One Minute Melee: Behind The Music With Ray Casarez


Image: One Minute Melee Series

One Minute Melee is an animated series produced by the former animator Mali De'lisser of "DEATH BATTLE!". Each episode has a 60-second fight animation between two characters and is aired on the Hyun's Dojo YouTube channel. The series focuses around different characters from other anime series, comic, and video games that face off in a one minute battle. 

One Minute Melee moved to working with Hyper Gauge in season two with Hyun's Dojo, Mali De'lisser, and most of the original crew and animators from season one. The series advertises itself as having "no research." This contrasts the series by itself with DEATH BATTLE!; where the winner of the fight is determined by the animators.

Image: One Minute Melee Series

Interview with Ray Casarez

Ray Casarez, the music composer for Hyper Gauge, expresses his passion for music, the excitement, and work it took to creating the music for One Minuet Melee series.

As a game composer, are you a gamer yourself?

"Definitely. Ever since I could use a controller I was a big fan of the entire Megaman, Street Fighter, and Sonic franchises. Crazy enough, one of the things that I always loved about those games was the soundtracks. Currently today, I am a very big gamer in the fighting game scene and make sure to catch all the big tournaments through the year of Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom and Dragon Ball FighterZ."

What was your musical vision for One Minute Melee Series?

"After seeing what the series was all about and the kind of energy it brought to viewers, I knew that this series needed something high octane and in your face. A lot of what I wanted to bring to the table was a combination of my metal background tied in with some edgy anime rock melodies and synth."

Were there any specific type of sounds that you were going for in your music compositions?

"I always found a passion in writing music that I would enjoy listening to myself. Coming from a background that included so many different genres, I would make it a priority to let my mind go with the flow and in any direction that my influence took me whether that was classic rock, post-hardcore, or some modern synth wave vibes."

Image: One Minuet Melee

Were you given any reference songs from the game director for One Minute Melee?

"Yes. Usually for each project, I would be given a bit of a brief that would include what kind of audio vision they would be looking for in that episode. We would bounce ideas off of each other given those references and come up with an identity that matched."

What was your experience like working with the developers and Hyper Gauge?

"The whole team is an amazing group of people to work with. What I love most is that they are both genuinely chill and humble goofy friends AND also some of the most talented folks I’ve ever come across. Every time I saw a new piece of work I was blown away and couldn’t wait to see what they came up with next."

Looking back to when One Minute Melee Series had started, did you ever imagine it would have gotten this big?

"What’s wild is that when I came across them I had no idea they had the kind of following that they did! I feel as if with each season they’ve gotten bigger and bigger. I know that they will continue to expand in ways that will take the team to great places in the animation industry."

Image: One Minuet Melee

Do you work with other musicians for the recordings of your compositions, or do you perform the entire piece yourself?

"For One Minute Melee, I have recorded, written and composed everything from start to finish myself. However, for many other projects that I release I find it such an awesome experience to write and record with others. I frequently have some great folks collaborate with me on singles, album productions and song writing. My best friend Christian who I started playing guitar with in middle school still comes over to this day to help me write. We’re also working on putting out an album together."

What inspired you to make music? How long have you been writing music for?

"I began my musical journey when I started playing guitar at age 13. I wanted to learn guitar after being introduced to heavier music when I bought my first rock CD, The Offspring “Conspiracy of One”. I fell in love with the edge, the grit, and the attitude. I knew I had to be a part of that sound."

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

"I tend to classify my music as high energy anime metal or gamer rock; haha. Maybe we’ll eventually see an official genre made with those names!"

Image: One Minuet Melee

What is the best advice you’ve been given in your music career?

"Make sure that you make music for you first and that you enjoy what you put out. I would also say, ALWAYS make it a priority to be creating something. It’s easy to have some burnout take you away from routines. However, on those days just start with something small, could be a sound, a riff and just let your creativity take the wheel. Sometimes the best pieces come from the smallest beginnings."

Who are your biggest influences?

"Musically I can say groups like Thrice, Avenged Sevenfold, Crush 40, Bullet For My Valentine, Unearth have helped me hone in on my style while gaming soundtracks have added that final polish to it."

What is your songwriting process like?

"I’m a big riff guy on guitar and can riff out for hours on end. Almost all of my songs have started with me firing up a drum backing track and grooving out some riffs until something starts to take shape. I then go about some basic arrangement and let things take up from there."

Image: Ray Casarez

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?

"I would say this concept of Imposter Syndrome. I was never super classically or formally trained and I many times find myself thinking that I can’t hang in this grand world of creation because of my limitation of formal music theory. However, I try to focus on the end result and what the music sounds like upon final master, not the route in which it got there. Then, I find there are many different paths to making something enjoyable."

What are your goals for your music in the future? Do you have any projects you're working on next?

"I’m in the process of just super charging my production level and keeping myself accountable for projects and ideas that I’ve wanted to put out. I would LOVE to do a track one day for a giant like Capcom or Sega even if it was something super small. I’ve been such a genuine fan their games that it would truly be a dream come true to collaborate with them on something. Currently I’m working on two independent games that I’m hoping to announce very soon with the world!"

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