Gaming Today Q&A: Jupiter One on Their Musical Contributions to Burnout, Madden, FIFA, and NHL

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These days, great music and video games seem to go hand in hand. There are of course the more obvious examples like the soundtracks for the Guitar Hero games and Rock Band, but in recent years it seems many sports titles have provided an opportunity for lesser-known bands to gain a fresh audience. One such band is Jupiter One.

If you’ve played an EA sports title in the past few months, odds are you’ve heard at least one of their songs. Named after a supposedly ill-fated spaceship from the Lost in Space TV show, this New York-based band has made a name for themselves with their energetic indie style. Their tracks appeared in a hat trick of popular games in the past few months, including Madden 08, FIFA 08, and NHL 08. Now that Burnout Paradise will also be including one of their songs, we thought we’d ask them a few questions about what it’s like to have their music served up with video games.

jupiteronealbum1-1.jpgGT: Your bio says you used to play instrumental shows with kung fu flicks playing behind you. How did you come up with that idea? Is there a different sort of energy at your shows now that you’ve incorporated lyrics?

There were, I think, three visual artists that synced up images to tracks that we created and played behind us. This was so the images and music would match. Kung fu stuff was just one of the ideas that played on the screen. Grandaddy, Flaming Lips and many more have done interesting films to play along with. Now that we have lyrics, I think it might take more thought to create the films to play. Or less. Who knows. Maybe we should call up those girls who made them in the first place!

GT: How did Jupiter One end up getting tapped for the Burnout Paradise soundtrack?

Steve Schnur is an avid listener, always searching for new music, and heard our album a few months ago. Lucky for us, he’s also the head Music Supervisor at EA responsible for placing music. Steve loved the album and really gets behind us as songwriters.

GT: For that matter, how did you get tapped for Fifa 08, Madden 08, and NHL 08?

Again, all Steve. He’s a big fan of what we’re doing in music and wanted to bring that to EA. He feels that FIFA, NHL, and Madden are all high quality games that deserve high art. We’re just happy to be one of the bands he feels so strongly about. When you think about it, Steve really took a chance with us. HE would never say that, but these games are widely popular and played by the harshest and most honest critics the world has ever known. TEENAGERS! If you ever want an honest opinion about something, ask a kid. They only say what they feel….it’s great! So take Madden Football, for example. Here’s a game played by millions of people (adults included) and the soundtrack is a huge part. Most of the bands are on Billboard charts or something, but here’s Jupiter One. A new band from New York City that JUST released it’s first album. A LOT of people have no idea who we are, but Steve loved the music and wanted us included. We’ve gotten really great feedback from the gamers, so were happy with the way it all turned out.

2a_1-1.jpgGT: Did you have any say in which songs were included in the games? If so, what made you choose those songs?

No. EA has a really great team of music supervisors that, after meeting us, seeing us live, and hearing the album, really handle the exclusive selection of all music for the games on their own. We got a chance to meet the whole team after our last L.A. show and it’s cool to see how passionate they are about music. They put a lot of care into what the EA gamers would like to hear.

GT: Do you think having your music in games exposes many more people to your music that might not otherwise learn about you?

Absolutely. Just go to our “Countdown” Music Video on YouTube! You’ll see that most every comment on there is from a Madden ’08 fan….haha. It’s crazy!

GT: Other than extra exposure, are there any added perks to having your music in games?

Yes. Now our friends from back home FINALLY think we’re cool…haha. We could’ve sold out Madison Square Garden for a week straight, but that wouldn’t matter to them. Now that our songs are in Madden and FIFA??? NOW they’re impressed….

4a_1-31.jpgGT: Are you guys big gamers yourselves? What do you play during your downtime?

We do like to play on occasion, but an 8 year old could humiliate us. We just mess around on FIFA and Madden…and yes…just because we’re on those :)

GT: Any future projects in the works already?

With EA, we have this Burnout Paradise game coming out, but as far as the band is concerned…We’re about to play our first show of of the year in NYC at Bowery Ballroom and then head out on the road again in February. We’ve got A LOT more music to record so we’ll be doing that in between touring. We love the road and playing for new faces, so that’s what 2008 is gonna be about.

If you’d like to hear a little something from Jupiter One, you should check out Fire Away, their track from the Burnout Paradise soundtrack. You can download it from FileFront right here.

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