near-rhyme of “Valhalla” and “Mauler” so I rolled the dice. And lost. But this kind of stuff does matter to me. Song parodies are funnier when they’re true.
HandsomeCarl: WHAAAT?! I thought if you installed Halo 3 onto your 360 it would load slower?? Why would he do that? Unless they fixed that and I didn’t know about it.
No, as Bungie has clearly stated, for best performance, you should not install Halo 3 to your 360’s hard drive. But the song wasn’t intended an instruction manual or technical advice. It was just a rhyme.
I was a little concerned about people “getting it.” Like, will people take it literally, as some uber-endorsement of Halo? Will someone really assume that because Dan works at OXM, he is dissing these other games? Of course not. I mean, come on — we give gamers more credit than that! Who would take it that far?
TrueEnglishGent: Though saying Halo 3 is better then COD4 is madness to me.
Kia: Hilarious, but the guys need throttled for calling Fallout 3 contrived and then singing an ode to -Halo- of all things. Jesus.
Okay, we stand corrected. For the record, “Halo” isn’t editorial advice, either; we both happen to like both COD and Fallout 3. I guess people didn’t get that the singer of the song is a character who is closed-minded about all games but his favorite game, and the irony at the end is that he’s not good at it. It’s a story from a stereotype. The song is not a review.
It’s just games, and it’s a just a joke. Please enjoy it on that level.
OMG. We think this is beyond awesome. Check out this new video by usethefork. Cannot even imagine how much work went into syncing stuff up and getting the footage to follow the story of the song. Brilliant.
Well…this has been a very exciting week for us. First, all twelve of our fans heard the song and sent in kind emails and Twitters and comments. Then the top Halo fansite halo.bungie.org heard the song and liked it (well, if you want to get technical, they called it “awesome”) and passed on the word to all the Halo fans. Then Bungie themselves heard the song and liked it (“pretty sweet…pretty entertaining”) and passed on the word again. The result was over 5000 plays of the song from our site alone, not counting Bungie’s mirror.
All we can say is thank you. We do these songs because we love making music and we love gaming. It feels great to have the love returned.
Also — and we were really hoping this would happen — avid Halo player Aven Pheonix has already put together a video, which is mostly footage of him being way better at Halo than we are:
Can you do better? Please do. We’d love to see more videos — all we ask is that you throw our URL in there somewhere so people know where the song came from. Even as we were writing the lyrics, we thought “oh, this would make so much sense to see played out.”
Speaking of which, you can find the full lyrics after the break. (more…)
If you like what you hear, tell your friends. Tell a web forum. Hell, tell Bungie.
This one took a while. Jude and I have been talking about this song for about six months, maybe longer, and working on it in earnest for about three, on and off. I had some time off from work so I used it to crash through all the parts I was neglecting — little things like guitars and bass and vocals.
Part of the problem was that “Snow ((Hey Oh))” is far more complicated than it sounds. I knew John Frusciante was a great guitarist, but I didn’t think he’d be quite so impossible to rip off. There was some trickery in getting the guitar part to sound anything like the record; I ultimately recorded it at half-speed. We do what we must.
The other part was that Jude and I really like to tell stories with our dumb little songs, and it took a while to really sculpt the lyrics so that they hit all the points we felt needed to be hit. We wanted a progression through the song so that the lyrics paint a picture and tell a story about this jackass.
And yes…that’s kazoo. I’ve been wanting to sneak in some kazoo for a while now, but since I could not get my Line 6 POD to feed back and I didn’t have an Eventide Harmonizer, this was the right opportunity to bust them out. And I would like to note that this is not just any kazoo. That is three kazoos in three-part harmony, with the lead kazoo having been a gift by a very special gaming musician: