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Hail to the Chief!

Posted in Interview

Hey there, Gametabbers!

Featured in the first of what (I hope) will be many interviews is none other than gametabs.net founder, archard. He touches on everything from site revamps, a new fingerstyle project, some great tabs to check out, archard’s Mario mission, to possibly being a descendant of Uncle Sam. It sounds like he still has big plans for the site, mostly on the side of expansion and improvement. Read on and gain some insight into the site you love! Thanks again, archard.

1) Congratulations (again) on three years! At the very least, you've reached your initial goal of becoming the definitive site for game tablature. Where do you see the site going from here? I understand you are in the process of brainstorming revamps to the anime section. At this moment in time, what are you leaning toward doing with that part of the site?

Thank you, very much. Moving forward, I want to take this site to the next level. I want it to be up there with OCReMix as far as popular video game music related sites go. I have been toying with the idea of expanding the site to be a more generalized video game music appreciation site, much like OCReMix is. But, Game Tabs has very specific niche that I don't want to abandon. So it's going to be tricky.

One thing I'd like to do is incorporate an analog to songmeanings.net within the site. For those that don't know, people on songmeanings.net post their personal interpretations of the meanings of various songs. I think video game music is uniquely suited for personal interpretation, and I would love it if there could be some platform where users could explain what the songs mean to them in their own minds.

You mentioned the revamps to the anime section. I have been doing a lot of thinking about that. To be honest, I originally never wanted to include anime tabs in the site, but my friend who is a big anime fan insisted that I make a section for it when I first started the site. Anime music is similar to video game music, but it's definitely not the same thing. To me, anime soundtracks are like any other movie soundtracks. They share a common bond with video game music though, because there is a cultural overlap between both the composers and the listeners. That's where my motivation to revamp the anime section comes from. I want to separate it from the video game tabs. I originally thought about making an entirely new site just for the anime tabs (I even bought animetabs.net), but I didn't want to create a rift in the community. If I can find a way to keep the sites separate, but keep the community intact, then I might do that. But I'm not sure if it's doable. I'll have to think about it some more.

Right now I am just focusing on improving the site in every way possible. I've been making tons of little improvements under the hood lately that are neccesary to take the site to the next level.

2) The debate seems to be plaguing this place: nylon or steel for you? Any brand of strings in particular?

I have mixed opinions about this. I used to swear by steel strings, but recently I bought a classical guitar and I love the sound from the nylon strings. On one hand I love the sustain and brightness of steel, but on the other hand I love the clarity and warmth of the nylon. My goal as a guitarist has been for awhile now to be on the level of guys like Andy McKee, Don Ross, Tommy Emmanuel, and Antoine DuFour. All their music pretty much requires steel strings to play, and that's why I've always sort of leaned to the steel string side. Right now I can't play anyting that 'requires' steel strings. So for the time being I am on the nylon side. But that will probably change in the future. As far as general sound quality goes, I like nylon better.

I'm a newbie to nylon, so I don't really have a preference yet. For steel strings, I never payed much attention to the type of strings I used. I normally used Martin's.

3) What kinds of guitars do you own? If you can choose, which is your favorite? Do you play any other instruments?

I have 3 guitars. One electric - a Les Paul Black Beauty, and two acoustics - an Epiphone steel string, and an Orpheus Valley classical. I don't play electric guitar at all anymore, so I haven't touched the Les Paul for years. The Orpheus
Valley is by far my favorite. It has such a beautiful tone, and feels great to play.

I started learning the harmonica recently, and I can play a little piano. I'm also planning on getting an ocarina soon. But guitar is the only instrument that I have any real talent on.

4) When you sit down for the first time in a day to hit the strings, what do you play as a warm-up?

Lately I've been playing parts of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" when I first pick up the guitar. I usually play something random though, or make something up.

5) Are you working on learning any tabs in particular right now?

I'm trying to master Kabukibear's Birth of a God right now. I've also been playing mostly all the lonlonjp tabs that have been coming in lately thanks to natenmn. I really like the Sleepless City Treno, FFV Battle Theme, Rebel Army Theme, and Cait Sith's Theme.

My problem is that I can't focus on one tab at a time long enough to master it. I always find something else that interests me and start learning that one.

6) Who is your favorite game music composer? If not one, then who are your top few?

I'm going to give the cliche answer and pick Nobuo Uematsu. I grew up with Final Fantasy VI - X, and the songs made for those games are a part of my soul that will never leave.

7) What are you working on tabbing right now? And why did you choose to tab it/them?

I have not tabbed anything in a long time, and I rarely have time to tab anything these days. But right now I'm working on a fingerstyle arrangement of Gangplank Galleon from Donkey Kong Country for the SNES Fingerstyle project. The song is just wicked, and I'd love a nice fingerstyle arrangement for it.

8) Moving on the "game" part of the name, what consoles do you own? Which do you still play?

I still have my NES, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, as well as a Wii and a DS. I play Wii and DS with my little brother sometimes when I'm at my parent's house, and I play some NES games with my roomate when I'm at my apartment. That's about it though. I don't really play video games much anymore, I just don't have the time.

9) What game are you playing right now?

I don't have a specific game I'm playing right now... like I said, I don't really have time to play games like I used to. My roomate and I are currently on a mission to beat a bunch of old NES games we have laying around. Particularly, we are trying to beat Super Mario Brothers 1, 2 and 3 in one sitting, without getting a game over.

10) Pick one game that could sum up your life. =)

Super Mario Brothers 2. Most of the time, it just doesn't make any sense.

11) WILD CARD! Tell us something interesting. =D

According to my grandmother, 'Uncle Sam', the guy on those old 'I WANT YOU FOR US ARMY' posters is my great, great, great, great, great grandfather. I always thought it was just a personification, but apparently the guy who posed for the poster is a real person. I don't remember his name.

(Editor’s Note: His name was Samuel Wilson, and he supplied beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812.)

Thanks for reading,

MTM (Brandon)