Interview No. 173
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is one of Newgrounds veteran musicians. He has graced Newgrounds with tracks such as Loud Whispers, Remember the Mind, and The Journey Begins. That is just a small sample of his works on Newgrounds. I am most pleased to welcome @kelwynshade.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: A close friend of mine, Shawn Tanner (Afro-Ninja) and Jason Turner (ncjason77) introduced me to the site years ago. Both were familiar and active at Newgrounds, so they helped me to see just how awesome the community was.
Q: At what age did you become interested in music?
A: I was certainly interested since I was a toddler. Growing up in the age of Nintendo, hearing them 8 Bit tunes… it definitely found a way into my life.
Q: What brought you to Central Ohio Technical College?
A: Looking for a change in life. I didn’t want to just “get-by”. I wanted to gather a degree, and find my place somewhere- but where, at that time, I just didn’t know. I completed my AAS program in game development- graduated with Honors, and snagged a career path job just weeks before graduating.
Q: In the thread Share your secret? you state how you create your music...
"Honestly, I'll think about what my song represents (sad theme, kick-you-in-your-face theme) and I just think. I'll close my eyes and place one hand on my keyboard beside me and hit the keys I envision in my head.
It's worked pretty well so far. I think I've got some pretty solid melodies."
Does this still hold true today or have things changed?
A: Absolutely. Something that has always worked for me is to just ‘think’ about the subject. What’s the goal- what is the feeling I need to portray- how should the listener feel/react. I think over the years I’ve grown my arsenal of tools, better understand music theory, and use those rules to better help bring what’s in my mind to what is eventually heard.
Q: Your first song submitted to Newgrounds would be entitled Sand and Sorrows. Many of your early songs have an RPG vibe to them. What RPGs do you credit as inspiration?
A: Ah, yes. Back before I even remotely understood my DAW of choice- FL Studio. I loved and still love to this day RPG games. Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy were the first games that made me think “who made this audio? I have to know!” Those soundtracks were so inspiring that to this day I can happily turn on a track and get transported back to those golden years. Mitsuda and Uematsu changed my life through their music. They made me dream.
Q: When and how did you meet Afro-Ninja? What was the Denver Beerfest?
A: I met Shawn Tanner (Afro-Ninja) through Jason Turner (ncjason77). Who was/is a close friend and Street Fighter 3rd Strike rival. Shawn had been fairly early in his flash development days, so meeting him back then was great. We’ve since become close friends and see each other as often as we can as we live fairly close to each other.
Q: What is KTRECORDS?
A: KTRecords was a fun push of collaborative audio between Jason Turner and myself. It was verbally Kemp/Turner Records, then shortened, Jason and I constantly inspired each other since way back when we first started writing music. Music and Newgrounds brought Jason and I pretty close- we started off as casual acquaintances and became very close friends over the years.
What was fun is how we both pushed each other to try new tracks- branch out of our comfort zones with music. We still talk to this day about how we should start pushing tracks out again through the old KTRecords account.
Q: The Interviewer has been around a long time. Our theme song is entitled Light Orchestral Loop made by a man by the name sorohanro. This name is not unknown to you for he would collab with you to expand on one of your songs Loud Whispers into a final product. You met sorohanro while looking for a guitarist. What can you tell us about your experience working with sorohanro and why you were looking for a guitarist for this song?
A: Ah, Sorohanro… I haven’t chatted with him in many years, but back when I was a very frequent (daily) active member, we would constantly see each other’s work. Most likely even comment on our submissions often.
He was super talented, very friendly, and fun to chat with.
As for Loud Whispers- it was a track written for one of the Territory War games that I just wanted to see get a bit more love to. I knew it needed guitar, but my guitar skills back then were lacking. I posted the track asking for Newgrounds folks to send me submissions of adding some guitar on the track, and this one hit the mark for me.
Q: My absolute favorite by you has got to be The Journey Begins. You stated it was when the hero first begins their journey in the wide open world in an RPG. It seems softer than other RPGs which become bombastic when the hero enters a new world to explore. How did you come across this mood?
A: This one is a bit sad for me, haha- not because of the feel of the track, but the unknown story behind what it would have become. After I released the track, I went through a pretty significant change in my life. It kept me from being active online for a while.
I remember being away for months and months. When I finally returned with my life in a reset state, I checked Newgrounds mail to see what had been going on. I received a note from Tom Fulp (who is a great guy- I met him in Denver and we’ve messaged a bit back and forth here and there) saying to submit this song in the official Castle Crashers music thread. They wanted the track in the game, but needed me to submit it for fairness.
I was somewhat devastated.
This was tough.
But hey, to really answer your question- I just tried something new- and I think it worked out really well. I liked it a lot- to this day I think about doing a complete overhaul of that track and many others as my skill in the art has drastically improved.
Q: Who is High Society? What can you tell us about your work on Cocaine Cowboy?
A: Another friend of mine over the years (outside of Newgrounds) had a group he wrote music for. They enjoyed the work I did and wanted to collab on a few tracks. We worked on Cocaine Cowboy, Come With Us If You Want to Live, and 8-bit Wet Dream. I still talk to these guys often as we would love to get a new collab started someday.
Q: You have moved out of an apartment into a house. With an office for a music studio. How important is proper space to the creator?
A: Really, for me it isn’t crazy important I’ve found. As long as I can be in a comfortable space, writing music seems to do its thing. I used to think it mattered, but over the years I’ve learned it doesn’t really mean much. While it’s nice to have all of my tools in one place, I can easily write anywhere, come back, and update as needed.
Q: You've used some of the oldest programs imaginable for music. What are some that you have loved? What are some that you regret using? What advice do you have to give to those who are looking to become musicians?
A: Are you really trying to make me feel that old? Haha
Back in the day I used to love using Acid Pro. Heck, for a while I loved using MTV’s Music Generator back in high school. I don’t think I regret using any of them as they all led me to where I am today. When I discovered “Fruity Loops”, now known as FL Studio, I found where it all made sense. This software has grown with me and I find it hard to leave.
As for new musicians… man, there are so many options, but I would certainly say to use what works best for your digital operating system environment. If on a PC, I can’t recommend FL Studio enough. On a Mac, Pro Tools.
I will say this though, getting started with FL Studio seemed to go way smoother for those who followed my recommendation than those who went with other software.
Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of music?
A: Whatever makes your mind, body, and spirit move. Music can come from anywhere. We’re programmed to hear it, feel it and live it.
Q: You would disappear from Newgrounds in 2012, make a return in 2019, and we haven't seen you since August 2019. What happened in your life that we haven't seen you?
A: I had a change of priorities. I wanted to try new things, focus on my career. I have a family that I enjoy being with very much, and good friends like Jason and Shawn that I spend time with as often as I can. I still very much love music, but my priorities have certainly shifted to work and family.
Q: What can we expect from kelwynshade in the future?
A: Great question- more recently I’ve started a new name for my music- Full Steam Attack. I feel like Kelwynshade got me to a good place, but it was time to move on to the next phase. I find myself with a bit more time to get back into music, and I’ve started streaming as well.
kelwynshade was one of those musicians I found out about just browsing the Audio Portal one day. I absolutely fell in love with his music. I was sad to see his departure from Newgrounds and was excited that he has made his return. I am excited to see what is in store for his new name Full Steam Attack. Hopefully we will get to hear it here soon!
The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions