Fan Fridays: Blink of an Eye

Fan Fridays: Blink of an Eye

by August 10, 2018

Those who tuned into yesterday’s Official Sonic stream were treated with a special new song to top off the season’s end. That song was “Blink of an Eye,” a commemorative piece by Victor McKnight, SquigglyDigg and Chi-chi in honor of Sonic Mania Plus. It’s an upbeat energetic tune comparable to that of Skye Rocket and Hyper Potions. If you haven’t heard it yet, then you’re surely missing out.

We had the opportunity to discuss the song’s creation with the team involved. You can read all that and more after checking out the song below.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

TSSZ: To start off simple, how’d the idea for the song originally come about?

Victor McKnight: The idea for the song originally came from massive inspiration from Hyper Potions’ track “Time Trials” and more notably their collaboration with DJ Cutman and Skye Rocket on “Mania.” Though, I wanted to write something a bit less rockstar and moreso adventurous.

I wrote the entire concept of the song in a single night on a whim. While most would assume I took inspiration from Hyper Potions’ “Friends” and “Time Trials,” I actually got the most inspired by their original song “Surf.” I really wanted to try my hand at some more electronic music.

TSSZ: Now it’s my understanding that this was a team effort. Who was responsible for what, and how did the group assemble?

Victor McKnight: Chi-chi, SquigglyDigg, and I have all been friends for a while, actually! Originally it was only going to be SquigglyDigg singing on “Blink of an Eye” alone, but like the composition, I got inspired to change things up a tad. It just so happened that Chi-chi was well invested in writing a lyrical adaptation to Hyper Potions’ “Friends” that I decided I would ask her to do some vocal work on the song.

The entire project was discussed in a Discord group. I was the composer. Chi-chi was the lyricist and one of the vocalists. Lastly, SquigglyDigg was the animator for Sonic, the album art designer, and the other vocalist for the track.

TSSZ: The lyrics make a perfect fit for the series. Could we get some insight into the writing process?

Chi-chi: When I first heard the track it reminded me of something you’d see at the end of a movie, or the last episode of a long series. I wanted the words to invert that feeling of looking back at where we’ve been and how to go forward from there. With all my lyrics I first mapped out the melody, and then the words themselves come after.

Nostalgia is a key component to Sonic Mania’s appeal, and I wanted the lyrics to reflect that as well. You can especially see that in the first verse of the song. It looks at the road the Sonic franchise has traveled, both the good, the bad, and the catchy (haha). But no matter what, just as the franchise has shown, as long as you keep going you’ll always have the chance to make things right.

That’s where the pre-chorus and chorus kick in, for the chorus I wanted something inspirational; something that reflects Sonic’s appeal as a character. He’s fast, he’s spunky, a little brash, but he’s also a good friend who will never give up. This is what makes Sonic so great! He throws caution to the wind at full speed and looks good doing it!

The second verse is about not knowing what’s coming next. You keep moving forward, and even when you’re in a good spot the future can be daunting. But no matter what, as long as you keep believing in yourself in what you do, you’ll be in a good spot.

For the bridge, it ties back to the theme of looking back and going forward. Sonic is one of those characters who’s always a welcomed sight, that as both the internet and fanbase has shown. Despite the ups and downs the games go through, we don’t want Sonic to disappear from the media world. He’s just too cool for that!

The title of the song “Blink of an Eye” was a journey in and of itself. Originally the tag line I came up with was “Riding on a Sonic Highway,” but it was already the name of a Foo Fighter album. I didn’t wanna get the two mixed up, so me, Squiggly, and Vic spent what seemed like a good few days to come up with something that would fit that title. We kept coming up with titles that related to racing and memory, until Squiggly mentioned the idea of changing it to “Blink of an Eye,” and since then we’ve just stuck to it!

TSSZ: SquigglyDigg, your visuals for the video turned out great. Could you tell us a bit more about your background in animation?

SquigglyDigg: Well, the colors and abstract designs in the video were actually Victor’s handiwork! I did the animation of Sonic running, jumping, twirling…

I’ve been doing animation for several years now, and most recently have had the pleasure of working on Nickelodeon’s Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a character animator, as well as on Disney XD’s Pickle & Peanut as an effects animator. It’s a pretty fast-paced job — we’re kind of always under the gun in terms of deadlines, so I’ve gotten into the habit of animating relatively quickly.

My specialty is in traditional 2D animation, meaning the kind of frame-by-frame animation you see in most older cartoons and 2D animated films. Funny enough, my biggest inspiration to get into animation in the first place was the Sonic cartoons I grew up on — in particular, the snappy, energetic style of the 2-part OVA “Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie” spoke to me somewhere deep. I guess in a way you could say Sonic’s been with me throughout my whole career — getting to animate him is an absolute treat, and I’d love to be able to work on him officially some day.

For this video, my main inspiration was the style of animation Tyson Hesse and his team used for the Sonic Mania teasers and opening, though I did take a few creative liberties with how Sonic’s eyes and quills work. Sonic is an interesting character to work on — because of who he is, you can kinda get away with snappier, more out-there motions than with some other characters, and the energy in the Mania opening is absolutely awe-inspiring to me. I only hope I managed to capture some of that with the animation in “Blink of an Eye.”

TSSZ: The song came out right in time for Mania Plus. I can only wonder how long the song has been in development? Was it hard to meet the release date?

Victor McKnight: The song’s production was finished about two months before Plus’ release, so it was initially planned as a small tribute to Sonic the Hedgehog as a whole. The release date was a mixed bag, to be frank. That was because of video production alone. My goal was a month after Mania Plus’ release. We were worried we wouldn’t meet that end goal! The plan was to have Sonic as a fully cleaned and colored animation for the final video, but to be honest, the rough animation feels a bit better in the context of Sonic Mania Plus’ design elements.

TSSZ: All projects come with their hiccups. Were there any funny/interesting happenings behind the scenes?

Victor McKnight: Actually, this project didn’t have any weird speed bumps until I mentioned to SquigglyDigg that I was scrolling every single video asset through OBS and recording it back that way. She didn’t really approve of the idea of video production achieved through OBS at first, so we almost re-did the entire video. I think SquigglyDigg slowly warmed up to the video in the end though. If I have one major regret about this video though, it’s that there is a typo that appears in every single chorus section of the song. See if you can find it!

One funny mention: SquigglyDigg’s name was actually spelled incorrectly when it was first distributed to stores! Made the small mistake of placing a space in her name, so it appeared to be “Squiggly Digg.”

TSSZ: Thank you guys so much for your time and hard work. It really paid off!

Chi-chi: I feel very lucky that I got to work with such wonderful collaborators. These guys are worth their weight in gold!

Victor McKnight: Thank you for this awesome opportunity! It’s really neat to open up about the behind-the-scenes of this project. It feels as though this project holds one of those teams that’s not only professionally efficient, but healthy too! I am very grateful for Chi-chi and SquigglyDigg’s help through these last few months, as they’ve been amazingly supportive of me beyond this project alone, and it’s extremely heartwarming to say the least.