A fair and wonderful July to one and all of the Chiprealm! This month, I’m excited to be getting a chance to review the three-times wonderful compilation ‘Chip For Change‘. One time for the amazing talents that are present here, both musically and illustratively. A second time for its dedication to bringing positive vibes into the world, and a third time for donating all of its proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union. Hop on past the fold where I’ll be diving deep into a few of my favorite tracks, and as an added bonus, the curation team behind the album was kind enough to answer a few questions for our reading audience.
Hey, everybody! Welcome back to Quick Shots: the album review column in which I break down a handful of new EPs, then give a quick and dirty TL;DR to help you determine if a record is worth your time. This time around, I have two unique albums that are miles apart in terms of style and country of origin. While one is the product of several artists uniting to produce something truly bombastic, the other is a culmination of a single person’s ambition to pay homage to the medium he holds so dearly. So let’s not dilly dally any longer. Sit back, relax, and indulge with me as I dissect work by presented by the world renowned Japanese chiptune & breakbeat label OthermanRecords and Canadian newcomer HOFFMAN_IV.
Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie here, excited to introduce our multi-writer, full track-by-track breakdown of our latest compilation, “CheapBeats = WIN“, a fantastic collaborative release between CheapBeats & ChipWIN!
Yes, it’s another all-in-one review featuring multiple writers from the blog, much likewe did for TWG’s ACC release. In other words, time to review ALL OF THE THINGS. 8-)
My silly little introduction completed, let’s move onward to the first 5 track reviews by the decidedly dashing DjjD!Enjoy!
Hello and welcome to “The Adventures of Danny Danny Pryor”, my brand new event review column! For about two weeks I have gone on a nonstop chiptune campaign, working with a lot of wonderful people along the way. Here is a quick summary of one of my adventures, the great people I came into contact with, and a few video game references along the way.
POP CULTURE EXPO (TACTICS)
On Memorial Day weekend, I found myself in Wilmington, MA for the Pop Culture Expo: an event focusing on celebrities, comics, and everything nerd. I arrived there with my fellow co-host Bory to setup what would be known as the geekbeatradio stage. With the help of our trusted sound wizard, we showcased some of the finest music this side of the Finath River.
Glenntai held a tutorial on Famitracker, showing people young and old exactly how to make da chip while at the same time melting faces with his music.
Robotsexmusic‘s class was a bit more impromptu, as people tend to just rush the stage when he starts to play.
Two people that I was EXTREMELY happy to see play were Janx and AutoReMi-PK since I don’t see much of them unless it is MAGfest season, and they did not disappoint! Janx played a few chip-hop tracks, while AutoReMi-PK played a version of Chai Kingdom that had me jumping up and down with joy! We were also graced by the sweet tunes of Astro Logic, Best Defense, and Bifflecup! Astro Logic played a lot of his classic tunes but a version of “Forgot about Dre” got people fired up like “dey was in da club”. Best Defense had the biggest setup, running a laptop, MPC, and of course, a game boy! He graced us with some tailor-made beats that he slowly evolved by the end of his set. Bifflecup played a full set of his sonata chiptunes and even played a few new tracks he has been working on. His classical music style plus his Milkytracker skills make for a phenomenal combination.
On Saturday night, I was fortunate to have all these amazing people support me as I opened up the after party which was headlined by Kristen Nairn, also known as Hodor from the HBO series “Game of Thrones”. Special thanks to Glenntai for being the perfect hype man to announce me to the stage and to Best Defense for providing me with this SWEET YOUTUBE VIDEO of my performance.
I am extremely thankful for everyone coming and everyone who stayed and helped take everything apart afterwords. Quite possibly one of the best weekends I have had in a LONG WHILE. Special thank you to Maddie and Pixel Pixie Apparel & Promotions for not only making the AMAZING geekbeatradio banner for us, but for supporting us no matter how crazy Bory and I may be.
BONUS PICTURE WHERE I TURNED INTO A SAILOR MOON CHARACTER AND REMY STARTED TO MALFUNCTION
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
Sup ChipWINners! Welcome back to Raw Cuts! This time around, I got the chance to sit down and talk with a remarkable young man from Belgium who’s been making the Eurochip scene grind all nice and slow to some of the sickest chip hop beats you’ve ever heard! Having found success in his craft to the point where he’s been featured twice in local newscasts, this artist continues to push the envelope with each album, and I was lucky enough to catch up with him to talk about his new album, most recent performance, and what got him into the scene in the first place! So hold onto japanties and put on your thinking caps as I take the time to delve into the mind of Stephan Tul aka Vegas Diamond!
Kuma: So Stephan, first off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to sit down with me and conduct this interview. I know you’re a busy guy, but it makes me happy knowing I was able to get you for this.
Vegas Diamond (Vegas): My pleasure, I’m glad to be interviewed by you!
Kuma: I’m glad to hear it. So, let’s start with something basic. What got you into into chiptune in the first place? How did you get wrapped up in this world of making music with Game Boys?
Vegas: Well, I’ve always had a fascination with ‘game music’, so to speak. I used to play a lot of Mega Man and Chrono Trigger on SNES emulators, well into my teens actually. I’d always wanted to try stuff like that myself so in 2007 or 2008 I tried my hand at MilkyTracker. I tried to make some hiphop/dubstep stuff on there but that kind of failed.
I then switched to Renoise which is really nice but that also didn’t really work out. It was then I decided making music on a computer wasn’t really it for me. There’s too many options, plug-ins, samples, whatever. So I started making music on a Game Boy and it’s been a nice ride so far!
I guess this also explains what I love most about music on Game Boys/consoles: the minimalism. You have very few tools to work with and that makes you focus on composition and sound design.
Kuma: Wow! I had no idea you had been making music for that long! I only know you through what you’ve been making on your Game Boys, so it’s a bit of a shock to hear you’ve been making music for that long! I do agree with you on what you said, though: options lead to indecisiveness, and when you’re trying to find your sound, your niche, options can be a detrimental factor to self discovery.
Have you always gone by Vegas Diamond, or did you make your work under another name? And what’s the story behind your name, anyway?
Vegas: The Vegas Diamond name has so far been used exclusively for my Game Boy output. The story behind the name is actually pretty bland. I had a track finished and I wanted to upload it to Soundcloud and Facebook, but I needed a name to go with it. At the time I listened to a lot of Rustie and Hudson Mohawke, two musicians I really love, and they have a kind of nonsensical, gangster style going on. I chose the name Vegas Diamond because it is over the top and points towards the music I love most: hip hop and beat influenced music. It also allows me to get away with using a lot of gold and glitter in artwork so that is nice. Although I must say I do take my music pretty seriously so maybe taking such an over-the-top name was a bad idea. I still like it though!
Kuma: I do too, and I’m glad you brought up Hudson Mohawke because I wanted to address something you said before. About how you said you had tried making dubstep on trackers before getting into making the music you do now with Game Boys. You? Dubstep? Really? I’m sorry, but I have trouble believing Belgium’s premiere chip hop beat maker tried making dubstep at one point! Tell me, what made you transition to the music you do now and why?
Stephan: When I say dubstep I think I should clarify that this was before Skrillex and the genre that would become known as “brostep”. The ‘earlier’ dubstep (I don’t know a good name for it) had a pretty chilled out vibe to it, lots of reggae influences and more ‘space’ in between sounds. For me, hearing dubstep was the first time I realized you could make ‘slow’ electronic music that wasn’t your typical 4-to-the-floor fare. I think it progressed fairly naturally beyond that.
When dubstep started getting really loud and ‘drop-focused’, I stopped listening and started listening to hip hop influenced music more and more, Hudson Mohawke specifically. I think the same thing happened with me and ‘trap’ music. I like trap music or trap-influenced beats in general. I do not like the gigantic-sounding drop-focused approach to it. Although I do have to admit I am guilty of putting ‘drops’ in my own songs.
Kuma: Oh shit! So when you say dubstep, you’re one of those rare people that means real dubstep, and not squirellex! Mad respect, my friend!
As far as drops go, there’s certainly nothing wrong with using the technique so long as it’s not the main point of your music. That being said, since you’ve already mentioned Hudson Mohawke a couple times already, who are some of your biggest influences aside from him? Which artists make you want to push your art even further?
Vegas: In the chipscene, I’d say Boaconstructor and NNNNNNNNNN are a definite ‘goal’ for me in terms of production value and sound design. On the other end of the spectrum you have Guardia, who makes the most chilled out hip-hop influenced songs ever. The sheer sparseness of his music is something I go for but never manage to achieve. I always go for one more layer or sound or part. Oh! I should put in a good mention for ABSRDST, too! I love his albums and the atmosphere. I’m not sure if you can consider him someone in the ‘scene’ anymore but I love his albums.
Looking at other music, I really don’t know. I like listening to piano music, jazz, almost all forms of music. I think if I’d have to pick something I’d pick stuff that is influential to me right now. That means it probably won’t be influential to me next week, I’ll probably have moved on to another album. I always run into this problem when having to put together lists, I love (and have loved) so many different things I can’t really put together an album top 10 or things that influence me most.
Kuma: Yeah all those artists are legit, and ABSRDST deserves mad love. Scene or not, he’s one of the more driven talents I’ve encountered and I admire his enthusiasm and determination for what he makes and what he does. And I also agree with you on shifting influences, but I feel that’s only natural for people to constantly move from one outlet to another, both in terms of both intake and output.
That being said, let’s talk about about how your style has evolved over the years. While there’s certainly no escaping some of the unique tones produced by chip tune, I’ve noticed your music, not only stylistically, but tonally, has become less chip. It sounds smoother, and admittedly, more accessible. Was this what you were talking about before when you said you wanted to achieve a production level akin to Boaconstructor? A sense of accessibility to your music despite the method in which you produce it?
Vegas: When I talk about Boa specifically I’m not referring to his music being accessible. I do think his music is very accessible up to the point where you could mix it in with normal EDM and it wouldn’t sound out of place. I’m actually specifically referring to his impressive sound design, to how much ‘power’ and different sounds he can squeeze out of that little chip. Sometimes you hear things on other tracks that make you wonder how they were achieved, I’m all like: “how did he do this?” “is this 1 lsdj?” etc.etc.
Kuma: Ah okay. Yeah there are definitely guys out there that make me wonder how they do what they do what they do with their equipment. Guys like Auxcide blow me away with their stuff all the time, and when I find out tracks like “Realms” are only 2 lsdj, I just feel like quitting. XD
Regardless, you seem to have enjoyed a fair level of exposure doing what you do, and I know because this isn’t your first interview. Tell me, how did Deredactie find out about you for their news segment on you?
Vegas: This was actually a chain of events that started because I was playing Bitgrid in Antwerp. A journalist from the local paper called the organizer and wanted to talk to an artist. Because I was the first one they could reach I was interviewed and got an article in the paper. A few days later I got an E-mail from Belgian National TV saying they would like to do a feature on me. I guess this was a ‘chain of events’ kind of thing which started out fairly small but turned out to be pretty big (and very fun!).
Kuma: Awesome! I love hearing stories about things that just come together like that! And to think it started out as something simple like you just playing a show. Speaking of shows, you recently played a show last week Petra’s Place alongside guys like I Am Legendary Robot and Sporozoite + Grand Aigle! How did that show go? Did you treat the guys there to your newest album?
Vegas: Yes I did! I just made a new set so I played every song on the new album. It went over pretty well, I even got to do an encore! It was great to see part of the Belgian scene again. I’d never seen I Am Legendary Robot or Sporozoïte before and it was cool to see their approaches to chipmusic (which is chipmetal and laptop chiptune/breakcore respectively). Roccow was supposed to come as well but he had to cancel which is very unfortunate because AFAIK he turns floors into fire.
Kuma: Yeah of what little I’ve heard of RoccoW’s music, I could only imagine the guy is a beast live! And I’m happy to hear that you got such a warm response to your music! That’s very cool!
Are you happy with the way the new album–‘Hyper’– has turned out? Are you surprised by people’s responses to it in anyway?
Vegas: Yes! I am very happy with the response to the album. I really didn’t know what to expect since this is my first release made with LSDj and also because the chip hop style may put some people off. I got a lot of nice responses from a lot of people, which I didn’t really expect. The most surprising response was the review by Remy on the Chiptunes=WIN blog! It was so positive it made my heart bleed (but in a good way!). I’d never expect someone to call my EP “one of 2013’s top chiptune albums”!
Kuma: Remy’s a very honest guy and I’m proud to call him a friend and colleague, so when he says something, he genuinely means it. I have to say, we’re usually in agreement on a lot of things musically, your album being one of them! ‘Hyper’ is one of the nicest surprises of the year, and anyone who doesn’t enjoy your music because it’s chip hop can go jump in a well, ’cause your music is legit.
Is there anything working in LSDj taught you about yourself and your method for making music after years of doing so with nanoloop? Has your preference changed now that you’ve put out this album?
Vegas: I prefer LSDj over nanoloop and I think I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I had to really get used to working with it (especially the tracker interface) but now it works better than nanoloop for me. Working with lsdj/nanoloop has taught me that melodies aren’t my strong point. I think if you listen to ‘Hyper’ you will see that the album actually contains very little melody, most of it is bassline and harmonies, which I am fine with and I think suits my music. Also, I love samples (808 snare YESS) and nanoloop doesn’t have those.
Kuma: Nice. I’m glad to hear you’ve found something that works for you, and having been someone whose used piggy tracker for a while, I can definitely say having samples at your disposal in a tracker is very fun!
Well Stephan, it seems we’re nearing the end of our time together. I’ve asked you everything I’ve wanted to ask and you’ve provided some very insightful answers. Is there anything you’d like to say in closing before we wrap things up? Any final words you’d like to leave our readers with?
Vegas: I’d like to thank you for having me, it was fun! I’d also like to thank everyone who is reading this and everyone who has ever listened to my music!
ALSO! I’m still looking for other chip hop artists. I’d be very interested in hearing other artists’ approach to the style.
Kuma: Anytime, Stephan! I definitely look forward to talking to you again and hearing more music from you! Peace!
That’s it for this edition of RCwK! Tune in next time as I bring you a very special edition of Raw Cuts pertaining to an awesome upcoming event you guys should be hella excited about! Don’t forget to follow Vegas Diamond on Facebook and check his newest album ‘Hyper’, which was distributed by our friend Andrew Kilpatrick and the rest of the team over at The Waveform Generators! Peace!