Published on November 27th, 2010.
Please consider this interview is a Google translation from French, so it may be imperfect with several mistakes.
Hi Jumpman! Thank you for participating in the life of my blog by letting you ask. First, who are you and why this nickname?
So I’m called Jumpman, I am passionate about video games, especially retro-gaming and Nintendo. That explains a bit my nickname: Jumpman is the former name of Mario, at the time of his first appearance. I like games that make you dream, original concepts, games that offer a rich and innovative gameplay, that give a whole new experience. I do not spend lot of time in gaming, but I do tons of things to satisfy my passion. I even worked as a programmer for a major video game publisher! Otherwise, as you know, I arrange video games music for my instruments and I make videos I put on the web.
Where did you get this talent for music? Learning, or a gift?
It’s a bit of both at once. I was put into music when I was a child (around 6 or 7 years) because it was obvious that I had a good ear for music. So I started studying music theory and guitar at that age. It continued for a good ten years. At school, I learned to play the recorder, just like every student, but after that I continued to learn on my own. I enjoyed arranging songs I heard on the radio, on CDs, songs I liked…
Where did you get the idea of arranging music from your favorite games?
I’ve always enjoyed reproducing music that I like. As I am a video games fan, this idea came naturally. One day I decided to arrange Super Mario Bros theme on my guitar, and I posted it on my old site where I was used to uploading music videos for songs that I liked. It was visited by very few people passing by. Later, YouTube appeared, and we began to see videos of game musicians. I took out my first two videos (Mario Bros 1 and 2) to put them on YouTube and I began to have success. But it is particularly when I posted my self duets (guitar + recorder together) that my popularity went up.
How do you make your videos, especially what are you editing tools for synchronization?
Well it’s simple. I record the two parts separately, and I listen to the first one while I play the second one for synchronization. Then I assemble them with QuickTime Player, or if I need to make more complex arrangements (such as the "orchestral" Spirit Tracks video) I use iMovie or Final Cut.
How long does that take you to make a video?
It all depends on the video. Some were made in an hour, including preparation. This is the case of my first self duet that was rather easy. Others require weeks of transcription, arrangement or instrumental practice. My arrangement of Super Mario Bros. 2, for example, is quite hard, as well as my flute arrangement of Zelda’s Twinrova.
How did you make yourself known? Do you have fans?
As I said (but you don’t listen! :p) I’m known from YouTube originally, that’s where I can express my passion and people naturally came, I really appreciated. Then I started to publish them of Jeux-France.com, and that’s why I started to have a French audience. I was amazed at the number of positive feedback, and that’s what encouraged me to continue. At first I was not expecting much and I did not think I would produce as many videos! I have a few fans, starting with those who subscribed to my videos. But I haven’t got big-headed and I’ve made some friends of them.
We often see you in duet with Robinhood, who is he?
Robinhood is a friend I met in a summer camp and he’s quite a talented musician. He studied music at the conservatory, now he has reached a quite exceptional level and it’s not finished! He is a big Nintendo fan, and that’s also why we became friends. As he liked reproducing music from his favorite games on piano, I suggested him to make videos too. So he opened a YouTube channel and posted a few arrangements. Later we began to make some duets.
Some of your videos appeared on big American websites. How do you feel about that?
Well, it’s very fun! The first time I was surprised, but it must be said that the site GoNintendo would often look for interesting stuff on Jeux-France.com, and that’s how they ended up talking about me! Then, thanks to mouth-to-mouth and some editors who noticed me, my videos appear on various sites, and it’s really cool. Now my arrangements are not just for my personal pleasure, but also for making other people happy!
Where can I see your videos? A website perhaps, or an account with YouTube, Wat, Dailymotion or another?
Our site is "Jumpman and Robinhood’s Domain", at http://jumpman.free.fr I invite you to check it out, we put all our videos there, although lately it has not been updated much… Otherwise of course we’re both on YouTube and Dailymotion (JumpmanFR, RobinhoodFR)
What will your next video?
Ah! I’m preparing some new stuff, but I will not tell you what it is! I prefer to keep it secret, and I’m not sure to make them actually, it depends on my mood and if I find a better idea by then. For now I have a very busy life so I’m not sure of always being productive!
Finally, do you intend to go on stage or anything like that someday?
It would be nice. I already am used to performing in public (even if it was not video game music), and I always enjoyed those moments. I almost had the opportunity to go on stage at Video Games Live concert twice, as a reward for a contest they were making. Unfortunately I missed the first place, but I came close to winning so maybe it will happen one day! In the meantime I continue to have fun with my videos, it’s just fine.
Thank Jumpman for answering all my questions and see you soon!