And You Thought We Were Altruists! – HMX Bands on the RBN

In 2008, when we first committed to this massive Rock Band Network user-generated content initiative, we had selfish reasons. Sure, we wanted to let every band in the universe put music into Rock Band - but we also have a lot of musicians that work at Harmonix that wanted to be in Rock Band too. With labels and artists lined up to be released as regular downloadable content, we couldn't reliably put our own music out through as DLC, but we still wanted a way to show off the fantastic music made by Harmonix employees.

Fast-forward to today. It's 2011, and the RBN has been out for more than a year. Among the 500+ artists featured in the Rock Band Network, there are a variety of Harmonix-affiliated bands, and we wanted to celebrate and showcase some of those bands.

The Acro-Brats

HMXers in residence: Daniel "Daniel Brat" Sussman (guitar/background vocals)

Other band members: Chris Brat (guitar/vocals), Eliahu (drums), Swid (bass/background/vocals)

Songs in Rock Band: "Hair Trigger"

The sound is: Boston punk/edgy pop-punk

Daniel wants to say: "We're psyched to make our return to the video game format. It's been too long since people have had new brats material to play on their plastic guitars and drums."



HMX alumni in residence: Kat Burke (lead vocals)

Other band members: Joe Bondie (guitar, vocals); Jon Sprague (guitar); Mike Barry (bass guitar); Chad Miller (drums)

Songs in Rock Band: "Bleeder"

The sound is: "If Sylvia Plath and Jimmy Page had a bare knuckled brawl...."

Kat wants to say: "RBN has helped Alchemilla reach a worldwide audience! Pick up our song 'Bleeder' for Xbox 360!"



HMXers in residence: Matt Boch, Designer (vocals, bass, guitar); Jon Carter, Producer (guitar, bass, vocals); John Drake, Program Manager (drums, vocals)

Songs in Rock Band: "(Lone Wolf) Soccer Mom" "Lodger" "Pouncer"

They sound like: Punchy, angular, shoegaze-inflected pop


DnA's Evolution

HMXer in residence: Adam Cardoza, Senior QA tester (drums and vocals)

Other band members: Derek Reckard (guitar and lead vocals); LIVE BASS PLAYER THAT WE'D LOVE TO HAVE PLAY SOME SHOWS (bass)

Songs in Rock Band: "The Heist"

The sound is: "Rock, I guess? It’s really whatever we want it to be. DnA’s Evolution has always been a sort of musical therapy session for us so we just play/write whatever we’re feeling at the time."

Adam wants to say: "Releasing 'The Heist' on RBN was a very positive experience for us. Quite a few people seemed to really like it and were nice enough to give us their dollar! As a result, that gave us the confidence to make some significant headway into recording our debut album. We certainly want to do more RBN tracks and maybe some shows in the upcoming year once we finish recording. Now, about that bass player.... ;)"


Full Source

HMX alumni in residence: Tim Dwyer

Songs in Rock Band: "End Quote" "It's Not You, It's Everyone", and "Red Sky At Morn"

The sound is: "... an ever changing experiment in electronic music. It has shifted from techno to synth pop, from experimental to ambient. Currently Full-Source subsides in an electro-acoustic limbo, moving away from synths and live instrument samples."

Tim wants to say: "Rock Band Network lets you gain fans, hands down. It's been a privilege to have music on RBN from the very start and share some of my most electronic songs with Rock Band fans around the world."


Giant Target

HMXers in residence: Daniel Chace, Designer (bass, backing vocals); Caleb Wheeler, QA Tester (drums, backing vocals)

HMX alumni in residence: Aaron Price (rhythm guitar, lead vocals); Phillip Hunt (lead guitar, British presence)

Songs in Rock Band: "In Memories", "Signs"

The sound is: Irreverent, fast, salty

Caleb wants to say: "RBN is great because it gives bands of all shapes and sizes and chance to be heard by a worldwide audience."


The Main Drag

HMXers in residence: Matt Boch, Designer (vocals, misc.); Jon Carter (guitar, misc.); John Drake, Program Manager (drums, misc.)

Other band members: Dan Cardinal (bass, misc.)

Songs in Rock Band:

The sound is: Melodically-driven, computer-based indie pop with acoustic guitars

Jon wants to say: "Both Blanks. and the Main Drag have always had a thoroughly DIY approach to nearly all aspects of writing, recording, and promoting their music. RBN fits that model perfectly and is an expression of a larger cultural trend towards empowering bands to maintain creative control over how their music is heard, without completely sacrificing any potential for reaching a wide audience. Two thumbs up!"



HMXer in residence: Kasson Crooker, Project Director (synths, drum programming)

Other band members: Catherine Cavanaugh (vocals)

Songs in Rock Band: "Fox Hunt"

The sound is: Bittersweet synthpop love songs with just a cranky Moog synth and bleepy Korg drum machine

Kasson wants to say: "I think it’s fun to play non-rock songs in Rock Band as you get to interact with instruments like synthesizers and drum machines!"



HMXer in residence: Chris Foster, Project Director (drums, guitar, vocals)

HMX alumni in residence: Dan Teasdale (bass, vocals)

Additional HMX support: Michael Verrette, Director: Production (drums) and Kelly Scott (guitar) on Rock Band 2's rerecord of "Conventional Lover"

Songs in Rock Band: "Conventional Lover", "Grumpytown", "VP of Booty Reports"

The sound is: "It's somewhere between nerd-pop and emo, depending on the song. Consistency is the hobgoblin of competent musicians."

Chris wants to say: " Speck was a project between two Harmonix designers, to learn what it was like to record an album recorded within a month for the RPM Challenge. We're thrilled and slightly confused that people get to play and enjoy our music through RBN."


Symbion Project

HMXer in residence: Kasson Crooker, Project Director (synths, drum programming, production, mixing)

Songs in Rock Band: "Exploited & Exposed", "Synthesized"

The sound is: Dark and epic electronic music with sweeping synths over staccato downtempo beats

Kasson wants to say: "It’s super exciting to have the Symbion Project songs "Synthesized" and "Exploited & Exposed" in a Harmonix game for the first time since Amplitude!"


Universal Hall Pass

HMXer in residence: Kasson Crooker, Project Director (synths, drum programming)

Other band members: Melissa R. Kaplan (vocals and composition)

Songs in Rock Band: "Dragonfly" (Symbion Project Remix)

The sound is: Beautiful and haunting vocals over triphop beats and funky samples

Kasson wants to say: " Melissa sang on the song "Ibiza Dream"' which was in the Harmonix game FreQuency... nice to have her back for RBN!"


And over the next year, there will be new songs from Harmonix bands you already love, and new songs from Harmonix bands you haven't heard yet, and probably even new songs from Harmonix bands that don't yet exist - because Harmonix is like that. And the bands will be looking for people to playtest and peer review those songs and help get them out the door.

If you'd like to get in on the fun, come check out


Love so many of these songs, especially The Main Drag and Speck. One day I hope we get more songs by Tribe. "Outside" is still one of my favorite songs in the game.

Synthesized was my fave song in Amplitude, and would love to download it for RB, but alas it's XBox360 only and I have a PS3. *sob*

Argh, thank you Fairwood. Fixed.

Um, you appear to have smushed Blanks. and DnA's Evolution together...