By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Life is not about games, but what if it was?
This was the case for musician/actor Aaron Dalla Villa when he was pitched the idea to make a song about gaming by film stunt coordinator Adam Danoff from “Alpha Rift,” a film centered around a man who owns a video game store, where Villa plays a “Dungeons & Dragons”-esque game based on the Noblemen Legend in the movie.
While the film was being made, Villa found himself surrounded by gaming culture and became enamored as a self-professed nerd. He knew he had to pay homage to it in the eventual music video for what became known as the single “D20: Alpha Rift Tribute,” released this past February. It has been best described as “the gaming anthem that nobody asked for, but got anyway.”
Villa has starred in studio films, independent movies and high-profile television shows like “Gotham” and “Madam Secretary.”
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with him about “D20: Alpha Rift Tribute” and more.
Music Bugle – What was your original idea for the music video for “D20: Alpha Rift Tribute” and did it make it to the finished product?
Aaron Dalla Villa – The music video for “D20: Alpha Rift Tribute” was the brainchild of director Dan Lantz, so I can’t take credit for the final product. There were some ideas that I had and Dan and I collaborated on them, but it’s his baby for the most part.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Aaron Dalla Villa – I think social media helps musicians tremendously. Put your music out directly to potential followers and build real engagement without having to hustle your mixtapes on the street. Hustle your Spotify link instead! (Laughs) Social media allows musicians to play by their own rules and create their own kingdom. Social media can be a beautiful or terrible thing. Just depends on how you use it.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest challenge lately?
Aaron Dalla Villa – Keeping up with all the things I’m involved in. Time management is most important for me, so I can put out creative content consistently, while keeping up with auditions and bookings. Even if I’m working on a million different things, having laser focus on one thing at a time is crucial.
Music Bugle – What are your three favorite video game soundtracks?
Aaron Dalla Villa – “God Of War” – the most recent one, “Halo” – the first one – and “Need For Speed Underground 2.”
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Aaron Dalla Villa – The Score. I love how inspiring and positive their music is. It’s that fighter music. Never give up, never give in.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Aaron Dalla Villa – What’s a break? (Laughs) Give me a sparkling water and a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup and I’m all set, no matter where I am in the world.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Aaron Dalla Villa – The COVID-19 pandemic actually pushed me into finally releasing my music. I saw the entertainment industry shutdown as an opportunity to dive into my music and voiceover abilities. I’m glad I did. I now have a full studio setup in my apartment that could allow me to record a full album if I wanted. I’ve also broken into the voiceover industry, which is a huge market and super tight community. For any artist, I think it’s a good idea to diversify.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021?
Aaron Dalla Villa – Here are a few of my goals – for my three movies to sell and get distribution – “All Those Small Things,” “Alpha Rift” and “Bird Boy” – to premiere at Doc NYC first and then sell. To book a guest star, recurring, or series regular on a TV show – live action or animated. To book the lead of a multi-million dollar Hollywood feature film. To drop two more songs, one of them, “The Legend Of Villa” is in the works now. To grow my audience on social media to 100k followers. To move forward on creative projects with Stag Pictures, of which I’m a Creative Executive for. To keep giving every project and audition 100 percent and not taking the losses personally, but rather seeing them as opportunities to grow and keep moving forward.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Aaron Dalla Villa – “Nowhere will you find a statue of a critic or the biography of a committee,” from Banksy.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Aaron Dalla Villa – That it wasn’t given to me. I know the value of a dollar, worked hard and earned my success. I’m very proud of that.