Earlier this week, we looked at how one Harmonix employee is incorporating Dance Central into her fitness routine. Today, we’re excited to share three free bonus songs on Oculus Quest and the Rift Platform, featuring brand-new choreography designed to get you up on your feet and moving. And to celebrate, we’re taking you behind the scenes with the talented Harmonix artists who brought the latest additions to the Dance Central soundtrack to life!
Long-time Harmonix fans are no strangers to the name James Landino. His song “Break For Me” featuring Noelle LeBlanc first debuted in the Amplitude reboot in 2016 and has also appeared in AUDICA and DropMix.
The hypnotizing vocals and EDM beat make for some incredibly fun choreography.
“In middle school, I had recently discovered my newfound enjoyment of music rhythm games,” Landino says. “At the time, a popular web-based game regularly opened submissions for users on their site to submit music for implementation into their game. I had wanted to develop video games since I was a child, so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to learn both game design and music composition. The game is still available, and I have over 20 songs in it under my old alias.”
He has since toured all over, playing his music in front of thousands of people at conventions and festivals alike, and he’s worked on over 30 game titles. His first ever project was completed at just 13 years old. His music is deeply inspired by Japanese game music, EDM, and pop song structures.
“Break For Me” by James Landino ft. Noelle LeBlanc is the perfect addition to the Dance Central soundtrack, bringing more upbeat and challenging routines to our most dedicated leaderboard chasers.
M-Cue, also known as Arthur Inasi, is the Creative Director for Dance Central. Inasi has been playing and making music his entire life, starting with writing and rhyming at nine years old and learning piano and guitar from an even younger age.
M-Cue’s “Out Whole Night” grooves onto Dance Central’s soundtrack after finding its origins in Harmonix Music VR, a game that Inasi composed the entire soundtrack for.
Asked what it’s like to have his own music and creative influence on video games, Inasi notes, “Making video games is literally a childhood dream come true. I never thought I’d actually achieve it, until I just started walking towards that career with no fear. Ever since I was a kid, I’d come up with little game designs or characters. Now I not only develop games for a living, but I have the opportunity to creatively direct games from the ground up. The kid version of myself wouldn’t believe me if I told him what was coming. I’ve worked on so many games now, I don’t even keep count. It’s crazy.”
You can hear a lot of his musical influences if you take a deep dive into “Out Whole Night.”
“I got a long list of influences, but I grew up on a lot of rock because of my brother, so I was falling asleep to Hendrix, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Rush—all those old classic bands,” Inasi says. “Then I discovered hip hop and it was all over. Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Mos Def, The Roots, Busta Rhymes, Timbaland, Dr. Dre. Those cats raised me with their music. Life drives me to make music. To be honest, I’d probably be a depressed shell if I didn’t have music in my life. I probably wouldn’t even get up in the morning. Music is more than just therapy for me, it’s life blood. I can’t be without it. I can’t not make music.”
You may recognize Shocked Laura’s “Fall Apart” from a few Dance Central trailers and gameplay videos. That funky pop anthem was made by Harmonix-ers of the past and present: Steve Pardo, Arthur Inasi, and Alicia Caillier.
This Harmonix band formed and “Fall Apart” was born.
“Arthur Inasi (Creative Director for Dance Central/absolute musical genius) and I started off by hashing out references for the track,” explains Pardo. “Musically, we came to an agreement that we wanted something with a vintage edge but that felt modern and ‘now’ in some respects. So while there are nods to ’70s funk and electronic music, there’s slick risers and drum production commonly found in EDM and pop music. Major props to Arthur for helping refine the production.”
Behind the scenes after the track was finished, the team put it into motion capture (mo-cap) with some more Harmonix friends and family, transforming the song into a playable Dance Central track. They even took some band promo pictures to mark the occasion of this group’s formation.
Says Dance Central Product Manager Alicia Caillier, “This is the first song I’ve ever sang on that’s been in a video game, and it’s a super dope feeling!”
Thanks to all of the artists for taking the time to peel back the curtain on their hard work. You can play all three songs for free right now by picking up Dance Central on Oculus Quest and the Rift Platform! Already own the game? Jump back into the Club or grab your crew and head to the Lounge—these tracks are waiting for you.