If you’re interested at all in video game music and have been browsing YouTube for your fix, there’s a big possibility you’ve come across many videos from Lara.
There are a lot of artists around YouTube that are very talented, but few who possess the geek appeal and charm of Lara, from the “Lara Plays Videogame Music” channel. Lara is a young Australian video maker who performs video games and other geeky tunes on piano and violin, hitting an incredibly hard to find sweet spot between being actually talented and really charming, and now, we get to meet the lady behind these videos in this interview that she agreed to have with us.
How did you get started with music? Is it hard to fit music, gaming (which both take a lot of time and dedication!) and having a normal life, all together?
I got started with music by accident, actually. My parents are not really musical, but my dad brought home a $50 piano from a garage sale one day. It was a beast! I started trying to play it, and my mom enrolled me in group piano lessons after my kindergarten teacher at school suggested that I might have some kind of affinity for music.
I don’t have that much time to actually play games these days. I work several jobs, and try to keep up with a YouTube channel on the side. Generally I play music that is nostalgic for me, stuff from my childhood, or even more recent gaming tunes sometimes.
How is the process of picking the songs you play? And what about the instruments you perform them on?
I play what I know. Everything I play has been stored somewhere in my brain for years, so I dig it up and work it out by ear. Sometimes it literally is a case of ‘hmm, what do I feel like playing today?’. As for instruments, I tend to do the songs with a cosplay element on the violin, as it is more ‘immediate’ for the viewer.
Speaking about that, a cool bit of your performance is that it sometimes includes cosplay. Do you do these yourself? Which characters and songs would you like to do in the future?
Cosplay is just something fun that gives the performance an extra level of fun! I’m not a serious cosplayer, and all my costumes are either bought, pieced together with items that I already own, or they’re borrowed from friends. I’ve always liked the look of Lightning from FF13, and I love Zero Suit Samus as well. I’d like to do a Halo video in cosplay in the future!
What are your influences, favorite musicians and games?
I don’t have any favorite musicians, I guess I have favorite composers and favorite pieces. Classical composers I always find myself coming back to are Bach, Chopin and R. Strauss. My favorite game composers, though, are Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana) and Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger / Chrono Cross). Any game soundtrack that exhibits a real fusion of musical genres/east-west elements, and textural or harmonic complexity will automatically be a favorite of mine. Soundtracks such as Secret of Mana really show this fusion of musical style and textural intricacy very well.
How does the future look for you? What tunes would you like to be playing next? Have you ever considered doing more of your own material?
I am not sure what the future looks like. I am already a working musician in Australia; I work for an Opera company here in Sydney, and I also teach piano and do some live performances. YouTube is a great vehicle for promoting the genre of video game music, and I’m grateful for the opportunities which have come my way! I have several ‘pro’ quality videos planned for release this year, I’d like to ‘step it up’ a bit while still remaining true to myself.
Of all of your performances so far, which one is your favorite one?
You also have a history of collaborating with a lot of Youtubers on performances, and even doing a whole album with Taylor Davis. Which one of these collaborations are your favorite ones?
I think my favorite track would be the Skyrim medley I did with Taylor back in November 2011. I have collaborated with Taylor and Kyle quite a lot, and they have both become very dear friends to me; I respect them both so much. Meeting other YouTube video game musicians has been the best part about YouTube, I never expected to be involved in such a wonderful community when I started my channel.
Do you have any funny stories about being an Internet personality? Any “Oh my god, I’m famous” moments?
Yes, actually! I wouldn’t say I’m famous. I’d say I’m known in a certain area of the Internet. One day I was renewing my driver’s license at the Roads and Traffic Authority office, and they called my name out to say it was ready. One lady got quite excited, she asked if I was THE Lara from YouTube, and I signed some things for her and took a photo with her so she could show her son later. I think she’d been playing my videos to her class at school (she was a teacher). Otherwise, I sometimes get recognized at train stations, shopping centers, and definitely at conventions! I think that in a way, it’s not quite real, because as an Internet personality, people will construct a perfect image of you in their head which may not accurately represent your real life. Some people can also place unrealistic demands on you when it comes to answering fanmail. But overall, it’s been a really positive experience; my favorite messages are those which say that I’ve inspired someone to take up a musical instrument!
We want to thank Lara for her time and kindness, and above all, for creating these incredible videos for us fans. If you liked what you saw here, be sure to visit her facebook page and become a fan.
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