Button pusher extraordinaire, Shawn Wasabi, is back with a new style of performance video not to be missed.
He even includes the audible click of the Midi Fighter 64’s genuine Japanese arcade buttons in the video, making this especially interesting for finger drummers. Why? By listening to the rhythmic foundation of this song you get a sense of how Shawn structures his routines.
How Is “Otter Pop” Structured?
Initially, “Otter Pop” seems absurdly complex but actually has a modest foundation: a precisely timed drum beat. Listen to the first 18 seconds closely to see what I mean. The rhythmic structure itself is actually pretty catchy and memorable.
Without the context of the button clicks, the routine appears impossible to memorize, but the button clicks serve as a reminder that it’s really all about a solid rhythmic foundation (and practicing with a metronome).
To further dissect this, a keen observer will notice a lot of samples are triggered by Shawn in one of three ways:
- Multiple buttons played at the same time
- Buttons played in a call and response pattern (with catchy rhythm)
- Buttons played very quickly as a fill or transition element
There’s a lot more repetition and rhythmic structure than you might think. It’s not impossible, but it does take practice. Beyond the beat, a finger drummer also has to memorize which sample is where on the controller – which takes some time!
So what exactly is Shawn doing in the video? He shares, “Every sound is triggered in the performance via midi notes except for Hollis’ vocals and vocal reverbs” – and with the right buttons at hand to trigger them:
“I love these buttons so much, I don’t want to use anything else. I love the lights. I love how it feels. The arcade button is such a good button for playing things” – Shawn Wasabi
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s our interview with Shawn, sharing how his career and the Midi Fighter 64 were born: