COLUMBIA — A group of sophomores living in a residence hall on the MU campus have been generating thousands of hits on YouTube with their video parodies.
They call themselves DaveAndDaves and post to the site a mix of comedic original songs, lampoons of other videos and rock remixes of popular songs.
The site recently hit the 10,000 subscribers mark, and several of the Dave videos have more than 100,000 views.
One of the most popular songs on the DaveAndDaves channel is their rock cover of "Live Your Life," originally by rapper T.I. It has been viewed more than 470,000 times.
"A lot of YouTube is luck," said singer and songwriter Dave Oster. "We haven't really got too lucky yet. It has been more hard work. Hopefully we'll get lucky eventually and it will jump start."
Oster, along with Matt Kamp, Joe Rozier, David Dempsey and Missouri S&T student David Lecko, started making videos together at Mehlville High School in St. Louis for class.
“The first rap music video we made was called ‘The Nut Rap.’ It was a project for botany. You had to pick a food, so we picked nuts,” Oster said.
Oster, Kamp and Rozier made a splash in the video world as soon as they arrived on campus last year, winning the iLife competition for their video "The Mizzou Rap." The competition puts video equipment in the hands of freshmen, challenging them to produce their own video.
The plot follows the guys as they take incoming students around campus. The musical style incorporates both rap and voice distortion, which is achieved using a program called Melodyne.
While most videos the group produces are just for fun, they have entered other contests as well, most notably the A1 "Sing for your Beef" contest. Oster submitted a song called "A1 Love" where he strums an acoustic guitar and declares his love for A1 steak sauce.
With lyrics like "When the food came out I said 'A1 please.'/He said, 'Sorry we're out. Would you care for these?'/And my heart broke into a million pieces/Because A1 was all I ever needed," the video finished in the top 10 in voting and received a $500 prize.
Oster edits with GarageBand.
"I play with things and try to switch things to rock," he said. "Then I mute the song and see if it sounds similar. I just go from there and try to make it my own.”
The drumming in the videos is electronic, even though David Lecko can actually play.
"Recording drums is such a hard process when you don’t have the equipment or the money to buy the equipment," Oster said. "So, it’s all electronic drums on the computer, but it sounds real enough.”
Not all the music is generated by computer. Both Oster and Kamp were in band in high school and play guitar in the videos.
Oster said he can write lyrics for just about any topic the group thinks of. Before the presidential election this year, Oster wrote a love song to Sarah Palin called the "Sarah-nade."
The song includes the lyrics: "Oh, Sarah Palin/You may be mostly way off track/But regardless I am here/Wanting to be your Joe Sixpack/And if you lose/We'll still never grow apart/'Cause you won my electoral heart/And that's only the start."
Their "Pokémon Gangsta Rap" is their biggest hit on YouTube with close to 500,000 views.
To shoot the video, the group decorated Kamp's basement to look like a GameStop retail store, complete with promotional signs, video-game posters, gaming consoles and video games galore.
The group even put the song up for sale on iTunes where Oster said it sells pretty well. He has to pay $10 per year to keep the song on there, but he gets to keep 70 percent of the profits.
Recently they launched a new YouTube channel called "The Dave Invasion" where they post more behind-the-scenes videos.
Oster, a convergence journalism major, hopes to incorporate his musical and video-making skills in his future career. He's also minoring in informational technologies and audio and visual media.
“I want to make some real songs. Maybe make a self-titled CD or something, not just comedy, but more serious," Oster said.
Kamp on the other hand is a journalism major with an emphasis in strategic communications. He'd like to pursue a career in sports marketing and had an internship with Fox Sports Net last summer.
"I love making videos for fun, and that’d be an awesome industry to go into, but I see myself as a more sports-oriented kind of guy,” Kamp said.
It would seem that living in the residence halls would make it a little more difficult for the group to practice their music, but it has yet to stop them.
"Last year was pretty loud," Kamp said. “No one said anything but every once in a while you’d hear someone humming a tune that would be his (Oster's) song.”