Hey, ChipWINners! Welcome back to Raw Cuts! It’s been a while since I’ve done an interview! My last was with the amazing Alex Mauer, and I wanted to do an interview with someone who’s just as fantastic. I am certain I did just that. With more than fifteen years of music production under her belt, this artist is one of the select few who has found success and garnered attention by combining the lyrical gymnastics of hip hop with the high energy instrumentation that vgm and chiptune have to offer. She has an impressive array of albums in her portfolio, has worked with other big names such as Professor Shyguy and MC Chris on several occasions, and been on a slew of live performances. With all that, it’s very unlikely you haven’t heard of her or her music. Let’s not delay any longer. Sit back, relax, and join me as I enjoy a lovely conversation with Steffeny Messinger aka My Parents Favorite Music!
Kuma: So let’s get things started. First of all, I’d definitely like to thank you for this opportunity to interview you. It’s been a good while since I’ve done one, and having someone who’s been in the game as long as you definitely makes for a nice return to this particular aspect of blogging.
MPFM: Is this the thing? Oh nice, I’m in the thing.
Kuma: You’re def in the thing, and I’m super stoked to have you in it! How do you feel about being in the thing? You still need that coffee to kick in?
MPFM: Feels good. I will take any and all recognition that I can get. <3 Yeah, I’ve been doing music since 2000, and while the scene/scenes are a bit different now and constantly changing, it’s always fun to see just how they’ve changed. Equally as fun to see how I can work with those changes.
Kuma: Well, why wouldn’t you be recognized? Like you said, you’ve been in the game since 2000. You’ve made music alongside incredible talents like MC Chris and Professor Shyguy! Sure, things change, but I’m def curious to know not only what got you into the scene, but what changes you’ve seen/experienced to make you feel unrecognized.
MPFM: Oh no! Text is dumb. I just meant that I’ll take whatever I can get. That I’ve been doing this for so long that it’s good to know that I’m still relevant. Heh. I liked classic game music on the NES/SNES/etc. that didn’t have any vocals. When I was little, I tried to sing over them like I’m sure most people (I hope I’m not the only one) did. Then I developed a love for hip-hop throughout the years and figured the two would work well. My two closest linked influences back in 2000 were MC Chris and Minibosses. The former had the nerd rap part down, the latter had the vgm part down, and I wanted so bad for there to be both. It didn’t come quick enough, so I made it myself.
Kuma: Text is dumb. So is the internet. So is singing over vidyagaems. That sounds dumb. I dunno what gave you the idea that it’d be good. That’d be like making Sonic the Hedgehog music based on New Jack Swing. That’s asinine.
MPFM: HA! I would TOTALLY sing if I wasn’t so tone-deaf. Ironically, the more I rap and the older I get, the easier it is for me to inflect tone in my voice. I’m incorporating like 7% more singing with every new album, and it’s working out so far.
Kuma: I’ve noticed. ‘Mount Weird‘ seems to have more tonal play than ‘Win When?‘ or ‘Testing the Waters‘. But all of them, even without reading the footnotes of your albums, convey a sense of fun and exploration that joins them together quite nicely, thematically. How’d you first come up with the idea of the Map Series, anyway? Is it merely just an homage to things of yesteryear you love or is this part of a story/inner world you’ve always wanted to create and share?
MPFM: One of my older influences when I was young was Insane Clown Posse. Not as much for their music, though. They told their fans from day one how many albums they would release, and they stuck to a theme. I’ve always been a huge proponent of themes and color schemes, and I always wondered why they were one of only a few musicians that took on that particular idea. I wanted to do that as well, but put my own spin on it. And I’m obsessed with video game maps/levels as well, so one day back in like 2002 it just HIT ME. I had already started releasing albums, but didn’t have the idea just yet, so I had time to plan. I don’t have a strict plan for what comes next, though. When it’s time for a new map piece I just feel it out and think about that period of time in my life.
Kuma: I can dig it. Letting your life as it is dictate how the map is formed is pretty flexible while still sticking to the theme. I also agree with you on the idea of themes and concepts in music in general. I’ve generally only seen singular concept albums from groups, and never seen one continuous idea string along the length of an artist’s career. Save for maybe Abducted By Sharks. Most of their music manages to stay so consistently cyberpunk that it always feels like each album is just another piece of the world they’re sharing, just different periods in time or different continents. That said, is there any part of your world you’ve made that you are particularly fond of?
MPFM: Yes, exactly! I like the idea that Tolkien or Lucas, Terry Pratchett with his Discworld, or Stephen King. So many of these artists that have built their own world, and I love that idea. Mine is just a baby with practically no lore to it, but that’s kind of how it was with old NES games. Simple, straight to the point, and you have no choice but to move on and complete the game. My favorite piece of the map is ‘Win When?’, because it’s more of a central piece. Each level has tiny easter eggs that sometimes don’t get revealed until years later, and I love that I can connect things in any way that works, but I also stick to the landscape that I’ve previously built for the world. SO MANY SECRETS.
Kuma: Secrets and connectivity are good, but now I’m scared that you’re secretly working in lore like Kingdom Hearts in which you find out all the characters are actually in a coma. It’d be like that old TV show ‘The Odyssey‘ where all the characters in the show are kids under the age of 16 who are all vividly dreaming the same dream world while in comas and such. Don’t be doing any weird shit like that now. D=<
MPFM: See, that’s the beauty of having map pieces, and also having them take a back seat to the music. The main character is the listener, and there’s no actual story, so people use their imagination about the whats/whys/etc. of the levels. They are somewhat symbolic of me and my life, so it tells a BIT of a story, but never will it get to a Kingdom Hearts level. Dear God, that would be so terrifying.
Kuma: That’s cool, and quite the relief. That said, one thing I did notice as a newer fan to your music is that there doesn’t seem to be much online of your music through official means. When you first mentioned that you had been in the scene for 15 years, I went scouring and I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t related to the albums you have currently on Bandcamp. Is there any particular reason for this? I’d really love to hear some of your older stuff and see how far you’ve come?
MPFM: When I first started making music, I put out a couple of albums between 2000-2004, and recently I’ve come to the conclusion that while they represented me for a particular time in my life, a lot of the stuff I wrote about was ignorant, offensive, or both. I’ve grown a ton as a person, and it’s a tough sell to show what kind of person I am if somebody comes along a song or album of mine from 2003 where I’m a dumb asshole. Most people will understand that I’ve grown, but there are a few that might take it the wrong way, and I wouldn’t want to give off the wrong impression when showing the world who I am. Too much is at stake. With that said, if somebody like REALLY wants some old stuff of mine, I’m more than happy to give it to them if they comprehend the juxtaposition.
Kuma: Sounds to me like Kuma’s getting free shit later. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
MPFM: Of course! lol
Kuma: *Does a little dance* Free swag! Free swag! Kuma gettin dat free swag! XD On the real though, what’s coming up next for you? What should your fans expect to see and hear from you in the coming months? Any plans to drop a new EP before the winter convention season starts so your buddies at MAGFest have something to look forward to?
MPFM: All of the above! I’m pushing back the release date for the next level map piece probably sometime next spring, but I have a lot of ideas and want to make sure it’s super great. Working with a lot of big name artists and musicians, and I’ll be having a Kickstarter campaign to get new recording equipment sometime in Jan/Feb. Until then I’m working on an EP that is transgender themed. There are a lot of things that I want to say, but I didn’t want to get too serious or socio-political with the main LP, so I’ve saved all of these ideas for the trans album, which I’m hoping I can get out by the end of the year at a pay-what-you-want price point, and a portion of the profits will go towards a good cause that helps transgender youth find housing/suicide helpline/etc. <3
Kuma: OMG that’s all so fucking cool! I always love it when people find ways to combine their passions with causes they believe in, and considering just how many genderfluid, transgender and non-binary people there are in chiptune and vgm, it’ll definitely be more awesome representation for them, which will definitely make the scene feel more inclusive. Do you have an approximate date as to when that album will drop? When should we expect to see your Kickstarter!
MPFM: Not just yet, things are set but I still have to iron out a few wrinkles, so it’s hard to say. I’m looking at late December/very early January. OH and I almost forgot a really neat thing about the album! I’ve stuck to using very obscure original chiptune songs as of recent, and less of the wider-known vgm samples, but for this trans album I’ve decided to bring back the classics. One of the songs on the album, for example, is going to be a mega man sample, but it’s about being Roll, and being built with the same internal parts, but missing an upgrade. Another example will be about how hard it is to go out during the day, and I’m using a Castlevania chip track. This one’s going to cover the lgbt/vgm Venn diagram spectrum well. heart emoticon As for the Kickstarter, expect to see that shortly after the release of the trans EP. :3
Kuma: OMG that Roll one sounds amazing and I absolutely can’t wait to hear it! I’m also looking forward to seeing who you’ll be working with, especially if some of those names will be ones that are new to your roster of guest artists! That said, Steffeny, I’m so happy you were able to do this interview with me! Is there anything you’d like to say in closing? Thoughts about the scene? Shoutouts to friends and fans? Advice? You’ve got the floor. Go ahead and let it out.
MPFM: The scenes are flourishing, but I still feel we’ve got a ways to go in terms of inclusion and getting rid of a class system. Most, if not all of the people I’ve met in every sub-genre have been nice, but I think that people need to get cliche perceptions of what a certain genre is out of our heads. That way, when people come into a genre for the first time, there’s less pressure to be a certain way so people will accept you. That said, people are pretty loving and accepting otherwise. <3 Thanks a megaton for having me! colon three emoticon
Kuma: Thank you once again for being here! Keep being awesome! <3
Well, folks, that’s it for this month’s edition of Raw Cuts! If My Parents Favorite Music has caught your attention, follow her on your social network of preference for the latest news on albums, events and the shenanigans she’s up to. If you like my work here on the blog, tune in next month for my latest offering to the scene. Better yet, check back here later this week to see what some of my other awesome colleagues have to share! No matter what you choose to do, though, keep being awesome, keep doing what makes you happy, and remember: Kuma loves you.
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