Community Spotlight: Alex Moukala

Authors

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu EU | Leviathan

Welcome to AkhMorning’s Community Spotlight #2!

Today our community spotlight is on Alex Moukala - warrior of funk, music producer and Hollywood trailer composer who dreams of one day scoring a Final Fantasy game.

Alex at home in his studio
Alex at home in his studio

As a long time fan since being introduced to your videos and tutorials last year I’m really excited and humbled to have you as our guest today.

Could you begin by introducing who you are and telling us a bit about yourself?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

Hey there, Alex here!

Truth be told, my interests are way too many, and too dispersed for me to give a short answer on this.

Some people know me as a professional Trailer Music composer who made music for a bunch of Triple-A movie trailers and TV spots.

Others may know me as the guy who makes YouTube tutorials on how to write Orchestral & Cinematic music by ear at professional levels.

Some may know me from my Reactions & Analyses of videogame music I make on YouTube.

Others may know me from my Orchestral covers of videogame music on Spotify, and lastly, some may know me for being the Videogame Bass guy on Twitter who wrote that one FFXIV Funky remix.

If I had to describe myself briefly though, I’d just say I’m a music nerd and passionate gamer. I have been ever since the first time I played FF7 as a kid.

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala
Alex jamming outdoors
Alex jamming outdoors

Our readers among the FFXIV community have started to get to know you more through your recent “Amaurot Funk” remix of “To The Edge”.

How did it feel to not only receive a shout out from Square Enix and FFXIV’s maestro Masayoshi Soken himself, but that he also remixed your own remix?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

Honestly that felt quite surreal. As I mentioned before, my love for music was initially caused by the FF7 soundtrack, and it then got bigger the more Final Fantasy / Kingdom Hearts games I played because of their incredible soundtracks.

Seven years ago now, I decided to start making music with no prior skills or knowledge, with the goal of eventually writing music for a FF game in some shape or form, both to show myself and the world that it’s possible to embrace oneself’s dreams, no matter what they may be.

Most people who discovered me through the Funk remix probably don’t know this, but on the lead up to this, I’ve spent several years writing Cinematic Orchestral covers of FF as a way to show my passion for the brand, and maybe get noticed by the composers!

When that happened with Square Enix & Soken, to me it felt like all the years of work led to something, and nothing gets close to the sense of gratitude I felt that day.

Not only because Soken, -the legend-, did an incredible honor to me. I was also grateful to see how inspired people were by what was happening.

It may sound cheesy but inspiring people is at the core of everything that I do. At the end of my journey, what I’d love to be able to say is “If I made it, so can you. Go do it!”.

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala
Warrior of Funk - by @PG_Animation on Twitter
Warrior of Funk - by @PG_Animation on Twitter

I was following it every step of the way seeing it build up and up and up with Soken’s request into him remixing the result. The moogle remix is hilarious as are the wholesome memes people made in response!

Players have dubbed you the Warrior of Funk. What is your favourite job in FFXIV and if you were to imagine a theme for it, how would it go?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

Sadly, due to a lack of time I had to pick a job with a convenient duty-finder nature, so I main Warrior, however, I’m very intrigued by Red Mages! Maybe it’s because it’s the same job as the best girl.

If they had a theme, it’d surely be and orchestral, with acoustic guitars and basses too. Kinda like Ace Combat’s “Zero” theme.

It’d be a bit of everything, as a representation of the fact they’re skillful magical and physical warriors too, and on top of that, they’re stylish as hell.

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala

That would be a cool theme to listen to. With your hats and style I can picture you as a Red Mage!

In the past you have made mention of just how important the Final Fantasy franchise has been for you in inspiring you to get into music with the aspirations of one day scoring for Final Fantasy.

Is there that one Final Fantasy track which made you know in your heart that this is what you truly wanted to do and if so, which one?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

Way too many, actually. I can pick a few for each FF, and more often than not, they’re not the most popular tracks either.

If I have to name one for the last FF I played, let’s say A Solemn Sunset from Final Fantasy VII REMAKE.

However, I can truly name dozens of answers to this question and still not be done!

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala
Final Fantasy 7 Remake - A Solemn Sunset over Midgar's Sector 7
Final Fantasy 7 Remake - A Solemn Sunset over Midgar's Sector 7

FF7 was also one of my favourites growing up. The remake, that for years players around the world dreamed would one day be made, was finally brought to light. Masashi Hamauzu did a stellar job on the OST. Even with A Solemn Sunset managing to capturing the internal emotional conflict of that moment in the story.

Outside of Final Fantasy and the gaming industry, who are your influences and inspirations within the music industry?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

I pride myself in being very broad-minded about the music I listen to. I love the utter darkness and aggressive vibes of Celldweller’s music for example, but the day after you can find me listening to Owl City’s sweet childhood-melancholia infused albums.

If I had to name some favorite artists on different genres, I’d say:

Coldplay, Hans Zimmer, Shook, Madeon, Seven Lions, Jacob Collier, Jamiroquai, Daft Punk, Periphery, Neurotech, Empire of The Sun, Haken, The Bloody Beetroots and The Killers.

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala

That’s a really diverse range of genres with some names near and dear to me like Celldweller and others, new, that I will have to check out!

Your “How Not Giving a F*ck Makes Me a Better Musician” video is really inspirational over the struggles emerging artists face and embracing the idea of going outside of your comfort zone to do what you truly enjoy.

Seeing you walk through the streets of Lecce was especially nostalgic as my sister not only filmed the musical movie “Walking on Sunshine” there but she loved the place enough to have her wedding in sunny Puglia!

Where do you see yourself going next beyond your current comfort zone?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

Honestly, what I’m doing now is a bit out of my comfort zone. I’m trying to invest more of my time in making videos where I play bass or other instruments, and I’m definitely not great at playing anything. Maybe it’s not easy to tell because what you see is only the final result, which seems effortless, but no, really!

Since when I started years ago, I only focused on composing, not on playing, so while I’m completely confident in my skills as a composer and music producer, when it comes to performing or playing music live I’m terrible and subpar at that instead.

Live instruments bring a lot of energy to music though, and when people see you perform the music you write, they connect to it five times more. That’s why I’m working on it now!

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala
Alex not giving a f*ck
Alex not giving a f*ck

It’s so important to be yourself and deliver that.

Your interview with Shadowbringers and To The Edge’s singer Jason Charles Miller was great and really insightful - thanks for taking the time to do that.

In your conversation with him you touched upon the topic of respecting and keeping fidelity to the source music against the desire to want to put your own take on the material.

How would you define your own style of music?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

I think my style of music is stupidly loud and often cluttered right to the point where it’s almost too much, but I always make sure not to cross that line.

I always try to put as much value and as much of “me” as I can in my music or covers. It turns some people off, but to be honest I just enjoy it and I like to do what I love! Even if it is a bit stupid or flamboyant, like my reaction videos.

If what I do brings a smile to my face, chances are it’ll bring a smile to people like me too.

I guess what I’m trying to do with my work is be a beacon for the people like me, and gather them all to a place where we can all vibe and nerd out like friends, and that applies to my music too.

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala
Alex smiling and bringing smiles
Alex smiling and bringing smiles

Speaking of your style bringing a smile to listeners, your recent collaboration with Huskybythegeek was great!

Do you have any future collaborations lined up with him or potentially other artists?

Who are some artists that you would love to collaborate with in the future?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

Thanks! That was an example of my musical input being too cluttered.

Husky’s performance was already perfect and there was no need to add stuff to it, but my creative voice truly wanted to add melodic references to Amaurot, Answers and Maker’s Ruin in there. I hope I didn’t ruin it!

As for new people to collaborate with, I’d love to work on something with people who are great performers and who are into videogame music, and who aren’t afraid of taking creative freedom to express themselves.

People like FamilyJules, Little V., RichaadEB or Insaneintherain come to mind.

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala

I’m a big fan of FamilyJules and RichaadEB in particular. Here’s hoping they take notice of your wishes to jam with them. I’d love to see it happen as you expand your horizons!

If you could speak to your younger self when you first started getting into music production and composition, what advice would you impart?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

Like with anything, in regards to my music career, there’s surely things I wish I did better. However, those things made me who I am today.

For the time being, I’m very glad of who I am and about how this whole musical journey went so far, and I owe that to my mistakes too.

I wouldn’t change a thing, so… I’m not sure I’d say anything!

Maybe I’d jinx it if I did haha.

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala
Alex not changing a thing
Alex not changing a thing

That’s really humbling to hear. Keep at it so that we can see you hit that Phase 4!

Is there anything else you would like to bring up to AkhMorning and the readers here today?

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

Even if it sounds cheesy: embrace your dreams. Life is so much fun when you do!

Alex Moukala
Alex Moukala
Alex embracing his dreams
Alex embracing his dreams

Thank you again Alex for taking part in AkhMorning’s Community Spotlight. It’s been fantastic getting to know you better.

I’m looking forward to hearing more of your craft and really hope your musical dreams do come true. I still hold hope that perhaps we can see you on stage at EU FanFest!

~Nemekh

Nemekh Kinryuu
Nemekh Kinryuu

Alex Moukala’s Amaurot Funk Remix

AMAUROT FUNK: a FFXIV To The Edge Remix (Reflections in Crystal)