Nyza Stillwater, one of our FaireChylde rocking DJs has also been providing music for the Region Tours of Literary Festival, where the Faire Folk wander into the Fairelands together, exploring the worlds and writing about them. This is his account on how all of that worked out and how it has been like, what he set out to do and why he is doing this.
I’m a returning DJ for Fantasy Faire 2016. Last year was my first year and I enjoyed it immensely that I applied again this year and was accepted. From the very first day I have had enormous support from the backstage crew, the fellow DJs, and Mr. Zander Greene. This year, Zander asked me basically to stream music during the evening region tours, part of Fantasy Faire’s second annual Literary Festival. The tours were a new feature this year and his vision was to set music appropriate to the sim to inspire writers to create their stories while out touring the sims. I opted to take 7 of the 10 shifts available (coming out to be about 14 hours of music). Honestly, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, being able to craft my own story through music of the wondrous places that are The Fairelands.
Music illustrates emotions and feelings, from fearful and melancholy, to hopeful and joyous. Without it, the world is without life, such as a soul in a person’s body. The many moods of music is very similar to what cancer victims go through from diagnosis to, in some cases, passing on to the next life. Without evil, we cannot appreciate good, and without good, we cannot recognize evil. We cheer on our favorite heroes (the Relayers, the victims, the researchers, ACS, etc.) and loathe our worst enemies (cancer, suffering, and death). Music, like art, and like life, can tell a story revolving around any of these emotions.
You may be curious to know how the playlists come into being. They begin forming two weeks before the Faire even opens. Each sim designer provided a tidbit of story that told about their sim to effectively inform the curious wanderer. This only served as the first step to the creation of the playlist. The second step came once early access was granted to backstage staff and members when the sims could be viewed prior to the opening to the public. From here, I took the stories created by the sim creators and through my own tours crafted a playlist that responded according to what I saw and felt. Additionally, I look for musical influences from the designers themselves, which they have graciously provided in their interviews featured on the website. My ultimate goal was not only to assist the LitFest writers in crafting their own stories in response to their own visions, but to serve as a sort of soundtrack for each sim, like if each were its own tale. You might be surprised to know that it took me an estimated 50 hours to create ALL ten of my playlists! I’ve been told I’m an obsessive compulsive worker on more than one occasion… The different sims make it challenging at times to find just the right music! It is obvious that the sim builders have put a lot of time, effort, and thought into their designs. The same has to go for the music as well, I feel.
I have my “go-to soundtracks” that everyone knows and can relate to, such as Howard Shore’s “Lord of the Rings” and a lot of music from video games, particularly roleplaying games (RPGs) series such as Final Fantasy and the Elder Scrolls. Composers from RPGs are tasked with doing roughly the same thing I am doing for Fantasy Faire: adding appropriate music to worlds to emit feeling and emotion from what we see and experience.
I also add in electronic new age music from groups such as Conjure One, Amethystium, Antti Martikainen, David Arkenstone, and Medwyn Goodall. Honestly, it would be impossible for me to create a favorite album or to pick one favorite tune that captures the feeling of each sim, but one of my favorite tracks of all time is Antti Martikainen’s “Throne of the North” from the album of the same name. It’s an eleven minute track that just takes you on the ride, and fills you with a variety of emotions from start to end. I also really love David Arkenstone’s “Atlantis” album.
Besides providing the music for the story-writers, I do try to relate the music to life and events. Being diagnosed with any form of cancer is world-shattering for any victim. My mother is a 2-time survivor of lymphoma cancer and was recently told that it had returned again, so her fight isn’t over yet. Cancer victims are constantly having to deal with a variety of emotion, but one thing I can give them through music is inspiration and hope and to help them take away their pain for a time and to give them the courage to keep fighting. A lot of music is uplifting and dramatic, just as heroes are. It displays a will that will not go away, a determination to keep fighting until peace reigns across the land and disease and suffering is extinguished.
There are many stories that can be told through words and music. Relaying for me is the story of survival, of hope, and of the will to carry on fighting. One of my favorite quotes of all time from Gautama Buddha is, “Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” This exhilarating adrenaline rush of the Relay spirit is impossible to ignore, and each of us has the power to make a difference. Each of us fights for different reasons, and while one person alone may not be able to make an enormous difference, banded together as many, we can. As Sir William Shakespeare has said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and wo men merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.” I’m doing my part for Fantasy Faire and for Relay For Life too through the power of musical storytelling. It is my gift to you all and to those who we all fight for.
On behalf of all the DJs (Zander Greene, Elrik Merlin, Roofus Rossini, Holocluck Henly, Fizban Underwood, Ktahdn Vesuvino, Gerrard Winstanley, Hazard Fizzle, Lord of the Llamas, Trader Whiplash, Elizabeth Tinsley, Magdalena Kamenev, AineMari Flanagan, ColeMarie Soleil, Gem Sunkiller, Fuzzball Otega, Silverfox Rainbow, Madonna Milena, Vasa Vella, Bard Wasp, Nuala Maracas, Catalina Staheli, and Gabrielle Riel) the hosts (Kammi, CuriousinSL, Darkstone, Lala Lourbridge, and Elayne Diavolo), and the executives and staff (Elizabeth Tinsley, Zander Greene, Elrik Merlin, Saffia Widdershins, and Gabrielle Riel) we hope you have enjoyed our musical selections, not just during LitFest, but also during Fantasy Faire itself. Of course, this would not be possible without the support of Radio Riel who provides the radio stream to all of us for use during the Faire and for providing the Soundtrack of the Fairelands when there is not a live DJ in the house. Thank you all!!!
Thank you, Nyza, for adding to the soundtrack of the Fairelands! Thank you all of the DJs and hosts and sound magicians working with Fantasy Faire Radio!