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Japanator Interview: Piano Squall

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Videogame and anime pianist Piano Squall (Michael Gluck) has made quite a name for himself performing all over the United States at various anime conventions. He has amassed a serious fanbase with his piano arrangements of tunes from the best videogames and anime series, with proceeds from his performances and sales going to several charities. He was nice enough to sit down with us to tell us a bit about what he's up to lately, giving us details on his new debut CD, GAME.

Hit the jump to read the full interview.  

Japanator: Please tell us a bit about Piano Squall. How did you get started? Where are you at now?

Piano Squall: Piano Squall is absolutely the nerdiest thing a human being can be.  I listen to music from videogames and anime, figure out how to play it on the piano, and travel around the country performing concerts of my original arrangements.   

I gave my first concert in 2003 at a convention called Anime USA in Virginia.  Over the last four years, I've had the privilege of performing in sixteen different states for audiences as large as three thousand people.  The best part of all is that these concerts have given me a venue to raise tens of thousands of dollars for my favorite charities. 

What I do might be geekiest thing in the world, but I've never had more fun in my life. 

What is GAME all about?

GAME is my debut album.  I recorded my twenty-six favorite videogame and anime arrangements and put them together on one disc. You'll find music from Naruto, Super Mario World, InuYasha, Chrono Trigger, Cowboy Bebop, Mega Man, Chrono Cross, Fullmetal Alchemist, Tetris, and Evangelion.   My favorite track is the "Final Fantasy Battle Medley," which combines nine Final Fantasy battle themes into one piece.  

We know that you use your performance to raise funds for certain charities. Can you tell us about your choice of causes? 

I'vee been fund raising for a variety of charities over the years.  Multiple sclerosis and cancer research are my major causes, but I have also performed to benefit food drives and literacy programs. 

In 2006, my grandmother died after a forty year battle with multiple sclerosis.  She literally sat in a chair, unable to move a single muscle in her body for the last ten years of her life.  I can't even describe to you how ridiculous this disease is.  With the launch of GAME, I am focusing my fund raising efforts completely on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in honor of my grandmother. 

The videogame publisher Electronic Arts has been an incredible partner in all of this.  In 2006, EA worked with me to raise more than $12,000 for multiple sclerosis and cancer research by selling Piano Squall posters at my concerts.  With the launch of GAME, EA is partnered with me once again, and together we will donate an amount equal to twenty percent of all profits from album sales to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 

Why videogame music? 

You know, some pianists will tell you they're classically trained   Well, I'm videogame trained. Final Fantasy is the only reason I started playing piano.  I just wanted to learn how to produce those incredible songs with my own hands.  Over the years, I've continued to expand my repertoire to include pieces from all of the games and anime that I enjoy.  It's so much fun to share this music in concert with other people who know it and love it as much as I do.   

Speaking of videogames and music, what would you say your favorite videogame soundtrack is? 

It's Nobuo Uematsu's Final Fantasy VI.  I think it was his greatest work.

What are you working on now?

I'm composing original music for an upcoming videogame at the moment.  I can't wait to share it with you!  

Talk about who you'd like to work with in the future.

I want to work with Nobuo Uematsu, the composer of Final Fantasy. Master Uematsu's music gave me my purpose in life, and the career that he inspired me to pursue has brought me so much happiness.  

Finally, who would win in a fight between Squall, Cloud, and Tidus? 

As Piano Squall, you might think you know what I'm going to say.  But honestly, I think Cloud would kick my ass. 

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Pick up GAME, which features twenty-six original arrangements of music from videogames and anime, including Final Fantasy, Naruto, Chrono Trigger, Cowboy Bebop, Mega Man and Evangelion at PianoSquall.com.


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Dale North
Dale NorthAssociate Editor   gamer profile

I am Destructoid's Editor-In-Chief. I love corgis. I make music. more + disclosures


 



Filed under... #anime #Cons #music #video games

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