I had the great opportunity to have a conversation with Rowan “DRTsorak” of the group Viva La Dirt League (VLDL). Rowan is the lead singer for Viva La Dirt League, a New Zealand based Starcraft 2 themed boyband that creates epic music / music videos and other entertaining and often hilarious gaming related content. DRTsorak also has a solo project titled “Rhythmic Gamer” where he currently creates Minecraft themed music / music videos.

From L to R: James aka @DRTkoopzilla, Alan aka @DRTfootman, Barnaby aka @DRTpain, Stephen aka @nOOber, Rowen aka @DRTsorak

@Nikeagogo: Thanks for chatting with us today Rowan!
Let’s start by learning about you. Can you tell the Anook community a little about yourself as a musician and a gamer?

@DRTsorak: Fo show
Okay well first and foremost I'm an actor. I've done a total of four years studying performing arts.1 year at the Hagley theatre company and 3 years at Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School.

I've always sung and performed since I was at high school, and in recent years I started singing a lot of parody songs just for fun.

Gaming is part of my DNA. I have always been FASCINATED by games since I was about 10, and now 19 years later it's pretty much my main pleasure in life.

@Nikeagogo: Excellent! What are your all time favorite games?

@DRTsorak: Okay this is a tough question. I'll list a few that stand out:
* Starcraft obviously. I used to play Starcraft 1 with DRTnOOber (@nOOber) when I was in high school (we've been friends since we were 7).
And Starcraft 2 is simply the most elegant RTS that has ever been made. It's so well balanced yet so diverse.
* Star Wars Jedi Academy. That game used to thrill me to the core. Not sure why, just did.
* Star Wars Republic Commando. A really new mechanic where you worked as a team with 3 other AI. You could be the last one left standing with enemies pouring in and then JUST manage to revive a teammate before you then fell. And then he would revive you and...it was living life on the edge.
* Prototype. Just amazing. Flying round being a bauss.
* Crysis. that games graphics still stand up.
* Oh yeah and DEAD SPACE!
That would be some highlights

@Nikeagogo: Tell us about Viva La Dirt League. How did you get started, who is involved, and how much fun is it (because you guys make it look like it is super fun)?

@DRTsorak: Viva La Dirt League originally started as a facebook group that @DRTkoopzilla started (I think). It was basically just a page where us mates could get together to talk about Starcraft and organize games, etc.

I had been making a lot of parody songs about lots of random shit with Byron. I wrote and recorded 'Eight Pool' just for shits and giggles. And the guys really liked it, so we discussed actually making a music video.

It was really only for fun at that stage. So I organized some locations at my girlfriend's father's sound studio and storage shed. Alan and Hamish flew up to Auckland. Alan brought his Film Camera (Alan aka @DRTfootman studied at film school and is a director in real life) so it was perfect.

Shot it ,uploaded it and it proved to be really successful. The rest is kind of history I guess. Originally it was Alan, Stephen, Hamish, Barnaby, James and myself. We had Byron as part of the team for a while.

To be completely honest it used to be more fun before we got partnered and money entered the equation. Money makes things complicated.

It's still a lot of fun, but there are a lot more serious discussions these days. I guess we all realized that it could potentially become something we could make a living off. Dividing by 7 people makes that kind of impossible.

At one stage we had 7 members. We have a much smaller number now, and we seem to be a bit more cohesive.

@Nikeagogo: In the Viva La Dirt League music videos, you are also responsible for creating the game footage. What goes into creating the game footage, and how long does it take?

@DRTsorak: Getting game footage used to be fairly easy. If you look at out first few videos it is literally just playing the game so you get the action sequence you want, and then recording the replay accordingly. You can see the interface and everything.

The next stage of the game footage evolution was realizing that you could get rid of most of the interface in the replay.

Finally Barnaby learned some basic skills in the Map editor and taught me. The map editor is not very user friendly. But that's basically how we get 90% of the game footage now. You can create some really interesting stuff with the map editor.

The best thing is that you can make it look really cinematic with smooth camera movements that pan around and zoom in and out etc. But also fiddling with the game mechanics like getting marines to spew out barracks etc.
It's very time consuming though. You have to make sure everything is perfect and then play the map and manually control the camera to pre-sets while recording it with fraps.

@Nikeagogo: How about the game footage dance sequences...was that complicated to do?

@DRTsorak: Dance was originally done by typing in /dance in game and then watching the replay but now I can get it in the map editor. In the map editor you have to select a group and put them on a recurring dance command. The problem is that each unit dances one of it's set moves randomly and independently so it's a process of waiting for the perfect moment when all 5 units are dancing in unison while camera is moving how you want it to.

@Nikeagogo: What is your favorite music video you have done so far for VLDL and why?

@DRTsorak: Um I think my favourite music video would be Eight Pool. Both to shoot and to watch. The shoot was all about just having fun. And that shows in the video. We're just clowning around. I also really like how simple and effective the lyrics are. It's really clear EXACTLY what that song is about lol.

(It's about doing an 8 pool)

8 Pool music video on YouTube

@Nikeagogo: Heh....My favorite is care about bronze :)

@DRTsorak: Yeah CAB was the one that got us noticed.

Care about Bronze music video on YouTube

That's when Husky messaged us.

@Nikeagogo: What did the majestic Husky have to say to you guys?

@DRTsorak: To be honest when he contacted us it BLEW OUR MINDS.

He basically said that he really liked our videos and that he would like to join us up with TGS. I think he's a part owner/founder of TGS.

@Nikeagogo: So you joined up I assume? :)

@DRTsorak: But of course!

@Nikeagogo: Your YouTube channel for Viva La Dirt League now features multiple shows, included “Dirty Starcraft” that was formerly featured on your other channel, “VivaLaDERPLeague.” How would you describe “Dirty Starcraft” to new viewers?

@DRTsorak: Dirty Starcraft is dedicated to experimenting on Bronze League Lab Rats. So it's a series about trying A: Cheese tactics and B: Crazy weird tactics.

We've decided to start releasing a lot more of that kind of content on DIRT. Just because we were getting a little bit precious about ONLY having really high quality content on DIRT. And we were suffering on a lack of content.

There's bound to be some people who ONLY want us to release music videos, but I hope that the majority of people enjoy more content.

Dirty Starcraft video on YouTube

@Nikeagogo: You mentioned that you are releasing more content. What other shows are on the Viva La Dirt channel, or are soon to be that you are excited about?

@DRTsorak: So we have:
* Fern Terms (Fun Times)
* Dirty Starcraft
We're hoping to start doing:
* Some HoTS playt-hroughs
* Alan may be doing quest to Diamond league
* Plus we're gonna release more Bloopers and Behind the Scenes

Fern Terms video on YouTube

@Nikeagogo: Let’s talk about your YouTube channel, “RhythmicGamer.” You make these clever cover songs about Minecraft. Tell us about it!

@DRTsorak: Rhythmicgamer is my personal channel about Minecraft. It's basically a place where I can have full creative control over my own content and channel, etc.

I'm pretty happy with how it's going. I should actually start writing another song. I'm so busy recording songs for 3 other Minecraft channels that my own channel has fallen to the wayside.

@Nikeagogo: 3 other Minecraft channels? You are busy! Will you make an announcement video on RhythmicGamer so your fans can get linked to them?

@DRTsorak: Yeah Fo SHOW

@Nikeagogo: Do you see “RhythmicGamer” expanding to other games?

@DRTsorak: Originally that was the purpose. A place where I could make all sorts of music videos. But I realized that it might be advisable to build up a fan-base on one particular game first. So I think I'l probably just stick with Minecraft.

Use Some Bread Now music video on YouTube

@Nikeagogo: Let’s learn a few fun facts about you to close it off.

@DRTsorak: Sounds good

@Nikeagogo: Favorite TeamLiquid reads?

@DRTsorak: I actually don't visit TL that much. I do remember one about someone bitching about how awesome Brood War was compared to SC2. They had some interesting points but they were still just bitching.

@Nikeagogo: Team EvilGeniuses or Team Liquid?

@DRTsorak: Evil

@Nikeagogo: Favorite subreddit?

@DRTsorak: R/aww

@Nikeagogo: Is Day[9] a sexy beast?

@DRTsorak: I actually feel like a genuinely love him a little bit.

@Nikeagogo: We all do....we all do :)

@DRTsorak: Like I feel like he's the Delhi Lama of gaming.

@Nikeagogo: What slang word would you like to bring back into popular culture (or invent and see used)?

@DRTsorak: Kawabunga

@Nikeagogo: Are you a zealot (heh) for any particular SC2 streamer?

@DRTsorak: I used to be for Day[9]. But these days I'm actually a bit out of touch with streams. Got any favs?

@Nikeagogo: I actually love watching LeiYa (formerly ROOT Puck). Her Colossus/Warp Prism micro is un.real.

Besides that I watch EGIdra and Destiny the most!

@DRTsorak: Okay I'll have a gander

@Nikeagogo: Lastly, and most importantly, if you were on a deserted island with VLDL who would you:
(1) conspire with, (2) conspire against, (3) be afraid of?

@DRTsorak: Woah

I would conspire with DRTkoopzilla against DRTfootman BECAUSE I'm afraid of him.

@Nikeagogo: HAHA Beautiful....what would Barnaby (aka @DRTpain) be doing?

@DRTsorak: Trying to catch fish

@Nikeagogo: Shoutouts?

@DRTsorak: BIIIIG shoutout to the other Viva boys! All our fans! Barcraft NZ! Chris from Razer and PJ from Blizzard!

Thanks to DRTsorak for the interview! See the links below to check out all the VLDL and RhythmicGamer content!!

RhythmicGamer YouTube Channel: RhythmicGamer YouTube Channel
Facebook: Facebook Group
Anook: Anook nook

For more interview goodness with some of the Viva La Dirt crew: Viva La Dirt League interview with Bestof7 (Nikeary)