Interview – insaneintherain

As a follow-up to the Fan Work Review article we made of insaneintherain’s Jazz Covers, today we have an interview with the man himself! As a reminder, insaneintherain is a youtuber who produces jazz covers of various video game tunes, many from the Pokemon games. See the previous article for examples of his videos! We definitely think they’re worth checking out.

Again, we’ll be tackling other fan work review articles in future, and may do other interviews as well. If you have any suggestions for cool Pokemon work for us to cover, or even want a fair review for your own work, leave a comment!

Is there a story behind going with the name of “insaneintherain”?
I’ve asked myself that question many times before, actually. The justification story that I chose to tell relates to my first Pokémon competitive battle team, which was a rain team. Perhaps I got the word “rain” from that and just slapped on a clever rhyming scheme as a prefix. The name’s been around a while before my channel, actually. In my middle school years, I used to do fairly basic 3D animation tutorials and went under the same guise, minus the “music” at the end, of course.

When did you start playing music, and what was your first instrument?
I believe I started playing around 2nd grade. Our family obtained a piano from my grandmother’s side of the family, and I started teaching myself how to read music from the introductory sheet music books inside the piano bench when we received the piano. We still have that piano actually, it’s a fairly old Kawai upright. I’ve been using electric pianos since the beginning of my career on this YouTube channel, so the upright piano hasn’t made it into any videos.

How many instruments can you play, and what are they?
First off, let me say that I think judging someone by the number of instruments they play is a very inaccurate way of judging someone’s musical prowess. Sure, you can play a lot of instruments, but I personally am much more impressed by someone who can play the heck out of a small selection of instruments than someone who is quite average at a wide variety of horns. Of course, the demands in the professional world such as pit orchestras or studio musicians often call for doubling, so some sacrifice in focus on one primary instrument is often needed. As for me, I can play all 4 common saxophones (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone), the clarinet (somewhat), drums, and piano. I’ve dabbled in a few other instruments but not enough to hold my ground at a gig.

What are your musical influences? Any specific musicians that you look up to?
My musical influences are constantly changing and evolving, but most of them are from the world of jazz. Michael Brecker and Dexter Gordon are my two main inspirations on tenor saxophone, but lately I’ve been branching out into many other lesser-known artists in the jazz world. I’ve also been looking at jazz piano players and transcribing their solos to improve my personal jazz piano skill; there’s always much to learn.

Have you considered a career related to music, and if so what sort of profession?
Music is most definitely going to become a profession in my life, no question about it. I really couldn’t envision myself doing anything else. As for what specific field I’d like to enter, I’m not sure I want to be a full-time performer, it’s just not really my style. I’d prefer to work as a studio engineer, recording and mixing other bands / people, while maybe maintaining my playing abilities on the side. Of course, I’d love to keep this YouTube channel running for as long as possible, and with the increasing viability of a career on YouTube, who knows, maybe I’ll make it big someday!

What was your first Pokemon game?
My first Pokémon game was Pokémon Red. I remember being at a Thrift Shop with my mom and asking her to buy one of those clear Gameboy Advances along with a Pokémon Red cartridge. Perhaps that’s where my love for Pokémon began. I remember how disappointed I was when Farfetch’d learned Swords Dance and I realized it just raised attack and it wasn’t some sort of ubercool slashing move…

Which is your favourite game, musically and otherwise?
I’ve never been a huge fan of favourite questions. Mainly because my favourites are constantly changing! I’m not the kind of person to ever have one game that I can just put on a pedestal above all the rest and consider that one the “insaneintherainmusic holy grail game”. Some of my favorites definitely include The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Pokémon RSE, and Donkey Kong 64. Those ones are my gameplay ones. Don’t even get me started on my favorite game musically, there are FAR too many.

You’ve mentioned in videos that you enjoy Tsukasa Tawada’s music. Which tunes of his are your favourites?
You mostly likely found that statement during my Tsukasa Tawada phase! I often have 2-week-ish periods in which I find a composer or a certain soundtrack I like, binge-listen to that, and move on to the next one. I had a phase in which I loved Tsukasa Tawada’s music, and I still do! Some of my favorites of his from the Colosseum / XD games are Agate Village, Pyrite Town, Mt. Battle, and the Cipher Admin Encounter Theme from XD. The XD / Colosseum series has a very unique set of music that is a bit more experimental and different from the main series games, but still has some musical ties to the original games, which makes them right up my alley!

What’s the biggest challenge about making these videos?
The biggest challenge always seems to be getting these videos out on time, haha! I try my best never to force out a composition or arrangement, because music is something that just needs to come naturally out from within. If you force it, your music is not going to be as good as it could be, leaving you disappointed in the end. I always set extremely high standards for my music, and I try to make sure every song is at the highest quality it could possibly be at the time of conception, which necessitates a lot more work in the creation of a song.

How hard was it to keep up with your Summer of Covers?
To be honest I’m not really sure how I kept up with the Summer of Covers. It was quite a while ago, and before a phase in my YouTube career where I really discovered what my style / niche was, so covers were a lot easier to make back then. I agree that a lot of them were not very good, in fact some pretty bad. I never had to pull an all-nighter or anything to get covers out, I was just pretty good at staying on schedule and getting videos out when I needed to.

How long did it take to put together the Back to Your Littleroots album?
Back to Your Littleroots was my first album that I created, which I think is worth much more merit than the Summer of Covers event. It was constructed over three-ish months in the summer of 2014. The project was a true labor of love, as those games were some of my favorites as a kid, and had some excellent music to go along with them. While I didn’t deliver the classic “Hoenn trumpets”, I made sure that each track fit my personal style as a jazz VGM cover artist to create an excellent album (at the time) as a whole!

Any new projects on the way?
Yes. (And that’s all you get to know for now.)

Do you have any other interests besides music and gaming?
Photography and cinematography have recently become more interesting fields for me as of late, but I haven’t taken a very serious approach to any of those fields, with most of my efforts being dedicated to music. Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate cinematographic techniques as well as some elementary photography skills into my videos, with limited success. Yet another journey for me!

Thank you for agreeing to the interview, and good luck with your future videos!

Questions and editing by Bay Alexison, bobandbill and Slayr231

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