My Favourite Game

The DJ and pro­ducer waxes on about Nin­tendo con­soles and the link between game mu­sic and techno


DJ and pro­ducer Daniel Avery pon­ders Nin­tendo and techno

Daniel Avery is a DJ and pro­ducer based in Lon­don, fre­quently listed among the top DJs in the un­der­ground club scene. He has recorded mixes for Fab­ric and DJ-Kicks and pro­duced his own dance al­bum, Drone Logic. With new mu­sic set to re­lease soon, he takes time out of the stu­dio to talk about his other en­dur­ing pas­sion. What was the first game you played? It was def­i­nitely Su­per Mario Bros on the NES round my friend’s house. Be­ing in that room is one of my ear­li­est mem­o­ries. See­ing my ob­ses­sion with it all, my par­ents bought me a SNES with Su­per Mario World for my birth­day. That was back in 1992. I’ve still got it. Did that put you in the Nin­tendo camp? I dug it all re­ally. My friend had a Mega Drive and then a Saturn, which we played for days. I loved the PlayS­ta­tion but I’ve prob­a­bly poured more hours into the N64 than any other con­sole. All the sys­tems felt en­tirely dif­fer­ent back then. Games were a big ob­ses­sion of yours grow­ing up, then? Yeah; games, foot­ball and mu­sic. My first job was in an im­port game shop in Bournemouth called Video Game Cen­tre, so it was very much a part of my youth. It opened around 1991 and amassed an amaz­ing col­lec­tion of stuff over its time. The owner would of­ten drive to Lon­don to meet new arrivals off the plane from Ja­pan whilst the shop stayed open late into the night. Those were re­ally happy, funny times for me. They gave me a Su­per Fam­i­com Jr as a leav­ing present when I went to univer­sity which I also still have, along­side a pretty ded­i­cated col­lec­tion of games. How did you get into DJing? I didn’t grow up lis­ten­ing to dance mu­sic. I mean, I loved elec­tronic acts like Björk and Aphex Twin but I in no way con­nected them to dance mu­sic. To a kid in Bournemouth, clubs were all about shit mu­sic for blokes in CK One – I had no in­ter­est in that world. It was only when I dis­cov­ered this one tiny un­der­ground night, where they’d play Joy Di­vi­sion and krautrock next to elec­tronic records, that it all made sense. I felt like I’d found a new home. Af­ter hang­ing around for long enough, they asked if I wanted to open the night one time and that was my first DJ gig. I played ev­ery week af­ter that. Did you also plan to make your own mu­sic? I’d been mak­ing some noisy shoegaze stuff on a 4-track in my bed­room for a cou­ple of years by this point but I had no idea how to fin­ish any­thing. I had no in­ten­tion of mak­ing any mu­sic that could be played in a club. It was only when I moved to Lon­don that things changed. I was work­ing in a record shop so I met a lot of bands and man­agers. Some of them asked if I wanted to try a remix; it was how I cut my teeth. Af­ter a cou­ple of years, I felt I was find­ing my own voice. A few of the tracks found their way to An­drew Weather­all, who started play­ing them, and things be­gan to move for me. Did mu­sic in games have any in­flu­ence on your own mu­sic? I like the link between early game mu­sic and techno. That idea of hav­ing to cre­ate mem­o­rable mo­ments out of very lit­tle; mak­ing the most of what you have. Of course I didn’t re­alise this as a young­ster but it’s some­thing I’ve come to ap­pre­ci­ate over time. Say­ing that, I think Streets Of Rage sunk in pretty deep. Would you ever con­sider writ­ing mu­sic for a game? If the right thing came along then ab­so­lutely. It’s def­i­nitely some­thing I’d like to ex­plore. Do you still get time to play games? Not re­ally, but the Switch has been some­thing of a rev­e­la­tion. That’s al­ways in the bag now.

OK then – what is your all-time favourite game? I’m into cre­ative pro­cesses that em­brace the old and the new in equal mea­sure. For me, that’s when in­ter­est­ing things can oc­cur. All the games that have stayed with me in my life have shared some­thing: A Link To The Past, Mario 64, Metal Gear Solid, Shen­mue, Res­i­dent Evil 4, Jour­ney… they all felt fa­mil­iar and new at the same time. But hon­estly, I’ve played Street Fighter II more than any other game by a mas­sive mar­gin. It’s the def­i­ni­tion of beau­ti­ful sim­plic­ity. Over 25 years on I’m nowhere near bored of it. I still find my­self hum­ming Guile’s theme as I walk through air­ports.

“I’ve played Street Fighter II more than any other game by a mas­sive mar­gin”

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