ChipWIN Comps Historical Context: Year One
Sooooooo, what was going to be a week-long series of social media posts giving brief historical context on five years of our compilation series (a little hype leading up to Friday’s V.6 launch if you will) just turned into a week-long series of blog posts featuring such. Why? Simple: there’s no word limit here. ಠ‿↼ And boy howdy, can I write a lot about this gorram project; especially this core facet of it.
Read on below the jump if you dare.
I could write a small novel about this year of project work alone. Even this abbreviated version will not be very abbreviated. Ah well. Can’t be helped.
The momentum for ‘Volume 1’ began organically.
In early 2012 around a year after the group was created, a ChipWIN group member (Leo Avero of Super Danger Casper to be specific) randomly suggested to the group that we create a compilation. I initially missed that he was directing that comment at the ChipWIN group as a whole, which I believe was still under 1000 members at the time (maybe not even 500 yet? I dunno. Ask my nerdy ass wife). Once I realized such & saw how legitimately interested (& damn quickly at that!) enough of the community was in the idea, I took charge & began coordinating the effort. It wasn’t too far out of my wheelhouse after all (musical background + BA in Music w/a concentration in recording technology & music business).
Around half of the subs to V.1 were submitted by group members, with the other half curated by me (because, I dunno, 20-ish tracks weren’t enough? lololol). I recruited my relatively new friend Nate Horsfall for a “quick favor” to create the artwork, which ended up in him immediately & effectively branding us for life with his amazing art style. Dj CUTMAN took on the largest mastering project of his life thus far & did a stellar job without going completely insane. Kubbi sorta accidentally volunteered himself to do the track ordering (I was running out of time &, in desperation, joked about pulling names out of a hat to get it done & he quickly offered to give it a shot lol) & sealed his fate forevermore by handling that gig brilliantly. Pixie sought me out & volunteered her stellar merch prep services for the 1st bundle, kicking off what’s now a tradition of thoroughly fun & ridiculous Volume merch bundles. My Texan VGM bud, “V.P.” Swack, was also apparently a chiptune fanatic, and created a ridiculously enthusiastic promo video to help drum up further hype; that first one still makes me cringe and grin in all the right ways. And somehow I badgered Obtuse of 8 Bit Power Hour of Areciboradio (both now retired) into hosting a “listening party” for the damn thing; turned out to be the best part of the whole deal, celebrating online with chipmusic artists and enthusiasts all around the world. Another ChipWIN tradition that continues to this day.
Thanks to all that insanity plus the hype powers of 51+ artists and many more fans (plus a random boost on Destructoid outta nowhere, thank you very much Tony Ponce ♥), ‘Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 1’ released in a whirlwind of enthusiasm & joy right after the aforementioned revelrous release party.
It was supposed to be a one off by the way.
Queue the 1st fully curated release in ‘Expansion Pack’. There was just too much gorram momentum leftover from the debut release, both in the community and in my insane self. Folk that missed V.1 wanted to participate, so I gave a goodly number of said folk a shot (but not 51, because fuck doing that again so soon after the first time lol). Of course they dove in with a furious effort and it came together like clockwork once again; a little more experience made it a little easier to handle this time as well. Tighter deadlines, initial working relationships with comp prep folk established, tighter details doc, etc. Some of the names on this one still astound me. Almost goes without saying that it made for another extraordinarily killer chiptune compilation.
And so the momentum grew further, along with membership of the Facebook group.
But maybe we’re done at that point, right? I mean, we sure could’ve been. It was a couple of badass compilations in of themselves in the span of not nearly enough time (the power of internet collaboration + an unhealthy doses of enthusiasm used for good, revealed!). Nice love letter to chiptune etched in digital stone; a plenty easy enough place to stop.
But wait, it’s late October. It’ll be the holidays soon. We could do a wintry holiday themed comp. Ooo! What to call it, though? Hmm….
And then Erin suggests “ChipWINter” from the other room and the first themed ChipWIN compilation is born.
I still get goosebumps atop goosebumps from listening to that perfectly wintry vibed Vince Kaichan track. ♥ It was also super cool to see Nate take a different direction with the artwork. Wouldn’t be the last time he’d do that either.
After that flurry of killer releases in barely half a year’s time (fuck, really? No wonder people thought we were overdoing it hahahahah ε-(´・｀) ﾌ ), we took a bit of a break. Partially because I was evaluating what in the world to do with it all from there, particularly regarding how the hell to handle a follow up Volume at this point (more on that next post). In the midst of said rumination, we came up with the wacky gorram idea to involve some of our insanely talented VGM buds in a small, yet kickass EP. In short, I recruited six teams of folk to do NON chiptune covers of some of our previous ChipWIN discography. This delightful collaboration of VGM & chipfolk, aptly titled ‘Chiptunes = WTFLOL’, turned out to be one of my favorite curated releases to date.
A full length version of “what floll”, Stemage’s adorable pronunciation of it, will absolutely happen one day. It’s only a matter of time, which, by the way, is the only thing I don’t have a surplus of. Talented friends, artists & fans along with a very supportive wife help make up for its lack, though.
And I think that’s enough semi-coherent rambling for today. So much more that I could say about each release, but that’ll have to do for this initial post (mostly because it’s almost publishing hour and I need to get this shit scheduled lol). Although feel free to ask further questions in the comments if you’d like. I’ll gladly answer the best I can. Glob knows there’s way too other stories from that period yet untold; the best ones probably.
Part 2 of this sudden series continues tomorrow at noon. Go listen to some ChipWIN history via the links below for now. (^_−)−☆
President Hoodie aka Brandon L Hood
Founder & Project Manager of Chiptunes = WIN
P.S. I forgot to mention how the hell I came up with the “\m|♥|m/” symbol btw. lol I think it came from me posting “\m||m/” a lot on VGM & chip stuff after my first MAGFest adventure in early 2011. Somehow from there it morphed into “\m|♥|m/” and became a motto/symbol of sorts for ChipWIN. When it was V.1 art time, I gave it to Nate plus a random pic of a bunch of chiptune hardware and told him to “make it badass” (there’s another story altogether to that catchphrase btw hahaha). And so he did. And the rest is history. \m|♥|m/