It’s a new year and a time to throw caution to the wind, and Victory Kid are here to encourage you all the way. The Southern California band released their latest single, “No Brakes,” in December, a song about moving past your doubts and negativity and all that holds you back. It’s time to be the best you can be, and this is your song to help get you there.
Specializing in both ska and melodic punk, Victory Kid are very versatile in their approach to their craft. There’s no one way they write songs or no specific topic they stick to. It could be fast-paced, high-energy radio jams or protest anthems; these boys go wherever their creativity takes them. They began to break out with a trio of EPs, working alongside Allan Hessler (The Used, Avenged Sevenfold, Goldfinger). Their 2021 full-length Discernation really started to grab listeners’ attention, reflected in the single “Clownin” being streamed over two million times. Last summer, they visited Europe for the first time, alongside Mad Caddies and The Bouncing Souls.
For our latest edition of Level Up, we spoke with Victory Kid drummer Carlo Ribaux to discuss the wide, wonderful world of gaming. He touches on how he first got into gaming, his preferred gaming platform, his favourite game of all time, and what board games he’s into. Oh, and did we mention that “No Brakes” was included in the hit video game Fortnite, played globally by around 80 million people every month? Yeah, there’s that.
What video game introduced you to the world of gaming?
Carlo Ribaux: “Some of the first games I remember playing were Commander Keen 1 to 3 and a racing game called Stunt. I played them on my father’s MS Dos computer. However, my passion for video games suddenly got really intense once I played Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, an RPG for Super Nintendo (SNES).”
Have video games ever inspired you musically?
“Absolutely. I usually get inspired by the music of video games, rather than the games as a whole. For example, the first time I ever heard ska was in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, which featured ‘Superman’ by Goldfinger. There were also tunes by Primus and the Dead Kennedys on there… What an excellent soundtrack! It’s dope to now be part of a similar legacy for the next generation of gamers, with my ska/punk band Victory Kid being featured in Fortnite.
“Here’s another example of how video games have inspired me recently: last year, I arranged a bunch of my favorite Nintendo 64 (N64) compositions (‘Alien Conflict’ of Perfect Dark, ‘Dire,’ ‘Dire Docks’ of Mario 64, ‘Windmill Theme’ of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, ‘Gruntilda’s Lair’ of Banjo Kazooie, ‘Big Blue’ for F-Zero X…) for a jazz-rock project, and performed them live. I’ll eventually put a video of the show we played online.”
Do you prefer console or PC?
“Console. I do like playing PC games, especially real-time strategy and simulations. But I’m a huge Nintendo fan and a sucker for all their different controllers and plug-and-play convenience. Also, I like battling people that are in the same room as me. Pretty old-school, I guess.”
What is the most beautiful game you’ve ever played?
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I love the light in this game. And the soundtrack is genius! It’s very sparse and gentle. Super piano-heavy, with a few nods to famous Zelda themes at just the right moments. To me, it sounds very inspired by impressionist composers like Claude Debussy. Super fresh! I think The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim would come in second on the list.”
Much has been made about whether video games can be art; what do you think?
“I’ve seen video games featured in an exhibition at the MOMA in New York. This settles the argument for me. Video games are also an intersection of different traditional art forms like film and music, so it makes sense to me that video games can be labelled as art. I’ve definitely experienced poetic moments and been shown different ways to look at the world by video games as much as I have by other art forms.”
Which video game gets you the most competitive?
“Mario Kart 64 gets my trash-talking to a whole new level!”
What is the hardest game you’ve ever played?
“F-Zero GX. I spent a lot of time playing it, but was never able to finish it. Also, I could never quite figure out how to build a well-functioning custom machine. But I had a lot of fun playing nonetheless!”
What does your collection of board games look like? Any titles you’re particularly proud of owning?
“Twilight Imperium 4th Edition comes to mind. That game is a monster! It’s hard to find people willing to play with because it can take a full day (especially if you need to explain the rules first). But I love it! You get to explore, battle, scheme, and politicize as one of a variety of alien races (including a fungus and a virus). And it starts with the players creating the universe. How cool is that?!”
Which board game-playing experience remains the most memorable for you?
“Pandemic Legacy Season One. My first legacy game, and one of the (if not THE) most enjoyable gaming experiences ever. I can highly recommend it!”
Who are your favourite people to play with, or favourite kinds of people to play with?
“I enjoy playing with my friends much more than with strangers. Mostly I have the best, funniest friends! And I like playing with people that still enjoy playing even if it looks like they aren’t going to win.”
What is the best part about board games?
“I love coming up with strategies and adjusting them to the flow of the game. Gaming is not about winning for me. It’s making the best of what you are given to work with.”
What is the worst part about board games?
“When a minor slip-up destroys my carefully crafted strategy. Grrrr!”