Video Games Live: Tommy Tallarico on 21st century sound

TR: So it's all about bring people together - people who haven't ever belonged together into the same room?

TT: Exactly. And to be honest with you, we have no idea if people are going to stand up and dance or watch and chill out … we won't know what they're going to do until the night of the show. I think it's going to be a little bit of both. It's the perfect meeting of the worlds. It's analog meets technology. It's nature and technology. It's tradition and future. It's both things coming together. And the music's beautiful.

Electronic Opus

TR: What's it like working on Electronic Opus in particular?

TT: You know, there are certain projects that work on where it's kind of like magic going on … a lot of times when you're mixing, it's all serious and there's people fighting over it. It's uncomfortable and awkward. You can always tell when the music is going to be amazing and the project's amazing just by the attitudes and the vibe and the atmosphere in the mixing booth. I think it translates. The love comes out right through the circuitry right into the album.

Believe it or not you can hear it in the music. You hear it in the mix and hear it in the performances. So it's different. We don't want to jinx ourselves but we think this is going to be a big one. A big record...uh, album. [laughs] You can see I'm from the '70s.

TR: Are you guys doing E3 this year?

TT: I think we're going to take a year off from E3 this year. But, and we haven't announced this yet so I might get in trouble, we're going to be doing three shows at GamesCom in Cologne, Germany this year.

Last year we did E3 and Comic-Con. We were in San Diego, right behind the convention center. In fact, we were the first people to play videogame music with the San Diego orchestra. That was seven or eight years ago.

The San Diego show was really amazing. We did it with Amazon Games, who was our partner, along with Twitch.tv. It was a free show for people at Comic-Con. This was actually before Twitch was bought by Amazon. I was actually the guy that introduced Amazon to Twitch.tv. And then it was $1 billion [deal] and I said, "Where's my commission?" One of the first projects they had worked together on was Video Games Live.

TR: You said people doubted you when you were talking about starting Video Games Live. How did you deal with those doubts - especially when you were just starting?

TT: That's a great question. Before I start something I'm all-in. It will not fail. I don't care. BT was freaking out towards the end of the project. He said, 'Man, we're not going to make it." I told him, "Don't worry about it. Trust me." That's just the way I was raised. We all have it in us.

People always ask, "Before you go on stage, do you ever get scared?" For me it's always the opposite. I'm like a tiger in a cage. I'm uncomfortable because I'm not on stage yet, and I have to wait. And that comes from my cousin, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. His real name is Steven Tallarico.

When I would go and see an Aerosmith show when I was eight years old, and this is in the late '70s, he would always be 'Cousin Steven' to me. He wasn't a rock god, he was just my cousin. I saw him on stage in front of 30,000 people and going nuts and doing all of the crazy stuff he does. To me, it's never felt impossible or strange to do this. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, look at him out there having so much fun. That's what I want to do when I grow up."

TR: What are you working on next?

TT: My next project that's coming out is Video Games Live: Level 4, the fourth album for Video Games Live, which is always touring. That's the immediate future, meaning like this week, and then it's Electronic Opus. We're launching that tour and album on March 29. I cannot wait for people to hear this. It's going to be something people have never heard before. It's really special.

More information on Electronic Opus can be found on its website. If you like this article, check out our interview with Pål Bråtelund, strategic partnership manager at Tidal.