Young Scrolls describes their music and content as “‘I’m on that side of the internet’ kind of stuff”.
The meme music producer takes their name from the popular fantasy video game series The Elder Scrolls, from video game publisher Bethesda Softworks. The company that’s also responsible for the Fallout franchise.
In 2011 Bethesda released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and with it came a slew of fan-produced content: memes, music, cosplay, short films, fan fiction–you name it and it’s out there. After eight years, this doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.
As of writing this, Young Scrolls’ channel boasts 12,910,814 combined views. Their library has almost 20 videos, including singles, EPs and a full album.
“I do remember making Dagothwave and thinking ‘people might like this’,” says Young Scrolls. “But I seriously underestimated the scope of what was to come”.
Dagothwave is Young Scrolls’ seventh video and features the antagonist, Dagoth Ur, from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002).
The energy that Young Scrolls puts into their music is apparent when listening to any of their songs. Even more impressive is the fact that they are almost completely self-taught.
“I’ve been interested in making music since childhood,” explains Young Scrolls. “But never really had access to a professional musical education save for bits of music theory at school. I only seriously picked up music production around 2015. So I don’t really have a proper musical background, nobody in my family played any instruments and I was just fueled by my love for music.”
“I don’t own any instruments at the moment so everything is made with software. However, I’m really eager to get a synth or two, but until then everything you hear is made with just my laptop.”
A single person using the minimal tools needed to produce content drills down to the core of internet fan-culture and internet culture in general. It’s never been easier to pick up a hobby and share it around the world, contributing to the boom in decentralised creativity.
Armed with just their laptop, Young Scrolls produced their album Zoom, which currently has 1,716,909 views, featuring tracks such as Pretty Boy, Zoomin and Juice.
“Zoom took me about three months? If I condense just the time spent working on the project it would be about that long. If planning is included it would take about twice as much time as I started fleshing out the idea way back in December of 2017. This may not be a correct estimate though as I never really give things like that much thought.”
When it comes down to a single three-minute song, Young Scrolls says that the time will vary.
“That depends on a variety of factors like the amount of characters I want to have on it and the amount of lines they have recorded in the games. On average I would say about 3-4 days, but sometimes I get them done in a single night.”
“When I just started out I was too excited about the idea to actually bother writing the lyrics, so I would just mash lines together and I’d be content as long as they didn’t sound offbeat. Later on, I decided to actually start writing lyrics beforehand and since then it’s been my go-to workflow. Sometimes I just sift through the voice files mindlessly until I find something funny and work my way up from there.”
Young Scrolls doesn’t cite any particular origin for their inspiration, instead, they point to a broad number of influences.
“I tend to experiment with different genres so I can’t really pinpoint a single musician that would influence my work. I’d say I’m more influenced by the specific YouTube culture, the YTPs [YouTube Poops] that have been around for as long as I can remember, and most importantly mans1ay3r, who I’d say started it all for me. Given that he has made music similar to what I make, I’d say he would be the musician I’m influenced the most by.”
YouTube Poop is a sub-genre of fan-made content. The creators use assets from games to create off-the-wall parody videos that mash together iconic story elements, like characters and their dialogue.
While Young Scrolls’ content could broadly be labeled as gamer poop, the high-quality production value lets the music and art stand out on its own, in a niche area of the fandom.
Some fans now take inspiration from both the game and Young Scroll’s work. Cosplayer Scruffy Hawkeye replicated the Gucci version of the character Sheogorath, featured on the Zoom album artwork–also made by Young Scrolls.
“I think the best reactions I’ve had were people analyzing my lyrics beyond the meanings I put into them. I’ve had one person send me a pdf detailing why Zoom is intended to be a diss towards Baurus [another TES character], with a lot of analysis that actually made sense even though I never intended it to be that way.
Also, people cosplaying as my versions of characters like the Sheogorath from the album cover.”
It’s clear that some Young Scrolls fans dedicate a lot of energy into their own creations.
“I think it’s kind of proportionate to the effort I put into my music but it’s definitely unexpected still. Before I started out I normally wouldn’t even consider the possibility of a meme song inspiring people to do things they do.”
Earlier this year, YouTube user Cilletix uploaded a cover of Young Scrolls’ song Star, which features the iconic Adoring Fan character from TES IV: Oblivion (2006).
Young Scrolls is known for their music now but initially, they started out with only their fan art.
“The art is what I started doing first for Young Scrolls before I realized I could apply whatever musical knowledge I had to it as well. I guess I just decided to make something cartoony with bright colors to contrast what you would usually expect from fantasy fanart, later I would make them humorous to match the tone and figured they would fit the music too.”
Young Scrolls describes their experience as being positive on the whole. When I ask what the worst or weirdest response has been, they don’t have any standouts.
“I would say it’s just some people not understanding the humor of my content, nothing serious to be fair.
There’s always rude and negative people of course but I suppose that’s just how it is with everything so I don’t pay attention to that.”
Fans of Young Scrolls can look forward to more content coming their way.
“I’m currently trying to figure out how to extract voice files from ESO but I’m definitely looking forward to making a Sotha Sil song.”
As for the promise of the next Elder Scrolls game, Young Scrolls looks forward to it but is keeping their eyes on the immediate future.
“I hope it takes place in Hammerfell, it has very interesting lore and great potential. Other than that I tend not to think about it too much since it’s too far off.”