Interview with The Living Tombstone
Neko Nation will be making a return from it’s 1 year hiatus and will be doing it in style with many awesome features, attractions and of course DJs. We’ve got an amazing array of DJs for this event locally, interstate and we’ve got one very special international who will be travelling 16,000kms for this mega show.
We are talking about The Living Tombstone. One of the most famous video gaming and pop culture music producers this decade. He has gained close to a billion views on Youtube, starting with his work on My Little Pony and getting super viral through Five Nights at Freddy’s and now he has moved to all sorts of video games, anime and pop culture inspired tracks from Overwatch, Super Mario Brothers and his famous Spooky Scary Skeletons remix.
We talk to The Living Tombstone ahead of his debut Australia gig at Neko Nation Sydney!
So tell us the story of where the name “The Living Tombstone” came from?
I was watching a LOT of anime back when I was serving in the military (you’re required to do it for 3 years in Israel from when you turn 18), and one of the shows was Black Lagoon which I saw in the English dub, and by the time I finished watching, I had the idea of creating a fictional rock band named “The Living Tombstone” that’s supposed to be part of the show’s universe, basically mercenaries by day and rock musicians by night performing in Roanapur city. That didn’t happen lol.
The reason was that at the time, I had no idea how to make rock music sound good on my own, so I didn’t believe it’d work, but after experimenting with music long enough as “Koolfox”, I wanted to start releasing music under a new name, so I left the fake rock band idea behind and I opened the YouTube channel.
What inspired you into making music, who were your inspirations when you first started getting into music?
Listening to a lot of late 90’s electronic music like Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers helped. It gotten me to download music software like Sony ACID and try to make music similar to theirs by just mashing loops together until I got a song out. And then I moved to work with FL Studio because I saw mrSimon use it for his music, which had more options and had a better workflow for me then Sony ACID did.
I didn’t have anyone to guide me on how to produce or write music, so I simply listened to a lot of reference tracks of music I liked at the time, no one from my friends and family was really perusing music creation, and there wasn’t any classes you could take for that so I resorted to just being self-taught for a very long time until I gotten to meet other musicians online and learn from them.
Tell us a bit about how you got into making music inspired by My Little Pony. What inspired you to write a lot of music inspired by the show?
I first discovered the show through watching YouTube Poop videos that were done with clips from it, and I loved how well animated the show was and how different it was from anything I saw at the time, and from looking it up I saw that there were musicians experimenting with remixing and creating original songs so I decided to give it a shot also, as the fandom grew I started to participate in conventions and fan gatherings that were centred around MLP: FiM
I gotten to create so many songs and remixes because of how the FiM universe worked, at the time the lore of the show was pretty open for interpretation, and it allowed us to come up with our own ideas and creations. Like a song I made “September”, which stemmed from a crazy idea of doing a post-apocalyptic version of the show’s universe, in which a pony character is singing throughout and the twist is that he was the one who caused the nuclear fallout that killed everyone, crazy stuff!
Fans accepted this outlandish idea because everyone was thirsty for more MLP: FiM content, and during season breaks is when we released this and many other songs, and when seasons would air we’d release remixes of songs that appeared from the show
Also we need to know, which pony is best pony and why?
Best pony is Rarity I think, she had really good moments during the show that showed that despite seeming like she’s self-absorbed because of her obsession with making things and herself look pretty, that she can appreciate beauty in other characters and help them along the way with her talents.
How did it feel to get the massive success you got with your music inspired by Five Nights at Freddy’s? Especially with your first track getting over 100 million views!
Very grateful and surprised, because I wrote the first song just a couple of months after the game came out, and despite knowing that people would know what FNAF is and would probably check the song out, I didn’t expect that the fandom around FNAF would grow to such massive proportions that people actively searched for fan made content like in the MLP: FiM fandom just in a much MUCH bigger scale.
If it wasn’t for Scott Cawthon, the creator of the franchise, and the fans of FNAF that actively looked for and listened to fan made songs like mine, which I’d be able to even get to a crazy amount of views.
Thank you <3
Since My Little Pony and Five Nights at Freddy’s, you haven’t decided to focus as much on a particular game or show musically. What has motivated you to work on a wider variety of different shows, games, internet culture and the like rather than working exclusively on one subject?
A lot of it comes from the fact that I write music and lyrics separately, so I got a lot of musical ideas that I want to use for something, and once a show/game comes out and I become invested in it, I choose a musical idea I wrote, I make some changes to it and add lyrics in the end. This enables me to try different things while still having my musical ideas have consistent themes and structures.
So even if the subject of choice is different, I can still have my own sound throughout.
What else do you do in your downtime besides making music and videos?
I have a short attention span so I usually would pick up a game and play it for a bit and then leave it alone, which is why on Steam I got over 150 hours in Wallpaper Engine since I often just work on stuff instead.
Besides that I love cinema and TV, favourite movie obsession at the moment is The Shape of Water
What are your favourite video games from a personal/gameplay experience.
I’m a huge fan of the Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey is probably going to be the only game I’ll ever 100%.
And I personally recommend One Finger Death Punch on Steam, it’s a super simple quick time reaction brawler that you can easily sink so much time into, and that’s usually that game I play when I’m bored and I don’t feel like thinking.
What are some of your favourite video game artists, songs and soundtracks?
Jake Kaufman’s Shovel Knight soundtrack is amazing. I also love the soundtrack for Super Mario Odyssey. The Metal Slug series has a surprising list of good BGM music with lots of Prog Rock influences
You were originally based in Israel but not too long ago moved to America, what were your reasons for the move and how have you found living in America?
When I was doing more and more stuff online music wise, it was harder and harder to maintain working relationships with people I know from the US. and over time I gotten to be one of the most subscribed Israeli YouTubers that no one heard of over there.
I tried to get into doing music production in Israel as a job, but the country is so small that they don’t have as much of way to help sustain artists careers beyond making middle eastern pop songs.
So I wanted to to be closer to the people I work with, face to face interaction beats Skype and Discord any day. and I made the movie to NYC just about a year ago
How would you describe The Living Tombstone’s music to someone who hasn’t heard of you before?
Imagine a dude who likes too much modern electronic music, and sometimes can’t let go of old children songs from Israel, and mashes them together really hard until you got amalgamations of music that pop on my YouTube channel from time to time haha
What are you looking forward to most about Australia?
I never performed in Australia before, I’m really excited to get to do it for the first time with everyone who’s going to Neko Nation,
And I kinda miss eating at Grill’d, I know that there is a couple of places of it in Sydney I think, food in Australia is pretty great (though I’m on the fence with Vegemite, not sure if I like it or not), I’m personally down for whatever or if there’s a better place then Grill’d to go to, let’s haaaang.
Finally, what can The Living Tombstone’s fans in Sydney, Australia expect from your upcoming DJ set?
I’ll do my best to play music that I think people would like to dance to, but sometimes I like to be awkward on stage and shove memes into my setlist for the fun of it, so hope you guys have a good time during everyone’s sets including mine, because I’m super excited and looking forward to have fun with you guys <3