Autochess War

Brony bangers and fanatic fandoms, meet The Living Tombstone – the internet’s biggest gaming band – NME

When somebody mentions ‘passionate’ on-line communities in 2021, you could end up recoiling in horror. Yet, as the calming smiles of Yoav Landau and Sam Haft populate my Zoom window, I’m reminded of the early 2000s – and friendlier fandoms. Listening to the excitable duo reminisce about their childhood, it’s laborious to not suppose that these very on-line buddies may very well be any message-board-lurking ‘90s kids. Except they’re not – they’re the web’s biggest gaming band.

Raised on previous-faculty web boards hidden throughout the playful corners of the net, Yoav and Sam noticed the internet as a solution to forge thrilling connections over misunderstood passions. Creating and performing beneath the identify The Living Tombstone (TLT), this Warner Music-signed duo tapped into their favorite fandoms, recruiting a loyal military of YouTube and Tik Tok followers. Thanks to a novel 1-2 of catchy synth tunes and slick Daft Punk-esque music movies, TLT is now a bonafide on-line sensation. Yet for founding member Yoav Landau, his first foray into music was something however cool.

“At the time, people were really crazy about the whole brony thing,” Landau says, recalling his childhood spent in the My Little Pony fandom. “They were like ‘Oh my god, an adult male enjoys a little girl’s show! Yes….okay, amazing?’” he pauses, rolls his eyes. “But the brony Fandom was a huge part of my life. It introduced me to a lot of people who are very talented and very creative. It really taught me what it means to be part of a community.”

Quickly discovering himself related to a world community of passionate, inventive misfits, Landau launched a My Little Pony remix that may solely be described as a brony banger. Suddenly, he discovered his bed room-made monitor producing tens of 1000’s of hoof-slamming hits.

AudioClash: Battle of the Bands. Credit: Big Boat Interactive

With Landau’s hearth beats tearing up the bronyverse, he realised that there was a solution to create music that appealed on to a distinct segment, however passionate neighborhood. It was solely a matter of time, then, earlier than he set his sights on a subculture completely begging to be pandered to – players.

Watching the buzz develop round indie horror sensation Five Nights at Freddy’s, Landau channeled his newest interactive obsession right into a sequence of pop tributes to the recreation. They swiftly turned a viral sensation, racking up tens of millions of views on YouTube. Now, very similar to cosplaying violinist, Lindsey Sterling, The Living Tombstone creates a mixture of tributes to beloved video games and their very own solely authentic music – leaving the security internet of beloved IP behind them.

“I think TLT’s roots in the fandom world have informed how we’ve taken the next steps as a music act” displays Sam Haft, The Living Tombstone’s foremost vocalist. “We know that our fans really care about stuff like lore, characters, and world-building. So that has always been at the forefront of everything we’ve done.”

It was this distinctive mixture of lore, beats, and wiki-baiting that caught the eyes of Warner Music. Seeing the passionate and rising fanbase that TLT amassed, the prestigious document label jumped at the probability to signal a really on-line sort of recent artist.

“When we started working with Warner Music… that was such an exciting transition,” Haft explains. “As a DIY, YouTube-based musician, you spend so much time on the industry outskirts, just making bedroom music, alone with a laptop. So it’s definitely been something to adapt to, but it’s really exciting! It feels kind of validating after such a long time, to have people in the industry be like ‘come on in!’”

AudioClash: Battle of the BandsAudioClash: Battle of the Bands. Credit: Big Boat Interactive

Imbuing their web band with a sequence of memorable avatars, this Gorillaz-esque method to music movies has seen followers construct up a complete narrative round The Living Tombstone’s fictional characters. The query for TLT was, what’s the subsequent step to immersing followers into their musical multiverse? The reply – make their very own online game.

Launching later this 12 months, The Living Tombstone’s gaming debut is an autobattler referred to as AudioClash: Battle of the Bands. Unsurprisingly, it’s a music recreation by means of and by means of. Channeling parts of Scott Pilgrim, Pokemon, and rhythm video games, this distinctive tackle the absurdly in style style goals to create an totally enthralling flip-based mostly timesink.

“Essentially, it’s auto chess… but it’s really a battle of the bands.“ explains the game’s director, Battlezone alumni Mike Arkin. “It’s not combat, like every other auto chess game, right? So I have to tell people in every pitch meeting, you’re not running around clutching a guitar as a weapon, or stabbing people with drumsticks – you’re playing awesome music! It’s the power of the awesome music that overwhelms the other team.”

Playing like an eyebrow-elevating mixture of Pokemon and School of Rock, the objective in Audio Clash is to meld collectively a novel combine of various musicians and devices to create your individual bizarre and great band. A rhythm recreation would have been the apparent selection for a recreation based mostly on a band, however for Landau and Haft, it wasn’t the proper selection.

AudioClash: Battle of the BandsAudioClash: Battle of the Bands. Credit: Big Boat Interactive

“Rhythm games take a lot of focus and there’s a barrier to entry. We didn’t want to gatekeep anybody from enjoying the experience,” says Haft, “so it made sense to do something more like an autobattler. Here, you’re simulating a battle of the bands: you’re putting together the band and you’re putting together the moves that you’re doing, which correspond to music. The moves that you do and the sound that your band has is unique enough that you really feel some kind of ownership over it. Like, when I’m playing a Pokemon game, for instance, I feel very attached to my roster. I’m like, ‘that’s my team!’ We’re kind of hoping to give people that experience with their band.”

Featuring an enormous roster of playable musicians designed by lengthy-time collaborator, Maria Villacarlos, the duo are assured that there will likely be sufficient selection to maintain gamers battling it out for only one extra tune. Their answer to extending the recreation’s shelf life? Adding in visitor characters based mostly on actual-world musicians.

“My favourite thing about Audioclash is the guest musicians!” reveals Haft, with a smile. “It’s the idea that other people that we know – or even don’t know – in the music business, can see how music and gaming really fit together in a really awesome way. I’m excited that other people in the music business can look at this and see all these kinds of otherworldly and outlandish musical characters that we’ve created in this game, whilst adding characters that are from the real world. That’s super exciting!”

While it could be simple sufficient to slap your branding and music onto the recreation, for Landau and Haft, this isn’t only a glorified licensing deal.

“We are involved every step of the way, not just on the music side” says Haft. “In terms of the creative of the characters, backstories the band managers designs… We are involved super, super closely. We are not just people who create stuff in the gamer world, you know? We are gamers ourselves. That kind of attention to detail is important because we really want people to have the best possible experience playing this game. We want people to know that we’re not just kind of licensing our name to something, we are fully involving ourselves.”

AudiClash: Battle Of The Bands is at present in closed beta, with the recreation nonetheless scheduled to launch in 2021.



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