Working Your “McGroove” on Youtube

His name is Max Gleason.  Or, as he goes by on Youtube — Smooth McGroove.  He’s a video game enthusiast, a musician, and a rising video game a Capella internet sensation.  So what’s attracting him so much attention? Well, something that really hasn’t been done much as of yet: he takes a song like the Moon Theme from the Nintendo Entertainment System game Duck Tales.  He picks out a horn part, a few string parts, a percussion track or two and a lead track.  He finds the tempo, and then sets a metronome to it.  Then he does a rough version of each track, and then perfects them until it’s just the way he wants it.

Despite his vocal prowess, he was primarily a drummer and until a few weeks ago taught drums and guitar.

“Singing is not something I ever thought I would ever do in any aspect.  I thought it was fun.  I enjoyed it.  I’m kind of realizing it’s the most flexible instrument because you can do anything with it as long as you’re confident and you have a good ear,” McGroove says.

He originally put these videos up for some friends and family and maybe some video gamers who would stumble upon his work.  But he got his big break when the official Legend of Zelda Facebook page posted a link to his version of the Legend of Zelda Song of Storms.

His E-Mail inbox was soon swamped with notifications that people had commented on his video.  Originally he thought there was a glitch in his E-Mail account. After all, he’s never received notifications, and now he’s getting about 20 of them.  But then his brother told him what happened.

“Dude, The Legend of Zelda linked your video, your Song of Storms.  And I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh!'” McGroove says.

After that, other companies began to recognize him and share his work on their own Facebook pages.  SquareEnix, the game company responsible for the Final Fantasy and Chrono series, actually posted how incredible they thought his version of one of their songs was.

During some of his videos, his cat Charl pops into the camera and begins to get his own ‘McGroove’ on. Charl has made his way onto the T-Shirts that are now available to order online.

The money he’s made from T-Shirts and iTunes has allowed him to quit that old music teaching job and devote 30 – 40 hours a week on these videos full-time.  He gets a plethora of requests to a Capella different video game music.  And to people who request work, he happily states he has many songs planned in the future, including a song beloved by many video gamers — that song being One-Winged Angel from Final Fantasy 7.

That may take a while to accomplish simply due to how much is in the song.

“I would love to do that song.  That is an extremely long and complex arrangement.  I’m gonna have to set that week aside as a special week.  But I look forward to doing it because it’ll test my limits again.”

Smooth McGroove has been contacted by Capcom, which is responsible for game series like Resident Evil and Street Fighter, and by composer Austin Wintory.  He composed the soundtrack to the 2012 Playstation 3 game Journey.  That soundtrack was the first video game soundtrack ever nominated for a Grammy. 

Categories: Daybreak

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