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Hiveswap Friendsim - Commentary

3.3k words across 22 entries.

Album commentary


Maybe the real FRIENDSHIP was the friends we made along the way.


James Roach:

(Amisia's theme)

I wanted to call this one ":0" but apparently thats "fucking stupid" uhhh????????????????????????????????????? wrong

anyway heres the lore: andrew wanted something "UP" and "whimsical" because the first volume was really heavy handed on the music front. I had this laying around and thats basically how we are doing the music.


James Roach:

(Cirava's theme)

originally this was called M O I S T but w/e program trace was using didnt interpret them right but it was so much funnier to just leave it as boxes LMAO

anyway i said somethin ages ago about some of the trolls having themes i didnt get to finish all of them but ciravas is just a re-purposed early WIP of a grubbles song (get the horns) that i made vapor/moisturewave by slowing it down in the right way because thats literally all vaporwave is.

Call me Gor-Gor

James Roach:

(Tagora's theme)

i wrote this for tagora. i do these for free so if you liked it consider sending me some cash

>tfw another james roach track

James Roach:

(Kuprum and Folykl's theme)

i suggested this name as a joke and they did it the absolute madmen

Piwates ',:^]

James Roach:

(Remele's theme)

once again i did not expect to get away with this name thanks for playing hiveswap friendly simulation i am gonna be gone all day so im just gonna post it now spoiler alert she's pirate themed if you couldn't guess

anyway i wrote this song when i was in like 7th grade because we could do something 'creative' instead of a book report. the book was sylvia plaths "the bell jar"

it be like that sometimes

James Roach:

(Chixie's Theme)

heres the "album version" of the loop from todays upcoming friendsim

take me to clown church

James Roach:

(Chahut's theme)

a little over three years ago i was in a sweaty conference room in manhattan visiting the now defunct WP NYC studio (which was in a shared space sort of... tech venture situation??) sitting in on what was usually a remote meeting. I nervously stood in front of andrew and my director at the time (whos name was also james come to think of it) as well as a handful of other people. Toby was conference calling in like we both usually did.

They said since i was visiting from out of town I didn't have to present anything at this weeks meeting like i usually did. I said I had something to show them anyway, since I didn't like to sit around idly and wanted to make the most of my studio visit. I stood there half-moist with gross air-dampness only new york in summer can really provide knowing I had one opportunity to wow them in person.

"alright. remember all those sound effects for that highblood minigame? like... seltzer water? light bulb? honks? squeaks? ok well, I made them into a beat and added some airhorns and tuba-"

"more tuba?" said toby over the call

"hell yeah brother more tuba"

anyway this was that song. It was going to be for a minigame sequence but i wanted to use it here. originally it didn't have a melody so i wrote a melody on banjo since you should definitely be reading all of chahuts lines in a very slow, methodical louisiana genteel southern accent. "SANGLE and ready tuh MANGLE"

fortnite funny moments epic fails episode 413

James Roach:

(Mallek's theme)

theres a channel that just re-uploads homestuck/hiveswap and now friendsim music to youtube so i named the track this so that a lot of confused kids show up in the comments. there isnt really anything i can do about people re-uploading music (and if it brings in a few more sales, then hell yeah) since if you take one down 9 others pop up and then people call you an asshole On-Line. at least we can both have a bit of a laugh when like fragman22 shows up in the comment section calling this song and whoever "james roach" is gay. well you got me there, kid. i am. i am gay.

for this one i really wanted to capture that LAD atmosphere. idk if mallek is a lad exactly... but he's got lad energy. maybe im just projecting. I have been saying saying "boyo" a lot lately. oh god is the lad.... me??? no probably not.

this song started off as a track for my best friend at the time Lexxy's fantroll very creatively named "Lexxer" back before homestuck fantrolls were "post-ironic" and still "sincere." I also put the melody to "nuclear" in here as a throwback to my old fantroll "Carcha." I have said fantroll more times today than I have in the last year. Fantroll.

this is the closest to ska that friendsim has got just because in its original iteration this is a weird like... electronica ska song.

anyway i say it "started off" as that but i literally wrote this track on like.. monday. thats how ya boy do. I borrowed from a song i wrote for a fantroll album i did. theres a whole fantroll album that... hasn't really stood up to the passing of time so I've mostly purged it from existence. I guess some chuckleheads found it but have been kind enough not to repost it.

Old Secret

James Roach:

(Boldir's theme)

here it is folks.

this was going to be in act 3, then i made it the EOA2 cutscene but it still cut off too early to be a full release and i just really liked it so i wanted you guys to hear it now instead of later.

i used it for boldir because it fit her whole aesthetic, but this song was originally wrote for a scene where joey and xefros are on the run. having been hardened by their journey they hit the streets. it was meant to be a really sort of somber realization.

I LOVE the mood of the transistor soundtrack and you might notice this drum beat and title are a very obvious nod to the song "Old Friends" (though someone else named it, years ago) I was specifically instructed "make it sound like this song" but since then I have worked to make it sound like more my own thing. you can see the influence of that soundtrack on all my work, though. the slow driving half-time beat. the airy reverb on chordal tones. the dirty bass. originally meant as a placeholder i never got over how the beat drops the backbeat on every other 4. I could dweeb out about this for hours.


James Roach:

(Stelsa's theme)

"imagine, if you will, a situation wherein i wrote the bulk of this song at 4 am and then woke up only to discover the monstrosity i had created in my fleeting hubris"

i wrote this to have really one of those melodies that don't really make any sense. you ever notice how vocal songs only have like 3 or 4 notes in the melody. anyway i also had to write lyrics. have you you ever tried to write a sitcom theme that incorporates harspichord? yikes. i love it when theme songs to sitcoms just outline the premise of the show so... i guess i don't have a great excuse i was just extremely drunk. its literally the chords to the theme song to "Family Matters" you know the show with Steve Urkel who is played by jaleel white who also voiced sonic the hedgehog.

anyway the lyrics that i definitely wrote at 6 this morning are:

its the 90s
and this is a show
about a female troll

she might have kids
or maybe a dog
the premise isnt clear

i like it when
songs just tell you
(what the shows about)

she practices the law
she wears a pink coat
and probly does some other shit too

this is the theme
to "Family Matters"
which I guess came out in the 80s

i checked
but it ran until ' 98

oh cool
i finished the song


James Roach:

(Marsti's theme)

marsti marsti marsti.... what can i say?

first of all, you're welcome. I didn't design her or draw her or write her but I will gladly take the credit from my esteemed colleagues and friends.

if you didn't listen to the podcast i was on this morning (pgenpod) or watch that youtube video i uploaded a few weeks ago this track was originally for an area that was scrapped. The important characters got more or less morphed into Marsti as we know her now.

There is a whole like section of the game where this melody is used a lot. Its in the old 3D hiveswap trailer, in the Homestuck 2.0 video. Wow. All the cursed ones. It is explicitly not a leitmotif because it is not meant to be "..indicative of a person or place" it is just a theme.

wait but... if i make it marsti's theme does that not mean it, however inadvertently, is now a person's theme and therefore IS a leitmotif? aw jeez guys i really beefed it this time.

this ones a bit older but this is, once again, just another example of me goin ham on bass for no good fuckin reason. i just think it sounds cool what do you want from me.

(an ascii image of bowsette)

James Roach:


friendsim spoilers:

karako is a very young and very small child juggalo. on twitter i described karako as "the one clown you are not allowed to be horny for" and a bunch of chuckleheads tried to be funny and say like "hueuhuhe is that a challenge" and its like one why don't you just listen to me when i say things, two stop trying to one up me you will never ever win, and three i am eagerly waiting your apologies. my inbox is open.

i mean i get it. i was just on a podcast this morning talking about how the one thing that binds us all together is that we've all engaged in some clownery. i think i talk about regrettably hooking up with a juggalo as a teen for a solid 10 minutes. its hard being me.

i just moved and gave my old electric bass away to a friend who was interested in learning. i recorded this before giving it away. goodbye electric bass. dozens of children will miss how i used to just go ham on the bass in a bunch of songs for no reason. oh also im beatboxing for two seconds in this one. i ran it through a filter so it sounds less like "james roach making some sounds."

all in all, i wanted to make this one sound a little more whimsical so i borrowed the synth i made for my friends dnd character theme... where they're also a clown? its a really good synth. ok marsti is up next.

idk man you name it im tired

James Roach:

(Wanshi's theme)

the problem with these titles is like at what point do i take a step back and really evaluate what i've done- and i mean really look at it and think to myself

"Am I satisfied with what I have done?

Is this enough?

Do I deserve ANY of this praise?

Do you think my family is looking down on me with pride?

Is talking about things online just a bandage for years of silence about this project?

Am I going to open up online and some weirdo I don't know going to make a weird over familiar joke because they don't know how to really interact with people and its not really their fault but its the fifth one today and honestly I just have to kinda draw a line SOMEWHERE for my own mental well-being which probably comes off as kind of rude to people who have never really been in this position but I guess its not exactly my job to hold their hand through the difficult task of trying to be social in a semi-public space and its not like I'm really an expert anyway I mean cmon now

why are they talking about trolls lactating on twitter?"

at what point do i consider all of that and then look at what i've made and decide "ok time to name this one mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm motherfuckin uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh benjamin danklin" or whatever you know?


James Roach:

(Fozzer's theme)

this is literally the first track i wrote for the game. this piano motif a melody had been something i was kicking around back in like 2012 as a song for rose i think. when andrew originally talked to toby and i he gave us very specific marching orders about what songs to write. it was two songs. a haunted mansion and a "subway full of juggalos"

i mentioned before we went through a handful of "haunted mansion" ideas for HARLEHOUSE that were like too spooky and not campy enough. this was one of those spooky takes. we ended up using this theme for something of more... significance.


James Roach:

(Marvus's theme)

I think Toby actually named this one. The idea here is that you start with a normal song and slowly work your way to the weird clown shit. this is meant to reflect the real life struggle of finding someone hot and slowly but surely acclimating to the fact that they are a clown. we all been there. extremely relatable.

i got that weird laugh from toby as an mp3 and i THINK its from a spiderman game. it could just be toby's own impish laughter but probably not. toby has a hearty joy-filled laugh with exactly 0% in the vein of clownery department. i love toby so much.

so here we are. friendsim friday and i have to act like clownfuckery is just another aspect of my life akin to say a sweet tooth or psoriasis. like "yeah man we all done fugged a clown once am i right fellas" over here grasping at straws, desperation in my voice "r-right??? fellas???"

his name was daniel and he really loved ICP and i think now he works as a manager at a taco bell. yeah thats right daniel. i'm callin you out you nasty juggalo. my inherited army of teens are comin into your taco bell and taking all your fuego sauce. dont call me. that felt good. i feel better. what were we talkin about?

(this title was too long)

James Roach:

(Daraya's theme)

▲trollkind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. to obtain something of equal value must be lost. that is alchemys first law of equivalent exchange. in those days, we really believed that to be the worlds one, and only, truth.▼

i wrote the original track when i was a teenager in a shitty band called "the isotopes" which is a reference to the baseball team on the simpsons. yikes. i played drums. bigger yikes. i fixed it up for this because we... just didn't have anything that fit. the idea is that its.. a jade blood who is trying very hard not to be one.

you still have all the trappings of jade blood music: piano, bells, harps, arpeggios, some sort of.. ethereal moments.. but its like this weird bad rockabilly nonsense. you can hear how a like 11 year old me wrote what i considered to be "stride piano" there was a point this was gonna be a grubbles song but its like... well theres only two of them. so i kinda went buckwild on the drums a bit. remember dammek? i wonder what that guys up to. probably some stupid shit LMAO.

anyway a lot of you are wondering why trace put fucking lapras in the preview image and i guess the burden falls upon me to explain. on twitter there is an artist who predicted every single time it was gonna be daraya whether they had evidence or not and theres a whole like in-joke comic about daraya bringing a lapras plush (named SLAPRAS) to jade blood show and tell... look man i dont make this shit up theres a lot of lore. if you arent on homestuck twitter its about a thousand times better than anywhere else for that sort of... golden-age-homestuck fandom feel. nothing will ever come close to that but this feels very nostalgic to just joke and laugh with friends and shit. you guys have been really good to me. thanks.

turns out its like the shoe

James Roach:

(Nihkee's theme)

i started streaming my work now since its less of a surprise who the characters are. i went through like... five different versions of this track. this was gonna be disco i dont know what i was thinking.

we ended up going with this one which is actually meant for a different part of ACT 2. In ACT 1, the song "Keep Your Head Down" has a rhythmic motif that I use in the climax of this song. I wont tell you what its for but... think of whats happening during that song in ACT 1, and know that it will be a much bigger deal when you eventually see it. i don't have any information wrt "when" that would be helpful to you. its barely even helpful to me. a real "buddy, they dont even let ME fuck the flag" situation. this is a reference to a popular tweet. im not an insane person i swear.

anyway nihkees sprite is absolutely fucking ripped. the size of this lad. the A in LGBTQA+ stands for ABSOLUTE UNIT apparently.

I know it does not please do not @ me i am so fucking tired.

yall know i just do the music right

James Roach:

(Lanque's theme; no commentary)

the final clowntdown

James Roach:

(Soleil twins' theme; no commentary)


James Roach:

(Lanque's other theme; no commentary)


James Roach:

here it is. the end of an era. working on friendsim has been an absolutely wild ride. i honestly can't tell you what its meant to me to be a part of something like this again. i've learned a lot about myself and what im capable of and what im willing to do to make it work. i guess this probably comes off as cryptic.

a lot happened. an absolutely bananas series of events that lead up to this project and the more baffling moments that have transpired since. its... one of those things that only homestuck could have produced, you know? It was an incredible opportunity with a lot of ups and downs and emotional significance. it will probably continue to be that. I had a lot of fun doing all of this for you. it also... ate up a LOT of my time, though. I have been on a nonstop homestuck train for like the last five years and only now that i've gotten into the groove of things its ending again. bittersweet. for now.

i don't really know how to feel but i hope i at least wrote a song or two you liked along the way.

heres the one for MC/DOC SCRATCH that i think is my favorite from the whole thing. its based off a song from an old (bad) fantroll album i did in like 2011 (and the song was written even earlier than that) that i have since purged from the internet as best i can. thank you for not reposting it. i re-used a lot of assets from it for other stuff. i was in a real weird place when i made it so aside from it being kinda bad i just... don't wanna see it ever LMAO.

that album made the homestuck music community real mad at me because they thought i was getting preferential treatment for being popular on-line and friendly with some WP staff on twitter. my unofficial album got approved for sale and at the same time, completely unknown to me someone on the music team's album didn't get approved. a handful of them used this incident to talk shit about me for several years. one of them made fun of me for my dad passing away?? yikes. most of us have made our peace (i understand how easy it is to get caught up in dog-piling on a common enemy or w/e) but theres still one or two that are like... still real mad at me for this percieved slight. they'll say like "you were rude to us" and its like... you guys... literally made fun of me for not having a family i'm not sure what you want from me.

this one got away from me. anyway. thanks for listening. stop being weird to me on twitter. tip your waitstaff.

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