Let’s talk for a bit, because I’ve known about this for a while and I think now’s a good time to explain how I feel about using music not originally written for OC’s. This might be a lengthy read, because it’s personal. This vid was one of the first to use Tokyovania as Ink Sans’ theme.
I absolutely love when music can be associated with a character. I think it’s magical when a track makes you think of something you love or enjoy, and I love seeing messages or comments that I track I wrote would fit someone’s OC, because it feels special. Originally, this video was meant to be a tribute, with my track as the proposed theme, and I didn’t worry about it. After all, I didn’t write Tokyovania for Ink Sans, I wrote it for personal reasons, and I was sure most would understand that.
After a few months, it started to catch on for some reason that this indeed was written for him. A few other tribute vids were posted, and my name was nowhere to been seen as the artist of the track. On some videos, the name was also changed to Inklovania. The “Tokyo” was just erased, on a song containing the melody of “Tokyo Teddy Bear”, an incredibly special track I adored in 2014-2015.
Back then I was in high school. It was me against the world, and I had two friends. Things became rough around September in 2015, and I’ll keep the events hidden because they’re not something I need a reminder of. By December I was alone, and I had nowhere to turn but to music. I walled myself off and focused on composing, and being quietly alone all the time eventually led to the idea of Undertronic.
It was around this time that I decided to compose a remix of Tokyo Teddy Bear, as it’s a song I associate with wishing I could be anywhere else when things aren’t great. Seeing as I was also remixing Undertale at the time, I thought I’d combine it with another track, as a particular character was also in the same situation as I was, in terms of emotion.
In short, it was a special little remix to me and it would stay that way until Ink Sans became involved. Like I mentioned, I love when others use my music for OC’s, but I started to realize there was something wrong when I was accused of stealing this theme from Ink Sans, that it solely belonged to him, that I didn’t write it and I was a terrible person.
And the list goes on and was almost constant. To many, I’ve been disregarded as the artist of the track because “It doesn’t matter who wrote it,” and nothing hurts more to a musical artist than having a personal song be taken, even accidentally, from you and it suddenly becomes something else. The meaning behind the song no longer matters, and no matter what I do, this song will always be known as his theme.
It feels like a inconceivable back-stab knowing that literally millions believe this is his theme. I don’t even want to know how many would believe I stole the track from an OC, as if an actual artist doesn’t exist and the track magically created itself. Months went by, then a year went by, and I was very bitter about this track and the accusations I kept receiving. Finally I decided to write a response, and this response was “Tokyovania Control.”
I wrote in the description that I didn’t like the old Tokyovania. This is only partially true. I loved it for what it represented to me, I hated it for how I was being treated because of it.
If you may have noticed, I included new lyrics for Tokyovania Control. It was a slightly hidden, but direct message to how I felt, and it started at 0:53. Breakdown of the meaning is in the brackets.
How’d I get this feeling? [How’d it come to this?]
I am running from this beauty, [I am running from Tokyovania.]
Misunderstood or [It’s been misunderstood what the track is about.]
Whom it’s made for? [Who was the track made for? Even I’m not sure now.]
There’s no purpose, [The song has lost its original meaning.]
Words are worthless. [Explaining/arguing won’t do anything.]
Well, it’s still charming. [I still adore the track though. It was special to me.]
I’d say “Sorry.” [Sorry, it was my mistake to let harsh words harm me.]
“My mistake to let it harm me.”
“Pardon my writing.” [Pardon my music, I’m sorry I got in your way, I should be thankful that this track is loved right? Indeed I am selfish for believing my name should be next to Tokyovania.]
Though it hurts, it still sounds special taken from me,
“Heh, oh well.” [Though it hurts, Tokyovania still sounds special taken from me. There’s nothing I can do now, so oh well.]
It was hidden well, and I didn’t expect anyone to catch on. And I was right, no one figured out why these lyrics were added or what they meant.
So no, I still don’t mind when a track I write is used for an OC’s theme. I only mind when I become non-existent as the producer, because “Who cares who wrote it, just enjoy the music.” I also mind when I am repeatedly told my work doesn’t belong to me, and I’m a horrible person for stealing a theme that belongs to an OC.
It’s one of the reasons I tend to include signature melodies in my music now. I don’t want to be forgotten or disassociated with my work. I don’t want to be told I don’t deserve to be the artist. Is it annoying? To some it is, but it’s a hell of a lot better than going through another Tokyovania situation. Having a track recognized by millions as an OC’s theme scares me much more than having someone simply steal the track, and nothing is worse to a musician than being repeatedly told my work doesn’t belong to me anymore, it belongs to an OC, and I’m scum for thinking otherwise.
I suppose what I’m trying to say, is be careful when you decide to pick songs to represent OC’s or AU’s. You may think no harm will be done, but it’s impossible to tell if something will take off. I don’t think this has ever been discussed before. I haven’t seen any musicians write about this, or share their thoughts. But I am friends with many of the Undertale remixers, and it’s sad to see that this has also been happening to one of my best friends Kamex with his “Your Best Friend” remix:
His music is gorgeous. He’s so kind & doesn’t deserve to be treated this way. If the remix is titled “Undertale Remix”, that does not mean it is an AU Remix. It is a remix for Undertale. But because this theme was used in an AU theme compilation video, the track apparently belongs to Underfresh. Again, no artist apparently exists and track magically created itself. Even worse, he feels he needs to prove it, so far as to say he has the project files if he needs to show it. To some, he’s not even respected as the producer. If you understand how I feel with Tokyovania, you can imagine how he feels as well.
Even Inktale’s creator recognizes Tokyovania as a theme for Ink, though it’s probably accidental.
Which makes me feel even more guilty, because I hate bringing people down. And knowing this wasn’t written for the AU will probably be a disappointing let-down.
So that’s about it, I thought I might as well share my thoughts, now that it’s almost been a year since this has been going on.
On another note, I’ve been working on something for Dusttale and Outertale. The Dusttale track will probably be the next vid, I dunno.
[Edit: I took a look to see if there were any comments marked as held for review, and the first one I find is-]
[The word choice gets more colorful in there.]