HMX Desks: Robotkid

Many people know Josh Randall as a key player in all the games released over the last ten years at Harmonix, working most recently as Creative Director for Rock Band, Rock Band 2 & The Beatles: Rock Band. Outside Harmonix, lots of cool kids know Josh as Robotkid, the ultra-talented VJ known to rock parties big and small as he collaborates with other artists and DJs. It comes as no surprise that the Robotkid has lots of mechanical friends hanging out with him in his office and on his desk. We sat down with Josh and a few of his officemates to hear a bit about a sliver of his awesome collection.

Why are there so many robots in this office?

He is the Robotkid after all. “I’m really into the overload chaos type of aesthetic. It reminds me of Japanese toy stores growing up or giant toy stores with walls filled with aesthetically pleasing items. Over the years I collected tons of items at yard sales and flea markets alternating with (some) eBay stuff.” Many of the toys are from childhood. “This is a fraction of the collection; there is a bunch more junk at home. A lot of it is either early ’80s or ’70s stuff.”

Which is the most prized robot?

Compoboy in his fully transformed robot mode

The answer is simple, “Compoboy is my favorite. He is a ‘80s home stereo unit that transforms into a robot, very appropriate for me to have. He’s pretty rad because he has speakers for legs”. It’s as if this robot was designed for Josh specifically. Another dear robot kept safe in its box was given to Josh as a gift. “Alex (Rigopolous) got me this pretty amazing I-SOBOT for Christmas that can walk, dance and do all this crazy stuff, but I had to send it back because he had a bad motivator... he's fixed now!”

One monitor? At Harmonix?

Most folks at Harmonix have two or three or four or five (well, only one guy has five) monitors on their desks for testing games, working on art or animations, updating websites, writing, keeping track of projects, researching, and lots of other things. As Creative Director, Josh has lots of stuff coming at him all the time and he keeps it simple with one screen on top of the desk, because “I wouldn’t have any room for all my robots”. The robots that are not perched on the shelf wall behind him get front row seats on the tiered desk. Not only is there a team of uber-talented HMXers creating acclaimed rhythm games with Josh, but there is also a troop of Robots hanging out on his desk, quietly humming “Go Josh go!”


Are there any homemade robots?

“I have more [robot] drawings that I did and we made a few back in the day for the band [Institute of Technology].”  No one knows the whereabouts of the Institute of Technology robots, but there are two homemade bots residing in Josh’s office. The Wu-Tang robot piñata made by yours truly was transported on the subway surviving the small fists of a few three year olds on the way. There is also a small sound modulating robot with a light up antenna, a quarter inch audio jack (ready to be plugged into one of those giant amps such as the one Marty McFly used in Doc's lab before school in Back To The Future) and a sound sensor in its chest. His name is Thingamagoop.

Beep beep beep, wicky wicky, beep booop beep.

Why are there so many turtles in here?

Earlier this year while moving up the JFK Airport runway in New York on his way to Abbey Road in London, Josh heard a peculiar update from the captain: “We gotta stand by for a few minutes, there are some turtles in the runway” he said. A half hour later, the captain announced more information on the shelled travelers cutting in line, “The turtles won, we are going to another runway”. A national news report confirmed that a family of 78 reckless turtles did in fact take over the runway. The turtles continued to slowly haunt Josh when he returned to America and his coworkers filled the office with turtle toys.