The duo known as Rockit Gaming is made up of Rockit (Russell McKamey) and Vinny Noose (Vincent Newsome). Together, they write music based on video games, and not just a song here and there.
I mean tons of music. It's called Nerdcore, and it's wildly popular. And not just with the more than 1.2 billion people in the world that play games, but with non-gamers, too.
Popdust chewed the fat with Rockit Gaming, asking them how they do, what they do, when they do it.
How would you describe yourself?
We're fun, wacky, and eccentric nerds when it comes to both music and video games, and we both want to take our Nerdcore genre to the highest possible level!
How did you two get together?
We met our first year of college at Cal State Chico, and just hated each other purely from sight. Hah! Then in our senior year, we had a songwriting class together and both had the opportunity to share our music with the class. We were both the first to share, and realized we both had a real knack for writing really catchy songs.
What is the most trouble you've ever gotten into?
Trouble? I'd say if there is a troubleMAKER it's definitely Rockit. Haha!
What's your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
Anything from a lot of the songs off of Charlie Puth's album Voicenotes to rapping along to "Esketit" by Lil Pump! We like to change it up!
What musicians influenced you the most?
We both took a strong early influence from the 2000's pop punk scene bands like Blink 182, Sum 41, Weezer. Rockit even has some Blink 182 tattoos. Nowadays we listen to lots of music on the radio, and literally every song Max Martin has ever written.
How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?
Our influences and even our own Rockit Gaming sound is so eclectic it's hard to put a finger on the shape, but we primarily focus on writing the catchiest choruses you've ever heard. Choruses that stick in your head even when you aren't listening to the song.
You're tagged as "Alternative Hip-Hop, Indie Pop, Electro Pop, Pop Rock, Rap Rock, and Alt Rock." How would you describe your style of music?
The style of music that we write has been known as "Nerdcore" for a number of years, however the specific GENRE, changes depending on the type of game that song is about. We release a NEW SONG every Friday with over 200 already under our belts in the last 2 years, and if we had one sound that we had to stick to that would be boring for listeners. For example, we aren't gonna produce a super happy pop song about Resident Evil, or a dark song about a game like Fortnite. Each song is meant to be a representation of the game it's about! And that brings an authenticity to the sound. It also makes it fun to write as many songs as we do!
What inspired you to write lyrics based on video games?
In 2008, Rockit released a joke song about the popular video game spinoff, Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies with his previous project, Borderline Disaster. The song was one of the first YouTube Nerdcore songs ever released, and was widely popular. It was then he knew this genre was something people wanted, but wasn't quite ready. Having something to differentiate yourself as an artist is very difficult these days, so having our songs lyrically focused on a niche really gives us an advantage. It's incredible fun to create relatable songs that are enjoyable for a listener who has no idea about the game, and also include references for fans to associate with at the same time. We are constantly creating new worlds for the listener to put themselves into while they listen to us!
How do you select the games featured in your songs?
Games all have hype around them on social media, and we try to choose what game we might think would do best for us. Having said that we do play a lot of different games to know the ins and outs of them in order to write solid lyrics and get a vibe for what type of production it should have.
What is your songwriting process?Do the lyrics come first, or the music?
The music always has and always will come first! It sets a tone for the lyrical direction. When we work with companies, sometimes they want an idea of the lyrical direction which is super helpful when we want to deliver them a product with the least number of revisions!
I really like your song "Sick," based on Rainbow Six Siege: Outbreak. Were you playing the game while you wrote the lyrics or what?
Thanks for listening! Don't forget to SMASH the Subscribe button on the Rockit Gaming YouTube Channel and follow us on Spotify! Haha! We actually wrote the lyrics of "Sick" after reading up about the game and watching a bunch of gameplay from players before the game had actually been released. Sometimes to get the upper-hand releasing content in the industry you have to do your research, and release your song along with the release of the game or DLC. We did end up playing though! It was pretty rad.
The video for "Sick" is totally cool. How do you come up with the visual content? Do you hook up with the game designers?
Vinny is in charge of all the videos. The fancy lyrical style is called Kinetic typography and it's modeled after cool pop lyrical videos; as for the video game content, a lot of it is gameplay, but we like re-using the trailers most. In that specific video we hadn't been in touch with the game developers, but for a lot of smaller indie games we are. We're starting with the Indie companies and working our way up to working on promotional and advertising content for the biggest AAA gaming publishers and developers!
You've been compared to Twenty One Pilots. What do you think of the comparison? Is it justified?
We love that comparison. Not only are we both HUGE fans of Twenty One Pilots, but one of the coolest things about them is you never know what to expect when hearing their next songs. That's how we think of ourselves, as very eclectic songwriters and we don't plan to be tied to a single style or genre of music, except Nerdcore of course!
You turn out a new song every Friday, which means you're hugely prolific. How do you keep your songs fresh?
Honestly, we're songwriting maniacs. It's all we do. All day every day we hum little melodies and bring them to life with our music. We just started a new season of our live streamed "Couch Parties" on Twitch. Our Twitch name is RockitGamingYT, and part of the show is us making up songs on the spot. We both eat, sleep, and breathe creativity and songwriting. At this point it's almost like a machine that won't stop!
Will you be touring soon?
We will not be, but you can find all of our music on YouTube and all the popular music streaming and purchasing services! We do play shows, but when we do we play festivals. We had the opportunity to perform at the SXSW Gaming Awards Halftime Show last year, and again this year at the SXSW Gaming Opening Party. We know there is a massive market for what we are doing and we plan to tour, but as of now the songwriting train won't stop. So NEW music EVERY Friday is what we're sticking to!
Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.