Planker’s Plinth: Meeting YouTube’s music star

Oi! What are you doing on Planker’s patch?! I’ve said it enough times: Not all of us signposts appreciate being bothered for tutorials or ‘what the A button does’. So clear off! Before I give you a nasty splinter!

… still here?! Goodness me, you pushy Snapchat types don’t give up until you’ve had your fill of new information, do ya? Not like the golden days of tree-based publications, when a few humorous captions were enough to stem board-om!

Well like I said, I’m not flogging any of your ‘how to’ nonsense! What do I look like, a bleedin’ billboard? But since you clearly aren’t going to go away, I’ll reluctantly branch out and introduce you to something new and shiny…

This one fella scrawled a few of your html addresses on my top left plank… The rude git. Paper cut him real good for that, I did.

Anyway, before I scrubbed it off with a hearty chunk of sandpaper, said graffiti waffled on about fan-crafted drivel from the community… just the sort of lovey-dovey rubbish that has you modern blockheads shiverin’ your timbers.

I don’t do requests, so I dispatched some of my termites to chat to this bloke who strums a big chunk of mahogany in tribute to his audio gods. And the best bit? He does it all locked up in his bedroom… a good distance from me.

Read on…  then clear off!

Q: Alright. Who are you and what do you want?

A: My name is Gabriel (Gab) and I am a 20 year old musician who makes video game music covers on the Internet under the username « gabocarina96 ». People can listen to my covers on YouTube or follow/tweet at me on Twitter.

Q: Knew it… another digital dork. Go on then, what’s that lump of wood you strum at?

My uncle played guitar… he’s a rocking horse.

A: My main instrument has been the guitar for nearly 7 years now but I also play bass, ocarina, a bit of piano, and ukulele.

My passion for music started at a very young age through video games. Being only 4 years old back then, you would always find me humming tunes from my favorite games Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, and Banjo-Kazooie. When I was around 7, my dad came home with a Nintendo Power magazine for me. Going through it, I came across this Ocarina of Time replica advertisement by Songbird Ocarina and being the Zelda fan I already was… I wanted it! So that Christmas, my parents got me my very first music instrument, the ocarina of time! I then started learning how to play songs on it, gathered a little ocarina collection over the years and there was the beginning to my music journey.

In 2010, I was now 14 years old and I loved rock/metal music. I was spending countless hours playing Guitar Hero and trust me… I was good at it! One day, my friend started playing guitar and I thought it was the coolest thing ever! He would go at his guitar lessons and teach me what he learned right after. It didn’t take long from there for me to give up the plastic buttons and start to learn how to play the actual guitar instead.

In 2012 began the whole video game cover thing. Being inspired by YouTube guitarists such as CSGuitar89, FamilyJules, and Jam2995, I decided to give it a shot. I mean, I love video game music and I love guitar so it was the perfect match. I slowly started to learn how to record music, edit videos and in July, I uploaded my first cover to YouTube. It wasn’t very good, but it was a start. I was uploading a new video every 2 months or so and wasn’t really taking it seriously but in 2015 I finally started making weekly videos and my content really started to improve from there.

Q: Zzz… hmmf! Are you still here? Err… what sort of games do you play?

A: My favorite games to play have always been the 3D platformers, Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie being my favorite games of all time. I am also a massive Legend of Zelda fan and I love a huge variety of games.

Q: You still haven’t explained why you’re on my property.

A: Banjo-Kazooie again being my favorite game of all time and playing Rareware games all my childhood, I’ve been extremely excited for Yooka-Laylee ever since the reveal of Project Ukulele. Grant Kirkhope is easily my favorite video game composer and I covered a lot of his songs on my channel over the years so with him on the project… I just already knew I was going to cover that game! As a big fan and supporter of Playtonic’s work on Yooka-Laylee, I thought I would show my love and support for the game through my covers while at the same time maybe getting more people into the game.

Q: Flattery will get you everywhere… what’s your favourite Yooka tune?

A: That’s a very tough question… I want to start this by mentioning that those Yooka-Laylee songs have been some of the most complex, complicated and time consuming covers I ever had to arrange. I had an absolute blast working on each one that I made and they all have a little special something to me. But you ask me to choose one so I will say Hivory Towers. Why? Because it’s the one that required me the most thinking on how I could make something that rocks while still respecting the intensity variations Grant went for in the original. Now if you were to ask me which one I consider my biggest accomplishment, I would say Final Beeting. Re-creating that epic orchestral feel on guitar and performing it was the biggest challenge I faced covering that game.

Q: Right then, proper question: Which character would you most like to be? And answer that one carefully, lad.

A: If you mean a character that exists in the game, I would probably be Rextro. That guy is just so happy and seems to love his games just as much as I do! If I were to just drop in into the game though I would most likely be some sort of feline/cat that lost his guitar or… ukulele. I’d be asking the player to find it for me for a reward. I would also have googly eyes. Don’t forget those.

Q: Hmmf! This interview if over! Any last words?

A: Be yourself, play what you like to play and create your own style, that way you will less likely get compared to somebody else and people will like you for the new things you bring. Practice hard but most of all… have fun! 🙂

I would also like to write this little paragraph to really thank and congratulate Playtonic along with Team17 for reviving a game genre that was for so long thought to be dead. You guys put so much time and effort into this project and trust me… as a big fan ever since the beginning, it was 100 percent worth the wait! Yooka-Laylee is already up there for me right next to Banjo-Kazooie and I am so happy that this game was made. Grant, David and Steve did such an amazing job composing a soundtrack that sounds familiar while at the same time very refreshing and I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon!

There’s still so many songs I want to cover from this game so I guess all I will say for now is… stay tuned! 😃

I imagine you digital obsessives will be wanting to click over to this fella’s YouTube channel to subscribe or more likely, leave some abusive messages in the comments. Whatever gets you out of my face, to be honest.

Now… clear off!