Pop guitarist and vocalist Curtis Peoples has released a new music video for the song “Made For Me (Forever)” from his album The Fight, released in April, and it has all the romance, action, and classic gaming nostalgia you could ever want. Also, the dog from Duck Hunt plays beer pong. Curtis teamed up with animator Joe D!, the mind behind the X-Men: First Class opening credit sequence that’s been floating around the interwebs. The two took a little time to answer some burning questions about the creation of the video and their own love for NES. And, as an added bonus, Curtis has made his song available to download along with an 8 bit version, which you can find at the end of our interview.
NERDIST: First things first, how did the two of you link up?
JOE D! I worked with Sandeep Parikh (The Guild, The Legend of Neil) on the title sequence for Save the Supers last summer. He reached out to me a little while ago letting me know that Curtis was looking for someone to work on a music video.
CURTIS PEOPLES: I got connected to Joe through our mutual friend Sandeep Parikh. Joe had created the intro for Sandeep’s show Save The Supers and I went to Sandeep and asked if he knew any great animators who might be into doing a 8 bit style video and he raved about Joe and connected us.
N: Whose idea was it to set the music video in an 8-bit game?
JD: That was all Curtis; He was set on an 8-Bit style long before we met, though I joked and said he had no idea, but he picked the perfect person to carry out his idea. I have been a Nintendo fan for decades; I’ve got every Nintendo system hooked up to my TV right now, and I display my R.O.B, Virtual Boy, and Power Glove prominently in my office. My work at StuntDouble specializes in applying various historic art styles as authentically as possible to new projects, from branding to design, and, yes, even videos.
I insisted that Curtis let me go all out, and instead of using basic pixel art, we should mimic the look and feel of an old 8-Bit game as much as possible. Every sprite is limited to 4 colors, every color is taken from the original NES pallet, the video abides by the number of sprites per scan line and frame rate limits of the NES’s Pixel Processing Unit, the resolution, the memory and everything else fit within the confines of the old NES setup (and before any eagle eyed commenter decides to point out that there are a few SNES looking references, keep in mind that all of those resources were reworked to fit the NES limitations). We even went as far as to mimic the technical aspects of an old CRT TV. The whole screen is made up of little red, green, and blue dots all grouped together, the same setup you would have seen when you were watching Double Dare inches from the TV before your mom told you that you’d ruin your eyes if you sit that close. We even went as far as including the cartridges for the other Curtis games in the very start of the video.
CP: My manager and I were trying to think of a way to do an 8-bit-style video. We went through a number of ideas but most importantly we both grew up loving 8-bit games, NES, ’80s pop culture in general, and we wanted to do a video that called back to that time and how great those games were. Selfishly, I wanted to be an 8=bit character, and getting to be in the game is a dream. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen yourself run across the screen in pixels and glory. And wait until you see the t-shirt Joe and I are designing!
N: Joe, have you done any music videos before this? What was the process like of turning Curtis and his dream girl into video game characters?
JD: This is my first music video, but I’m sure it won’t be my last. It was a blast working with Curtis, and I look forward to the next chance I get to work with him or anyone else that has an idea for a project. The design went through a few revisions — we wanted to keep the characters large enough on screen so they wouldn’t get lost in the background, the first few designs were taller and lankier, sort of like 8-Bit versions of the cast of Scooby-Doo. Curtis and I eventually settled on an art style that was a nice mix of Mega-Man, Astro Boy and River City Ransom. They’re great because they look like they could come from some NES game you just haven’t played yet.
Oh, and I’d like to mention that Curtis’s instructions for the final boss design was to make him “Jersey Shore Bowser” and that’s exactly what we wound up with. (Yes, that’s why he’s orange!)
N: We see a lot of classic NES characters and themes in the video- which ones were your favorites growing up?
JD: Kirby and the Bubble Bobble dinosaurs, both of which make quick cameos in the windows of the brick building right before the boss fight.
CP: I loved Bubble Bobble. I even created a whole sub world I made up with some neighbor kids, and we would film puppet show-style episodes in my living room with my dad. I should go back and see if I can pitch a spin off game (not Rainbow Islands) to Nintendo from the world we created. It was intricate, to say the least.
N: Curtis, why did you decide to also create the 8-bit version? Have you done anything like that before? Do you listen to any chiptune?
CP: I have bounced around the idea of doing an EP of all 8-bit/elevator music versions of some of my songs forever. “Going Up With The Peeps”, “3rd Floor, Peeps Rock,” etc. My friend, producer Todd Beauchamp, and I got together when Joe said he wanted an 8-bit version of the song to feature at the beginning and end of the video, and we just kind of ran with it. The reaction to it has been strong enough that I think we might finally do that EP. “Up Down A B Select Peoples”?
N: Joe, you also created that rad X Men: First Class opening sequence. Are you a big Marvel fan? Are you following any comic series right now? Ditto for you, Curtis.
JD: That video is what actually brought me to Sandeep’s attention, so it’s sort of responsible for this video even happening. It was for an art project on SuperPunch, but when The Patron Saint of Nerds, Patton Oswalt, tweeted about it, it seemed to show up everywhere else on the interwebs. I’m a huge comic fan; While my heart lies with DC (because Batman is the greatest ever), I absolutely love Jonathan Hickman’s work over at Marvel. Also, I have no idea how to do it, but they need to find out how to put Kid Loki into a movie. We don’t have time to list all the books I follow, but if anyone is looking for something to read, my top 5 current picks (in no particular order) are Scott Snyder’s Batman, Brian K. Vaughan‘s Saga, Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers, Manhattan Projects, and East of West.
CP: I’m a huge Marvel fan. Spider-Man was my favorite growing up. The ’80s cartoon, especially. I played a lot of role playing Marvel games with some of my friends; Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet were always the villains. I also wish someone would figure out how to make Gambit cool in a movie, cause he’s rad as hell. I love what they’re doing now, and I hope Sony and Disney figure out how to play nice so Spider-Man can be in the Avengers. Wishful thinking, but ya never know!
N: If there were a real game that featured drinking games, which would you be unbeatable in?
JD: I don’t actually drink, but I’m pretty awesome at Super Smash Bros., and that could probably be turned into a drinking game pretty easily. Players take a shot before each match, winner of the last match takes two. Any spectators would take a sip every time someone gets knocked out, damage reaches 200%, certain items are used. Finish your drink every time a Mew appears. Stuff like that.
CP: Paperboy or Excite Bike drunk would be so awesome. But give me Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game and a bottle of tequila and just leave me alone and I’ll be happy.
Listen to and download the Nerdist Exclusive 8-Bit version of “Made for Me (Forever)” from the Nerdist Soundcloud!
Plus, the original “Made for Me (Forever)”
What totally rad dudes! Make sure to follow Curtis’ music on his web site, Twitter, YouTube channel and Facebook page, and Joe’s work on Twitter, and put these tunes in your earbuds while you’re at it! If you dig it (you will) you can download the rest of the album here!
Like what you see and hear? How many NES references could you count? Let us know by leaving a quemment below or talking to me on the Twitter!