This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with BarryWhite Hanson, who is a Twitch Streamer that focuses on CCG content in front of the screen but who is the Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format behind the scenes. They talk about the story behind his act, his passion for content creation and briefly talk about the future. So, fuck yeah?
Babyjosus: I saw you tweet about the COVID-19. How badly is it affecting you?
BarryWhite Hanson: I work in Audio/Video Production for medium to large events and galas. While most businesses have a steady flow of income coming in all year, our business fluctuates for the majority of our busy season that pretty much covers expenses and whatnot for the year. Our busy season is usually March to July, and we walked into March essentially having all work basically cancelled or postponed due to the virus and quarantines. What was looking like an amazing year for growth and expansion basically got shut down overnight. I love the company and people I work for and they are very supportive of my streaming (my Anti Usurper PSA that went viral on the subreddit was actually filmed in our studio with our sales guy voicing the camera guy) so it pains me to not only be out of work, but to see the company hurting.
BJ: First of all, I am sorry to hear that, and I hope things will be alright for you and the company very soon. Second, I don’t think I have ever seen your Anti Usurper PSA, you got to share that with me. But tell me more about yourself. What is the story behind BarryWhiteHanson and what made him start doing content creation?
BWH: As a kid I would use my parents VHS camcorder to film skits, music videos, and as I was older, stop motion animation. I always wanted to do entertainment in some fashion. I just love seeing happy people. And being a big music fan, I always loved seeing crowds uniting in that common energy of love for whatever was happening. It was what swayed me from pursuing web design in college and actually transferring to a college for Audio/Video Production. After college, I toured with bands and artists as a merch guy or a lighting guy, and eventually when I got off the road, became a full time sound guy for venues, so I was always surrounded by entertainers of some sort, or in entertainment but always was a behind the scenes guy. During this time, I started getting really into standup comedy and was regularly attending local open mics as a crowd member. One day, the host of the mic I was at said, “you’re funny, you’ve been to these mics enough, maybe you should write a 5 minute set and try and go up there” I did, and the rush I got was unlike any other the first time I heard someone laugh at a joke I wrote. From that point on I was hooked on comedic performance and being a performer myself, rather than just behind the scenes.
BJ: That’s quite the story. And I have always wondered. Where did the name the Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format come from?
BWH: So, about a year or two before I found out about Twitch, as I was still doing standup, I was asked to handle AV for some comic friends Sketch Comedy Group, Sensible Comedy, and was eventually asked to join and participate in skits and help with writing. I was also producing a comedy-themed video game show with another comic by the name of Winston Hodges. I had an absolute blast with both projects, and it made me think more outside of the box about comedy. I’ve produced music as a hobby since I was about 16, but it was always instrumental music or music for another lyricist. Being into industrial metal and acts like Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, and KMFDM, I always wanted to start some kind of musical project in that genre but could never find a vocalist. So decided to try something out by making a sketch for my Sketch Comedy Group, basically creating this aging goth character, with industrial music, but write the most happy, and “non-hardcore” and borderline goofy lyrics, yet approach the music video and the character’s envisioning in his head as if it was the darkest thing imaginable and I would handle the vocals. That’s where the phrase, “The Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format” came from. It was me basically kind of poking fun at the ego of some musicians, that basically try to project this god like idea of themselves that is unjustified. To give myself a title, to me, was pretty damn funny. I settled on BarryWhite Hanson as a name because I wanted a play on a name like Marilyn Manson, and thought: ‘’wouldn’t it be funny to just put the full name of an already established artist as the first name, and one of the most nonmetal band names for the last?’’. The venue I used to work for, let me film on their stage on an off day, a friend let me borrow his camera. And I shot, edited and produced it myself. People really enjoyed it and asked for more. I even had a friend who’s seen all my music endeavors say, “This is YOUR thing. You’ve finally found something that fits you and is 100% you”. So, I continued to put out content. Eventually the band Bad Motivator asked me to open for them at their CD Release show, and that got me to start performing my musical content out live. When the video game show I was producing came to a halt due to me and the host having schedule changes with our job and him starting to travel more for shows, making it hard to film anymore, I found out about Twitch, and figured I’d give it a go. I loved video games and meeting new people. It just felt natural to me and I loved meeting new people from around the world.
BJ: So, what’s up with the mask and the wig? How did that become part of your act?
BWH: So, before the first music video, when I had the first song written, but needed to shoot the video, I decided I needed some kind of costume. I was still doing standup comedy at the time and didn’t want to overlap that project with my standup, so I figured a costume would give the illusion of someone else. I also wanted to have that goth vibe and the wild overly worked hairdo that you see with some of the newer metal bands. So basically, it ended up being me walking around a party supply store trying to find a costume. I knew I needed something that was easy to put on due to performing and sat there for about 2 hours trying different combos of masks, wigs and accessories and when I did the combo, it just made sense and clicked with me. Plus, when I’d perform I loved catching people off-guard. I’d hide the outfit in my bag at open mics at a bar and not put it on until I went up. Imagine seeing some normal guy playing wonderwall on an acoustic guitar, and immediately after the next performer is a guy in a mask and wig screaming about cookies and playing a kazoo, haha. Now it’s kind of a part of my brand with logos and whatnot.
BJ: I know you have been streaming Gwent on Twitch for quite some time now and you have also been streaming other card games like Mythgard. What is it that makes card games appeal so much to you?
BWH: It’s a combination of things. One is that I love that CCGs are the type of games that it’s usually easy to learn the basics of a short amount of time but takes a while to master. So, the thrill of learning a new synergy, technique, and experimenting as you’re learning is a rush. It makes it more of a journey. Deckbuilding is really fun to me because it lets out my creative side. And when you make that deck that just works well, it feels so good. And I try to think a little outside of the box for it. As I started to get familiar with the game, I started crafting weird meme decks after seeing people like BeeBoBoop craft decks. As well as that, a regular in my channel, ImposterBuster, would come to me with these crazy decks for viewer battles and I just loved the craziness of when a meme lands. It doesn’t work every time, but when you do land it, it’s like hitting a hole in one in golf. I also love that all the CCG communities are tight knit, and the ego really isn’t as present as it is with a lot of other genres of gaming. People are willing to help out the newer people, make suggestions and overall the toxicity doesn’t seem to be there like you see with other genres. I remember my first night streaming Gwent, OceanMud popped into my stream and started hanging out, as well as giving me pointers on deckbuilding and basics I didn’t quite get yet. To give you an example, I was making like 29 card decks until he told me to try and stick with just 25 cards, haha. He’s one of the more well-known Gwent streamers, so I thought it was cool that he took the time to help out a newbie with no viewers like I was at the time. So, I feel like learning so many different card games have been easier due to people being willing to help out and being welcoming to new players in general. I also like that it’s more laid back than a shooter or most other multiplayer games as far as streaming goes. Since you don’t have to keep your eyes on the game all the time like an FPS or MOBA, it frees you up to focus on your chat more. I play CSGO but prefer to not stream it as much, because I have to focus on the game a lot more and only really can look over at chat during downtimes. Gwent was the first CCG I really got into but since then I’ve branched out to Mythgard, Legends of Runeterra, and Magic. I’m also looking forward to Causa coming out too, after playing during their demo weekend. It also helps with burnout of playing the same game over and over. You look forward to going back to a game after a week or so of playing something else.
BJ: You truly are a card fanatic Barry. But going back to Gwent, what was your most memorable moment when streaming Gwent?
BWH: I’d say it’s a tie between SK-mania and the time I pulled 4 Roche’s in one round of a game. The Roche clip actually got featured on the Dandelion show, which was something I always wanted a clip on since I started playing.
BJ: I really enjoyed it when you live streamed the SK-mania against JoshWitcher760 where you battled with only Skellige decks. How did you guys end up doing that?
BWH: Me and Josh have always joked back and forth with each other and one day someone posted a clip of Josh playfully trash talking me in his stream as a joke on my discord. So, I played along and said something back and me and him just kind of went back and forth in the discord and eventually I, knowing that Josh’s favorite faction is SK, threw out that I was the superior SK player. IamFLAGG suggested we do it WrestleMania style and hype it up. So, I made a pro wrestling style trash talk video to play on that idea, and Josh did a rebuttal video. Me and him talked about it and both thought it was funny and wanted to play it up. So, we set a date. Initially I just planned on playing the matches but had the idea to put him in voice chat with me so we could trash talk as the match was going on, as that’s not typically done in a standard competitive card game. It was so much fun doing it that way and really added to it.
BJ: Are you planning to do things like SK-mania again? Because I sure had a lot of fun watching that.
BWH: I definitely would love to. There’s only so many factions so we’d eventually run out of factions, so I’m working on different kinds of things we can do in that format.
BJ: Speaking of Skellige. What do you think of the new leader ability?
BWH: It’s pretty cool. It’s kind of like a reverse discard. It’s great with Morkvarg. 5 damage AND you put a 5-point unit down? Sounds like fun to me! I liked a lot of the new leader abilities that they are coming out with. I think it’ll definitely shake things up a little bit and maybe force some of the people that have played the same decks for almost three seasons now to explore more.
BJ: You have been a lone wolf for quite some time, have you ever considered joining a Gwent team?
BWH: I’d love to. While I’m by no means pro, I try to bring something a little different to the table in my streams by injecting humor into things and making it have more of the vibe of playing cards with your friends around a table. Where you feel like you’re just hanging with friends and while you are playing cards or a board game, you’re not as worried about winning or losing because you’re just having fun and enjoying each other’s company and conversation. Some of my favorite streamers put off that vibe when I watch them, and to me, it makes me enjoy the stream more. I’d love to help produce content for a team someday.
BJ: Do you have any future plans when it comes to content creation?
BWH: I’d like to start releasing more YouTube content. I’ve focused a lot more on my Twitch, and since I have a new PC that makes it way easier to edit on, it’s a lot easier for me to do stuff like that now.
BJ: That’s cool. And are there any other card games you want to delve into when it comes to content creation?
BWH: Causa is one CCG that’s coming out that I loved and am patiently waiting its release. Really cool new mechanics and a cool concept in general. The devs are really nice, I enjoy their dev streams and think they truly are putting their heart into the game. Looking forward to creating some content for them as well.
BJ: We are nearing the end of the interview. Is there anything you want to say to the reader?
BWH: Just say no to Harmony lol. But seriously, be open minded. Expand your deck knowledge and don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. Anyone that knows me knows I’m not a big fan of NG. However, I would play NG decks to learn what did what, so I knew what to look for and what to avoid. When SY first came out and people complained how overpowered it was. I played some SY to learn which cards to focus on when playing against it. Get experimental and don’t be afraid of losing. I’m not opposed to net decking, even though I don’t do it myself, but I feel like if all you do is play decks already made by someone else, you sell yourself short of the joy of learning a good counter or the sense of accomplishment of making your own unique deck that works for you. Also, as I say at the end of a lot of my streams, “Be Good to Each Other” I feel like that statement encompasses so much in a few words.
BJ: That’s some great advice Barry. This is also the end of the interview. I want to thank you for your time and for the talk. Hope to catch your stream sometime soon again!
BWH: Thanks! This was a blast!
BJ: The feeling is mutual.