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Beyond the Game: Fight Night Round 4

1 July 2009

Stepping into the ring with some of history’s greatest boxers would likely leave you bruised and unconscious. In Fight Night Round 4, that’s exactly what you do. The successor to 2006’s Fight Night Round 3 takes everything you love about boxing games and aims for a knockout with a host of new features, better graphics, and a more realistic Legacy (career) mode progression. It’s not just the ultra-realistic blood, sweat, and muscle movements that enhance EA’s boxing title, it’s the intensely upbeat soundtrack that throws you headfirst against opponents like “Iron” Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Ricky Hatton.

When the young band Pint Shot Riot was approached by EA Games' joint venture company Artwerk Music about providing a song for Fight Night Round 4, the logical pick was the song “Punches Kicks Trenches and Swords.” For our readers who are not familiar with the English band Pint Shot Riot, we urge you check out their music. Not only will you find them all over sites like YouTube and MySpace, but the band’s song “Punches Kicks Trenches and Swords” landed on the demo version of Round 4 as Ricky Hatton’s intro song. That’s right; Pint Shot Riot is the latest band we’ve had the privilege to interview for our 'Beyond the Game' feature.

We had a chance to speak with bass player “Baby” Dave about the band’s involvement with EA’s Artwerk Music, and what it’s like to hear his song in one of the most popular new games.

“Our role in Fight Night Round 4 was to supply music for Ricky Hatton, the English boxer,” explains Dave. “When the demo came out, I actually got to hear it. It was the first time I got to hear our music on a computer game. It was so awesome that I spilt my pint in shock.”

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With a name like Pint Shot Riot, you can tell without hearing its music that the band is all about having a good time. Even the band members’ names tell a lot. Singer and rhythm guitarist “Rocket” is named so because at 18 he worked at the infamous (not inFamous) Rocket Pub, which was graced with various visits from football hooligan firms. He and his cousin, “Mini Rocket,” who plays drums, started looking for some other band mates at a studio in their hometown of Coventry. Bass player “Baby” Dave and lead guitarist Rob were soon to join, officially establishing Pint Shot Riot.

Not long after the band recorded its first single, “Punches Kicks Trenches and Swords,” a DJ in Los Angeles named Sat Bisla started playing the song on his “Passport Approved” radio show. He liked the band so much that he tipped off EA about this hot group from England.

“The guy (Sat Bisla) was from England originally, and it turned out he was working with EA Games. They contacted us through him because I think they were looking for an English band they could sign. We were the first English band signed to the label,” Dave explains about joining up with EA’s Artwerk Music.

Since joining with EA, Pint Shot Riot has contributed to The Sims 3, Fight Night Round 4, and FIFA 10. The band members live and breathe football, playing a bit of competitive FIFA whenever they get a chance. The game is so big in all of England that when a local rock band makes the soundtrack, the community, and sometimes the country, instantly become fans. The national recognition that comes with being featured in the popular football game is what Pint Shot Riot is hoping to achieve when it joins the soundtrack to FIFA 10.

“I’ve been a fan of FIFA since way back in the day,” says the 28-year-old about his early days of gaming.

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“When I got older, I remember playing the first Tony Hawk game," he says, switching topics. "I was always heavily into music. We used to play Tony Hawk, go to the club, and they’d be playing the songs from Tony Hawk and the dance floor would be packed with people saying, ‘I know that music.’ That game turned kids onto music.”

Of course, that’s what all young bands want to do—turn people onto their music. Video games offer a relatively new market for exposing bands.

“When we set out as a band, we sort of thought traditionally. We thought we’d release an album and tour like our idols, and when this opportunity came up, we didn’t really know what to make of it. Now it's happening we are starting to understand how huge it is,” Dave says, adding that he hopes Round 4, Sims 3, and FIFA 10 will do for his band what the original Tony Hawk did for bands like Goldfinger, Dead Kennedys, and Suicide Machines. “We’re hoping this causes the same thing with our music; just hopefully reaching new people and giving them a chance to hear our music. All we ever wanted is to have people hear our music.”

Baby Dave recalls when the band was recording in a remote location in England; someone in the studio had brought in an “ancient” PlayStation 2. In between recording tracks, the band members would play Tony Hawk 3—the only game in the studio.

“We were having session after session. It was highly competitive. It’s a great way to bond. Today if we are playing anything together, it’s FIFA,” he says, adding “and sometimes, Mini Rocket and I play Guitar Hero World Tour.”

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It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that musicians would be good at Guitar Hero. But what’s a surprise, depending on what musicians you talk to, is the game’s influence on attracting aspiring musicians. “There are kids that might not have thought of picking up an instrument, but instead picking up a computer game. They may ask their parents to pick them up a guitar. We’ll see as time goes by, but I think it’s good for kids to see how music is made, and the workings of a song. I think it’s fantastic.”

We’d like to thank Baby Dave and Pint Shot Riot for taking time to answer some of our questions and talk about music and gaming. We’d also like to thank Nettwerk, Artwerk, and EA for the continued opportunity to bring these features to our readers.

Thanks to the kindness of Artwerk, we'll soon hand out three copies of Fight Night Round 4 and three Pint Shot Riot t-shirts. We also strongly suggest our readers check out the band's MySpace page.


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