Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie back again with another of my Hoodie Highlights interviews! Due to crazy life happenings (i.e. getting MARRIED <3 ), it’s been a few months since I’ve had the time to manage one of these enjoyable talks. And what better way to bring the feature back than with a follow-up chat with my good snarky Brit friend & initial Hoodie Highlights focus, Andrew Kilpatrick? Read along as we talk all retrospective-like, as Kilpatrick brings his 5+ years of awesome chiptune contributions to a close. Enjoy!
Hoodie: First off, WELCOME BACK, AK! For those who don’t know you, give us a quickdown of what you’re all about.
Andrew Kilpatrick: Thanks for having me! Errr, well I guess I’m a ‘curator’ or something akin to that. Started off with Pxl-Bot about 5 (!?) years ago with Alex Kelly (my literal right arm), then left to set up blog/experimental-chip-label The Waveform Generators for about 3 years (which closed last November), and then in 2013 set up WeeklyTreats! That’s the jist. Done other bits and pieces as a writer / editor / ‘musician’ around the scene but curating has always been the focus.
Hoodie: Boss curator to the *MAX*. Quite a number crazy awesome things in a relatively short period of time. Nevermind your contributions to our blog here (THX AGAIN <3 ) & fun Volume 2 “controversy” (lolololol).
That said, all of that = COMPLETE. Which is why we’re talking here on the blog once again! A retrospective so to speak.
AK: hahaha, yeah, I always did struggle with keeping my opinions to myself =P
Hoodie: haha Well, for the most part it served you better than it hurt you. Somehow. ;)
Looking back on everything, what first thoughts come to you about it all? Particulars that you’re very proud of, instances you wish you could tweak or redo, etc.
BIGASS QUESTION, I KNOW. Take your time with it. =)
AK: That is a big question!
The biggest thing that comes to mind is how much I enjoyed it, and how many real-life experiences (gigs, tottering about Europe yadda yadda) I would have missed out on had I not got involved with the scene. It was just stupidly fun; sometimes a bit stressful but still always fun.
I’m very proud with both TWG and WeeklyTreats; I felt that with TWG I didn’t release a nanosecond of music I wasn’t in love with, got to work with loads of people I really admired and made the exact label I wanted to (also the blog part of it worked much better than I ever expected it to!).
WeeklyTreats, this year especially, has just been an absolute blast. We’ve gotten to work with artists I’d never have thought we’d be able to (YMCK!!) and managed to not lose sight of the “support the smaller artists” ethos that we’ve cultivated since we started Pxl-Bot 5 years ago.
Tweaking? I’d like to have been a bit more rigid and strict with our release policy at Pxl-Bot whilst I was there (Alex is doing a great job of it now though), and also organise the first year of WeeklyTreats better so it wasn’t as stressful (we had rolling deadlines week by week so it got a bit pressured pretty much every single Wednesday hahaha).
Also maybe pushed to do some live stuff or something.
Hoodie: Glad to hear that the bulk of your thoughts and feeling on it all is, “Hell yeah! I’m glad I did that.” That’s how it should be. =)
AK: Aye, 100%. I wouldn’t have stuck with it so long if I hadn’t loved doing it, and I’m not leaving because I hated it. It’s more just an “I know it’s time” thing I guess. There is only so much you can “say” before you start repeating yourself. haha
Hoodie: 1000% even. And that’s a point you always made to me, chatting in & around projects: you’d do this only as long as you felt like you “should”, and quit immediately when it felt “done”.
While that nearly happened a few times sooner, something always managed to pull you back in for another round or another side-project. No more, though, ay? This is it?
AK: haha Yeah, I think so! I’m not sure what else I’d do even if I wanted to stay here. I honestly think I’ve made a quality bar for myself that I’ll never be able to surpass again (or don’t have the time commitment or money to at least).
Parallel to this, Alex and I still want to curate in some capacity, so something IS happening with the Treats name (and to an extent the model too). Just not within the chip scene this time. Not to say we won’t probably working with any chippers or anything…. ;)
Also I think we’ve left it at a good ‘point’ if you get me? Like it’s sad I didn’t have the energy or motivation (or time) to finish this year as we had planned, because boyyy did we have some big plans, but life etc!
But it still feels good to finish like this, on the best project we’ve been involved in (in our opinion), with the best year of it we’ve had, going out on a high!
Hoodie: It’s *DEFINITELY* one helluva ending, no doubt about that.
AK: Cheers! Funny thing about the final single as well: like, with the ‘Lettered Singles’, like the last 14 or so we did, most weren’t pre-planned. They were off cuts from the four compilations we had originally planned to end the project with this December that we stuck together for various reasons. Anyway, we got in the track from Whitely’s new side project ame damnee, which was super ‘not’ chiptune at all; very psychedelic and VERY emotionally deep indieish/shoegazeish guitar and vocal music. Anyway, I was at a complete loss with who to pair him with. I just knew I wanted it to be part of what closed the project. Then J Arthur Keenes Band sent his track in, and it fit ame damnee’s so (I mean scarily) well. It was like a clouds part, light comes down moment; we just had our perfect dream, final single fall into our lap. I’m going to really miss that feeling of relief when the accidental shit happens which end up being some of the best stuff you’ve every put out! haha
Hoodie: Yeah, those two tracks did pair quite perfectly to close WT out! And if I know you well enough, you’ll find plenty other projects to get that random cool shit facilitating “fix” as time goes on. You can’t escape it. It’s addicting as fuck. ;)
AK: Definitely. Still got that tick in my head that makes me wanna keep busy, “the restless bug” or w/e. haha
Hoodie: Like I said, addicted. ;)
AK: I think I’m lucky I am to an extent. I don’t think WeeklyTreats would have been possible without a mixture of my restlessness and Alex’s art skill // morale support haha
Hoodie: Having good partners & team members is absolutely vital to the success of a project, especially over a longer period of time.
One batshit crazy motherfucker can do a lot of cool things. Two or more batshit crazy motherfuckers that are kindred spirits working together? ALL THE MORE.
AK: Ayee! I think I’ve used this analogy before, but we’ve been working together so long now we just seem to be on the same page without having to express what we mean. Like we’re two arms of the same body; he’s incredible at stuff I could never do and I have talents he’s not as strong at etc. Makes things move a lot smoother! Alex really doesn’t get enough cred for all the work he puts in to be honest. He does a lot of the curating too, and he’s been banging out properly gorgeous art once a week for the last few months whilst still semi-running Pxl-Bot and setting up some more secret not-chip stuff on the side (also I think he’s releasing an EP of his music soon? maybe that’s a secret, idgaf).
If anyyyyone reading this is thinking of starting up a label I can’t recommend trying to find as you’ve put it a “kindred spirit” to work on it with, especially if they have a hugely different skill set than you!
Hoodie: Absolutely excellent advice. And yes, Alex is a gorram boss. I’ve only worked with him briefly here and there over the years, but even just that bit of experience is enough to have me convinced of his awesomeness. Good job picking a quality partner! (y)
AK: He a bae thru and thru. He also has a different ‘taste palette’ for chip. Like we have cross over points (which have been getting more and more frequent recently), but I always felt it worked with us both curating, because we were coming from such different points of view but with a similar ‘outlook’ on music (ie, a penchant for experimental-ism and dislike of cliche), which kept things as cohesive as a project like WeeklyTreats can be.
Hoodie: *ALSO* a good thing. Kindred spirit, yes, but different perspectives and thoughts on matters. Equally important.
AK: Aye. Also nice having someone who’s got your back or can fill in for you when you’re dealing with large numbers of (often unreliable ;) artists // musicians!
Hoodie: Damn skippy, sir. As cool as this collective is overall, you’re gonna run into some bullshit as a project manager. It’s unavoidable. Having good folk to have your back is often the difference between keeping on and burning the shit down prematurely.
…which might be fun at the time (i.e. when you’re lighting the fire), but is generally not the best way to do things (i.e. when you’re trying to clean the mess up afterwards). :3
AK: hahaha Yep, if Alex wasn’t about that would have probably happened a good few years ago.
Hoodie: I’ve got good crew, but Erin is *DEFINITELY* that for me. I mean, she has literally taken the match from my hand and said, “No, Bran. No. At least not right now.”
AK: haha Maybe it’s not “a” problem and it’s just a “me and you” problem
Hoodie: hahahha I guess that’s possible. ;)
Jumping back a bit, was Weekly Treats initially designed as a final section of your collective projects? There’s *SO* much scene-wide collaboration with so many folk in it. It definitely makes a great wrap-up. And it’s easily my favorite contribution of yours & Alex’s to the chiprealm.
AK: I don’t think so! Originally I had the idea it’d be like, some way of cross-promoting Pxl-Bot and TWG. I remember looking at the scene and thinking the largest things were always compilations, but once you’ve posted about them // they’ve made the rounds traffic slows, and that’s where the idea of a compilation that was slowly, week by week, came together. But yeah, I went to Alex with the idea and he thought it’d work better as a project of its own instead of an offshoot of either label. I’m glad he came up with that idea!
But yeah, back then we weren’t thinking about closing anything, TWG ceasing and WT grinding to a halt just happened naturally. Another one of those lucky accidents with WT being the last thing I guess. haha
And thanks! It’s ours too I think, and we were def going for some sort of ‘scene scope’. I think a lot of the labels and live organisers in the scene tend to be a bit ‘stuck in what they know’, geographically or musically. Obviously this is a product of time // money limitations so you can’t berate them for it, but I really wanted us to buck that idea and try and not get stuck with a set group of talent that’d always reappear on whatever project we did! I think it comes across best in the 2014 year; we really picked the curators carefully based on their musical and geographical preferences we thought already existed to make a more diverse ‘whole’ for the year!
Hoodie: That was probably my favorite part of WT. You got to experience some really fantastically individualized slices of different sub-groups, regional collectives, etc. It worked out wonderfully!
AK: Cheers! I’m glad it wasn’t the first project we did, as I don’t think we would have managed that range if we’d done it first.
Hoodie: Right. Makes sense that it’s something that happened after the previous projects came together. An evolution of sorts.
AK: Yeah, it certainly felt that way ! It also made it easier choosing people to work with I think; we’d been around for a few years so we knew what was ‘hot’, which really helped shape the project. We alllways tried to include a mixture of Pxl-Bot or TWG artists with others we hadn’t worked with before too to, again, get away from that ‘surrounding yourself with same talent’ problem (which to be fair is real difficult to steer away from, especially if you’re just super enthusiastic about a certain artists’ work). I think this (and the NTWRK month we did in 2014) adds a slight tint of cohesion // continuation // evolution to the project.
Hoodie: It *IS* tricky to branch out sometimes! Through your myriad of experiences you find quality artists who deserve the repeated exposure, and are *ALSO* very reliable, which is *DAMN* important in scheduling projects months in advance!
But it’s usually worth the risk all the same, especially if you calculate it properly. More or less, the rare fall-thru is worth the several up & coming folk that deliver. At least from my experiences.
AK: 100%, especially on the reliability front. That was probably the quickest lesson I learnt doing this project; reliability is close to godliness! haha And it’s really hard to tell if someone is going to be reliable before you work with them, like ‘stature’ often has nothing to do with it.
Hoodie: UH HUH x ∞! “Name” matters *NOT AT ALL* where integrity is concerned. If often hinders more than it helps. It’s what folk *DO* that matters.
AK: Yup yup yup! These are some wise-spun lessons to any budding project owner. hahaha
Hoodie: I would much rather have a slew of “no names” who are professional, courteous & awesome than “names” who are shitheads. It happens on both sides, no doubt about it, but all the same, yeah.
And yeah, anyone reading this, TAKE NOTES! There’s some *REAL SHIT* being discussed here. hahaha
AK: Also, ‘finding’ someone is a stupidly rewarding process as well. There really ain’t much better than that.
Hoodie: DUUUUUUUUUUUUDE. YES.
AK: 1000 agreements!
Hoodie: Any final words you’d like to give before riding off into the sunset?
AK: Yeah, basically just to reiterate the fact I loved every second. There is a lot of talent in this scene, and it’s spread out to so many small pockets of sub-communities, yet it still all seems cohesive and like a giant family almost. And working with all of that for so long has been an absolute blast. I think maybe the scene has a reliance to sink into similar patterns of styles musically, but since I’ve been working within the scene (and NOT because of me, by the way!) I’ve definitely noticed a growing experimental-ism and diversity within what is being released, which I think really needs to continue.
Hoodie: Huge thanks for being a big damn part of pushing for that sort of inter-networking, collaboration and diversity within chiptune. And don’t worry: it’ll keep happening. I’ll see to it. ;)
AK: haha I bet you will! Thanks for having me!!1
Hoodie: Anytime, man! <3