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Joined on 2/8/09

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Interview No. 190

Interview By: @The-Great-One

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

Q: Working long nights, both at my night job and work on Newgrounds, a song that has hit me pretty hard is Street Lights. It would be a collaborative effort between you and Seán. For those unaware, who is Seán? Could you explain the collaboration between you two on the lyrics and the melody of this song?

A: Seán (@IrishChieftain) is my husband. He was my fiancé at the time of the making of this song; we had been engaged since mid-2014.

Seán can make a song, more often than not a parody song, out of any subject humanly possible. During a bus trip one afternoon, he made an impromptu song about street lights. For some reason, this made me want to write my own song about street lights – I have long had an affinity for serious songs about little lights in the darkness – and so the words and music just flowed out of me.

Q: Funny thing, one of my favorite songs by you in our last interview was As Stars that Shine (FULL). My new favorite by you is still related to stars in a way with please take care of this star would be your 200th song on Newgrounds. You have shared the story with us here on Newgrounds. This song is almost four years old now. From what I have known about you, from your last interview, and your journey throughout Newgrounds. There’s a lot of you in this song. When AlmightyHans was here, we talked about how The Ballad of CrippleKane affected him and at the time he saw as his greatest work and he reflected on his time on Newgrounds.

“Newgrounds has always meant so much to me. It was where I've met the best people in the world. The kind that restores your faith in humanity. The kind that settles the wonder of how or why we've survived so long as a species. And to be nominated by the site was a very big deal for me.”

You would share the instrumental portion of this song with @LD-W and @ForgottenDawn. Would you agree with @AlmightyHans quote? What more can you tell us about this song that you haven’t divulged? What are your thoughts looking back on it?

A: I have had mixed feelings about Newgrounds in the last year or so; where I would have advocated strongly for it, I’m not so sure I would now – so in that respect, my opinion diverges from AlmightyHans’.

I’ve been a moderator on this site, on and off, since 2015(?). On Newgrounds, I’ve seen some of the best people, and also some of the worst people. I’ve met staunch friends. I’ve met people who have tried to control others in cults, people who have groomed minors and worse, people whom I have fallen out with, people whom I have made amends with, people who have helped others out of the goodness of their hearts, and people who have sent me and my friends death threats simply for fighting for my own and others’ intellectual property rights. I have seen people on this site who believe that people like me, who sought asylum in the UK, should simply not exist. I have also seen people on this site who are in positions of privilege and comfort who have fought for people like me. You get used to the fact that Newgrounds is full of all sorts of people.

When I got gaslit by someone else in a position of authority offline last year, I found it hard to find support or listening ears outside of the people from Newgrounds who were already in my own server or in my circle of friends. Some of its members’ old tendencies of putting down people who have been through real, lived experiences still subsist *to this day*. And some people seem to be blind to the realities of things like gaslighting, for example, until it affects them or their friends in huge, explosive ways. Not long after my own experience, many users on Newgrounds, myself included, experienced gaslighting on an industrial scale from someone who many of us believed was a friend.

Let me make it clear that I believe that the Staff and the moderators I work with are not like this. (This is also true, at least, for a subsection of the NG userbase.) If my memory is to be believed, the Staff are some of the kindest, most level-headed people I have spoken with. They also have a monstrous task of tending to a site with a growing membership, and keeping it as independent as possible. The mods are, in their turn, mostly working adults who are effectively volunteering when they can to help make NG that little bit better.

Anywhere we go, we have the human condition to deal with, and Newgrounds is no different. I think that’s something we all need to be mindful of. Do I look fondly at it? Of course. In my asylum seeker years, it was an outlet I so desperately needed – due to my nonprofit status, there was no way I could have feasibly posted my music anywhere else, not without spending money I didn’t have, or receiving money illicitly. I kept writing songs; I just couldn’t stop. Newgrounds was the site that formed my musicianship for a long time. Without Tom or the many other people who made Newgrounds, I wouldn’t be half the musician I am today.

But at the end of the day, any community depends on its people. I hope that we on Newgrounds can continue doing what good we are already doing, and do better on the parts that need improvement. For my part, I have a life to live, and a lot of atoning to do for past harms.

As for please take care of this star, I still look back on it fondly. I had dramatically changed at that point, compared to when I had first joined the site, and the shift in tone was marked across all my music and artwork. In the days immediately after I had released that song, I asked a few other game audio professionals in my network what their thoughts were on the track, most notably Akash Thakkar. I remember him saying that it sounded like something that wouldn’t be out of place in a AAA game.

Today, I look at that song not only as an example of how capable I am of musical theatre, but also as a symbol of my longing for the days of actual international fraternity – not the fascistic small-mindedness that has led the UK to where we are today.

Q: The last song I want to talk about today is one from 2019 which would be entitled Sing. What about this song can you share with us?

A: I cried after I had finished writing the lyrics, and Greg Slater witnessed this. We were at Soundskills at the time. The lyrics were my attempt at imagining a supportive mother speaking to me from beyond the grave, giving me the support that I never got in my childhood and most of my adolescence. The lyrics might suggest a popular singer in her late teens or early twenties, but instead, it was sung by a struggling asylee in a poorer suburb of Preston.

It is one of the few songs of mine that I can perform on my own, so I might dig it up in a future open mic. Let’s see what happens.

Q: You have become quite an artist here on the site. However, at one point you were looking to drop art. What can you tell us about talking with @Sabtastic that brought you back into making art?

A: To my recollection, she was the kind of person who encouraged people to make art anyway, even if we weren’t feeling so hot about it or if we were getting disparaging comments left and right about it. That alone was enough to keep me going.

Q: Mantle of Stars is an incredible piece that I absolutely love. You’ve stated that it is a piece of a larger project that you look to finish. I haven’t been able to find the finished project though. Will we see the finished project?

A: I hope so, even if I genuinely don’t know when. This is an effort that is far too big for me to handle alone. I don’t consider myself a good organiser. I’m just an audio and narrative person, strapped for time and unable to understand programming languages.

Given the scope and the contents of the story, I’d need some programmers, some artists, maybe a few more to help me in audio, and I’d need them to know in advance that they’re handling religious themes from a queer perspective – yes, this project’s story has finally grown along with me. I want to be able to make a narratively rich game (genre TBD, but I always thought of it as a bullet hell) about an exorcist priest who is sent out to dispel demons, and then realises the error of his ways, over how he has treated certain subsections of people – and how some of his actions are why the demons are rampaging.

Seeing as the only things I can confidently do are audio and narrative, I try and put those two things out there in the hopes that people might take interest and ask me about it. But in recent times, no one on here has, with the exception of @JJGamez64 and one other whose username I’m struggling to remember. I even debated releasing the compilation on Bandcamp after polishing everything up so that I could show it to people as a proof of concept and an outline of the story, but at this present stage of my profession, I don’t think anyone will bite.

I’d like for people to ask me about it though. I’d also like to know the best course of action going forward.

Q: You have attended school for your creative works and you have been on Newgrounds for over ten years now. What are the pros and cons to learning from school vs. learning from Newgrounds? How would you describe the education attained from both?

A: I technically haven’t attended school with the exception of my formal training on piano and drums. Everything else I have either learnt from people around me, some of them from Newgrounds, or learnt it on my own.

I think it depends on whom you wind up receiving your education from. Not all of us are able to put the process of why we do things in words. Some are patient, some are quick-tempered. I remember that a lot of people were eager to give me mixing help in the comments sections of my songs, even for a long while, I couldn’t understand half of what they were saying. I also remember that up until 2019, I had people who were happier to put my art down rather than actually teach me. Some did provide helpful feedback, though. I would ultimately learn my figure drawing from asa+kari and Alroetsue – people not from Newgrounds, but from my doujin circle, Aetherhythm – and I would learn about backgrounds, perspective, movement, foreshortening, and colour harmonies from the things that @ForgottenDawn shared with me.

It's the same with finding a teacher. It’s luck of the draw, what kind of teacher we end up with. We hope that the people tasked with teaching us anything can find out the way we learn things, and give us things that may engage with that way of learning. Some things are better learnt with a teacher, especially things that require athleticism like drumming, but I’m also painfully aware that being able to access lessons is a privilege, and I wish it were not so. At the time that I began formal training on drums, it was 2019, I was still swept by the tides of the asylum process, and I never would have been able to afford lessons on my own. I was lucky to have that opportunity made possible for me by friends and loved ones.

It’s hard for me to narrow down pros and cons without resorting to some form of survivorship bias, but I feel like there’s overlap between taking classes and learning from friends on the internet, overlap that I’ve described above. It’s trying to find the right people to show us things, and then trying to suss out if we have the funds to pursue formal training if we know we can benefit immensely from it, if simply learning from a distance just doesn’t cut it. Another thing to consider would be the initial outlay towards a thing that we want to learn. Some things are more expensive to get into than others. Also, we have methods of learning that might or might not be covered by tutors or online guides.

If something makes the heart soar, and if proper training winds up being the better option to help you develop, I believe it is worth pursuing. How you learn something is valid, regardless of how you do it – just remember that learning involves building good habits with your craft.

Q: In the previous interview I asked you “what is in your opinion, the definition of music?”. Your definition would be the following…

“The inner resonance of its creator’s heart (or the hearts of the community it is associated with). It is indispensable to our lives. And the way I see it, it is a gift from God. Done well, it is a relic that can be passed on to future generations. Done badly… well……. um. What do we do if we find a piece of music that has historically been trash? I guess each person has their understanding of what is trash and what isn’t.”

Would you still agree with this definition? Would you define music differently?

A: At its core, yes, but it has grown since. I view it as a gift from God — I’m aware others think of this differently, and that’s valid — and there are many ways to do it well. Even something “done badly” (like a number of the things submitted in the Newgrounds Worst Song Competition) can have its place, in lifting our spirits and giving us a good laugh.

Music is one of the most fundamental forms of expression for individuals and communities (hence the “inner resonance”), and when you hear a piece of music, you try and be emotionally literate about it. You try and walk with the person who has made that music, you try to understand what has led them to make that piece of music. Even simply liking a style of music is valid. And if emotions are not coming out very well, you aid them in expressing those emotions better. I’ve come to understand that, unless the intention is to harm, divide, and other people, there’s really no set way to do it – like how there’s no one set way of writing a paragraph or a story. Musical tropes, phrases, instrument choices, are all part of the greater languages of music and wordless communication. Some things carry more meaning to us than others, for various reasons.

Q: What can we expect from Troisnyx in the future?

A: Many things, actually; ever since I have been granted the right to remain in 2021, I have been hard at work!

  • I write video game music – I am currently open for work, having recently finished a game scoring commission that has lasted me a year and a half – and I’m happy to write music for your games. Some of my more recent examples can be found on my website, on YouTube, and on Bandcamp.

  • I also take art commissions – if you are looking for posters, website art, branding, or album art, and you like what you see in my Art section, hit me up!

  • I am currently a member of four bands, but there is one especially that I want to draw your attention to for the purposes of this interview, and it is Two Meeps -- @DisOmikron and myself. We are working on our debut album, Valid, and the two tracks we have released together as part of the 2023 Audio Deathmatch will feature in that album. We have a YouTube channel, a Twitter page, an Instagram page, a Bandcamp page, and a website. Be sure to stay tuned for when our album releases!

  • Aside from Two Meeps, I am with The Just Numbers, The Accused, and Rakoczy. The first is my first ever rock band, currently on hiatus. The second is a nine-piece Motown and soul band, currently gigging across Preston and slightly further afield. The third is a theatrical folk-rock band in its fledgling stages. I am the drummer of these bands. I hope to be touring with Rakoczy either this year or next year, hopefully across England and Wales at least. If you’re in the UK and you like going to slightly larger venues or folk festivals, please stay tuned!

  • Now that I can drive, some of you can expect to see me going further afield. I am hoping to find gigs for myself or for any of my bands not just in Preston, but possibly throughout England and especially in the general North of England.

  • On 27 January this year, I will be part of an orchestra for the first time – an amateur one perhaps, but still! I will be one of five percussionists at the Bolton Symphony Orchestra. Looks like I’ve been assigned to concert bass drum and triangle, bringing me one step closer to this drawing I did some time back. If you’re watching Bolton Symphony Orchestra on that day, look out for me if you want – but most of all, enjoy the show!

  • I am currently working on a drum and voice album, Tempus Imperfectum. I have previously shared one of its tracks on Newgrounds on Easter 2023, Alle psallite; I will be getting back to work on it in February.

  • And… you know, just throwing it out there… I went to a recent open mic and the host of said open mic asked, at the end of my performance, “does anyone know anybody at Disney who can HIRE THIS LADY?” I mean, maybe not Disney given what horror stories I’ve heard about them in recent years – but I’m happy to license my work or write new songs with the flair of musical theatre for anyone who would love to have me in a film, a game, even a stage production! Let’s talk about it maybe!

We now come to the questionnaire invented by French talk show host Bernard Pivot, and adapted by my idol James Lipton.

Q: What's your favorite word?

A: Meep!

Q: What is your least favorite word?

A: Incomer.

Q: What turns you on?

A: (low-key but also not) Rhythm in general, but especially the beat of a deep drum.

Q: What turns you off?

A: The crasser form of Northern humour… ick.

Q: What sound or noise do you love?

A: I love a lot of sounds and noises, but it’s no secret that one of my favourite sounds is still that of the concert bass drum. Also, high-pitched bells, airy mixing (because that makes my brain itch), and the voices of friends and loved ones.

Q: What sound or noise do you hate?

A: Anything with a grating mid-high frequency. I have misophonia. My body physically recoils when I hear it (which has been a deciding factor whenever I have been a contest judge here on NG). Also, sometimes, gunshots and sirens. They can be PTSD triggers.

Q: What's your favorite curse word?

A: If I absolutely had to pick one, it would be “c---.”

Q: What job or profession would you most like to take rather than your own?

A: Honestly? I’m happy with my profession, at least for the most part. I’d love to continue doing musical and artistic things. But if I wasn’t already in music and art, and I had to pick something else, I could see myself being a writer or an English Literature teacher. Perhaps even a translator.

Q: What job or profession would you least like to take?

A: Anything to do with the legal profession – paralegal, solicitor, etc. I know I was trained in the field, but I was abused and coerced into it. I never wanted anything to do with it as a teenager, and I still can’t bear the thought of ever doing it now.

Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like God to say to you when you arrive at the pearly gates?

A: Hopefully? “Well done, good and faithful servant…” Or maybe nothing at all, just an embrace.

Troisnyx has been a constant on Newgrounds for over a decade. She has contributed so much to the site. From music, to helping new musicians, being a part of multiple collaborations, one being The Sketch Collab, and an artist in the Art Portal. Not only is she incredibly talented, she's also one of the greatest friends I have had the privilege of knowing on the site.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

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