VGM #87: Megalovania

Alright, now that its official I can talk more about it. When Rich and I knew that we were gonna do The Purple Side, I knew I was going to have to cover this song. And I knew I couldn't just do it straight. I decided to not commit to any one idea, and just let the song simmer, messing around with it from time to time on different instruments. 

The first idea I got for the song was a slow burn, Mogwai influenced, post-rock cover. I was playing piano and working slower, sadder chords, under the main hook lick at a much slower tempo really felt like something I could work with.

But a few days later I started fiddling around with augmenting that main melody, and landed on a pattern that was in 11/8. I messed around a LOT with figuring out if I could make 11 work for this song. I really didn't want to overcomplicate the time signature, just to overcomplicate it. I knew that if I were gonna do it, it had to groove. 

Then, about a week before I was gonna start tracking this song I was fiddling with my Voyager, playing around again with that main lick. I got this more repetitive, almost industrial feeling bass line out of it. I felt like it could work really well.

And then it dawned on me...why not do all three?

I didn't want to just overcomplicate things to say, "oh look how long and crazy this is!" There needed to be a through line, a philosophical artistic reason for doing so. As I worked on it, I started with the conceit that this was gonna be the final boss music Sans deserves. Yeah, Megalovania is cool, but think about epics like "Dancing Mad" or "One Winged Angel". That was the kind of epic songwriting that I wanted to, at least spiritually capture with this three movement arrangement. 

As I went on, it started to make more and more sense. The song starts loud and bombastic, pulling in that hype that is connected with the original theme, while giving it some of that groovy syncopation my more upbeat covers have been known to employ. Jules really rocked the "Industrial" vibe I asked from him, and I love the tones out of his leads. 

Then the story takes a turn. As you fight and fight, the motivation to keep going on gets more muddy and confusing. Things get messy, off beat. Asymmetrical.  You are left in Movement II, in this Radiohead inspired 11/8 electrohaze. Peter actually arranged that melody in 11. I am so happy with how he did it. The most important part, was even though this is uneven and at times confusing and unsettling, it always had to groove. Its the way to make weird time signatures not sound like showing off. I had a lot of fun expanding my knowledge of the push 2 on this one. I also got to use my library of 808 noises in a video, finally. 

Finally, we get to the final movement. Originally an "epic post-rock build" this quickly became more of a slow burn into the sun, as my collaborators parts came in. Ryans horns were the perfect texture for this track. I need to work with that guy more. I feel like we could make some seriously killer stuff together. My best friend, and long term collaborator, Kyle was the one who really re-directed my focus from a big, bombastic build to a more chill, but still building hazy burnout. His guitar just lent itself more to the inspirations of Hammock over something like Explosions in the Sky. Ultimately, it worked perfectly for that heartbreaking, lonely feeling of having nowhere to go. Of being stuck with the weight of all the decisions you have made, and having no choice but to finish what you started. 

I hope you enjoyed this aural and emotional journey through re-thinking Undertale music. Purple side comes out Saturday.

Thank you all so much for your continued support!

-Ace Waters 

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