This week artist’s Spotlight is on @zak_koonce!
- Tell me a little about yourself:
“My name is Zak, and along with my creative partner Craven Moorhaus we are the co-creators of a Youtube channel called Auralnauts which is coming up on its 8 year anniversary. I’m pretty sure he and I are a common law couple by this point. We are most known for redubbing movies, commercials and other pop culture media with our own music and dialogue in order to tell new stories and jokes. If you put a gun to my head and demanded to know what we’re like, I would say a mix between MST3K, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge and The Mighty Boosh. Then I’d ask why you felt the need to escalate so quickly because I would have been more than happy to answer the question without being pressured at gunpoint. My primary pursuit is writing. I mostly stick to comedy, but I’ve done my share of professional copywriting as well. When I’m not making content with Craven or submitting articles to my friends’ sites, I can be found somewhere in Brooklyn training people how to fight or helping them get more fit. You know how samurai were believed to have pursued the arts in order to balance their spirit? I’m kind of like that, only I insert farts into movie scenes where there previously were no farts.”
2. Can you talk about your Youtube channel “Auralnauts?”
” Auralnauts began when Craven invited me to help make fun of Bane’s voice in The Dark Knight Rises. Craven is a composer and sound designer by trade, and Bane’s voice was odd enough to him that he felt compelled to do something with it. I helped him write a comedy short prior to this, so he reached out to me again to help him scratch the itch Bane’s voice was causing him. Since Bane is wearing a mask, we could make him say anything we wanted, so long as we could replicate the voice. Turns out I was able to get pretty close on my own, so between that, Craven’s skills as a sound designer and an empty paper towel tube, we were able to make Bane Outtakes:
Our first and by far most popular video. We strung together a series of disconnected scenes where we portrayed Bane as a health nut who was violently opposed to poor nutrition, while simultaneously pursuing a freestyle rap career. The impression isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough that many people think they’re watching real scenes removed from the final cut of the film. Since then Craven and I have been finding new ways to combine our unique skill sets across different projects. In the beginning, Craven was very clearly the music and sound guy, and I was clearly the writer guy, but over the years we’ve grown so familiar with each other’s style that our work has become a happy blend of both our voices.
3. How did the idea of “How to Make a Blockbuster Movie Trailer” come about?
“Not everything we do is overdub related. Sometimes we make original content, and How to Make a Blockbuster Movie Trailer may be our most successful attempt. It even won a Webby. The idea came about sort of naturally after watching too many trailers during blockbuster movie season. The conversation started with “Hey, you ever notice how every trailer does this?” Followed by “Oh yeah, and what about this other thing?” Pretty soon you have a long enough list of clichés to make a parody. If I remember correctly, I think the top priority was to make an edgy cover track with spooky female vocals, because movie trailers love their edgy cover tracks with spooky female vocals. Even though our intent was to make fun of the music, most of those covers still kick ass, so it was important to pick the right song to cover and make it as epic as possible. We went with DOA’s “You Spin Me”. After that it was a matter of comparing a bunch of recent trailers and making sure we had the most important clichés accounted for. The final product is a bunch of audio gags with basic text instructions. We made a follow up recently specifically for action movies.
4. Apart from Star Wars. What would be your top 3 sci fi movies, and why?
Top 3 sci-fi movies:
- “The Thing (John Carpenter) – This movie is timeless to me. I’m not big into “favorite movies of all time” because I’m pretty fair weather about what I like at any given moment. Except when it comes to this film. I can watch this film at any time, anywhere. The special effects, the creature designs, the building suspense, the performances. Nothing about it gets old to me. I even catch new details every once in a while. For instance I never noticed the half of Blair’s mutated face in the final creature until recently. I don’t know why I missed it for so long. Maybe the staggering amount of grotesque details to take in always drew my eye away from it. Whenever I picture it the first detail that comes to mind are the absurdly large teeth actually coming out of the side of his head. Blair’s face was right there the whole time!
- Robocop (Paul Verhoeven) – I like sci-fi films that can make strong commentaries and remain relevant over time, while also still being fun to watch. Robocop encompasses a lot of the problems tearing the US apart today, like monied interests directly controlling the police, manufacturing crime stats in order to incentivize gentrification, instant cancer by way of full toxic waste submersion. Okay, the last one may be a stretch, but it still gave me nightmares as a kid. Toxic waste is supposed to give you superpowers! Not turn you into a wheezing pile of dripping flesh.
- Robot Jox (Stuart Gordon) – I can’t really defend Robot Jox being here. It’s so personal. All the inside jokes it has given my friends and family over the years are priceless. It has so much going for it! Awesome stop motion animated mechs. Trick jungle gym bars that separate the inferior from the superior. Ritualistic butt slaps that give away imposters. Stuart Gordon films are a delight no matter what, but most of them skew more toward horror, so Robot Jox slides in here to represent sci-fi.”
5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
” We’re always working on new projects and music. So if you are interested in anything you read here, I encourage you to visit our Youtube channel, sort by “Most Popular” and start from there. You’ll find hours of entertainment to catch up on, including a completely redone version of the first 6 Star Wars films, where the jedi are stoner dickheads, the bad guys are lame franchise restaurant owners, and C3P0 is a Cronenberg-esque, flesh obsessed psychopath called Creepio. In my opinion it starts off a little clunky, but I think we stick the landing and make it worth your while. Also Dance of the Fates is still a banger. “
Our channel IG account is @auralnautsofficial
My personal IG account is @zak_koonce, but it’s mostly just thirst pics of me flexing.
Thank you so much for the interview!!