This week we're running a 'back up interview' (with some topical tweaks) in place of an interview with a nominated member of the community. Time constraints and busy schedules between me and the next candidate means we'll be postponing our chat until next Sunday at the latest hopefully.
Our interviewee of the moment this week is a TA member since 2009, a regular name alongside front page news articles and now star of the Community Interview, this time round we talk to DaveKinetic
about his life in games and involvement here on TA.
____________________________________DavieMarshall: Dave, thanks for taking the time to complete this interview. I’d like to start this interview talking about names and Gamertags. I’d assume your real forename is Dave (seeing as how your previous tag was DaveIntent), but where does the Kinetic in your Gamertag come from?
DaveKinetic: Not being the most creative person in the world, I struggled finding anything amusing or interesting for my Gamertag. In the end, I went for my name and the name of the band I play guitar in. At the time we had a rather rubbish
totally crap name of 'Strategic Intent'; we got a production deal about two years ago and they thought it would be better if we had a name change. So when the band's name changed to 'The Kinetic', I changed my Gamertag as well.D: I don’t know, Strategic Intent isn't the worst name I’ve ever heard! What kind of music do you guys play?
DK: We used to be quite punky and heavy whilst keeping everything quite melodic. When we started working with our producers those punky and rough songs became a bit more commercial and less heavy, but still keeping the feel of what we had written.
The usual names we get thrown at us are; Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters, we're probably a bit more Kings of Leon than Foo Fighters though to be fair. D: And your instrument of choice is guitar I believe?
DK: Yeah, I'm not the most talented guitar player in the world, I play rhythm on the majority of our songs. I only actually started playing guitar to join the band, so I've not done too bad. D: How did you learn to play guitar? Were you self taught, or did you have lessons?
DK: My older brother had been playing for about seven years when I first started, so he showed me pretty much all the basics. The rest I picked up from learning covers, experimenting with what sounded good or not, and playing along with other players.D: What was the first song that you mastered and were really pleased with?
DK: Like probably 90% of guitar players starting out, the first riff I learned was 'Smoke on the Water'.
The first song I really wanted to learn in full was 'Basket Case' by Green Day. It's one of my favourite songs of all time.D: How do you feel live music is doing in the wake of the mass of reality TV shows these days? Is it a case of it being under represented on TV and it’s as popular as it’s ever been?
DK: We've learned the hard way over the years that until you can pull in a crowd to come and watch you, there isn't really much point playing live on a regular basis. Record companies don't have the cash to take chances with bands any more, A&R people just want the next smash hit and unfortunately the way to do that now seems to be appearing on TV shows and the like.
When we first started playing live, we took on every gig offered to us thinking that is what you have to do. Promotors would put you on at midnight on a Thursday and expect you to bring 30 people along, if you don't you don't get paid. Luckily we are in the position now where we can select gigs that we know will sell well.
The power of social networking is a far better tool to use; concentrating on writing good songs and getting them recorded well will bring more reward than playing the majority of gigs. I could link to our band's Facebook or YouTube page here, and more people will have the opportunity to hear our music in minutes than if we played ten crappy gigs. You have to do the gigs to keep your fan base happy though, so you have to mix it up pretty well. D: How are things going for you guys in general? What are you up to at the moment? Gigging, recording, writing?
DK: Really well actually. Earlier in the year we released an EP, which got a bit of interest, and we ended up going on a tour of the UK, got on a few radio shows and did a music video. Only a month or so ago, we got asked to appear on a compilation album called ‘Taste Masters 2’. It’s been released through a company called The Laboratory Project, and the guy in charge of that used to be a director of Ministry of Sound, so he knows a thing or two about the music business.
At the moment, we’re taking a little break from playing live while we write some new material. We’ve been asked if we would like to record an album and we might be doing a single at some point this year as well.
I have no illusions of us becoming a huge band or being signed to a major label. We take it all quite seriously, but it all boils down to five best mates having a good time. That's my main aim for the whole thing.D: And I have to ask before we come away from music. Do the stringed skills translate to Guitar Hero/Rock Band?
DK: Not at all! I can make my way around a few songs on expert, but in general I stick to hard. I'm sure if I really tried and practiced I could do OK, but I much prefer the real deal. D: Moving on, like me, you’re from sunny old England too. Whereabouts on this damp little island do you live?
DK: I live in one of the dampest and greyest parts possible, Manchester. Although it’s wet and dull, I love it; the nightlife and the people are great. I get the added bonus that I am only 20 minutes or so away from Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United.D: I don’t know, I think some areas of the West Midlands could rival Manchester for damp! How do you find you are received when playing against strangers on Xbox LIVE being from Manchester? I’ve often found my accent to be a source of amusement for some Americans. ‘Get the posh English guy’ (or more colourful words to that effect) has been shouted out at me a few times. All in good fun of course (usually!).
DK: Since the dashboard update a few years back I tend to usually play online in party chat. Before that I used to enjoy the banter online; it was mainly the usual original stuff I used to get: "We saved your arse in the war", "Go have some tea and crumpets", and "do you know the queen?"
Back when I used to play a lot of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
I used to give it out as well, but I wouldn't want to offend any of our American friends with what we used to come out with. D: “Do you know the queen”, always makes me laugh! Never had that one myself though. So, with all these rainy days we seem to get in England, what would you say your average time spent on the Xbox is a week?
DK: Probably around thirty to forty hours. It's quite a lot really, but I have two young children, aged three and five, so when I’m not out and about with the band, gaming online has taken the place of going to the pub or hanging around at a mates house.D: And where is the majority of those thirty-plus hours devoted to these days? Is there a particular title consuming your gaming time at the moment, or are you spreading the love equally?
DK: I spreading the love a little more than I normally do at the moment. I'm really enjoying L.A. Noire (Xbox 360)
, but I'm trying to keep my playing down to times when I know I have a few solid hours to take it all in. I'm also working my way through Crysis 2
and UFC Undisputed 2010
. I've got a ton of games that I have to finish off properly as well. D: When we spoke previously you were striving hard to complete Forza 3 and becoming gradually frustrated with it. Do you see gaming as a relaxing hobby, or are you one to seek out 100% whatever the cost to your rage and stress levels?
DK: When I first got my 360 it was all about fun. I pretty much played nothing but Call of Duty solid for eighteen months or so. I used to get the odd game pre-owned but never really gave any of them a chance - me and my close friends had a serious CoD addiction.
One day I decided to see what my completion percentage was and I was quite ashamed that it was around 25%. After that I decided to try and at least get 50% completion on anything I played, unless it bored me senseless. That's how I discovered TA, and now I find myself doing all kinds of crazy boring stuff just to try and get an extra couple of achievements or to complete a game.
I do draw a line though, I decided to give http://www.trueachievements.com/Assassins-Creed-xbox-360.htm
another play through last year. (this being one of the games I played, won three achievements on and then gave up to play CoD). I finished the story and picked up a few of the extra achievements. The last few achievements I need are pretty simple, but I couldn't bring myself to go hunting for all the flags.D: Investing the time and effort you do into certain games and achievements, how would you feel if, upon Microsoft’s next console release in the distant future, they decided that Gamerscore wouldn’t ‘carry over’ but instead would start from zero and not accumulate?
DK: Wow, that would be shocking. My score isn't really that great, but it's a history of everything I've done on my 360. To take all that away, especially some of the achievements that you work long and hard to get, that would be a nightmare. There would be a mass TA march to MS Head Office if that happened. Can you imagine Stallion83
waking up to see his gamescore at zero. He'd be suicidal - I know I would be if that was me.D: Speaking of investing time into gaming, when you joined the Newshound team, in the introduction thread you said that; ‘I normally get to play from about 10pm til 2-3am so they [energy drinks] keep me going.’ Do you wish you had more time to devote to the Xbox or is it a happy balance?
DK: I've got the best of both worlds really, I don't normally get home from work until 6:30, so by the time I have spent some time with the kids, had something to eat, had a shower and spent some time with my girlfriend I would be hard pushed to get on any sooner.
Mrs Dave, is a gamer herself though, so she understands that when I get a new game I just want to jump on it as early as possible. We’ve got two 360’s always set up, so we'll both jump on and play a few games of Call of Duty: Black Ops
together. She is another reason why I haven’t played too much L.A. Noire
, she saw me playing it and then couldn’t keep off it.D: Two set ups? Pictures please!
Yeah, I’m pretty lucky in that we’ve got a couple of 360’s. The first one is my main setup that I use most nights. I don’t leave any of my Rock Band stuff out anymore, because my son accidently put one of the drum legs through my tele last year.
The second is the one my girlfriend uses the most, although I’m sometimes found on here during the weekends because the kids are watching Disney channel or something on TV.D: Do you have a partner in crime on site who’s on hand to help with those tougher multiplayer achievements, or are you a lone ranger relying on pure ‘5kil1z’ to hunt down those achievements?
DK: Pretty much on my own sadly. As I said, most of my friends stick to CoD, and those that do get other games aren't really interested in Gamescore. I think I’m quietly converting them all though slowly; there are 4 or 5 on TA now.
It’s only recently that I started using the gaming session feature on here. That’s helped me pick up a few achievements I wouldn’t have been able to get on my own. D: With time not being totally on your side when it comes to gaming, what’s your approach to new game releases? Do you snap them up as soon as they come out, or are you willing to wait to play the ‘must have’ release of the moment?
DK: I used to be so bad; every new release that caught my eye I would pre-order, or pick up first week of release. I can’t really justify it with the kids anymore, so I only pre-order the games I really, really want. The rest I rent quite often on release day, or pick up pre-owned a few months down the line. D: I’ve sometimes thought that there should be ‘man spas’, where instead of pampering and grooming as goes on in the traditional spas, there should be a focus on nothing but gaming, beers and snacks. Can I count on your support?
DK: It sounds like heaven. Beers and energy drinks and I'm there right behind you. Oh and no children
I’m pretty sure Dat Boi Treezy
would be there already when we got there.
Oh, and it’s got to have Sky Sports HD for the football please.D: Looking ahead to the end of 2011, you have a Gamergoal in place to hit 50,000 Gamerscore. Confident?
DK: Quite easily, I’m already coming up to 45,000 now. I’ve found the more I use and get involved in TA, the quicker the achievements seem to come. I should probably make one a little harder for myself actually.D: Do you ever see yourself getting into mobile gaming and investing in a Windows Phone 7 device to whore the score on the move?
DK: I was seriously tempted to pick the WP7 up earlier this year. The only problem is I’ve spent far too much cash on apps for my iPhone. D: A question I like to ask everyone I interview is that of their gaming history. If you imagine for a minute that every game ever made had achievements with them, what would your very first achievement unlocked be do you think?
DK: Probably “5G - Get a combo of 4 or more” on Columns
for the Game Gear. Man, I loved that game.D: And what would your console history read like? I started a bit later than most with the original Gameboy, then a SNES, a Playstation, then a PSONE (the slimmed version) a Gameboy Advance and then the Xbox 360. Can you pre-date the original brick like Gameboy?
DK: The first thing I owned was a Game Gear, then my brother got a Mega Drive - he was generous enough to let me use it as well though. I didn’t really game much for a few years until I got a PS2, though I had a bad habit of buying them, and then getting bored after a while and selling them. It wasn’t until I got my 360 that I became really addicted to gaming.D: Fast forward to the present day here in England, and we seem to be in the midst of struggling to realise how valuable the video games industry can be to an economy and as an ‘export’. If you were to start up your games development company, do you see there being a gap in the market for something new, something that no-one’s tried before because it’s too risky, or too niche? I’ve always wished for a true recreation of the British Touring Car series that we once saw with ToCA and ToCA 2 and Codemasters has since killed off. Is there anything ‘missing’ in the market?
DK: All my main interests are pretty much catered for. The only one that was missing was a decent Transformers game and thankfully we got Transformers: War For Cybertron
last year. It’s a real shame that it didn’t have a bigger online community, because the multiplayer was brilliant, I thought. We even got Green Day: Rock Band
which I loved - Green Day are my favourite band.D: Let’s talk about your involvement here at TA. What compelled you to apply to the Newshound team?
DK: I've been mad into my 360 since I got it, and even started a few failed gaming sites with other people. Sadly their interest wouldn’t be as big as mine, or the ideas were far too advanced for our limited knowledge of web design. I found TA when I was looking for a solution one day and instantly loved the whole idea and concept of the site. Just before the great TA crash of 2010, I had started to use TA more and more; when it was down I was gutted.
When I saw the post for more Newshounds on here it was like everything I could have hoped for, a well established site that is constantly improving and adding features, a great community and it was a way I could get involved in something I am passionate about; the Xbox 360 and gaming news. D: And how have you found your time on board?
DK: It's been really good. Even though it's all voluntary, it's extremely well organised, and getting to know more like-minded people has been great. There's a real sense of team spirit with everyone helping each other with stories. When all us Newbhounds started, the veterans like yourself were really welcoming and helpful, showing us the ropes.D: This week of E3 has been absolutely crazy. Nothing like a flurry of stories to keep the typing fingers nimble eh?
DK: This last week has been pretty awesome. I haven’t got a clue how many stories have hit the front page. On Monday, after the Microsoft press call was over, there was just so much information flying around. Trying to make sense of it all and put an accurate story up in a timely manner was a real challenge. I’d like to think we covered everything pretty well between us all though. D: So which slice of E3 news excited you the most?
DK: I actually thought the Microsoft conference was a bit poor; I’ve got nothing against Kinect, and some of the new games using Kinect looked pretty interesting, I was just hoping for a few more new game announcements. I’m not really a big Halo fan, so the news of the two new Halo games didn’t really interest me.
What stole the show for me was the new trailer and gameplay demo
for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
. The cinematic trailer actually gave me goose bumps when I saw it. D: Was there anything that didn’t appear, or left you a little disappointed?
DK: I was just hoping for something new. The 360 is really crying out for some new exclusive IP’s in my opinion. I was also hoping for a new Rainbow Six or Splinter Cell announcement from Ubi.D: Seeing as how TA has moved on so much and is now coping with covering these massive events in some detail, how do you see our site and community developing over the course of the year? With the new speedier servers and stronger than ever support what’s next for TA?
DK: It's insane really to think what Rich has built here; the community is the best of any of the websites I have used in the past. I'd like to think that the way the site is growing and improving all the time, people won't need to even visit any other sites, that it's the only site for 360 gamers to get all their news, honest reviews, write blogs, check their scores, find solutions and chat to like minded people. There really isn't any need to visit anywhere else.
Who knows what new features will be added. I love the way an idea from one member of the community can get discussed and developed. The addition of blogs was great last year and something I wasn’t expecting at all.D: How much time would you say you spend working or supporting TA each week? Often behind the scenes work gets taken for granted, but the news output has been vastly improved with the induction of new staff. Articles don’t write themselves after all!
DK: On an average day, I will be checking the internet for news, checking the Newshound boards, writing up stories and checking other ‘hounds stories while I am at work, and then again when I get home. Depending on how much news is out there, it could be anything from 2 hours to 5 hours. This Monday with E3, I spent most of the day anyway checking for any pre-E3 news while I was in work. I got home around 6pm my time, sat at my PC, and only moved to grab a sandwich and have a shower before getting back into it. It was around 3am, I think, before I stopped.
I pretty much give the job as much free time as I can spare. D: Being a man of few words in your bio, if you had to sum yourself up in four words to encapsulate yourself outside the world of Xbox and Xbox LIVE, what would you say? I opt for ‘Professional geek. Casual nerd’ in my bio.
DK: Music Mad, Transformers addict.D: Thanks for your time spent completing this Community Interview; anything else you’d like to shoehorn in here before we lock you back in the dank Newshound room, constantly refreshing news sources for the latest info?
DK: Thanks for letting me have a waffle Davie. If any of the community want to befriend me on live or on here then feel free, I’m a pretty easy-going guy, and having some new boosting buddies is always great.
Another week, another Community Interview done. Thanks to DaveKinetic for taking the time to participate. Next week we’ll be grilling another community member on their various traits and gaming habits. And remember...
If you’d like to be featured in a future Community Interview, or would like to nominate a gamer on this site to be featured themselves, please send a PM to DavieMarshall