My Favourite Game
Rapper Adam Drucker on Jersey Shore Facebook games, his love of indie projects, and buying a second childhood for $100
Rapper Adam Drucker on indie games and a second childhood
Adam Drucker (AKA Doseone) is a prolific producer and rapper, and co-founder of indie record label Anticon. More recently, he’s produced music for videogames, including Samurai Gunn, Gang Beasts and Enter The Gungeon, and is currently working on Absolver. You’ve made indie rap for years – how did you get into game music? I had to bail myself out of all my music debt, so I took this shitty gig working for Viacom – MTV, Nickelodeon. I worked on everything from Spongebob to a Facebook Jersey Shore game. I did it for five years. It was torturous. But I learned the ropes like nobody’s business, and when that was ending I reached out to my friend Chris Dahlen, who co-founded Killscreen, and he put me in touch with Brandon Boyer who then put me in touch with Vlambeer. JW [Jan Willem Nijman], Rami [Ismail] and I hit it off, and I did the sound effects and rapping for Gun Godz. That must’ve been a satisfying shift. Every indie game I’ve done, I meet the person and then a few months later we’re working together. When I was performing the Samurai Gunn music on Giant Bomb, right before the show I’m there and I don’t know anyone, but there are these two dudes who are also nervous, so I’m like, “Hey, guys, you look like me…” And then we just start talking and it ends up being [ Enter The Gungeon creators] Dave Rubel and Brent Soderman. We have this amazing conversation and after I do the rap, I come back and Dave is like, “Wait a minute – you’re Doseone”, and we hit it off. Right before he leaves, he just leans in and whispers in my ear: “We’re all getting fired from Electronic Arts, and we’re going to make a game. I’m going to call you…” And just leaves. And I’m like, ‘That dude was cool as fuck’. A few months later he called me, and now Gungeon has changed my life. Both artistically and humanly. How does your approach to game writing differ to your own stuff? I have a really intense work ethic – I’m a workaholic. My own music grows a lot slower, like mildew – you grow a whole song for one month, you know? With the game stuff, there’s so much that needs to be made I can work like a fucking maniac. I can start the water level beat and then be like, “I don’t know what I’m doing with the water beat yet; I’m going to go over to the cathedral beat.” And I can really have this mad-scientist thing going. Of course, ultimately I execute and deliver with precision and correctly titled files and shit, like a pro! [Laughs] But when I create I love to have everything all over, laboratory style, and get completely immersed and obsessed. As a workaholic, do you still find time to play games? I bought the latest Madden, played it for one week, and will never touch it again. I played Destiny for one week, too. I don’t really enjoy any of the disbelief that triple-A is trying to generate for us. But Spelunky, Nidhogg, Gungeon, Binding Of Isaac, Nuclear Throne, Luftrausers, Downwell – I play the fucking shit out of these games. I want to play games that have the fingerprint of people and eccentricity. It’s like indie music to me – it just makes me so happy. So starting around 5pm, I play for two to three hours, and every once in a while the love of my life will let me binge on a game when I’m stuck. And then I have a classic console collection, too. What’s in the classic lineup? NES, SNES, Genesis, 2600 and pretty much every… When I was a young kid, I grew up pretty poor. But there was this one rich kid in my neighbourhood, and he had every Nintendo game. I’d be like, “Fuck, I want all the Nintendo games too!” It used to keep me up at night. And then, in my early 20s, I was at a swap meet in Oakland and I thought, ‘Wait, now I can just buy that childhood dream.’ So I took out about $100 and bought everything this rich kid, Alan, had. My favourite classic game of all time is Tecmo Bowl. I used to play it for money with kids.
“I’d be like, ‘Fuck, I want all the Nintendo games too!’ It used to keep me up at night”
How about your favourite game ever? If it’s a desert-island situation and I can only take one, how can I take something that isn’t procedurally generated? I love watching those Games Done Quick videos, and I’m beside myself every time a human mind can map a game in that way. So I’m going for Spelunky.