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September 30, 2020
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Press Releases
  The Hard Modes release new album, Extra Lives, Vol. 1
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[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The Hard Modes has released its second video game music/jazz album, Extra Lives Vol. 1. Following their debut EP, The Cemetery Session, this new album features six new recordings from six different games and features their complete, six-person ensemble.


The Modes recorded all of the tracks during two live events from 2019. The opener and closer – a groove-heavy take on Setsuo Yamamoto’s moody “Sigma Stage 1” from Mega Man X and an emotional journey through “Radical Dreamers ~Unstolen Jewel~,” Yasunori Mitsuda’s hallmark ballad from Chrono Cross, respectively – were performed live in local radio station WTJU 91.1 FM’s studio during their annual Jazz Marathon.


“When we play a live show, the shackles come off—that’s the vibe we’re excited to bring with this album,” says band leader, saxophonist, and arranger Gregory Weaver. “We had another studio session planned the weekend after states closed for COVID, and while we’re itching to get back to that project, there was no better time to release these tracks. Everyone is starved for the raw energy of live music right now; we hope that Extra Lives will help uplift listeners’ spirits until we can be together in person again.”


The remaining tracks were performed during Free Play, an international, online video game music/jazz festival that Weaver organized. From this streamed performance, fans will enjoy extended live renditions of two of The Modes’ most popular arrangements – “Beneath the Mask” (Shoji Meguro, Persona 5) and “Cosmo Canyon” (Nobuo Uematsu, Final Fantasy VII) – as well as two that were previously unrecorded, “Into the Thick of It/Did You See the Ocean?” (Hiroki Kikuta, Secret of Mana) and “Uwa!! So Temperate” (Toby Fox, Undertale).


The album’s performers include Weaver; Brandon Walsh (trumpet/flugelhorn); Pat Hayes (drums); Andre La Velle (bass); Trevor Williams (vibes); and Nick Berkin (keys). Lewis Reining engineered the recordings at WTJU and Andre La Velle mixed the Free Play sessions.


Extra Lives, Vol. 1 is available for purchase (Apple Music, Amazon Music) and streaming (Spotify, YouTube Music). Fans can learn more about The Hard Modes and Free Play through the band’s website ( and can check out videos of other tracks from these performances and more on YouTube ( Connect with The Hard Modes on Facebook (, as well as Twitter and Instagram (@TheHardModes).