You probably know those giant pianos around the map from scouting out Fortnite’s sheet music locations (opens in new tab). You may have even hung out for a bit and played a few bars of something before running off to continue your battle royale murder spree. YouTuber Jachael123 (opens in new tab) is taking that creative impulse a step further in a series of YouTube videos, turning his musical talents toward – what else – recreating Fortnite’s catchy dance emote songs with its own giant keyboard. And some of its guns. And occasionally a few of its bouncy tires.
Jachael123 is actually a joint YouTube account for a group of friends, but its primary user (and the person behind the Fortnite piano videos) is an Australian named Michael. He is, in his own words, “currently a student studying music composition at university, with a lot of spare time I guess!” I asked him to describe the creative process he uses to turn one kind of Fortnite music into another kind of Fortnite music all made exclusively with Fortnite sounds. And it is a process.
The production starts in Minecraft Note Block Studio (opens in new tab), a fanmade program that works like a sequencer for Minecraft’s eponymous music-making cubes. It can automatically export your sequenced creations into a Minecraft save, though that doesn’t help much for Fortnite. Michael says he’s been making music in Minecraft for so long (Jachael123’s first music upload was posted to YouTube in March 2012) that he still uses the tools for other purposes, even if the end result will go into an entirely different game.
And yes, he does all the composing by ear, since Epic hasn’t yet put out official sheet music for “Floss” or “Take the L” despite being some of the most-listened-to tunes in the world.
Then Michael opens up Sony Vegas Pro, a video editor, and sets to work replacing the Minecraft sounds with Fortnite sounds, pulling from in-game effects for pianos, guns, footsteps, and more. Then he captures in-game video to line up with each of the sound effects, enough for every little key press and gunshot you see in the video. Finally, he puts them all together in Sony Vegas Pro and exports them, which he says “takes about 2 hours due to the quality of my computer.”
All told, one of those minute-or-two-long videos takes about 15 hours to create, and he typically makes about $1 to $5 AUD per video from ads. Michael doesn’t mind.
“Music is definitely a massive part of my life,” he explains. “I’ve played drums since the age of 8, I can play the piano to a decent standard, and I’m currently studying music at a high level. Whether it’s listening, writing, or playing music (and recreating it of course), I enjoy it all the time, no matter the genre. It’s always been a big part of my life and always will be. I’m just glad I’ve found something to apply it to that I enjoy so much and can get such a positive response from other people.”
So that’s how you go from a jaunty little tune that inexplicably starts playing whenever your Fortnite character dances to a full-fledged, in-game audio production. Oh, and in case you’re wondering what Michael’s favorite emote to jam out to is, it’s Twist. You can catch his version in the Part 3 video above.
You can make all kinds of stuff in-game now that Fortnite Creative Mode (opens in new tab) has gone live with private islands for all players.