Melody Mountain

Under the alias Ohayo Rivers, I produced Melody Mountain, a "super bluegrass" happy hardcore track influenced by mid-1990s video game music. The final version of the song was made for the Club Fantastic project.

I began studying music production in the early 2010s. Having grown up listening to electronic music, I always wanted to make it myself, but self-esteem issues blocked the way. After discovering the work of Porter Robinson, a dance music producer with a similar country-boy/Internet-kid background and overlapping tastes in art, I became inspired to transcend those difficulties and realize that dream. I knew that if I didn't start right then, I would only be further delaying the goal. Luckily, I had many friends with a musical background and a willingness to help.

Over the next few years, with the help of those friends, I produced countless sketches and unfinished projects. One sketch from 2016 became the basis for Melody Mountain. The Club Fantastic project acted as a forcing function to finally complete a track — I had to make sure it approached a quality level comparable to the work of my colleagues, many of whom I knew from the video game music and EDM scenes.

Growing up in Appalachia surrounded by poverty and family drama, video games (and eventually computers) offered an escape from a difficult childhood. My first musical memory involves the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES; I can remember hearing the soundtrack from my uncle's Nintendo in the late 80s. The only relative with a real job and enough money to spend on video games, my uncle Morley Evans (RIP) was also responsible for giving me my first usable computer, a discarded workstation from a local Honeywell office where he worked maintenance. Since then, my primary hobbies have involved computers and video games.

One particular game had an outsized effect on my life. In the early 2000s, Dance Dance Revolution arrived at our mall, the Ashland Town Center. Already an electronic music fan, DDR expanded my tastes and creative perspective. Happy hardcore, trance, J-Pop and K-Pop joined my existing obsessions with eurodance and video game music. Since then, I've been fixated on DDR, only pausing for a year or two here and there... usually due to events or circumstances outside my control.

This track is named after one of those circumstances. Melody Mountain was the name of a concert venue and forested hill located near the mall where we played DDR. In 2004, real estate developers purchased the mountain, razed the forest, and Walmart built a 24-hour Supercenter on top. The resulting economic effects destroyed all other local retail businesses, including the mall (and arcade) where I played DDR.

Melody Mountain was an attempt to distill my experience as a 90s gamer and DDR player into the form of a positive (but intense) happy hardcore track. High energy dance music had a healing effect on me, and I hope to channel that into all of my output. Over a year later, despite its production having some flaws, I'm proud of this track as my first release.


Special thanks to Brittany Forks, Ben Madsen, nanobii, Kyrandian, Xemogasa, TANUKI, Dylan James, Maxx and many more. I also wrote about this song on the Club Fantastic Wiki.