PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A Presque Isle band’s electric sound will be blaring into households nationwide.
Presque Isle-based electropop band Crunk Witch — consisting of husband-and-wife duo Hannah Colleen and Brandon Miles — performed the theme song for the new Nintendo Switch edition of “Battlesloths,” a 2017 game previously released on the Steam video game service.
Featuring a prominent synthesizer sound and homages to television themes of the 1990s, “Battlesloths: The Great Pizza Score” continues the modern retro style Crunk Witch has built across its four albums.
It’s also a fitting sound for “Battlesloths,” a classic video game throwback in which players — each playing as sloths — fight each other to attain pizza.
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Avid gamers themselves, the duo said the opportunity to record the theme song for a video game was a dream come true. Colleen said the excitement of being part of the project still “hadn’t sunk in.”
“It’s always been on the bucket list for us ever since we started a band,” Miles said. “I’m super honored that we had the opportunity.”
While Crunk Witch has a nationwide audience, Colleen and Miles continue to live in Presque Isle when not on tour. Though many fans might be unaware of the band’s origin, its County connections run deep.
Fort Fairfield-based videographer Daniel Stairs shot and edited the music video for the theme song — which they shot in the Star City — while Presque Isle-based graphic designer Ryan Scully designed related merchandise.
Texas-based Phillip Johnson is one of Crunk Witch’s many fans outside of Maine. He is also the owner of Invisible Collective, the company that designed “Battlesloths”.
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Johnson said he was acquainted with Crunk Witch through the nerdcore music scene. Nerdcore music is characterized by lyrics and musical styles referencing subjects such as science fiction, internet culture, fantasy and classic video games.
While most nerdcore musicians are rappers, with heavy 1980s influences and science fiction motifs, Crunk Witch had become associated with the genre — referring to themselves as “nerdcore adjacent” — including playing at the nerdcore showcase at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.
That festival was one of many chances Johnson has had to see Crunk Witch live. He was always impressed by the band’s sound and energetic performances, which often feature elaborate neon light shows.
“Every time I saw them I’d be like ‘dang, they were so fun,’” Johnson said. “Really good performers and that kind of synthesized pop sound.”
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Wanting to create a new song for his game’s Nintendo Switch launch, he instantly thought of Crunk Witch. He had been particularly impressed by the band’s high-energy cover of “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins and wanted a similar sound for the game’s new theme.
“They’d be free to do as crazy a song as they want,” Johnson said. “Because it’s a video game.”
He sent the band some character art and told the Crunk Witch duo to write the theme as if they lived in the world created by the game — a post-apocalyptic society in which sloths are the dominant species on Earth.
Crunk Witch introduced the finished product to Johnson in style, playing it to him in a show performed in Austin. He was blown away by the final product — entirely in line with his vision for the game and a great song in its own right, he said.
Amid the worst pandemic in a century, Crunk Witch hopes that its music can be a shining light of positivity. Already on the road for a nationwide tour, it was forced to cancel concerts after venues closed across the country.
Yet, the band has continued to find new ways to connect with fans, performing live shows over Facebook Live, complete with light shows and extravagant outfits.
While Miles had no problem with musicians addressing social issues, he said what he and Colleen were trying to build was different.
“Crunk Witch has always sort of been an oasis from the struggles of everyday life,” Miles said. “People who had really rough weeks were looking forward to us.”