Let’s Interview: Musician and Remixer Pokestir!

Let's Interview:

Interview conducted by

Let’s Interview: Musician and Remixer Pokestir!

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt here on Gaming Reinvented, it’s that the number of subscribers a YouTuber has correlates very little to the quality of their work. Oh sure, there are definitely a fair few big channels putting out interesting stuff, like Boundary Break, SwankyBox and Game Maker’s Toolkit…

But there are also many smaller ones posting work that’s just as good. This is true of everything from game design videos and let’s plays, to fan game updates and video game remixes.

And it’s the latter of these we’re interested in today. Why? Because this time, we’re interviewing Pokestir, an incredible YouTuber and musician who’s made all kinds of amazing covers based on the Mario, Pokémon and Zelda series, along with many others. He’s made some great stuff, and it seems like the YouTube algorithm is finally taking notice of it.

YouTube player
YouTube player

So today, we’re gonna talk to him about his work and channel, and help it get the amount of attention it really deserves. Are you ready folks? Let’s do this!

The Interview

So, let’s start out with some personal info first. Who are you? Who is the person behind the Pokestir name?

My real name is Nicholas, and I’m from New York. I am currently in college full-time planning a career in IT. I started my YouTube channel back in 2018 as a passion project and haven’t stopped since. I’ve grown and changed as a person since the birth of my channel, but the motivation to continue has not subsided whatsoever.

And where did your username come from?

I originally made it when I only intended to make Pokémon remixes so as a kid, I thought what better way to just combine the first half of “Pokémon” with something that has to do with “remixing”. Hmm. synonyms of mixing… Stirring? Pokestir. Now I see it as a single word—a name.

How about your interest in gaming? What was your first-ever game?

Ever since I was 4 years old, I have always played video games. I have specific memories of Pokémon Pearl on my DS and ever since then, I’ve been hooked. It’ll always be part of me, especially the Pokémon franchise and Nintendo games in general.

Pokemon Pearl Box Art

This was one of Pokestir’s first video games

What ones are you playing now?

Right now, I’m very excited for the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 rebirth game. I played the original about 2 years ago and absolutely loved it. I later played FF7 remake (the first in the trilogy). I’m very excited about how this is more of an open-world game rather than a linear experience because I always get lost in those types of games. Of course, I have way too many other games on my backlog as well, haha. I’m also playing Mario Galaxy 2 again and The Last of Us Part 1.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Box Art

Pokestir is excited for the rest of the Final Fantasy 7 remake chapters

Which series are your favourite? Based on your remixes, it seems like Mario and Pokémon would be up there…

You’re right on the money there, but anything Nintendo in general I love. Especially Kirby, Mario, Pikmin, and Pokémon of course. I am also branching out to other franchises like Final Fantasy and first-party PlayStation games because I recently bought a PS5.

What do you think of the latter series at the moment? Modern Pokémon has certainly got an… interesting reputation right now

I’ve always believed that there’s always a trend of people hating “the new thing.” I certainly don’t ignore the flaws of the games … I’m looking at you, Sword & Shield… but I feel like games in the series have always had flaws. Besides, other modern games in the series are actually on the top of my list of my favourite Pokémon games. I do not think overall the series is declining as much as people say. Particularly, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is my favourite game in the series followed by Scarlet and Violet. My main issue with SV, of course, is the various performance issues, but other than that I feel like they are the most complete Pokémon games in a while with the great story, great exploration, and a great deal of content in general.

Pokemon Legends Arceus

This is Pokestir’s favourite Pokemon game

How did you get interested in video game music?

I have always been interested in how music is made behind the scenes. Funnily, I thought that it was some unspoken secret that only major companies had access to or something. I was surprised by how easy it was to start making stuff myself, and how accessible the software to do so is. It was a major motivation boost for me to start my music journey, even though that was followed by a wave of terrible “midi-slaps.”

Any soundtracks you consider your favourites?

My favourite video game soundtrack is undoubtedly Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Every track in the base game is absolutely a 10/10 and I’m very fond of jazz fusion style music. Final Fantasy 7 remake, all of the recent 3D Mario games, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus are also on the top of my list.


YouTube player

What about favourite composers in general?

Of course, Koji Kondo has to be up there. So many Mainline Nintendo soundtracks have been composed or composed with his assistance, he’s absolutely a legend. I also love Shota Kageyama’s work and contributions to the Pokémon series along with, of course, Go Ichinose.

Let’s discuss your YouTube channel now. What made you decide to start one?

As soon as I delved into digital music creation, I knew I needed to share it with the world. What better way to do it than YouTube? I still think it is the best platform to grow an online presence. Other platforms might pay more for music streaming, but YouTube is a lot more versatile.

And why a music channel? Did you ever decide to post other types of content instead?

Funny story, I actually originally ran a YouTube channel before Pokestir that I won’t be discussing in detail today. It was mostly gaming videos and ridiculous skits as a kid. As for why I started a music channel, it’s not that I had the idea of making a music channel from the start, but that I wanted to share my creations with the world once I delve into remixing.

Were there any other YouTubers that inspired you here?

Certainly. Zame was definitely the main source of inspiration when I started. I have been great friends with him for a while since I created my channel and he’s a really great guy. If you are familiar with Pokémon remixes you were exposed to Zame in some capacity.

YouTube player

How do you decide what songs to cover? Are they based on viewer requests, new games, general vibes?

Usually, I pick what I feel like doing in a moment, but I also strategically upload in a way where I can still retain attention in my fanbase across the board. Sometimes, this is a difficult thing to do when different people expect different things from me. You have the Mario fans, the Pokémon fans, people interested in my original music, and many others. It’s hard to balance without having separate channels, but I wouldn’t want to separate my other work in the first place to avoid my name only being tied to Pokémon remixing.

Speaking of new games, do you often try to make remixes based on what’s popular at the moment?

Sometimes, because that’s what the algorithm wants. Although, a lot of the time I simply don’t have anything relevant prepared and I don’t want to rush anything out. In the future, I will try harder to remain relevant by using tactics like this because sometimes channels don’t stay afloat if they don’t change with time.

YouTube player

Are there any covers you’ve stopped working on for whatever reason?

For some covers, I take a long break from working on them, and then I come back to finish at a later date. However, I have very few abandoned covers, and I am proud of that fact. I have many friends who don’t finish projects due to self-esteem issues or other reasons, and it makes me upset that talented work can be thrown away like that or abandoned. I strive to make sure all my creations go public at some point.

Which of your remixes are your favourites?

I like many of my arrangements from other franchises, particularly because sometimes being less familiar with music allows for more creative freedom. I realized that if I heard music so much in the past, I’m too emotionally tied to the original to make any significant changes. This happens a lot with Pokémon music for me. Lately, I’ve been trying to make more changes, but typically as variations in the second loop. I think this is the best of both worlds because on one hand, you have a fateful recreation of the original, but I can also take creative liberties without disappointing some people.

YouTube player

Any you’re not so fond of anymore?

Usually—unless it’s a revamp—if I make a second arrangement of something, it means that I’m not so fond of my previous version or want to improve it in some way. There’s not one in particular that I hate, but there are definitely some that need a modern refresh given that I improved over the years.

One of the things we like is how dramatic many of your remixes are. How do you create them?

Haha. Asking how I create music is way more than I could say in this answer, but I will say one thing. I developed my style over several years, and it still does change with time. I believe no matter how far you are in any profession; you always have room to improve.

YouTube player

You also seem to be doing some original music now as well. What made you decide to create these awesome tunes?

I’ve made original music for a while, but I was always reluctant to do too much—at least uploaded to YouTube—due to viewer retention. I hope people can enjoy my original music too. If I get a future role composing for a game, it’s going to be original music, so I need to build up that portfolio.

YouTube player

Are they going to be used in a video game or mod somewhere down the line?

Some of the original music I upload has been made for one or was a personal commission, so it really depends.

Your channel has become increasingly popular recently, with nearly 13K subs and tens or hundreds of thousands of views a video. Did you expect that to happen?

When I first started, definitely not. But over the years my channel has been pretty constant in growth—no moments where it blew up or declined a lot—it was more a slow but steady growth over the years. So, if you ask me today if I will hit 20K Subs, my answer is yeah, probably, but it may take until 2040.

Either way, what’s the business aspect like for the channel? Is it your main job?

I’m currently in college so this is more so a side hustle for me. I started my channel solely for personal enjoyment at first, but it was surreal realizing that I could also make money from it. I hope that I can still have time for this as I progress into my career in IT, but even if it slows down, I will certainly not give up this channel.

How much do things like Spotify and Apple Music bring in here?

I’m not going to discuss specific numbers, but it’s more than YouTube AdSense. They pay about three times more for viewers/streams than YouTube does—and that is at the minimum.

Have you worked as a composer on any games or other media?

I did work on a few games, some of which were sadly cancelled. I’ll be glad to work on anyone’s project—my DM is always open! I’ve been open for commissions for a while—which can be also for personal use—so you could request your own personal composition or arrangement request from a franchise I have never done before.

Pokestir Commissions

You can commission Pokestir to work on music for your fan games and projects

Are there any other types of videos you’re interested in working on?

I’m definitely open to streaming more in the future. I’ve only ever done it on special events or milestones, but if my audience is interested in behind-the-scenes work, I’ll definitely consider doing it more often. Being part of a podcast is also something that I’ve wanted to do for a while, or even full-length videos on video game music arranging and production because there’s not a lot of that on YouTube.

Finally, what advice would you give anyone wanting to get into making video game remixes, or creating music as a whole?

Have patience and discipline. You will need to practice almost every day to improve just like in any craft or form of art. I also recommend starting with not many tools but mastering them. As you grow and improve, then your arsenal of tools can grow with you. Over choice can be something that hinders progress and inspiration.

That’s some great advice there for sure! YouTube is a marathon not a sprint, and the chances of you blowing up overnight there are far lower than certain people would have you believe. So, start slowly, make videos when you can, and develop your skills overtime. That way, you neither burn yourself out nor get saddled with ridiculously unrealistic expectations that you may or may not ever live up to.

Either way, thanks for the interview Pokestir! It was great fun chatting with you about your life and YouTube channel, and it’s always an exciting time when you upload a new song on YouTube. Here’s hoping your channel becomes as a stratospheric success in future, and that you’re able to have a successful career as a creator and composer given your talents.

Still, what do you think? Did you enjoy the interview? Are you a fan of Pokestir’s work over on YouTube? What are your favourite covers from their library of amazing tunes and remixes?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, on social media, or on our Discord server today!

Pokestir on Social Media