A Toronto-based indie band had one of their songs recently added into Fortnite, and for the group of five musicians, this is a long time coming as they have propelled in popularity – and the gaming community has welcomed them with open arms.
It’s not rare to see games produced with incredible soundtracks, and these titles are often praised for having magnificent scores. However, rarely do we see a band amplify their success through their connection to the gaming community and some figures within.
This has been the case when it comes to Good Kid, a group of five Torontonians who have been making music together in recent years, while at the same time experiencing exponential growth on social media and their music thanks to the gaming community.
Their music is used by countless professional Fortnite players, and you may have heard it recently through the in-game radio on Fortnite.
We got to speak to Good Kid on their recent addition to Fortnite, their relationship with the community, COVID-19, and more.
How five university students made a career out of music
Jacob Tsafatinos of Good Kid sat down with Dexerto for a chance to gain some insight into how the last year and a half have been for the band, along with how they all came to link up to create stellar music.
Their work has been a staple in highlight videos of Fortnite players over the years. Some of them actually used to compete at local esports events and are all avid fans of esports such as Fortnite, Valorant, etc.
For those who do not know, can you just briefly run over who Good Kid is and what type of content you guys make?
Good Kid is an indie rock band, blending influences like J-Rock, Indie Rock and Pop Punk into high-energy and fun songs! Primarily we make music, but we also have a pretty heavy emphasis on visual art and Internet Culture. We kind of just make whatever we’re interested in, so you’ll see 8-bit remixes of our songs, lo-fi versions with anime edits, ARGs(augmented reality games), a video game that we programmed ourselves and a bunch of other stuff.
How did Good Kid come to be? A group of five guys making indie music is incredible, but how did you all come together in the first place?
David and I met in high school and had played in a band together before. The rest of us met while studying Computer Science at the University of Toronto. I met Michael in a German class actually, and Michael had known Nick and Jon through shared Computer Science classes. We were all kind of in a transitory phase musically, with other projects fizzling out, and we just kind of started jamming together and just really enjoyed playing music together so it kind of just grew from there.
Intertwining music and video games is a concept we see all the time, from stunning soundtracks in games and so on. But, one aspect that Good Kid has seemingly managed to take over is the usage of your music in YouTube videos, particularly Fortnite reels. How did this all come about, and what has the reception been like from professional players and members of the community?
Oh man, there’s a lot to this. To be honest, we’re not actually sure how it started. What we do know is it’s entirely community-driven. We’ve never once reached out to anyone to ask them to use our stuff, we just made our music accessible to them by clearing it for Twitch and clearing it for Youtube when people ask us.
My best theory for how it started is that a former FN player (now Valorant) THWIFO was responsible for it all. I remember watching an old gaming montage video by him years ago and it had one of our songs in it. Back then, I was just so happy to see that anyone would use our music in a game montage, but eventually, he got a pretty big following (because he’s amazing and makes great vids) and his followers became fans of ours. Those same followers just so happened to become the best players in the world, so it kind of just scaled from there. (I think there’s a video of Bugha using one of our songs right before he won Worlds).
The reception has been insane. The community and pros have been so supportive of us, they’ll put our music in their videos, play it on stream, rep our merch, etc. Lately, we’ve seen it branch out more broadly too, some amazing Valorant creators like Grim and Subi have been using our stuff in their vids, Minecraft vids have been popping up, some Smash bros, and more! It’s gotten to the point where our fans will suggest our music to big streamers who aren’t even pros because they know it’s DMCA free and that’s how we end up in a Julien Solomita video. So I gotta say, the community has been putting in work for us and we really appreciate it!
Not only is your music beloved in YouTube videos, but your account is pretty active on Twitter itself. Has this been a marketing strategy you guys wanted to test out, or has the community just been so pleasant to interact with, and what about the gaming community in particular works for you guys?
Definitely more of the community just being great to interact with. People might not realize it, but we’ve been part of the gaming community for a long long time. We’ve been going to Esports tournaments for years, sometimes competing in tournaments for games that we’re good enough to compete in and just playing a ton of games ourselves. Like even as I’m writing the answers to these questions I’m watching AussieAntics cast FNCS and watching Liquid Clem fight for his tournament life in TSL 7 (Starcraft tourney, spoiler: he lost).
I think it also bleeds into our art as well in a way that the community can resonate with. Most of these kids who follow us have anime profile pics, and we literally wrote a song about Full Metal Alchemist. So I guess to answer your question about what in particular works for us? I don’t feel like we’re injecting ourselves into a community that we don’t belong in, honestly, for me personally, most of the time it feels more natural than interacting with the music community.
One of the bigger events to happen for you recently was some of your music getting added into Fortnite to be played on the radio when driving vehicles. How did this opportunity present itself, and what was working with Epic Games been like?
It was all thanks to the community. People were tweeting at us asking when we’d get into Fortnite car radio, so we just retweeted someone one day and asked “If anyone knows how to make this happen let us know.” Next thing we know, a bunch of people is tweeting at Epic Games employees and telling them to make it happen. Someone from Epic reached out that day and told us how to submit our music for consideration. Epic has been great to work with, super seamless, and helpful.
What I really liked about working with Epic was that they actually checked us out when they reached out – it wasn’t just lip service. They listened to our music and told us exactly which songs they thought would fit best with the in-car radio. Then, of course, having the official Fortnite page retweeting us and seeing Tim Sweeney like our tweet was amazing too. They definitely did more than we expected.
Are there any plans in the future to expand your outreach in the community through streaming or other ways?
We’ve played around with streaming a bunch, it’s just hard to find the time to commit to streaming outside of our main focus of writing songs and practicing together. I think you’ll likely see more streaming out of us just because it’s fun, but it’ll probably be more adhoc. I definitely want to do some more interesting outreach/collaboration within the community though. We got to work on an intro video for Cented when he signed to FaZe Clan, that was a bunch of fun and it came together very organically. I’d love to do more stuff like that. I have a bunch of other ideas, I just want to make sure that when we do these things that they feel authentic to us and whoever we collaborate with.
— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) March 11, 2021
Has COVID derailed any performing opportunities that were lined up for you? How did you deal with making music when Toronto was essentially locked down for the better part of a year or so?
Haha yeah, it sucked. We had an EU tour booked and ready to go and it had to be canceled. We tried our best to write music remotely, but it didn’t go great. I think for our music specifically, it’s really hard to write when we’re not in a live setting where you get to feel the sound and instruments playing off each other. We definitely gave it our best, but I’ll be honest, we made very little writing progress during that time.
Now that we’re back to practicing though, we’ve been writing a ton and are back on track to get some new stuff out sooner than I think we expected. On the flip side, we were actually able to do a lot during the “downtime” of being stuck at home. We released our second EP! We put out a video game, a bunch of remixes, we ran an ARG for our discord. I think it let us focus on a bunch of ideas we had been playing around with for a long time and gave us an opportunity to execute on them.
With restrictions lifting around the world now, can we expect to see you guys tour around locations and even make an appearance at some gaming events in the future?
Definitely! We want to tour and play in as many cities as we can. Not sure what that will look like, but hopefully we’ll know soon. Also playing at gaming events would be a dream come true. I’m not sure how many of them do live band performances, but I think they should! I think you’ll definitely see us there, if not as performers then as spectators.
A quick acoustic rendition of Witches. Also thanks for 6k! pic.twitter.com/TZ2Vgvt8Qc
— Good Kid (@goodkidband) June 19, 2021
We’ll keep trying our best to make content that we’re proud of, so hopefully, you’ll all get to hear more soon!
It is with great enthusiasm that we hope to see more of Good Kid within Fortnite and touring the world in the near future, and we thank them once again for the time to conduct this feature interview.