We like video games, we like playing video games, and more often than not, you like the sound track to your video games. Bet you a dollar you have Skyrim’s opening theatric score on your playlist, or maybe a Tetris remix; I’m willing to venture you may have the opening tunes to your favorite anime on that playlist, or even a few songs from your favorite movie- that’s how much you like your video game and geek themed music.
Geektrum is proud to present to you: Folklore, a music guild based out of San Diego, CA.
Below is our interview with Angel Mannion (AKA Merlin; yeah, you read that right) the Artistic Director of Folklore.
Geektrum: We’re pretty excited about Folklore, but for all our newcomers, tell us what IS Folklore?
Angel: Folklore is a professional music ensemble dedicated to performing film, video game, and classical music at a high level and in great spaces. We currently have 40 voices, all under 30- who are either singing professionally and or studying voice in school. In the near future we will be putting together an orchestral component under the same scheme.
Geektrum: Basically, I get to hear 40 awesomely trained vocalists sing the Assasin’s Creed theme, live?
Angel: Yes, for now. When our budget gets a little bigger, we’ll add an orchestra component to do all the big works we really want to do. But currently we’ve got some amazing talent from all over San Diego County.
Geektrum: Geek moment aside, tell us what you hope to accomplish with Folklore.
Angel: We aim to bring an older audience together with a younger one in acoustics that might seem foreign to a younger generation. Cathedrals, art spaces, and large train stations are frequently used in the classical world but most popular music is either listened to online or pumped through sound systems in dry venues. We want to provide young listeners with an opportunity to hear their favorite scores in a reverberant and rewarding space.
Geektrum: I’ll admit, my playlist consists of many different tracks from quite a bit of video games. I’ve gone to the Video Game concert and even the Final Fantasy concerts, but if it wasn’t for the obvious geek theme, the chances of me going to see a classical concert and pretty nil. Why should I go see Folklore?
Angel: I agree, and I was with you up until only to a few years ago when I found classical pieces that I enjoyed. Your typical 30 year old male would rather spend $80 on a Charger ticket than $30 on a concert that he won’t understand. But, if he likes video games- he might be inclined to go see one of his favorite soundtracks being played live in a good space. If we can get him to come to a concert, we can program complimentary epic classical pieces to introduce him to a whole new world and hopefully influence a few people to become junkies like us.
Geektrum: I take it you’re the grand wizard behind Folklore. What made you decide to make this music guild?
Angel: I had made the decision that I wanted to apply for grad school in choral conducting, but knew that I needed more experience…I craved more of a challenge. I’ve always loved film and video game scores. I think they were the perfect introduction to instrumental music for me. After singing for video game concerts for San Diego Comic Con the past few years, it’s been hard not to take notice to how many people I related to in the audience. They were excited to hear the music they heard over and over on an 16bit sound card via Super Nintendo, played by a professional orchestra. The fans that go to these shows are completely different than the ones we are used to seeing at a classical concert. They’re young, they’re dressed up in costumes, they’re excited to hear things, and they are extremely vocal about it. They don’t care if it is being amplified outside on a stage, they just love this music. I think this genre deserves to be taken more seriously in our practice. One day in late December (2013), I had an idea in the shower of starting a group that played this music in cathedral type spaces.
Geektrum: I’m obsessing over your guild’s name; how did you decide on the name?
Angel: At first I was going to call the group “Dragon;” but after some thought and pitching it to people, I decided that it was too cliche’. I wanted to call it something exotic without people finding it ridiculous. Folklore was my second idea because I grew up idolizing Robin Hood and became obsessed with folk songs in college. Plus, it leaves the door open for us to do all types of music whether it be sacred or secular. Everything can fall under the umbrella of Folklore.
Geektrum: What makes Folklore different from other performing choirs?
Angel:Inside of Folklore we use monikers taken from mythological and literary repertoire. Our sopranos are called sirens, altos are alchemists, troubadors are tenors, and basses are blacksmiths. Bards and Mermaids are used for splits for baritones and mezzos. We have monikers on a personal level as well (Merlin for example. This is to create a new world that we can step in once a rehearsal or a performance starts. The monk robes that we are raising money for are a big component of the fantasy scheme.
Geektrum: Monk robes? I’m digging this! But why monk robes?
Angel: The robes are to reflect our roots in Gregorian chant and to provide a visual aspect of performance that a new generation is craving. We’ll have four different colors of robes pertaining to each section, so the possibility of color formation is rather endless with 40 voices. We also want to sing for Renaissance Fairs so they’ll help us fit in a little bit easier. We realize how easy we’ve made it to seem like a gimmick, but we’re taking all of the steps necessary to avoid being cheesy. You won’t see us doing any pop a cappella covers in the robes; we’ll let other choirs tackle that genre much better.
Geektrum: Monk robes are approved! Tell us what kind of pieces do you plan on performing that will fit with Folklore’s image and musical style?
Angel: Music from the Batman movies, Back the Future, Lord of the Rings, Halo, Skyrim, Shenmue, and Street Fighter, are a few examples. We will be performing these pieces in new arrangements; so fans will hear their favorite themes in a different way that’s usually performed. We’ll be doing classical works by composers like Tallis, Bairstow, and Elgar. We’ll also do original arrangements of songs by our favorite indie bands.
Geektrum: Any upcoming concerts we can catch Folklore at?
Angel: Our first concert is programmed for August 2nd (2014) at St. Andrew’s by the Sea in Pacific Beach, CA.
Geektrum: Can you give us any hint about what Folklore will be performing there?
Angel: Our debut gaming piece will be a choral arrangement based on the themes of Bowser’s Castle from Super Mario World. The arranger of this, Rozen, is an up and coming video game composer that just moved to Irvine after graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston and just finished “Harmony of Heroes”- a fan made score of the music from the Super Smash Bros games.
Geektrum: It’s safe to say you have my musical geek’s attention and I’m very interested in seeing Folklore live. Tell us how, we can help.
Angel: Like I mentioned earlier, we’re raising money for monk robes! We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign that ends on June 19th. If we don’t raise $5000 through the website, everyone’s donations will be cancelled and we’ll have to start back at square one. So even if it’s five dollars, everything helps us get closer to that goal. We have some interesting incentives including commissioned artwork and a private concert if you live in San Diego.
And there you have it Geek Nation, a look into Folklore. Below you’ll find link’s to their Kickstarter, (help them get those epic monk robes!), checkout their Facebook -be sure to give them a like- and drop by Folklore’s website for all their latest news.