Recalling the funky beats and sonic synths of the late 80s and early 90s on the NES, The Megas have used their electric guitars to transform blips and bloops into face melting rock ballads. Along with these updated rearrangements that include themes for Wood Man, Crash Man, Air Man, and the other foes from Mega Man 2, The Megas have succeeded in injecting their own fondness for the blue bomber through their lyrics. With lines like "welcome to my level / my name is Metal Man / I throw metal blades from my / metal hands," their Get Equipped album is a loving tribute to one of gaming's classic franchises.
Digital Kuroko recently had a conversation with three of the four members of The Megas to get the story about what it's like to create a Mega Man tribute band and how they had so much fun in the process.
While the band got its start after an innocuous road trip to Utah, the group has been busy with live performances around the country and the recent release of the Megatainment EP, a collaborative effort with fellow game band Entertainment System in which The Megas provided vocals to rearranged Mega Man 1 music.
"...We had sort of an unoffical release party for the Megatainment CD at 64-bit Genocide in Baltimore," says Megas guitarist and vocalist Eric von Doymi. "We wrote all the songs and all the vocals in 11 days. The fastest mega writing ever. It was amazing."
"It was the first time we had a deadline that someone was holding us to," laughs fellow Mega Greg Schneider. "We're like we'd really let down this other online slots band and ruin their event if we werent ready."
The Megas are (from left to right): Greg Schneider, Josh Breeding, Eric von Doymi, and Mike Levinson
In addition to concerts and convention performances that have boosted the band's popularity over the past 18 months, a relatively recent submission to video game music site OverClocked Remix also helped push The Megas' popularity around the globe.
"OC Remix was a site that I had found real early in the band and I'd heard like a bunch of really cool, well all kinds of video games, but I really liked a lot of the Mega Man mixes and stuff," Greg says. "But at the same time very few of the tracks had vocals, so I thought like 'I wonder if they would even consider our stuff because it's a lot different...' They have a lot of techno type mixes and not a whole lot of rock in general, which has changed now, there's definitely a lot more rock now. And then I also really liked the idea that there was a panel of people that would listen to your song and vote on whether or not to have it on the site or not."
The success of the OC Remix approval kicked up exposure for the band literally overnight.
Says Greg, "...We discovered the power of OC Remix really quickly because we had released the album like a month, maybe a month and a half or so before, so we had sold a lot at the very beginning and it was starting to trail off. Then I woke up one morning and we'd like sold a bunch of CDs and I was like 'what happened?' and I'm poking around, googling us and found out that we were on the front page of OC Remix. That still remains the number one way people tell us that they've heard about us. And people from all over the place, people from South America and Japan and Sweden they're like 'oh yeah I found you guys on OC Remix.' We want to put another song up there as soon as we have something to put up. That will proabbly be the first place that anyone can get a taste of the Mega Man 3 album once we actually start recording it."
The Megas also flirted with mainstream exposure through a Capcom project that never quite got off the ground.
"We thought it was going to be the coolest thing that ever happened and then didn't," says Eric.
Through a fortuitous meeting at the Capcom booth at Comic Con, the band spoke with Capcom representatives to be part of a collaborative Adam Milstein community production on the Mega Man 9 soundtrack. The project, however, never got past the concept stage.
"I think it ended up not being enough time to get a project of that magnitude together with all the different bands and everything," says Greg. "It just kind of fell through."
Despite the hits and near misses, The Megas are already hard at work on their next album: a CD which will cover the bosses and stages from Mega Man 3. Mega Man X and Mega Man 9 projects are also scheduled for the future. But the band isn't worried about running out of music.
"My dad asks that same question every time: 'now how far can you take this mega man thing?'" says guitarist Josh Breeding. "But there's a million games! And the music is good in all of them!"
"...Just judging off the time it takes us to write... you know we basically could have four albums lined up if we were to do 2, 3, X, and 9," says Greg.
"And that's a pretty sweet band career, you know, four albums," adds Eric.
"We might not get around to all this stuff for like 10 years from now and we'll be a bunch of 40-year-old dudes playing Nintendo music," laughs Greg.