The social-driven gaming industry is one of the fastest-growing entertainment markets worldwide, and as luck would have it, tons of your favorite DJs are huge gamers. Marshmello‘s got a YouTube series all about getting on the couch with some of his fellow producers and professional gamers, a concept he kicked off with his buddy Ninja earlier this year.
Now, Ninja is showing off his own electronic proficiency, gathering hot sounds from some of the best musical talent dance has to offer to create his ultimate gaming soundtrack. It’s called Ninjawerks Vol. 1, and it’s finally out on Astralwerks.
“Ninjawerks has been one of the most exciting projects to put together that I’ve ever been involved in,” Astralwerks’ general manager Toby Andrews tells Billboard Dance. “We’re so proud of the artists for wanting to be a part of such a forward-thinking idea and ultimately for making some incredible music. It was a real pleasure to be able to help Tyler bring his vision of a gaming soundtrack to life with such a range of talent and we’re excited for everyone to be able to enjoy it and game away.”
“This is the first time this has ever happened in gaming where artists in the EDM industry have come together in this way,” Ninja says. “All these artists are incredible and they’ve done a great job. As a huge fan of these artists for years, it’s an amazing opportunity to collaborate on a project like this. There’s a lot of very bass heavy drop songs, a lot of powerful lyric songs, it’s a nice colorful album. You’ve got to have some fast paced, some slow, it’s perfect to match whatever vibe you are looking for.”?
Ninja will be taking over SiriusXM’s BPM channel today (Dec. 14) through Sunday (Dec. 16) to talk about the album and will be featuring DJ sets from many of the Ninjawerks collaborators.
Billboard Dance caught up with the artists involved to get their take on each tune. Enjoy the exclusive track-by-track breakdown below.
3LAU – “Game Time (feat. Ninja)”
“When making ‘Game Time,’ I wanted to create the perfect blend of energy and familiar gaming soundscapes,” 3LAU says. “Ninja’s vocoded voice was the icing on the cake to take the song to the next level.”?
Tiësto & Zaxx – “Affliction” (feat. Olivera)
“I have been looking forward to the release of ‘Affliction’ with Zaxx,” Tiësto says. “The collaboration explores new sounds for us both and is the perfect fit for this special project with Ninja. Zaxx is such a talented young producer, and I look forward to seeing him continue to grow and thrive.”?
“‘Affliction’ started as a little idea that quickly spiraled into a larger-than-life song, ZAXX says. “It’s truly haunting and conveys a powerful message throughout. Working on this song with Tiësto was a dream come true, and it definitely took both of us out of our respective comfort zones. The track has some very high points, as well as the contrast of some beautiful, melancholic low points that make it particularly perfect for Ninjawerks.”
NOTD – “Start It Over” (feat. CVBZ & SHY Martin)
“We spend every day either producing music, playing Fortnite or watching videos of Ninja play Fortnite, so for us to be involved in this groundbreaking album is pretty insane,” NOTD says. “The song ‘Start It Over’ is one of our favorite records we have worked on. CVBZ is such an incredible artist that we’ve wanted to work with for so long now, and SHY Martin co-wrote our biggest song (‘I Wanna Know’) to date, so to work with her again makes us so happy. We are super honored to be involved.”
Alesso – “Tilted Towers”
“I was playing Fortnite last summer, and the intensity of landing at Tilted Towers inspired me to create this song,” Alesso says. “I wanted something big that I could really energize a crowd with. I’ve played it at my shows, and I was waiting for the right opportunity to share it with everyone. This project with Ninja is amazing because I love unique collaborations, and I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of.”
GTA, Cimo Fränkel – “All About It”
“We chose ‘All About It’ to be part of this compilation because it sounds like something we’d want to listen to while we game ourselves,” GTA says. “it gets you hyped while not being overbearing. Shouts to Ninja for allowing us to be a part of it along with a bunch of our favorite artists and buds.”
Tycho – “Jetty”
“With Jetty, I set out to try and capture the sense of wonder and immersion I feel when experiencing a new world inside of a game,” Tycho says. “I wanted to tell the story of a journey through these different worlds and create something that could serve as a companion to the experience. I’ve always felt my music was particularly suited to this context so I’m happy to have it included on the Ninjawerks compilation.”
Justin Caruso – “If We Stay” (feat. Ivy Adara)
“If you’ve been to my live shows, you know that this song has been in the works for about three years now,” Caruso says. “To have it come out on Ninja’s album is a perfect fit for it, and the patience has paid off. I look up to Ninja and admire everything he is doing right now, so to be included on his album is an honor to me.”
ARTY – “Velvet”
“When I’m not making music, I’m gaming,” ARTY says. “So it’s an honor to be part of this album with so many other great artists. Gaming is how Ninja and I became friends, and I love everything he’s doing for the industry. I’m excited for ‘Velvet’ to be a part of this huge album. I’m grateful to contribute to this bridge between my two favorite pastimes.”
CRAY – “Love Cemetery”
“As a streamer and a musician, getting this opportunity made my entire year,” CRAY says. “I had so much fun writing this song. I wanted to make it something I’d want to listen to when I played video games. ‘Love Cemetery’ is about putting old feelings to rest or enemies you’re trying to beat in a game.”
Kaskade – “On Your Mind”
“It’s always so fun to see my worlds collide,” Kaskade says. “Gaming and music are a hand-in-glove fit; when this opportunity to release ‘On Your Mind’ on a compilation curated by Ninja was introduced to me, I had to say yes. I love playing video games, and I love music.”
NERO – “Lullaby”
“We’ve been playing versions of this track in our shows for a year or so,” NERO says. “It’s a slow and heavy roller, so ‘Lullaby’ seemed a good theme for it. When we wrote it, we wanted to juxtapose a dark, cinematic soundscape against ’90s trip-hop and rave elements. It’s great to get it out on this exciting new kind of release.”
Dillon Francis – “LFGD” (feat. Chris Melberger)
“Excited to be part of the Ninjawerks compilation album with my track, ‘LFGD’ featuring Chris Melberger,” Francis says. “The song was literally made about getting a W in Fortnite, so it just made perfect sense for it to be on this compilation.”
Ducky – “Love You Just The Same”
“I’ve been producing music since I was 13 and gaming even longer,” Ducky says. “I’m excited to bring both of those worlds together on this Ninja compilation. I wrote this song after going on a road trip with someone I was falling in love with. It didn’t work out, but I got some cool art out of it.”
Ninjawerks Vol. 1 is out now on Astralwerks. Listen to it below.