Interview No. 17
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is one who is within the flash, audio, and art communities. He's a brilliant flash artist who has won awards for the PICO DAY anthem, Blamformers!, and :the Composer:. He is also known for the Paladin series and has started the LARRY series, ladies and gentlemen I present to you Josiah Brooks also known as @Jazza.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I started off on sticksuicide.com. The makers of that site became very well known much later on for explosm.net and their Happiness and Cyanide creations. I first signed up to Newgrounds when the Star Syndicate bunch made a game and asked people to vote for it on Newgrounds. I had not HEARD of NG before, so i came and was BLOWN AWAY! Everything was so big and scary! All the animations were so much better then mine! But I signed up and submitted and experienced for the first time how brutal NG could be sometimes. maybe this was coz it was a while back now, but for a crappy stick figure animator it scared the living daylights outta me! lol. It pushed me to want to impress though.
Q: Your first flash submitted to Newgrounds started a series that never continued. That was CARNOS part 1. What can you tell us about your first work, why haven't you continued it, and are you still proud of your first work?
A: HAHA! It's actually nowhere near my first, just the least crappy of my early work at the time. I had about 2 years of random crap I didn't submit because it was so bad. I also had the bad habit of starting a series I never passed episode 1 on. I think somewhere I still have had started sequels but they never stuck. For obvious reasons I think. I'm proud of my early stuff because it helped me know what an internet based audience does and doesn't like.
Q: Another flash in which you took a new change to your animation skills would be KOROSU - the black samurai. A very nice flash submission that was promised to continue, but didn't. What can you tell us about this flash and why didn't you continue it?
A: Well it was my first taste of success, my first front page animation on Newgrounds and I got very excited, but faced a lot of criticism to the lack of story and character depth. Everything was just cliche, which is something i tend to struggle with! I fall into cliche a lot even when I think I'm being original. That's when I started working on Spree. Its a habit that plagued me for a long time, starting and never continuing, but that's because I saw the flaws and room for improvement and pushed myself on something bigger. I think thats what helped me improve faster, even though i didn't finish much to start off with.
Q: Another great flash by you is entitled Spree. A complex and dark storyline are the best words to describe this flash without giving anything away. What was the process in making this flash?
A: Well this is were I started realizing that story and art are the major factors in a good flash. So I began moving to a more thought out plot (still cliche looking back) and worked more on my art. Again same thing, a lot of negative response that made me push hard in another area :)
Q: We now come to the start of a wonderful series on Newgrounds. Paladin was a five part series with it's own flash game. It must have been quite an interesting journey. I want you to tell me everything about this series... from it's writing, drawing, overall creation.
A: WHOA where to start. Well I'm a sucker for the medieval and I just wanted to make something classic ya know? Well, it began as that and the art was my best. I continued to work on it because I felt more of a connection with it, BUT it still had many flaws, most of which I see looking back but didn't see at the time. In episodes 3 onwards plot was REALLY hard to work with because I never intended to continue it, and there was a LOT of mess to clean up which I did as best I could, and although the final episodes were artistically superior to my previews standard, the plot was just one big mess. The game was a great opportunity for me to do everything at the same quality while focusing on making the story feel more linear. So basically a big cleanup job and to almost make me feel like I redeemed my mess lol.
Q: A great flash made by you that is a personal favorite of mine is also one based off one of your audio portal songs. :the Composer:. I honestly want to know the writing process you took in writing this as well as animating it.
A: The song was written for the animation. The writing process for this one is a lot different to anything else and the biggest reason was because it was ART, made not for any intent of success but only for personal expression. I had a lot going on at the time, and excuse me for getting personal but my parents started down the slope that lead to divorce and when it felt like my world was crashing around me, I had only music to comfort me. Writing songs by myself. well at one point in time it wasnt enough. I needed to SEE what i felt and that resulted in :the Composer:, 3 months of work, simple animation to a thought out soundtrack. It's success STILL amazes me because I submitted it during madness day/week and on the day after the finale to the xombie series, so in my eyes it didnt stand a chance, but I knew why I made it and was very happy with the result. Well it didnt get front page at first but soon enough the score kept rising and it ended up not only on the front page but on the top spot on the 'all time' list on Newgrounds. WOW! I had never been on that list with ANYTHING let alone something I never expected to reach it!! I was blown away and SO humbled by that. SO many emails and heartfelt connections that really mean a lot to me. Newgrounds has a heart! Who knew it! haha.
Q: I am fortunate enough to get to ask you about your latest work LARRY: episode 1. The start of another great and very comical series. What can we expect from this series in the near future and what can you tell us about making it?
A: Well larry is I feel the peak of my animating talent in the sense that I feel I know what to give the audience, how to make a character I like and can connect with enough to WANT to animate, AND the VITAL importance to story. I started work on Larry while doing missionary work for my church, which I LOVED, taking out the time to help others. but I did get spare time in the evenings, just an hour or so after 8pm, and I liked plotting! It started with me thinking 'what will I make when I get back?' and I came up with Larry, who was almost gonna be named Lenny (could have gone either way). I drew pages of different midget knights, until I hit the result you see and it stuck. He was SO FUN to draw, fighting people 5 times his size, angry, happy, crying, just had a dimension to him I loved. From then things just grew, and now I have HEAPS of characters with the same amount of class to them. the thing I LOVE MOST is I'm no longer improvising. With most everything else I've ever made, especially series, it was all made up as I went along. THIS time I COULDN'T animate so I had to keep making character after character, plot after plot, until far before I had flash to work with the world was as rich in my mind as you see in episode 1. RICHER even. I know so many characters and quirks you guys don't and I love it! It's like having a million friends I know your gonna love that I get to introduce to you! The best part is I know whats coming and it's not boring or improvised or anything, it's so fun!
Q: As you've proven with LARRY: episode 1 you are a talented voice actor. What advice can you give to other prominent voice actors out there?
A: Hmm, this ones interesting because until Larry I'd never really pushed my voice like this. It just comes with time and I'd be giving myself way too much credit if the voices were calculated and formulated. As with drawing the concepts of the character, I keep going until something sticks. So I would talk to myself in many strange voices much to the annoyance of the people around me, until something just stuck. Larry's voice just stuck. Kikkets voice just stuck, as with the king, the overlord, everything! To just practice and, know the feel of the character your imitating! It helped for me to know Larry's a little handful, a jerk and at the little time as much of a child as he looks.
Q: Your first entry in the Audio Portal was a song entitled _-= in a river =-_. You certainly have a beautiful voice and play beautifully. How did it feel recording this song and do you still like it?
A: HAHA NO. Sorry, all my early audio portal work is still embarrassing to me, but thats because I didn't GET music. It was just a toy to muck around with. Eventually i learned the powerful impact music can have and went with that, but my early stuff is made up lyrics that i didnt even know what it was talking about. It helped me progress through and I suppose that's why i keep it there, coz we gotta embrace our roots.
Q: When it comes to new artists on Newgrounds I believe they should listen to your canon in C Classical Loop before attempting any other song. This mere simple loop is great piano playing by you. You say you were only experimenting, my question is why?
A: Again, no deep or meaningful answer. I learned a simple version of pachabels' canon that week and was mucking around. :)
Q: In 2007 you stepped out of your comfort zone you've been known for and did a Heavy Metal loop entitled (PG) Shards of Burning Metal. You said why you did a Heavy Metal song, my question is will we see more Heavy Metal works from you in the future?
A: HAHA no. Sorry. Well, I dont know. I can't say. If the time comes where creation calls for it in something I'm doing and I cant hire someone, then I'll work on it. I mean, when I made that it was all done on a keyboard, now I actually know some guitar and could do it a lot easier. I'm just not as big of a fan of metal, unless its in a game. I do appreciate the feel it brings when killing people... virtually that is...
Q: You did cover two songs for the Audio Portal. Mad World Cover, which I believe is better than the original song, and February Song cover. Both of these song covers are wonderful, but why did you decide to cover them?
A: When I love a song I learn it, as simple as that. When I learn it well enough I enjoy recording it, and if I like the result I'll share it. I know you hear covers on the piano, lately i'm into regina spektor and learning some other covers on guitar. I may record them when I get the time!
Q: Your next cover Out of my League cover is in my opinion better than the original and it is my favorite song by you. Why did you decide to cover this song and how did it feel singing it?
A: That's an interesting story. I fell in love with a girl and no one knew but me. She showed me that song, its exactly how I felt, so I recorded it to impress her, and almost told her how I felt. It kinda worked coz we ended up together for a while, and we were both crazy in love, but life happens and people change and it didnt last forever, which is OK :)
Q: What can you tell us about your website JAZZA STUDIOS. Are there main members of your studio? Are jobs opened for prominent animators, musicians, artists, voice actors, and writers?
A: Members of Jazza Studios = me. I am the studio. lol. I still get emails asking if my 'studio' would be willing to animate a companies somethingorather and every time I'm like "DUDE, I'M ONE PERSON!" lol. My fault I know. The site was always intended as a personal showcase for my artistic works so it isn't and probably never will be open to public works. Sorry :( but i wouldn't want to even TRY stealing newground's thunder!
Q: What can we expect from Jazza in the near future?
A: Well I'm right back into the world of animation working hard. I'm striving to submit a new flash game or animation every month or two, so you can expect current and flowing content, and for all reviews and PM's to be read and appreciated. unless they a little rude :) Larry will continue coz I have a lot of people I want you to meet, and fun things that are gonna be happening. My website is going through a total makeover where content will flow freely and in a much sharper layout. Oh and I'm recording a demo CD with the intent to get signed by a record label.
Jazza is quite possibly one of the best flash artists of our time and is certainly one of the best singers we've had on here. He is an inspiration to anyone who wants to get into the music business or wants to be a flash animator.