It looks like the duo of Player: Piano, Sonya Belousova and Tom Grey, are at it again. This time the pair have released a new video showing off their skills with a new Super Mario Bros. medley. The over three minute video contains tracks from the original Mario Bro. video game and is played on a piano that looks exactly like an original Nintendo Entertainment System.
To kick things off, the video sets the mood by opening up with the original game’s theme song. Then it goes into something that many other cover videos do not. While the second track in the video is the music heard while underground, Belousova adds a few different twists on the track. It’s little things like these that makes Player:Piano fun to watch and listen to.
Of course, a Super Mario Bros. medley isn’t complete until you include the underwater theme music. To top things off, Belousova ends things with the end level song along with fireworks and a flag. As a very touching tribute, the video was dedicated to the late Saturo Iwata, the late President of Nintendo who passed away recently earlier this month.
Interestingly enough, this video was shot before the passing of Iwata. To find out more, Boston Games Examiner was able to touch base with Grey for a small Q&A. Discussed were their reaction to Iwata’s passing, choosing which songs for the medley, and that piano.
Boston Games Examiner: This latest video was dedicated to the late Saturo Iwata. Can you tell me the story of your initial reactions when you found out and how it inspired the both of you?
Tom: We were in the studio recording several tracks for our 8-bit album when we first heard the news of Iwata’s passing. It was devastating that someone who was so influential to so many passed at such a young age. Obviously we didn’t know him personally, but from all of his public appearances he seemed like such a joyful man who was genuinely excited by videogames and the fans who played them. Though this video was originally conceived as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Brothers and Iwata may not have had a direct contribution to the original game, it seemed appropriate that we included a dedication to the man who steered Mario’s home for more than a decade.
BGE: Can you share the story of how you chose the songs to be included in the medley and why?
Tom: One of the most exciting parts of our process is when we first sit down to choose the songs to arrange. Both composer/pianist Sonya Belousova and I come in with wildly different viewpoints and motivations in picking the tracks. In the case of Super Mario Bros, I am a child of the 80s who was in that first generation to experience the Nintendo Entertainment System. For me, there is an incredible nostalgia associated with all of these themes and so my motivations in picking tracks rely heavily on what songs i as a fan want to hear. On the other hand, Sonya approaches it from the viewpoint of a composer and pianist. As the one who actually has to arrange and perform the piece, she has the challenge of choosing the tracks that are the most “pianistic” and will work best together musically. Ultimately we decided on the main theme, underground theme, underwater theme, and finished it with the flag theme, as those not only flowed well together musically, they are among the most recognizable themes in the game.
BGE: What’s the story behind the piano and what will happen to it now that the video has been shot?
Tom: The Nintendo Piano is actually the 3rd custom piano we’ve built for our videos. The first was the Kaneda Piano that we built for our Akira video, and the second was the awesome arcade/pinball piano that we built for our Tetris and Street Fighter videos. Since we were producing an album of classic NES themes, I wanted to create a piano that paid homage to the 8-bit era i grew up in. A Nintendo-styled Piano seemed like such a crazy idea at first, but when production designer Megan Burns came up with the first concept drawing, we knew it was perfect. The added addition of the controller bench and the RCA cables was the icing on the cake.
As far as what will happen to it, first we have a couple of more videos we’d like to make with it, but ultimately we are planning to give it away to one of our subscribers after the channel hits one million subscribers. We gave away our last two custom pianos as part of our channel launching IndieGoGo campaign, so making these insane pianos and giving them away to our fans has become a tradition at Player Piano.
For more information, as well as ways to get their music, check out their website at www.playerpianomusic.com.