Put your pan over medium high heat. When it is nice and roasty-toasty warm, put your ground meat of choice into the pan and poke, prod, and crumble until fully browned.
While your meat is browning, open your plethora of cans. Here’s where you have some choices to make! If you’d like your meal to be more soupy, do not drain any of the cans. If you like a thicker, chili-like consistancy, drain some or all of your canned beans and veggies.
Personally, I like to drain and rinse my beans only. That gets rid of A LOT of excess salt that you really don’t need in the meal as well as making the Taco Soup not-quite-so-soupy.
Add the undrained cans of diced tomatoes and whole kernel corn. Open up your packages of dry ranch mix and taco seasoning and dump those in too! Mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Stir in the drained and rinsed beans. Once everything is in the pot, turn the heat down to medium and let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes!
Scoop into a bowl and fancy it up as you like! I’m a fan of sour cream and shredded cheese. President Hoodie style involves a heaping pile of Fritos. YOU can make a style all your own! Let me know how your flavor experiments come out over at the Chip Mom facebook page.
Gotta hand it to Hoodie, this interview exists basically because of him.
Throughout the course of this month, I had a hard time finding something that really “clicked”. You know the feeling, right? The feeling you get when you’ve listened to a ton of music but upon further self-revision of your collection (regardless of how big it is), you start to feel uninterested.
Juxtaposed in the eye of the storm between high-energy and ambience, LUST by Meishi Smile charges peaceful melodies with energetic electronic pop to create an engaging, contemporary album. Meishi Smile recently performed live at this year’s Frequency 3.0, lending his track “Honey” to the Frequency 3.0 Artist Sampler compilation album embedded below.
I highly suggest you press play.
“Honey” showcases Meishi Smile’s J-Pop influences and ability to weave emotion into contemporary electronic music. Whispers of cryptic lyrics may catch your attention throughout LUST; subtle windows into Meishi Smile’s state of mind during the creation of the album.
LUST flows from track to track with an ever-evolving stream of synth-laced electronica. The marriage of energetic melodies and cool, breezy ambience in this latest offering from Meishi Smiles makes for an alluring album of tracks that nuzzle into your brain-space and will stay with you for days.
LUST by Meishi Smile is set to release Jan. 28th, and pre-orders (in both physical and digital forms) are available here. [Edit: Album is RELEASED!! Stream below! =D ]
I was able to steal a few precious minutes from Meishi Smile for a few questions, and that interview continues below:
Pixel Recall: Hoodie tells me you rocked Frequency this year. What was it like performing at Frequency? Are you a fan of performing live? Do you have any upcoming live events we should know about?
Meishi Smile: I went to Frequency last year primarily due to see my pal Pedro in Slime Girls perform. It was the first time I met him, as well as Jami from Space Boyfriend and Thymine/Grace, who illustrates under the names Tochiimint and Mahoushoughost. I had a really great time with them, and I guess I’m mentioning such an encounter because it’s made Frequency this really symbolic thing of friendship to me, that looking back at meeting these people one year ago and being extremely close to them now, it’s reinforced a lot of what I believe in with my life and what I do creatively.
Frequency itself though is amazing. I haven’t been involved with those creating chiptune music for that long, but I’ve quickly discovered all the amazing underground artists in the scene who definitely deserve a lot more attention. Being amongst those people was a great feeling this year. It’s still a very small thing, but it’s definitely growing by the year and I think a lot of chiptune music is really in the spirit of punk rock. Just the general idea of chiptune to me has always seemed like that, and sort of rebellious in a way. A generation of kids growing up with video games and gadgets, a lot of them being told that it’s a waste of time by their peers, yet turning around and utilizing those things to do something that’s very creative.
My performance at Frequency was the first time I sang live and performed all original stuff. Usually I put a lot of remixes into my sets and have been in situations where I’ve felt the need to play only music that people can dance to, but I felt like this was a good opportunity to finally explore something much more in tune with my emotions. It’s definitely been the most meaningful set I’ve done so far, and I hope to continue to perform more shows like this in a similar vein.
I’ll be doing an online release party with my friends at SPF420, and DJing for this event set to celebrate the release of a zine dedicated to Yasutaka Nakata (producer of capsule, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Perfume). Aside from that, I have some out of state gigs coming soon and some surprises I can’t announce yet. I’m always looking to play more shows! Pixel Recall: Tell me about ZOOM LENS! How you got involved with them, how it has affected your music making/reaching out to fans/getting your music out there?
Meishi Smile: I actually founded ZOOM LENS and I’ve been doing it since around 2009, although there are some gaps where I took a year or two off since I had some moments where I lost heart in the project.
I originally created it in intention to primarily release noise music (I had a project back then called Yuko Imada that did harsh noise and ambient music), but then I met my friend Kyle, who was currently performing as Class of 1923 (his latest project is called Uio Loi). It opened me up to the idea of working with other people, and soon I met more people online and began to create a little network of like-minded people whose music I enjoyed and personalities and drive I respected and it started to blossom from there.
I use the term “digital punk rock spirit” in correlation with ZOOM LENS a lot. I guess to me that sort of means this community of people I’ve met online who are operating on a sort of level of subversive interests and ideals and that I want others outside of the music to identify with who we are as well.
For instance, with what I do with MEISHI there is a large degree of me being influenced by J-Pop and Anime culture, and I want to make that sort of thing approachable to others and something that one can be proud of liking. I think Tumblr and some other social media venues have made such things as this sort of ironic meme-worthy kind of thing. Even though that sort of culture has become more acceptable it’s still this kind of weird, uncool thing in a way. Ultimately I’m happy though that my music seems to fit underneath a wide variety of contexts and people who don’t even like that sort of stuff can at least be introduced to it on the musical/emotional level that I present it as, and possibly understand how that sort of thing has more substance than it’s taken for.
Not all of ZOOM LENS is even into stuff like that though, but I guess I use that as an example as ZOOM LENS trying to be something that represents a wide variety of interests, yet sort of comes together as this identifiable and unified whole due to this community of friends who just simply believe in what they believe in and do it.
Pixel Recall:During the production of LUST, did you discover a new favorite way of building/creating your music?
Meishi Smile: LUST is still a really weird record to me because it’s not what I intended to initially make MEISHI SMILE into. Like I mentioned, I used to record a lot of noise and ambient music and I really wanted to completely move away from that.
My initial goal was simply to create electronic pop music, and I was listening to a lot of production by Yasutaka Nakata at the time and the first Ravex album- that’s sort of what I wanted to do.
But as I went through different emotional experiences, I found myself making the album that would end up being LUST and I ended up channeling different influences and ended up making something that musically, I feel takes my influence from Shoegaze, J-Pop, Noise, as well as elements of music such as Happy Hardcore.
So I guess my discovery was that things can always change from your set intentions, and you should be open to that. What ultimately matters is that you successfully create something that channels who you and what you feel, and with LUST I think I really captured the feelings I had in those particular moments.
Pixel Recall:During the production of LUST, were there any unique challenges that you found yourself having to overcome? How were you able to overcome that challenge, and how did it help to shape the final release?
Meishi Smile: I initially released a low-key cassette version of it on Orchid Tapes, and since then I’ve grown more comfortable with who I am and what I do and how I record music, both on an emotional and a technical level. I suppose my challenge that came after I made that initial version was that I wanted to make it sound more like what I wanted on the level of finding more appropriate sounds and mixing the record better. The structure was there, but I felt sort of unsatisfied with what it was a few months later after its release. All that sort of grew with time, and after I released my EP with Maltine Records I had a lot more confidence to start doing things again and LUST slowly became the product it is now, which I’m much more proud of and finally happy to say I can close this chapter of my life.
Pixel Recall: Do you have a favourite technique or specific way/program you prefer to employ when making music? It could be a program, a way of organizing your thoughts, the way you create a given track, etc?
Meishi Smile: My approach to creating music isn’t really based on that much technical skill. I’ve played guitar since I was like 12, but I never learned any theory or how to read music and I’ve only fiddled with the piano since I started making music for MEISHI. I guess in saying that, most of how I make music simply comes from personal experiences that I try best to put into musical form. I find sounds by reflecting upon those experiences and thinking of the texture that brings out that particular mood.
A lot of those sounds are reflective of a lot of 90’s Nintendo video games, stuff I’d heard as a kid. I think I say that on a very general level because I like video games, but I’m not completely knowledgeable either now at my age. I would hole myself up and had little friends when I was young, so I would no doubt enjoy the textures in games like Bomberman 64 or Mystical Ninja Goemon, very “Japanese” sort of melodies, but that’s all I have. I think that sense of separation reflecting on something that I am so contrastingly close to and also removed from helps create a sound that some people have told me is kind of “nostalgic.”
Pixel Recall:Your style embraces a light, energetic, positive ambience. What draws you to this style? Do you have any specific influences? What is your favourite way to explore this particular style when you’re making music?
Meishi Smile: I think it all goes back to being influenced by a lot of Japanese music. There’s a particular moment in time that really influenced me in the way that I write, and it was when a friend of mine passed away in High School. During that time I had seen the movie Bright Future, and I really enjoyed the closing song “Mirai” which was by The Back Horn. I always felt a sort of message with that song. A sort of walking into the unknown, never retracing the steps of the past and simply saying goodbye to those moments with a sense of both heaviness and optimism. When I read the lyrics, they were very similar to what I had felt, it really hit me in a profound way. It was sort of the confirmation I needed when listening to foreign music that much of it is in the emotion, and from that emotion you can sometimes even sense something much more literal (such as the lyrics, in this case).
So with MEISHI SMILE I try my best to convey what I can in the abstract. Although I include lyrics to my songs, they’re not what I said when I recorded them. Most of the melodies and lyrics I make are simply me hitting record and singing stream of conscious. I don’t know what I said then, and the lyrics I use later are simply a placeholder that vaguely capture the emotion of what I felt. I hope that something can be felt despite what is read or heard. I think I want to just make something that is transcendent of the standard conventions of how you’re supposed to listen to music. I don’t meant that all in a pretentious way, but when I was listening to Japanese music as a kid, people would insultingly ask me “why?” That “if you can’t understand what they say, why bother listening?” To me, it’s because something can be felt. And I’m not sure why that isn’t a good enough reason for listening to music sometimes.
Pixel Recall: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Meishi Smile: Interpret your influences through your own state of mind and allow that to inspire what you truly want to create as an individual.
Pixel Recall: Is there anything else you’d like to leave our readers with?
Meishi Smile: Thanks for reading my rants all the time.
Huge thanks to Meishi Smile for taking the time to so eloquently answer those questions.
Get in on the ground floor and snag your pre-order for LUST here!
Pixel Recall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love
I really want to know what they put in the water up in Philly. Or…actually, on second thought, I probably don’t. But whatever magical ingredient is in the water up in Philly, it seems to be infecting the creative and philosophical types to very interesting effect. Last time around, I was talking about an0va’s ‘Ego Depletion,’ which if you read through the end of the interview, you know that that album was supposed to be an exploration of consciousness. In a strange turn of events, there is another Philly-based chipartist who has both a lower-case “a” and the number “0” in their name, who works in the Psychology department of a university and who has released an album meant to break us down and really get us thinking about what constitutes “us,” – that is to say, Steve Lakawicz, better known as ap0c, and his new album ‘The Last Dream.’
Album cover by Joey Mariano, better known as Animal Style. You know, that guy who does the stuff.
Now, as much as I’m joking around about the similarities between an0va and ap0c’s names and album concepts, both of these guys are worlds apart (metaphorically, of course – in reality they’re probably about two bus stops from each other). Those of you who have been around for a while probably remember ap0c’s contribution to our humble collection back on Volume 2, and you can already tell just from those four minutes the extremely diverse ground that ap0c can cover – and ‘The Last Dream’ is basically that on an album-wide scale. That’s honestly what I love the most about this album on the whole, is the fact that you never really know where it’s going. But there’s another hidden part to this album, which even ap0c himself may not know consciously, which I will reveal to all of you now:
It sucks playing a low brass instrument. “Wait, what?” I hear you cry, “I thought this was about chiptunes!” Alright chucklehead, give me a second. See, Steve and I got to talking during MAGFest, and we learned something very important about each other – we both play low brass instruments: he, the tuba; me, the euphonium (yes, it’s real, no, you haven’t heard of it). And when you’re a creative person trapped in the low brass section, it does something to you. Something weird. I’m sure you all know the joke about the bassist in a rock band, about how no one really loves them and they’re basically unimportant to the melody, while some people recognize them as barely better than a metronome to keep time while the band plays. The simple fact of the matter is, when you play a bass instrument, be it bass guitar or tuba or basically anything that never gets a melody, you start secretly hoping that some day, when you’re a big kid and you get to write the music, that you’ll write music that features the bassline playing the melody! Something that sounds cool, because screw all those high pitches, it’s the BASSLINE’s turn to steal the glory of the song!
As any of you who know how to compose, be it chiptunes or otherwise, probably know – having the bass in the lead for a whole song isn’t a healthy idea. It doesn’t sound like a song – people aren’t used to it. However, the more mature manifestation of this is to have some really prominent basslines featured in the composition to have them be in the audience’s face when they can be, and move out of the way when they need to be. And THIS is what Steve has done all throughout this album – his healthy understanding of the bassline colors the sound of the album in ways that are quite unique and unexpected to most people who go into this expecting another Anamanaguchi or Danimal Cannon.
Stylistically, the album is all over the place in the best way. Steve’s classical training bleeds through in parts, sounding at home among Bach’s fugues, but within the same song it might flip around to be something more lighthearted and goofy like one might expect out of a Sonic game, only to have it flip around and break down in a way that can only lead to mosh pits. Despite the fact that the styles bounce around, all of the transitions are seamless and it never feels like a song has been just Frankensteined together from a bunch of ideas just to fill time. It’s got enough in it from every style it represents to make it palatable from listeners of the more traditional music training to those who just love music they can jam around to. Personally, though, I’d say this album is best enjoyed with a good pair of headphones, or at the very least with some speakers with decent bass response – again, because ap0c has some really subtle and fancy basswork, a lot of the album is missed if you’re listening to it on dinky speakers with no bass.
That’s all this time around. Next time, I promise I’ll find someone to talk about who isn’t from Philly, I promise. For now though, go grab some fancy headphones, pop a brewski and go find yourself.
Featuring tonight on The ChipWIN Blog, for one night only, the Hypesquad! Consisting of Air SeaWorld founder Lil’ Janx and former WCW Champion Sammy Sam, the Hypesquad is renowned as a blasphemous memetic audiovisual offensive by some, and by others, an incredible blasphemous memetic audiovisual offensive. I was fortunate enough to secure a telephone interview with both members of the band earlier in the week. What follows, I frankly do not remember.
AutoReMi-PK: Lil’ Janx, Sammy Sam… Thank you for taking time out of the rap game to be here today.
Lil’ Janx: It’s good to be here.
Sammy Sam: You are most welcome! Please, let’s keep this brief, for we have some hustling that we must do… I mean, yeah, it’s good to be here. Thanks for talking with us!
Lil’ Janx: We’ll tell you almost anything you wanna know about the rap game. How we started from the bottom, and now we here.
Sammy Sam: Emphasis on almost. There is some stuff we definitely can’t talk about.
Lil’ Janx: Secrets, man. I don’t wanna have to get shot again
Sammy Sam: I don’t want to have to shoot you again.
AutoReMi-PK: How would you define “here”?
Lil’ Janx: Here would be at the top of our rap game. Sammy Sam and I have a long history dodging bullets. Rough shit.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, I agree. Here is where we are, and that’s probably where we will stay for a bit, until we go “there”, y’know? I don’t want to go back to dodging bullets… Those things are so fast.
Pictured above: Accurate depiction of The Struggle
AutoReMi-PK: After fifteen studio albums spanning one tenth of one decade, what is it like to be at the top of the chip-hop ladder?
Sammy Sam: It feels good to be at the top, but I have gone through lots of therapy to forget what it was like being at the bottom… So I can’t say for sure, since this is the only way I know how to feel now.
Lil’ Janx: It’s a good feeling, man… Having a message that people will listen to, you know?
Sammy Sam: Yeah, the message. That’s what’s important! Like, I want people to know about #jmolo, that’s a message I can get behind.
Lil’ Janx: It’s all about the message.
Sammy Sam: First and foremost, the message…
Lil’ Janx: Jason Mraz is a role model.
You’re a wizard, Harry
Sammy Sam: Oh yeah, he is such an inspiration. He’s the reason I wake up in the morning. Also the reason why I bought a fedora and eat kale.
Lil’ Janx: He’s the reason I bought a white polo. And drink coffee.
Sammy Sam: Is he big into coffee? I am embarrassed to admit that I skipped over that chapter in his autobio.
Lil’ Janx: Sometimes I just want to BE Jason Mraz, you know? It’s a hard life trying to live up to that.
Sammy Sam: I wanted to read about his philanthropy and the amazing things he has done for cats in need.
Lil’ Janx: Definitely. A well-deserved reputation in cat salvation.
AutoReMi-PK: Your fanbase has described your hashtags as being a mix between Shakespeare and Marky Mark, perhaps two of the finest poets of our time. What would you say in regards to this?
Lil’ Janx: I would say “thank you” because, damn, I love me some Shakespeare and Marky Mark.
Sammy Sam: I would and have said, “To funky bunch, or not to funky bunch. That, is the question.”
I’ll let you decide the answer to that question
Lil’ Janx: That’s a good question. I think I feel an epic freestyle coming on.
Sammy Sam: I mean, I’m in the rap game to pay the bills. #hashtags are my true passion.
AutoReMi-PK: Truly a timeless message. I think one we can all relate to.
Lil’ Janx: Hash tags and drank. That’s what we live for.
AutoReMi-PK: Is there any bad blood lingering over your group being denied to play Coachella this year?
Lil’ Janx: I mean it was a huge disappointment, but we knew that it was because the mainstream just wasn’t ready for our message and passion for hash tags.
Sammy Sam: No bad feelings whatsoever! They can go eat crap, it’s their loss, we don’t care at all. It’s just on to the next thing, you know?
Lil’ Janx: The people who want to hear the truth know where to find us. They’re the ones that matter. The ones that understand and appreciate what we fight for and the daily struggle.
Sammy Sam: I think they knew we were too much for them, but I don’t know, where are we supposed to play? Jupiter? What planet can adequately support our talent? We’ll never know until we know, and then that will be when we know, probably. Those are the people we care about, and pander to.
Lil’ Janx: Damn straight.
AutoReMi-PK: Insightful as always, Sammy Sam! Speaking of pandering, what do you say in regard to your detractors who claim The Struggle is less real than you make it out to be?
Sammy Sam: I made a pact to not talk to those people. #thestruggle is #realtalk
Lil’ Janx: Yeah, fuck ’em. Ain’t nobody got time for haters.
Sammy Sam: Our haters are really what keep us going. I mean, really, they are our biggest fans.
AutoReMi-PK: No such thing as bad publicity, right?
Lil’ Janx: Yeah, so I guess we have to make time for haters.
Sammy Sam: You know what they say, “You can only hate something if you really love it more than yourself.” Someone might have said that, I haven’t been keeping track of what everyone has been saying. That would be so much work. I’m not so good with quotes, I’m sorry.
AutoReMi-PK: What was it like working with Bono?
Sammy Sam: I kind of phono-ed it in… Just another collab, y’know? That one was definitely just for the money, and I had some… “bills to pay.”
Lil’ Janx: Yeah for real, though. Gotta feed Dennis and all.
Sammy Sam: I mean, I still spit some hot fire on that track, and tried to make the beat fresher than Rice Krispies, but it was not my proudest moment. I did it for Janxy, cuz I know she’s a HUGE U2 fan… Do we have any time to talk about our sponsorship deal with Rice Krispies? They’re snap, crackle, poppin’ off the chaaaain DELICIOUS!
You’re welcome, Sam
AutoReMi-PK: Speaking of Dennis, PETA has recently launched a string of attacks deriding your “cruel treatment of inflatable sharks”. You two have been notoriously hush about this in the media. Any intention of setting the record straight?
Sammy Sam: Well, that’s a tricky question, so I’ll pass the mic to Dennis.
Lil’ Janx: I mean, I dunno. PETA doesn’t know shit. Dennis chose to be our main shark, man. So, like, whatever… They can talk to him. What’s more cruel is putting Dennis in a zoo. With us he’s living the dream.
Dennis: I am aware of the attacks, and PETA’s concerns. They are unfounded, and completely false. Really, People for the Ethical Treatment of People should be the ones concerned, because I have been eating peoples’ legs without their permission. And what’s that about, am I right?
This article just got NSFW
Lil’ Janx: We saved him when he was a little shark pup, so suck on that PETA.
Dennis: It’s true, I am very happy, and love my chip-hop family. They are the bee’s knees.
Lil’ Janx: Where was PETA when Dennis was starving in the streets? Nowhere, that’s where. Our shark loves us, and we love him too. Plus his whole eating people’s legs thing comes in handy.
Dennis: Where was PETA when I was running low on helium, air-swimming precariously close to cacti?
AutoReMi-PK: Dennis, I’m going to shoot straight with you. You sound like Sammy Sam. Do you have a cold?
Sammy Sam: Rob, I’m going to shoot straight at you if you don’t watch it. GET IT?
Dennis: Whoa, Sam… Chill. That’s not necessary.
Sammy Sam: I am sorry, Rob. I shouldn’t have lost my cool.
AutoReMi-PK: It’s okay, I was out of line.
Lil’ Janx: Yeah, Sammy. We gotta calm it down. Just remember… JMOLO.
Sammy Sam: It’s just… we’ve been through a lot, which I know is no excuse. Again, please accept my apologies. I will not shoot straight at anyone, I promise.
Lil’ Janx: Those days are behind us now.
AutoReMi-PK: Moving on! What would you say in response to loaded questions?
Lil’ Janx: Loaded like loaded baked potatoes loaded? Or loaded like bazookas loaded?
Dennis: Whoa, hold the phone. I see an air-swordfish a couple nauts away… I’ll catch up with you all later. Dennis needs to feed.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, I don’t understand what you mean. Those are the only two options that make any sense to me.
Lil’ Janx: Straight up.
AutoReMi-PK: You two are frequently accused of not owning nearly enough sports gear. Why do you hate America?
Lil’ Janx: I think that question answered itself.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, we never get falsely accused of not owning enough sports gear when we’re in Colombia. I mean, France. Sorry Janx, I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to mention the Colombia tour ever again.
Lil’ Janx: Are you serious? Everyone wears sports jerseys and soccer shoes in Columbia… I mean France. So people looked at us weird. We stood out. Especially with a floating shark.
Sammy Sam: Oh yeah, it’s like, I’m sorry, I can’t be held accountable for what or who my pet shark is eating, right? Step off, playa.
Lil’ Janx: Hell yeah, bitches be jealous they don’t have a flipping sweet floating companion shark.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, it’s rare to have a shark-buddy at all, never mind one that can fly through the air.
Lil’ Janx: Haters gonna hate.
AutoReMi-PK: Lil’ Janx, your group is known among many things for its controversial merchandise. Parents were livid regarding your controversial shirt that depicted Jason Mraz crucified on a hashtag. What was your reaction when Hot Topic pulled the item from their shelves?
Lil’ Janx: I’m all like, “Damn, we hard as fuck.” If even Hot Topic can’t handle our swag merch, we gotta be doing something right.
Sammy Sam: Truth, everyone knows Hot Topic is the swaggest, so if they can’t even handle our stuff…? WHOA. Y’know? WHOA.
Lil’ Janx: F’reals, though.
Lil’ Janx: It’s like, #swagception… Or like, the #swagpocalypse.
Sammy Sam: Like, maybe the Jupiter locations of Hot Topic stocks that shit, I don’t know, but maybe. #swaggicane
Lil’ Janx: #swagnocerous
Lil’ Janx: They be sprayin #swaggicide on our merch.
AutoReMi-PK: I don’t know how you’re both speaking in hashtags but there’s way too much swag in here!
AutoReMi-PK: Ahem. You two formed your legendary group a month ago and embarked on your first world tour. How did this happen? Did you feel an innate swag chemistry?
Lil’ Janx: Yes.
Sammy Sam: Yes. Next question.
AutoReMi-PK: Now, some people claim that a guitar is not a real musical instrument. What’s it like to find legitimacy in a Nintendo Game Boy?
Sammy Sam: It’s the most freeing feeling I’ve ever felt.
Lil’ Janx: Definitely the end of my soul-searching.
Sammy Sam: I was getting sick of the guitar, and it’s limitations.
Lil’ Janx: Definitely.
Sammy Sam: So to be making the dopest beats this side of Saturn with a Nintendo Gameboy… every morning I wake up and things just make sense. Y’know? My vision is no longer mad blurry, and I haven’t eaten cheese for a month, so things are looking up.
AutoReMi-PK: It sounds very fulfilling! As innovators in the true sense of the word, what was the thought process behind your invention of the JMOLOsound™ mod?
Lil’ Janx: Cutting back on unsaturated fats and high fructose corn syrup was also directly related to discovering the beatmaking magic of the Gameboy. Sammy Sam and I were basically like, “We need to just make this JMOLO as hell.” And then we did, just like that. We got it copyrighted.
Sammy Sam: Trademarked. The whole eight yards. Pasterighted, you name it.
Lil’ Janx: Commercial license, et cetera.
AutoReMi-PK: Et cetera, indeed!
Sammy Sam: What? What was that you just said.
AutoReMi-PK: I don’t recall saying anything.
Sammy Sam: Janx, what’s he talking about? What is happening right now?
Lil’ Janx: Eh? sorry my mind was on swag. And Jason Mraz.
Sammy Sam: Oh yeah, me too.
AutoReMi-PK: Being a human cartoon, do you think it’s necessary to sometimes draw outside the lines?
Lil’ Janx: Definitely, we use it to undergo interdimensional space travel. Makes touring exponentially more interesting. We’ve toured in Flatland several times. Probably one of the best crowds, really.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, I mean, I have a hard time reading and doing math, so drawing INSIDE lines? I’d like to see YOU try it. Being a cartoon, human or not, definitely makes some interesting things possible.
You will never get back the time you’ve spent reading this
AutoReMi-PK: Indeed! Some people have claimed that psychoanalysis has no place in a fluff interview. What’s your favorite television show?
Lil’ Janx: Pokémon. I can really relate to it, you know? We wanna be the very best. That no one ever was.
Sammy Sam: I love reality TV, my favorite is LOST, but I haven’t watched tv in years
because Janx sold my tv to “pay some bills”.
Lil’ Janx: Um, hello, Dennis needed those sunglasses. They had to be Gucci, otherwise he wouldn’t meet the swag quota.
Sammy Sam: He really did, I’m cool with it, he is super fly now. Those glasses really put him deep into swag territory. #swagtory, if you will.
Lil’ Janx: I will indeed.
AutoReMi-PK: The NSA has gone on record as saying that YOU are their favorite television show. At what point did I get too drunk to continue this interview?
Lil’ Janx: I’d say about twenty minutes ago. Probably at about the point we were talking about Flatland… Maybe the PETA part. I dunno, man. I dunno your life.
Sammy Sam: When were we talking about Flatland?
Lil’ Janx: We toured there.
Sammy Sam: Oh, yeah! I’m sorry, I forgot most things.
AutoReMi-PK: Speaking of your tour of Flatland? Which incomplete sentence.
Lil’ Janx: That one.
Sammy Sam: I concur.
AutoReMi-PK: Much indeed! Many thank you.
Lil’ Janx: Such yes.
Sammy Sam: Thank you! It was truly a pleasure!
AutoReMi-PK: What’s next for Lil’ Janx and Sammy Sam?
Lil’ Janx: Our epic rap battle with Roboctopus! He be frontin and we gotta set him in his place before he disrespects the Hypesquad and all we stand for. Which is hashtags and Jason Mraz. Mad beefs gotta be sorted out.
Sammy Sam: That is all we stand for. That’s going to be really good. Also, probably a quadruple platinum album.
AutoReMi-PK: Thank you so much for your time! Any closing remarks?
Lil’ Janx: Um…
Sammy Sam: Uhhh…
Lil’ Janx: Don’t do drugs, kids… And buy our shit.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, buy our albums and t-shirts. And come see us when we are on tour!
Lil’ Janx: Seriously. Spend all your money. #jmolo
So, as MAGFest came and went, I found myself suffering from PMD (Post MAGFest Depression). The reality of finally meeting all of my friends that I’d been talking to for months face-to-face, being able to spend quality time with them, and then each going our separate ways so soon was disheartening. While it certainly felt like forever waiting for MAGFest to finally descend, it concluded way faster than I was ready for. Leaving the Gaylord left a huge hole in my heart; I soon realized that the friends I met at MAG were ones that I wouldn’t see again for another year.
….Until the final days before Frequency 3.0. Soon, my PMD was a thing of the past—I was now just days away from co-hosting one of the largest (if not only) chiptune festivals on the west coast with my cohorts (Kevin Martinez, Jesse Avila, Tim Abad, Jamie Cristal, and Jonathan Pendergrass) in 8bitLA. While months of planning, logistics, and chats back and forth on Facebook seemed daunting and tiresome, Frequency 3.0 was finally becoming a reality.My passion for chiptune soon blossomed in an almost out of control measurement after I was asked to join 8bitLA in August 2013, and it was no longer just myself being interested in the music and culture—it bloomed into wanting to represent the ‘chipmunity’ that I’ve been passionate about for so long for no payment in return other than kind words, hugs, and thank you’s for the best weekend of someone’s life.
While my fondest memories of Frequency 3.0 were certainly eating delicious food, which included ramen in Little Tokyo with Hoodie, Kevin ‘Wizwars’ Martinez, and Steven ‘The Syntax Sin Tax’ Hendren, Snap Chattingan0va before load-in/tuning in to the LONELYROLLINGSTARSlistening party on Arecibo Radio, playing the showcased indie games (‘Mega Girl.git’, ‘Keys of Rage’, ‘Dodge Club Party’, and ‘DarkEdeNight’) and the gaijin Little Tokyo ‘romaine the streets’ takeover and purikura photo booth mob, nothing can quite express the spaghetti I spilt over such quality artists that performed. While I had no doubt that Frequency 3.0 would be awesome, I still can’t get over how incredible and eclectic the music was over the span of three days. Whether the Frequency-goer wanted a mixture of electrochip and drum ‘n bass (Mike Bleeds), progchip and progmetal (Buried For A Day), or straight up shoegaze (Meishi Smile), each of the 20+ performers really outdid themselves and made the event one of the SOLE contenders for the best weekend of my life… EVER. If you didn’t go, you certainly missed out, but that’s OKAY! There is a Vimeo video of Day 1 here, and two week archived streams available here (Day 2) and here (Day 3) as it took place in Downtown Los Angeles at the Smell for you to watch until your heart’s content.
While there was PLENTY of weekend chip performances that blew my socks right off my feet, my top three acts (in no particular order) are as follows:
What can I say? I have had a soft spot for this quartet since ‘Further’ was released November 19. If you remember my previous article, ‘Further’ is an album quite unlike I’ve heard before, and the four of them very appropriately preformed a majority of the tracks from this album. Their performance was absolutely mind blowing—their LIVE stage presence was accompanied with bouncy and melodic rhythms, as well as a wide range of styles and techniques through the blend of complimentary vocals very similar to that of the album itself (seriously, they must be wizards to be able to achieve such mastery.) The coolest thing ever? The four of them are the sweetest, most humble people you’ll ever meet, and I am very delighted to have had the honor of meeting them! If you missed them at Frequency 3.0, crashfaster is making an appearance at Rockage 3.0 in San Jose on February 7, as well as at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco on February 10.
2. Slime Girls
Blending a fusion of digital punk rock and head-bopping chiptune, Slime Girls (headed by ‘Pedro Invader’) from San Juan Bautista, California, combines Nintendo Gameboys, guitars and energetic drums to create fast, melancholy surf jams and danceable ska music tied very neatly together with melodic chip. Gaining influences from Bomb the Music Industry!, The Flaming Lips, Perfume, and The Aquabats, Slime Girls is anything you’ve ever dreamed of, and quite literally, personifies anime. Therefore it was no surprise that the Slime Girls had cosplayers in attendance. With visuals created by Eliot Lash, the three of them rocked the closing night until 1:10 in the morning without a single person dropping off from exhaustion (seriously, they were all too busy not trying to break something from crowd surfing or launching an anime body pillow in the air.) If you happen to be in San Jose, California around February 7, they are also playing at Rockage 3.0 and I assure your they will NOT disappoint. Hell, they’re even Danimal Cannon certified:
WOW. What a performance! I’ve seen Virt play a handful of times before, but this past performance at Frequency 3.0 was SO MAGICAL. While the dance floor was quite literally packed, claustrophobia couldn’t lay a finger on everyone who was sardined together during his set. Playing tracks from FX4 (including ‘Incident Zero’) and Mighty Switch Force 2, his performance was an absolute treat in that most of the tunes from FX4 were never meant to be performed live as some of the parts are too complex (seriously, this dude never ceases to amaze me.) Virt’s stellar performance of combining his versatile, charismatic style through’ big’ harmonious compositions left his fingers feeling the repercussions:
The greatest thing ever? That special, sneak peak, never before seen ‘Shovel Knight’ video game trailer that he wrote the music for. Oh man.. I’m excited just thinking about it!
If you were unable to attend Frequency 3.0 this year, make sure you can make it out next year (same venue!) on May 22-24, 2015. 8bitLA is already in the works of planning 4.0 with more information to be released as time progresses. Feel free to join the 8bitLA Facebook group, follow us on Twitter or Instagram, or download the artist sampler here if you’re suffering from Frequency feels very similar to how the rest of us on the team are.
That’s all folks! Until next time! Professor Oakes signing off!