A Brazilian Video Game DJ is Bringing Dance Parties to YouTube

As I near a full year of being in lockdown, all this newly discovered time has given me a chance to reconnect with music again. I can’t tell you how nice it is to tune in to my favorite DJs on Twitch or support new releases on Bandcamp from my favorite artists and labels.

Back in December, my friend Irv sent me this video from a Brazilian artist named dedeco and I was absolutely blown away. dedeco is a Brazil-based producer and DJ who specializes in electronic music. His Video Game Music DJ Set series consists of dedeco mixing pre-selected songs, all in real-time, on video.

I cut together a video about dedeco above, but for those of you who can’t check it out, here’s a shortened transcript, ya know, without any of the music or visuals if that’s your thing:

So many of the songs that powered all those classic titles now find new life when played in concert with other bangers from the same era. It’s almost impossible not to zone out to the beats, and just as easy to forget they were originally packaged in with video games. Believe it or not, that’s actually how dedeco got the idea to make video mixes in the first place — by introducing a pre-COVID packed crowd to some Namco and Atlus classics.

“I was already implementing the digging and research — electronic music — I was already connecting it to the video game music research.” Said dedeco. “It was amazing seeing all of the cool techno kids just grooving to Ridge Racer music.”

After contributing a remix to a friend’s cassette tape compilation of chiptune-style tracks, dedeco then performed a live video game music set that got a pretty positive reception. So he took the next step. He bought a green screen and figured he would continue spreading the good word to folks around the world.

The first video he released was a celebration of drum & bass and jungle tracks that served as the soundtracks to classic, retro titles. Even some that pain me to call them “retro.” I immediately smashed that like button and added his channel to my list of YouTube subscriptions, only for a second video to pop up in my feed:

The video starts with a message to viewers, asking them to make sure captions are turned on so they can experience what he calls his “stream of consciousness.” In addition to increasing the “HANGOUTITUDE LEVELS” of his videos, the captions give us his real-time thoughts as dedeco watches himself mixing his curated musical collection and kicking out fun facts about each song’s producers, the importance of each game, and their contributions to gaming history.

More importantly: He explains why he thinks this music is so damn good and why it transcends the medium in which it was born.

“I actually did some research and the average human attention span nowadays is like 15 seconds — which is smaller than a goldfish!” He jokes. “I was thinking about myself as well because it is hard to sit down and watch stuff. Of course the music is the main thing, but I thought that writing the captions would be an incentive for people to just get more involved.”

It’s hard not to sense the level of play in each video — as well as how the music serves as a window into dedeco’s own love for this stuff. dedeco even makes fun of himself whenever he messes up a transition, or when his cat makes an unscheduled appearance. Trust me when I tell you: It’s pretty damn hilarious to watch in real time.

There’s a sense of playfulness on display here that was honestly super inspiring. It challenged me to reexamine my own appreciation for video game music as well.

So what started as an idea, born from a remix on a cassette tape, continued into making these videos for the world to share in his love for game music. dedeco’s work is a welcome experiment that feels like making stuff for the sake of making stuff. And I, personally, need that right now.

Go check out dedeco’s channel and here’s his Patreon too. For now, I’ll probably keep DM’ing him on Discord about the Streets of Rage mixes he told me are also in the works.

Sorry in advance, dedeco.