To combine chiptunes with live instruments is to tempt the fates themselves. Is it alchemy? Is it alien technology? Nope. It’s magic, and the ‘Magic Is Real’.
Tempt fate right now by hitting play below and fall in love with Melt Channel’s opener track ‘Wizards In America’.
I have never in my time with Chiptunes = WIN experienced such a successful amalgamation of chiptune and live instrumentation. ‘Magic Is Real’ embraces a chiptune melody, supported by a stellar electric guitar and rockin’ drum kit, blending into a powerhouse indiepop sound that deserves your attention.
‘Magic Is Real’ is complex, yet straight-forward in its delivery of anthem after uplifting anthem. Melt Channel’s 12-track album is so concise, so thematically connected from start to finish that you will not notice when a new track begins. The entire album flows. ‘Magic Is Real’ is a musical experience that welcomes you in, invites you to stay, and plays on when you refuse to leave.
‘Magic Is Real’ feels complete, polished, refined, directed, and purposeful. No one instrument overpowers, and each are given the chance to shine, notably fantastic guitar solos (check out ‘Pool Party’) and organic drum moments (i.e. ‘Wizards In America‘ and the amazing ‘Red Light District‘) prove the sum of its parts are more than capable of standing out amongst the whole, but together, they create astonishing, refreshing music.
Thomas from Melt Channel was able to take some time to answer a few questions about the band, the album, and finding their sound! That interview continues below:
Q: What was your creative process like during the creation of ‘Magic Is Real’? How do you as a group tackle a new song?
Thomas: I write all the songs, and they sort of come up spontaneously, with one riff or one groove setting the tone for the whole thing. When I take the songs to Ryan and Kyle, they come up with their own parts and we just sort of hammer out the final version from there!
Q: How do you build the chiptune component of your music? Do you have a favorite piece of software/equipment?
Thomas: We use a couple of different platforms for our music! A lot of our stuff is NSFs run through NES, some of them are LSDJ, and then a lot of the newer ones are Milky Tracker. I really like LSDJ a lot because of the WAV channel, but the sample versatility on Milky Tracker is really really fun.
Q: What is the origin story for Melt Channel? How did you meet? How did you find your sound together?
Thomas: Me and Ryan had been in bands together for years and years, and had been playing music with Kyle for a few months. I had several chip songs that I wanted to put together into a full album, so we recorded a bunch of them, threw them into Neon Sunsets, and became a real band!
Q: Tell me about your first live performance together, and the growth between that performance and the release of ‘Magic Is Real’.
Thomas: The first show we actually played as Melt Channel was totally different than what it is now. Some of the earlier performances had just me playing guitar, or just Kyle on drums and myself. We’ve started to play bigger shows and adding more visual elements into our shows, and we’re planning on adding a lot more, but certainly our shows are more complete than they were at the beginning.
Q: Who are your influences? Who do you love to watch perform? Who do you aspire towards?
Thomas: Well I guess the obvious influence that everyone can pick up on is Anamanaguchi! And certainly a lot of friends we have in the chiptune community influence our music. But most of the bands I would consider big influences actually come from outside of the chip scene. My favorite two bands are Fang Island and And So I Watch You From Afar, and I definitely want to try to emulate their style through a different lens. In terms of live performance, I love bands that just have fun on stage, but more than anything it’d be awesome to have even a tiny bit of the party spirit of Andrew W.K.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians looking to create music in the chiptune space, or elsewhere?
Thomas: The chip music scene is definitely a really unique one, but our experience and mine specifically has been really cool because I’ve become friends with a lot of people who I considered big inspirations before writing music. As long as you’re making something you want to be making, don’t be discouraged being far from the scene, or feeling like no one knows you. If you’re having fun with it, chances are other people are having fun with it too!
Q: What technical or creative challenges did you face while creating ‘Magic Is Real’? Was there a creative hurdle in particular that you feel proud to have overcome?
Thomas: The mixing was definitely the biggest obstacle this time. I really wanted to make sure it sounded professional, but we had no professional recording equipment or software, so I spent a lot of time focusing on the mix to obscure the fact that I recorded my guitar with a 50 dollar amp in my bedroom, haha. But I think it ended up sounding better than the sum of its parts, and the mastering job Rob Duffy did to it made it sound infinitely better than I could have ever done on my own.
Q: What do you most hope people will take away from your music?
Thomas: Every song on the album has a really specific and personal meaning to me, but I want other people to take their own meaning from the feelings they get listening to it! Really at the end of the day I hope that our music is something people can have a lot of fun listening to, and something that will bring you up when you’re down!
Q: Do you have any upcoming shows/appearances you’re looking forward to?
Thomas: Well we just played a couple of festivals, and classes are starting up for all of us, so we’re probably not doing anything big soon, but there might be a few big shows coming up towards the end of the year!
Q: Open forum. Anything you’d like to say/share with your fans?
Thomas: Thanks for listening, and we urge everyone to live by the Melt Channel motto: “Infiltrate the party, enter the circle, integrate the party, activate the circle.”
Pixel Recall (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love ~