Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Music/Art: Interview with Multi-talented Daryl Banner (music/writing/theater)

Today we will find out a little more about Daryl Banner, a true artist with multiple talents, who I had the pleasure of meeting in person during the Houston Authors Bash. Although I met Daryl as a writer, I found out he also makes music, so I thought it would be great to explore this side of his creative personality! Let's get to know him!

Daryl, tell us about you, where are you from and what is your background? 

I’m from Texas and have lived here my whole life (i.e. I’m immune to heat and can withstand the fury of four seasons that span a single day)

I have a degree in Theatre and Psychology from the University of Houston where my primary focus was acting and writing. While there, I penned several plays, two of which were selected from hundreds to be produced as part of the Edward Albee Playwright Festival, mentored by the late and great Lanford Wilson, who gave me some seriously awesome advice that I still employ to this day. I also was part of the Stuart Ostrow Musical Collaboration in 2006 where I wrote book, lyrics, and music for “The Walker-Through-Walls”, a quirky comedy-musical about a man who discovers he can walk through walls.

Let's focus on your musical talent! What music genre do you consider yourself to be? Do you have a favorite composer/musician, who has influenced your style?

I don’t think there’s a way to put myself into a genre, even with my books. I cross genres even with my music. Just like a game’s soundtrack, my music will be classical, and also somehow steam punk rock, head-mashing industrial, flittering into a techno spin, then finally ending in some digital mess of ethereal gospel. Seriously, I can’t pin what I do. But it’s sure fun!

I have many favorites. In terms of musicals and theatre, Sondheim inspires me like no other. Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda are my primary influences for video game music (as I’m sure they are for countless other composers in the world) as well as Koji Kondo and his legacy of Zelda and Mario music, which hold permanent residence in my head. Tori Amos taught me to love the piano, Ani DiFranco to focus anger and injustice into poetry, and Björk to be free and never say “no” to an idea. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is also a big influence to me, his ‘technician’ approach to building music. Also, randomly, I like to attribute some of my artistic approach to Bob Ross. Seriously. Yeah, I know, he was a painter, but I think music and writing work a lot like a canvas, and he opened my eyes to a—dare I call it—way of conveying art.

Video game songs definitely sound like fun! I was listening to your YouTube channel and you have remixed lots of favorite songs of mine, including DM’s Personal Jesus! So creative and original! How did you have this idea, and what was the first song you experimented with?

I’ve been a huge gamer ever since I was a kid! Video game music has inspired me my whole life, ever since Zelda, and Metroid, and Final Fantasy … It’s shaped a lot of my own taste for music. I’ve seen a lot of Nintendo 8-bit renditions of songs, but to me, there wasn’t any creativity to them; it seemed more like they were pumped through a machine. I see my remixes more as “covers” of my favorite songs using only 8-bit instruments where a lot of creative liberty is taken. I’ve even remixed full albums, including two Garbage albums, Tori Amos’ From The Choirgirl Hotel, as well as Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. I think the very first songs I attacked in this 8-bit style were Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and a triplet of Lady Gaga tunes.

Is there a specific target audience for your music?

I have to say 80s-90s born gamers will certainly click with my style, even in my novels and writing. We come from a time when computers were just gaining speed, video game systems were evolving at the speed of crazy, and we didn’t yet have phones to "zombify" us in our formative years. But in truth, I kinda like sticking to this impossible idealist hope that my music could reach anyone.

Don't lose hope, after all, music is the universal language! What are your plans for the future as a musician?

I’m planning to perform in a 3-person comedic trilogy of musicals that will be touring around the country this year and next. I collaborate with the other writers with lyrics, ideas … In fact, I’ve written an original piece that will be performed in our newest show. I play a character within the show and also double as the pianist/accompanist and sing.

Good luck! I'm sure it will be a success! And since you’re both a musician and a writer, which do you consider to be your primary artistic skill?

I don’t consider either. I think of them like the same thing: I’m a storyteller. Even in music, I look at it like telling a story, a feeling, a person. 

What is the biggest difference between composing songs and writing novels in your experience?

One’s a feast for your eyes, the other a feast for your ears, and the both a feast for your soul.  =)

Excellent answer! And is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your talents?

When my “Hyper 8-bit” remixes were gaining popularity, I made an original video game soundtrack to an imaginary game called “Hyper 8-Bit World” and posted it on Bandcamp “http://darylbanner.bandcamp.com/” In the near future, I think I may do a few other “themed” imaginary video game soundtracks, since a lot of people seemed to take kindly to the first one. If you enjoy the “Nintendo” sound, these tunes never get old =)
Let us know where we can find your music and books!

Other than my Facebook where I post everything (www.facebook.com/DarylBannerWriter) you can find my music on these websites:

You can find my books here:

I also sell signed copies directly. All you have to do is pay a little extra for shipping and have a Pay Pal or credit card (I use Square)

Some YouTube links to my more popular Hyper 8-Bit Nintendo remixes:

Tori Amos’s “From The Choirgirl Hotel” full album remixed:

Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” full album remixed:

Garbage’s “Version 2.0” full album remixed:

Garbage’s debut album fully remixed:

Thank you so much for your time and for sharing your work with us! We wish you good luck and success in your artistic future! 


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