Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s ongoing hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today, Capcom forms a band.
Yesterday’s Street Fighter V Spring Update was full of surprises, not least of which was that Capcom’s slapped a pair of undies on returning fighter Oro, the only canonically freeballing character in series history. What a shame!
A more pleasant surprise came at the end, when the hosts mentioned that there’d be a performance by “CAP-JAMS,” which is apparently a newish band formed from members of Capcom’s internal sound team. What what! Indeed, six young to middle-aged men appeared onscreen in a somewhat goofy music video in which they performed an excellent cover of Dan Hibiki’s classic theme from Street Fighter Alpha:
Very good! They really capture the warm ‘70s groove of the original, with excellent bass and synthesizer. I feel Dan’s theme was secretly(?) one of the best tracks in the original Alpha, and this cover very much reminded me how I felt upon first hearing it.
I quickly turned to web searchin’. It turns out CAP-JAMS has an official Twitter (Capcom actually first tweeted the Dan cover toward the end of February), a web page, and a YouTube channel that’s got several glossy promotional videos. Interesting to note, the website credits 2020’s four Rockman Live 2020 shows to the group. Maybe that was before the CAP-JAMS branding was finalized.
Based on the effort on display, it seems like Capcom wants to make this house band happen. That would not be without precedent. With the rising profile of video game music in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, forming in-house bands from game sound teams became A Thing for various Japanese game publishers. They were almost uniformly great, and in the case of Data East’s group Gamadelic, very amusing. Capcom’s own was called Alph Lyra (spelled various ways), but like most of these bands, they faded away by the late ‘90s.
CAP-JAMS’ current lineup is Yoshiya Terayama (bass), Shinya Okada and Yasumasa Kitagawa (keyboard), Taisuke Fujisawa and Yasuyuki Tsujino (guitar), and the mysterious Ryo Hirai (drums). Okada and Kitagawa have a few decades’ of credits, lots of MonHun and Mega Man, with the latter having started at Konami (a defector!). The official website says band members will rotate out constantly, but hopefully this coterie is just getting started. Now, is there anyone still alive at Konami to answer Capcom’s musical challenge?
That’ll do us for today’s Morning Music. You might have noticed we didn’t have one on Monday, and it’s basically due to a small staff being increasingly overburdened. Though I enjoy bringing it to y’all, until that situation lets up, Morning Music will become a more sporadic feature. I hope y’all understand. Hope your hump day goes alright!