Wednesday, 13 July 2011

An Interview with Doctor Octoroc

Levi "Doctor Octoroc" Buffum is an American chiptune musician and pixel artist. His work is littered with homages back to the old-school retro video game days (for instance, Super Nintendo), and he has seen significant recognition across the net. His works can be viewed/listened to on his website, or via his YouTube channel.

Doctor Octoroc kindly agreed to an interview with 8-BIT Girl, to discuss his work, and love of classic video games.

Q. Your work has a very old school theme, particularly classic video games. What is it about this period that appeals to you?

A: It's very nostalgic for me to relive memories from my childhood and classic video games were a large part of my younger years. There is also a family-oriented tie in to the subject matter, as my mother and grandfather (who have both passed away) were both influential to my introduction to vintage video games, so it's also a nice way to remember them as well. On top of all that, there's an aesthetic appeal to the art and music for me. It's likely tied into the nostalgia of it all for me since my mom and grandpa were artists as well, but I also like the challenge of expressing an idea or concept through a very limited palette of colors, shapes, sounds, etc.

Q. Which of your works has proven to be the most popular?

A: That's a tie between 8-Bit Jesus and 8-Bit Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Game. In numbers, 8-Bit Jesus probably wins out, but having the cast and crew of Dr. Horrible comment to me about the animation definitely adds to the awesomeness of the response. I even had some interaction with Maurissa Tancharoen and a representative at Mutant Enemy about a possible game but, for reasons I can't get into, it never happened.
Q. It's clear a lot of effort has gone into your music and videos. How long does it take to complete one?

A: Depending on my motivation, it can take as little as a week to complete a 3-5 minute animation. More than often, however, it takes way longer. I'd say on average, I churn out between 20 and 30 seconds of animated content per day, not including the time it takes to arrange tracks for the animation.
Q. You appear to have gained notable recognition on the internet. So, what's next for Doctor Octoroc?

A: I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing until either the stars fall from the sky or my body returns to the dust from whence it came...

...but seriously, I would love to work on soundtracks for movies or video games one day. I'm doing the full soundtrack for a small indie film right now and I'm really excited about it. Music is my #1 passion and art follows very close behind, so making a name for myself professionally on the audio side of the creative spectrum would be ideal. I want to be listed next to either John Williams, Hans Zimmerman, Danny Elfman and Basil Poledouris, or next to Nobuo Uematsu, Hiroyuki Iwatsuki, Koji Kondo, Hiro Tanaka, and the like.

I might also enjoy being an art director at the kind of company that would have a break room on a pirate ship. They must exist, I've seen pictures.

Q. Lastly, can you recommend an excellent classic video game for my readers to play?

A: Ninja Gaiden. If you can beat that game, you can overcome anything.
Thank you Doctor Octoroc! 

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