Posts Tagged ‘’

Raw Cuts With Kuma #11: Electric Children

Posted by

Welcome back, ChipWINners!  This time around on Raw Cuts we have someone that I’m very proud to have had the chance to interview!  A highly popular contributor to Chiptunes = WIN who’s made a name for himself on the west coast, this artist boasts infectious dance rhythms and club beats that blur the line between chiptune and electro with spectacular results!  Without further ado, here’s my interview with Jack Waterman aka Electric Children
electric children woops

Kuma:  Cool, so lets get things started shall we?  First things first, I haven’t asked this question in a while of any of the artists I’ve interviewed, but I’m actually quite curious about your artist name.  What made you decide to use it?

Electric Children (EC):  Aha!  I like getting this question!  You’d be surprised how seldom it comes up.  The name comes from the album March on, Electric Children! by The Blood Brothers, a now broken-up grindcore band from Seattle.  Its a themed album so there’s all this stuff about what Electric Children are and stuff and I was like 16 and I thought, “Yeah I wanna name a music thing that someday.”  So I did.

Kuma:  Really?  Nobody really takes the time to ask you about that?  I figured it’d come up more, but considering how kick ass your music is, I guess it goes right to the back burner. That being said, lets talk about your music.  I wanna hear how you got involved in all this chiptune business.

EC:  Well, I had started to make really basic electronic music with a drum machine and a keyboard for awhile, then a friend introduced me to a couple of local artists who played chiptune music.  Our sounds worked well enough together, so we started performing together on a pretty regular basis.  I was exposed to it so often that it became pretty irresistible and I added to my music.  Over time, it ended up taking precedence over everything else for a variety reasons, and before I knew it, I was full-on Chiptune artist by the end of 2008.

Kuma:  Nice!  I’m relatively new to the scene in comparison to you, having only been in it for a little over a year now, but I know the west coast has some strong artists out there to keep the scene going.  Back when you first started, which chip artists were you exposed to that helped you get into the scene and define your sound?  I’m also curious to know which ones help to define and inspire it now that you’ve been doing this sort of thing for what sounds like at least 5 years.

EC:  Well the two artists who I was performing with frequently at the time were Kids Get Hit By Buses (founders of the internet-infamous CrunchyCo netlabel) and Fighter X (who just recently became active again).  Aside from them, the early chip artists I was exposed to were Sabrepulse from the UK and USK from Japan.  From there I learned about like 5,738,216 more chip artists from 8bitcollective, and the story goes on.

Oddly enough what has always influenced me over the years of producing is non-Chip music.  It’s really fun for me to try and make chiptune versions of the sounds I hear in popular club music, and be less oriented towards video game sounds.  I like a lot of music by Madeon.  I’m a huge fan of She.  My dubstep is heavily influenced by Flux Pavilion, and I’d probably say Sabrepulse continues to be one of my biggest Chiptune influences.  I draw little pieces of things from all sorts of people around me, but those are the big ones, I think.

flux pavillion

Kuma:  Very nice.  She and Flux Pavilion are definitely understandable influences, as is Sabrepulse.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still listen to First Crush on a daily basis.  That being said, as time has progressed, while I know you mentioned that the chip sound has slowly become more and more the focus of your work, how much of what you do is chip vs what you may do to enhance and compliment the sounds in FL studio?  I know everyone has their preferences, and it’d be cool to know what yours is when it comes to producing music.

recording studio

EC:  The new album’s main material is made using only 2 gameboys running LSDJ, but quite a few songs have small instrumental compliments (such as a short synth or a guitar riff), and many of them have vocals over them as well.  While the instrumental tracks aren’t necessarily enhanced with effects, there are small parts that fill out a few spots in the frequency ranges that I couldn’t always hit with LSDJ the way I wanted.  Though to be honest, I am planning on having FL Studio be the core of my next set of work, with songs composed mainly of sounds recorded from LSDJ, but sequenced, mixed, mastered in, and complimented more by FL Studio.

Kuma:  That’s understandable.  For as amazing as some of these micro programs like LSDJ and LGPT are, there are def times when it takes that little something extra to give a song that final polish it needs.

That being said, since you brought up the topic of your new album, let me just say something about it first: your solo work as Electric Children has been amazing.  I loved it since I first heard you and boaconstructor throw down via Frost Byte’s album release party on LIvestream.  I thought you just killed it.  But this new album, man.  Dude, this is your Discovery, your Fat of the Land, man!  How proud of you of Year Long Hangover, man?

EC:  Extremely!  Haha!  YLH has (ironically enough) been in production for over a year now, and undergone so many changes in sound design, composition, concepts, lyrics, and just about anything else you can think of.  It had so much work put into it because I wanted to release something that shows what LSDJ is truly capable of: music that stays faithful to the genre while still being very listenable to a non-Chiptune fan.

Kuma:  I definitely have to say you reached your goal, because the first thing I thought when I was listening to it was: “God, I can use this to explain to all the people at my job what chiptune is without sounding crazy!”

alex jones

EC:  Yeah Chiptune is definitely a genre that needs to be shown instead of told about.


Kuma:  It really is, and while I’ve had some success via sharing Br1ght Pr1mate and Bit Shifter, most people still look at me like “I’ll believe it when I see it”.

That being said, lets talk about some of the major differences between YLH and your other work, particularly the vocals.  What made you come out of your shell this time around to lay down those lyrics?  What about the lovely young lady who contributed to the album, as well?  Was it daunting recording and incorporating vocals of yourself and close friends?

EC:  It had its challenges, sure.  When I first started writing music it actually all had lyrics, and evolved into instrumentals over time, so this was something I’ve always wanted to come back to.  Writing lyrics is never easy though; you have to keep in mind that your voice is an instrument in itself, so the words can’t be too busy or lack rhythm.  But it gives the songs a whole new dimension that is easy for people to grab onto and remember for a long time.  Plus singing is very fun.

The two(!) other female vocalists on the album were very easy to work with and did a fantastic job, as well.  While putting the vocals together was difficult at times because it involved a lot of back and forth sending song files around, in the end it was a fun experience that turned out to be totally worthwhile.

Kuma:  I’m certainly glad it was worthwhile for you, because it’s been worthwhile for me as well as all your fans!  People have been eating this album up like crazy and after a wildly successful album release party to promote it, I’m curious what comes next for you?  Aside from the aforementioned future project involving more FL work, of course.  Any shows or concerts we can expect to see you at over the course of the year?

EC:  In the short term, I’m performing with A_Rival in Seattle on the 27th(!), so any locals should come and hear some crazy good chip jams.  In the long term, I’ve been talked to about a couple big things, but nothing I have confirmed yet.  I’m also working very closely with A_Rival now that he’s moved to Washington, and he’s got some cool stuff in the works as well!

Kuma:  A_Rival is legit on all levels, and having partied with him at MAGFest, I can say its always a pleasure to be around him! I’m definitely looking forward to whatever comes of that.  With that said, Jack, it’s been a pleasure conversing with you.  You’re talented, kind and thoughtful and I’m honored to have had the chance to interview you.  Is there anything you’d like to say in closing to your fans and anyone who might be reading this?

EC:  Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts and ramblings on chiptune music! Please check out the new album, Year-Long Hangover, and tell me what you think!  Thank you Adam and ChipWIN for letting me do this too, it’s been awwwwwwwesooooommmeee!!!

Kuma:  Thanks again, EC.  I definitely hope we get to do this again.  Good night.

EC:  Good night!

Thank you once again for checking out Raw Cuts!  Be sure to click the links bellow so you can Like, Follow and Subscribe to Electric Children on your favorite of social media outlet(s)!  Also, don’t forget to check out his music on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, as well as checking out his upcoming show on the 27th with A_Rival, Dire Hit and WMD if you’re out in the Seattle Metropolitan area!

Tune in next as I sit down with Roboctopus as we discuss his musical versatility, BRKFest, and a deep dark secret he’s been keeping from us all!  (I’ll give you a hint: it’s one Hoodie is keeping, too!)  Peace!


electric children wootRelevant Links:

Electric Children
Facebook | Bandcamp |Soundcloud

Chiptune Party at El Corazon Lounge

Raw Cuts With Kuma #9: SSD Engage

Posted by

Welcome back, ChipWINners!  It’s time for another interview facilitated by yours truly!  I’m especially excited to be sharing this one with you guys because, not only is it with a very cool group of dudes (i.e: interview with three artists at once! BOOYAH), it involves people from a very small, lesser known pocket of the chiptune scene based out in Cincinnati, Ohio!  And one totes worthy of the extra hype! (Hype? At ChipWIN? Who would’ve thunk it?!?).  So without further ado, here’s my interview with Narayan, Jon, and Michael, the bombastic trio known as SSD Engage!

sweet ms paint skills...

Kuma:  Let’s get started, shall we?  How’d you guys first meet?  What brought you three together?

Narayan (SPRY):  WELL [that’s a] long story that starts in, of all places, high school.
Jon and i were in a band in high school called Bluepoint.  He was the drummer and I was the singer/rhythm guitar player.  We had a good time

Jon (Disabletron):  And Na had the foresight to bring Michael and I together to jam!

SPRY:  Michael went to the same high school as me, and Jon [lived] in the neighboring town.

Michael (sp00ked):  I met Narayan through mutual friends.  We went to the same high school, but a few years apart.

Disabletron:  And we had a classic 120 bpm jam session in the studio.  The rest is history.

sp00ked:  Pretty much.

SPRY:  About a year ago is when we first got together as SSD Engage.

sp00ked:  Its been a year?  Oh yeah!

Disabletron:  Really?

SPRY:  Yup.  BRKFest was our debut performance.

Kuma:  Yeah that sounds about right.  Your first release as SSD came out in july last year.

SPRY:  It was kind of a surprise.

Kuma:  How so?

sp00ked:  Yeah it wasn’t started with the whole idea being a group at first.

SPRY:  sp00ked and SPRY had both been booked and I asked Curtis (Solarbear) to put us back to back so we could do a bit of colab and throw our drummer in there.

Disabletron:  Hahaha!

SPRY:  [To] Really shake the place.

sp00ked:  Just another drum fill.

Disabletron:  Exactly.

SPRY:  And then we decided to keep jamming afterward,  and stuck together this long somehow.

Disabletron:  Five albums later.

sp00ked:  Haha!

Kuma:  Well you guys have been friends for what seem like years, now, so I can’t imagine you guys not being together this long as a group.

SPRY:  We released our first album, Peakout, right around BRKfest.  I think we got a few more albums in us, maybe.

sp00ked:  Maybe…

Disabletron:  We’ll see.

Kuma:  I’m sure you do.  You guys seem to be pretty steady in your efforts, dropping an album every season so far.

SPRY:  We said we’d set SSD aside for a while after our last album and then somehow we ended up with a new one a couple months later.

Kuma:  Would you say the pull to be together was…titillating?

sp00ked:  Yeah, its kinda the pace you go.  We are all always making music so it makes sense to keep on making more titillating ideas.

Disabletron:  We always need more tracks.

sp00ked: (shares this photo on Facebook)

This mother fucker trying to terk mer jerb...
Kuma:  Hey!  Stop doing my job!  That’s what I do after the interview: put in memes and shit XD

a cute cat

sp00ked:  Haha forgive me.  Picard was calling me.

Kuma:  I totally will.  Now where were we?

SPRY:  I’ll be making music one way or another, and I know these guys want to keep making music.  We feed off each others drives and learn new things in the process.  We each have our areas of expertise, in a way.

sp00ked:  Yeah we do a lot experiments on own and bring it back to each other.  Makes our sound evolve.

SPRY:  Jon’s got dat beat.  Still our drummer, more solid than ever!

sp00ked:  Indeed.

Kuma:  I can tell, and I’m glad you brought that up, as I took the time to go through your catalogs of music individually and as a trio prior to this interview, and I have to say, you all have some rather unique styles going on and some really cool stuff going for each of you.
Would you guys care to talk about your individual approaches to your music?

SPRY:  Michael, wanna take that one first?

sp00ked:  Sure.  For myself, I approach writing and performing music with my emotions. Its something I learned when was young.  I notice when I put my feeling into a piece it will always get my point across.  I try to make the listener not necessarily feel my feelings but their own.  I try to make my music an experience rather than a tune to hum along with.  I was a listener.  I’m generally a reserved person.  Music is where i let my feelings out.

Kuma:  Nice.  I can totally respect that. It definitely shows in your music, especially your solo work, even going back to early work like gangbang‘s “Miss me, don’t dismiss me”. Although I gotta say, even with what you said in mind, you retain your danciness in your music, and that’s cool.

sp00ked:  Haha!  Yeah, thanks!  I always try to make it a funky time.

Kuma:  What about you, Jon?  How do you approach your music?

Disabletron:  I’ve always had this thing for hip hop beats since I was a student of acoustic drums.  It took a few years for me to figure out how to emulate those beats.  By switching over to the drum machine, I finally figured out the west coast style approach was for me
and learning how to write these beats around my supporting cast has been the true challenge.


Disabletron:  You know it, Michael. ♥

sp00ked: ♥♥

SPRY:  I let these guys do most of the feeling around here.  LOL.

sp00ked:  Oh, c’mon!  You got feels, too!

SPRY:  ♥

Disabletron:  Feeling is fun!

SPRY:   As for me, I work a lot with math and rhythm in my composition to reflect the often chaotic but structured nature of my thoughts/feelings.  I’ll go on binges of writing 3-4 songs in a few days and then a few weeks on other projects, mixing, mastering, artwork, networking etc.  I find strange harmony in chaotic things so my music sometimes feels overwhelming, but that’s part of the expression for me.  I am sometimes overwhelmed by music so I like to be able to pass that on to whoever can handle it.  I tend to do everything myself when I do a project and see it through from conception to publication.  I have been involved in music in many ways and I enjoy being able to piece all the parts together myself and get better at each of the steps of the process independently and together.  Sometimes I write music just to see if its possible, not really because it sounds good, but that’s why I have these two around: to keep it palatable.

Kuma:  That hip hop influence definitely shows in your music, Jon.  Even at the start of your EP, Roadblock opens up with this subdued bass line and steady high hat reminiscent of early west coast hip hop.  It’s pretty cool that you got to carry that over into your work, especially after years of trying to emulate it and figure out how to make it your own.

As per you, Narayan, I’m glad you addressed that chaos that’s in your music, as you seem to be, from what I’ve heard of all three of you, the most experimental with your sounds.
You’ve taken some big risks and by doing things with Invisible H and have made interesting concept albums like Natural Tendencies, but I feel you found your voice with Heptagrammatron.

Disabletron:  Narayan is a true technician.  That’s why we enjoy his company.

sp00ked:  The Technician.

SPRY:  Its funny you say that because Heptagrammaton was the first real chip album I did on my own.  I have yet to really make my sequel to it because it was so massive.  That album was basically the first year of me making chip music and since then I’ve only done a few EPs.  I am sitting on about 50 unreleased solo songs, though.  I just keep forgetting to produce them!

I’ve [also] got a trash album in the works with datathrash that should be about experimental as I go, as well as a few dozen other stragglers.  I’ll get to them eventually, but I just keep writing new stuff instead.

sp00ked:  Yeah, Narayan does go off in periods of mass songwriting.

Kuma:  Damn, 50 solo songs and a datathrash project?  That’s quite a bit!  Do you guys have anything similar up your sleeves?  Jon?  Michael?

We may have gotten 146 submissions for volume 2, but there was only one winner this time around...

sp00ked:  I have about 15-16 songs for a LP I should be releasing it next month.  Its going to feature nanoloop songs 1xlsdj and 2xlsdj songs.  I’m calling it called frankincense.  It has songs these guys havent even heard yet.  Muwahaha!

Disabletron:  I’ve got a few fresh tracks for my upcoming solo Disabletron album, but 50?!  No way!  I’ve been focusing on getting my gear situation str8.

Kuma:  Nice!  How soon can we expect to hear a new Disabletron?  I’m a sucker for things made with MIDI controllers and synths.

sp00ked:  MIDI MIDI MIDI MIDI freedom!

Disabletron:  MIDI production center!

sp00ked:  MIDI bathing center!

regular show ohhhhh

Disabletron:  Sometime this summer as far as my album goes.

sp00ked:  Yeah, Im going to work on some tracks for that dawg.

Kuma:  MIDI bathing center?  Is that like Guitar Center for that lonely guy who clearly has no friends in that Guitar Center commercial?  The one who spends his lunch breaks playing at the store every day?

SPRY:  We’ll be donating a couple melody and bass lines for that one.  Its a digital bathtub that you can play naked and make colors and music.

sp00ked:  Dude, I know guys like that.  They jam at the guitar center.  [It’s] annoying.

Kuma:  Jam at the guitar center every day?

SPRY:  Actually, it was Sam Ash yea?

sp00ked:  Yeaaah.

Disabletron:  I jam at rogue!

Kuma:  I dunno what rogue is but it sounds respectable!  Sam Ash, though…well…at least its not like those guys that used to jam on the keyboards at The Wiz.

sp00ked:  I just want a Game Boy center.

Kuma:  That’s called a garage sale!

sp00ked:  Pretty much.

SPRY:  We’ve actually bought most of the thrift stores and hobby shops out of Game Boys.  They are becoming more scarce around Cincy.

Kuma:  Sounds like you need to haggle some from Nikola.  He sells grayboys for 10 bucks a pop.

SPRY:  Naaa ive got a stock pile.  I’m good for a minute haha!  That’s solid, though

Disabletron:  Haha!

sp00ked:  I need more!  I have every color besides blue.

Kuma:  I only have clear and black, but I make my music using piggy tracker on my PSP primarily, so its not like I use my game boys often.

sp00ked:  Piggy is awesome.  I’ve been wanting to get into that more.

SPRY:  I’ve been stocking Game Boys for a while, but I still use the first Game Boy I modded and I haven’t opened it in 2 and a half years.

sp00ked:  That’s true.  That SPRYboy is solid.  It’s funny: when we started this group, I’d been making lsdj music for only 4 months at that point.

Kuma:  I’d love to see it (SPRYboy) sometime.  That being said, lets get back on track, guys.  You’ve all mentioned future solo projects coming out, but whats next for you as a group?  When is the new album coming out?  And what plans do you have to promote it? Concerts?  Radio shows?  Anything of that nature?

sp00ked:  oooooo0ooo0 new stuffff!

SPRY:  We’ve got a lot planned and its pretty much all ready to release!  We’re releasing a double album, “Stereo” with 9 new tracks and 6-7 old tracks remade on july 4th.  We’ve got a listening party on the 3rd right before it!

Kuma:  Nice!  Who are you doing the radio show through?  8bitx?  Arecibo?  Alpha Omega?  And what about concerts?  Can fans expect to see you guys again at BRK this summer?  Or at Piko shows out in Detroit?

SPRY:  We’ve been trying to refine our sound and production techniques with this last round and really come into a new version of ourselves.  We’ve learned so much along the way that it seems almost a shame to let it go underutilized.  The listening party is gonna be on 8bitx with Andrew Struve hosting!  We are playing BRK, we just got off the Chip Charged show in detroit and we’re looking to play ____ (~he tells me a secret that I won’t share with you here~) which i didnt tell you about.  Then beyond there, we’re looking to book outside of Cincy, but havent made any solid plans yet

sp00ked:  New Yorkkkk!

SPRY:  We usually just get distracted by making music in the studio and forget to play shows, but we’re workin’ on getting out there, for sure!

Kuma:  Did you just say New York?

Disabletron:  We need more shows!

sp00ked:  I’m trying to plan a show for us there.

Kuma:  Kuma will be able to see you!?!?!

SPRY:  i hope so!

sp00ked: =3

Kuma:  Have you tried talking to Ricardo or emfedex?  ‘Cause even if you can’t get a show in NYC, you can probs get one in Philly.

sp00ked:  I’ve been talking to Ricardo.  We might play sometime in fall, I think.

SPRY:  And we played 8static in January thanks to emfed!

Kuma:  That’s right you did!  You played 8static and I didn’t get to go cause I worked that weekend! tearsofthesun.mpg!!!

Disabletron:  It was a great show!

sp00ked:  It was a hell of time!  Philly knows how to party!

Kuma:  Don’t rub it in my face, damn it!

SPRY:  It was a hell of a time.  Killer sound after we blew it out on the sound check!  Hahahahaha!

Kuma:  But yes: Philly does know how to party.

SPRY:  I blame Jon’s bass drums.

Disabletron:  It set the benchmark for our new style.

sp00ked:  Yeah, it did.  We made Midwest Coast like right after that.

Disabletron:  Hahaha wait for the MPC-2000 next 8static!  We are gonna bring it!

sp00ked:  Oh yeah!  Four MPCs on the the floor!

Kuma:  Well if Philly and blown out speakers helped set the bar, I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got next.  That being said, gentlemen, I’d love to thank you for your time and flexibility!  Do you guys have anything you’d like to say in closing to your fans and anyone who happens to read this?  Let’s start with you, Jon.

Disabletron:  I just want to thank you first, Kuma, for giving us this opportunity!  I’m looking forward to catching our true fans at BRKFEST!!!!  SHOUT OUT TO FUMU BATTLESHIP AND THE CURTIS B. WARE!

Kuma:  Woo Fumu!  He’s my bro!  I’ll be sure to tag him in this article so he knows you sent him a special shout out!  What about you, Michael?

sp00ked:  Thanks for all the support!  I’ve never been in a scene so loving and caring like this.  I think as for our sound, I feel like we are just beginning.  I see a lot expanding for our next albums.  Thanks for this, Adam.  It was nice to reflect on what we have done.  See you all at BRKFest!!!

Kuma:  And last but not least, you, Narayan.  Give us your parting shot!

SPRY:  There’s so much I could say, but I’ll just hit a couple things quickly.  We didn’t really go much into us musically as a band but that might be a good thing, lol!  I’ll leave it at Jon and Michael have great intuitive sense for music and I like to use their great raw material and mold it together with my own stuff with brutal logic to make a monster that feels and thinks.

Our production has been evolving along with each of our albums toward something new and amazing, but as yet undefined.  We keep looking for new and amazing sounds and techniques and as long as we can keep doing it, I’ll be pushing forward.  For all the people out there who might listen to our music, I hope that this has been a brief window into our insanity!

Thank you, Kuma, for being awesome and ChipWIN for also being awesome and I want to thank all the great people and communities that are part of this spiderweb of scene(s)!  I keep meeting new people and broadening my horizons through them and I hope to keep on this crazy journey for a while!  See you all sometime soon, I hope!

Kuma:  Fantastic.  Again: thank you guys, and have a good night. I look forward to seeing you guys and possibly interviewing you all again.

That’s it for this edition of Raw Cuts!  Tune in next time for yet another fantastic interview! In the meantime, make sure to follow/like/etc. SSD Engage to keep up with their latest releases, both solo and as a group!  PEACE!


SSD EngageRelevant Links:

SSD Engage / SPRY / sp00ked / Disabletron

SSD Engage / SPRY / sp00ked / Disabletron

SSD Engage / SPRY / sp00ked / Disabletron

SSD Engage / SPRY / sp00ked

Edit: ***BOOM*** Teh new album!!

Raw Cuts with Kuma #8: shanebro

Posted by

Hey guys! Welcome back to Raw Cuts!  You ready for another dose of interview goodness?  Well you better be because this week I bought Shane Banegas along for the ride, and he’s here to talk about whatever the hell I ask him about, because in Raw Cuts, I’m the man in charge!  So without further ado, here’s the self proclaimed generalissimo from Louisiana, shanebro!

Generalissimo Shanebro: great leader of the people's republic of moe

Kuma:  First off, lets talk a little something that’s been bothering me.  If one were to look up chiptune on SoundCloud and stumble upon your work, they will see a little snippet from you: one that claims that you’re just starting out on your journey into chiptune.  To that I say, bullshit, good sir.  Do you know why that is?

shanebro:  Why is that!?

yes, why is that?!

Kuma:  Because you’re clearly much too talented to have just started out with this, sir!  Do you have any idea how good you are?  It’s really quite extraordinary.  Tell me, prior to chiptune, do you have any musical experience or training?

shanebro:  D’aww Kuma, you’re making blush.  I honestly have so much to go before I achieve what I REALLY want to sound like!  As far as prior experience… nope.  I have a few good friends that are musicians themselves, so I guess I’ve always been around music, from classical to death metal and everything in between.  Training?  Nope, I played the saxophone in elementary school, that’s about it.  Everything that you’re hearing is me saying in my head, “Hey this sounds good”.

Kuma:  Shane, you’re rustling my jimmies with how good you are, especially because when I look at your SoundCloud, the oldest song on there is only a year old, and its quite good too.  Although I notice its in FamiTracker, where as now you predominantly use Game Boys.  Lets talk about that for a bit: your transition musically in hardware and software, such as what you like and dislike about each, why you made the transition, etc.

shanebro:  Ahh yeah.  my old stuff… oh gawsh.

Actual photo of shane while reflecting on his earlier work

That stuff was rough, and I love going back and listening to the stuff I started out with and comparing it to what I do now.  I’ve learned so much!  Yeah, I did start out with FamiTracker.  When I first heard ‘Helix Nebula‘ by Anamanguchi, I went to Google and searched “How to make 8-bit music” and FamiTracker popped up.  I managed to find 8bc back then when it was getting ready to die, unfortunately, but I did find some great help!
FamiTracker seemed easy enough for me, but I noticed most of the “popular” chipmusic sounded way different, so I searched the depths of the internet once again and found that it was made on a program called LSDJ with a Game Boy.  The rest is history, really.

Straight up, I love LSDJ.  I can do so much [more] in a tracker program than in a DAW which I frequently messed around with previously of my chipmusic adventures, but it never stuck.  So to answer your question of why I made the transition, well it felt perfect to me! The fact that I had a toy that a lot of people discarded that could make beautiful sounds, although my sounds were hideous back then, lol!

Kuma:  Its funny to hear other people call their older work hideous, but when I listen as someone from the outside looking in, I can only hear amazing things and progress.
That being said, lets talk about some of your influences musically.  Obviously, you mentioned Anamanaguchi, and I can’t think of many in the scene who aren’t or wouldn’t be impressed with them or what they represent in terms of an ideal of success, especially with their recent triumphs with their kickstarter for Endless Fantasy and all the attention they’ve garnered since. Tell me, what and who inspire you to make the music you do, and why do you personally do it?  Is this all just for fun for you or does making music resonate on a deeper level for you?

shanebro:  Ah yes, Anamanaguchi pretty much started it all for me, and I have so much respect for them, and can’t wait to see them next month!

As for influences, well early on I listened to a TON of Chipzel!  Like all day every day!  And I would have to say Fighter X and his chaotic yet awesome way of writing really influences me, too.  Space Town Savior is also another MAJOR influence of mine.  He actually inspired most of my upcoming album.

I make chipmusic because prior to this I really haven’t accomplished much, in my opinion, so I saw this as a way to express my self in a good way.  To think people actually enjoy my music really makes me overcome with feels.  Seriously.  If you would have told me a year or so ago that I would be having my OWN set at a major event, I would have called you crazy.  It really surreal that all this is happening right now. I really love the chipmusic community.

Kuma:  I’m glad you do make this music, and I’m glad you’ve become a part of this community.  It’s certainly been a pleasure conversing with you, hanging with you, rooming with you at MAGFest.  That was fantastic, btw.  We are doing that again next year.  But getting back to the topic at hand, I can definitely hear the influences you mentioned in your music.  Especially in the song you did with softRESET, Celestial Bodies.  Tell me: of all the people you’ve worked with in chip, who have meant the most to you?  We know the ‘guch and Chipzel mean a lot to you, but of the people you’ve met and interacted with personally, who has been the biggest influence on you?  Who do you feel you owe the most to?

shanebro:  Much <3 Kuma.  MAGFest next year is gonna be awesome!
Well I’d have to say Max (The Bitman) is one of those people who I enjoyed interacting with the most.  We met last year, and road tripped to BRKFest ’12.  He sort of became my “coach” back then.  He’s been nothing but helpful whenever I had a question about LSDJ or whatever.  The chipmusic community is awesome, but there is still a tiny bit of an “elitist” in it, which is totally understandable.  Bitman and I will be working on getting an EP down with our power combined sooner or later!

I’d also have to mention Curtis (Solarbear), too.  I remember last year at BRKFest we were riding back to his house from Taco Bell, and we were talking about stuff, and I was explaining to him how nervous I would be if I would be playing at something like BRKFest.  I wondered if I would even get a chance to do that in the next 5 years or something.  He pretty much gave me some uplifting words, which obviously translated into me getting a spot for this years BRKFest, which I am just so humble to be playing at.

Kuma:  That’s awesome.  I’m glad to hear that in so short a time you’re finally getting that chance to shine.  You deserve it.  That being said, come BRKFest, your fans will definitely be expecting to hear stuff off your new album.  Let’s talk about Where Hearts and Minds Collide for a bit, shall we?  When’s it coming out?  What kinda gear did you use to make this, and was there a certain mindset, sound or emotional theme you were looking to capture while making this?

shanebro:  Yeah, I’m super pumped for this opportunity!  Where Hearts and Minds Collide will be out on June 17th for free, and I will be making a package that will include a physical CD, Poster, and shanebro sticker, so look out for that!

I used one Game Boy for the majority of the tracks, and a couple using two Game Boys in which I am totally new to, but I think they came out really well!

The mindset for this album when I had envisioned it was simple: This is my chance to shine (like you said previously).  After my first EP, I felt like I could elevate my understanding of LSDJ and certain ways to make certain sounds.  I had a bunch of help from guys like Auxcide, softRESET, and some others.  I wanted this album of 12 tracks to be something that I could be proud of, and despite at this point listening to it over and over again to the point where I want to throw my speakers out, I really think I accomplished this goal.  I want people to see that you don’t necessarily need to be Hanz Zimmer to compose music.  If you really set your mind to it, and observe what people like–and what you like, mainly–you can achieve anything.

As for an emotional theme, it would have to be euphoric.  Most of my stuff is really upbeat with a mix of really dark stuff if that makes any sense at all!

Kuma:  That certainly is an inspiring message, and considering the quality of your music thus far, I have no doubt that you’ve succeeded in this endeavor.  Will you be throwing a listening party or a doing a live performance to help promote the album?

shanebro:  There will be a a release party on 8BitX on the 17th! Otherwise, who knows? I don’t want to give it all away yet.

Kuma:  Not a problem, but I’m glad our readers and your fans will have something extra to look forward to with the release of the album.

That being said, Shane, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk shop with us.  You’re amazing, your music is amazing, and I expect only great things for you in the future no matter what you do.  Do you have anything you’d like to say to your friends, fans and our readers before we go?

shanebro:  Thank you so much Kuma!  I’d just like to say thanks to everyone who has helped me or encouraged me or even told me that my stuff is crap, and it needs to be improved.  If you want to get into chipmusic, just do it!  This community is the best, and I can say it has really changed my life since I’ve been introduced to so many people.
Much love to everyone!

Thanks for dropping by to check out this interview.  Don’t forget to like/follow/etc. shanebro at his various social media outlets & to scoop up his pay-what-you-will album from his Bandcamp on June 17 (links below)!  Tune in next time for another quality interview with another quality chipartist.



communist shane

Relevant shanebro Links:
Bandcamp | SoundCloud | Facebook | Twitter

Raw Cuts with Kuma #7: sleepytimejesse

Posted by

Hey what’s up, Chipwinners!  Welcome back for another installment of Raw Cuts!  This time around I managed to get a hold of a young man named Jesse Martin, a musician who not only makes chipmusic, but also plays in an increasingly popular alt rock band called The Zou!  Without further ado, enjoy my interview with the chiptune artist called sleepytimejesse!

pic semi-related


Kuma:  So, lets be straight up: you’re quite a force to be reckoned with in the chiptune/vgm scene, as well as in the indie rock scene.  You’ve put out albums under Ubiktune, you’re in a kick ass band and you’re a rather prolific musician who lives and breathes his passion. Where did it all start for you, Jesse?  What made you want to start making music?  Lets hear your story.

sleepytimejesse (stj):  Oh man, that’s a lot to live up to!  Haha!  Well really, it started around maybe [age] 12 or 13.  My parents were getting a pretty nasty divorce and I broke my arm really bad skateboarding.  So I kind of picked up guitar as a form of rehab and to try to connect with my dad.  Music became more of an escape than anything and I kind of knew I wanted it to be my life from then on.  You caught me off guard with your awesome question, haha.

I can't help being awesome

Kuma:  I’m glad.  Now, lets take it a step further.  Making music with a guitar is one thing, but making chiptune is another.  Was there a certain experience that made you decide that this was something you had to do for yourself?  A game soundtrack that touched you or a song you came across that turned your head?

STJ:  Yeah, eventually I got frustrated with only writing for instruments I could physically hold.  It felt like there was more out there to do.  So I started working with VSTs and soundfonts and the like.  Probably around like 2006-07.  This, coupled with a love of video game music and hoping to some day write for games, sort of started to manifest itself into music for imaginary games.  Over time I got more and more interested in the actual limitations of scoring for games, and inevitably found my way into FamiTracker.  Which I then just obsessed over for like three months straight.

Kuma:  Praytell, was one of your many albums the fruits of this three month obsession? Also, regardless of whether or not that was the case, as a person who transitioned from acoustic guitar to DAWs to a tracker, were you pleased with your results?  Did it come naturally to you with your experience prior in making music in other forms or was it a more daunting experience than you expected?

STJ:  Yeah, I had most of an album of covers (which I titled, “CVRS“) by the end of my sort of head first jump into 8-bit.  A couple of the originals either ended up on 8bc or, but most of them have been getting touched up here or there over the years.  I have another chiptune album in the works that includes these and some new tunes and collabs, but honestly the transitions through work spaces wasn’t too bad.  I’d say the move into trackers went pretty smoothly.  I love to focus on the microscopic details while composing and that’s really what a tracker is best for anyway.

Kuma:  That’s really quite wonderful and unexpected to hear, as even a few of my friends now who are just getting into chiptune for the first time after years of guitar or drums are just like “Welp! I seem to have made a terrible mistake!” and are comparing the process of making a song in a day in guitar to maybe doing the same in a month on something like lsdj.  It is rather entertaining.

mmmm!  so tasty!  so amusing!

That being said, you mentioned your new album.  Lets talk about that.  What can we expect to hear on it?  Will it be anything like some of your more recent releases, such as what you put out for the Yoshi’s Island tribute album or the Earthbound tribute album, or should we expect something darker?

STJ:  I wouldn’t necessarily say darker.  To be honest a lot of it is inspired by jazz tunes. So there’s maybe some moments of bittersweetness but nothing downright depressive.  At least not yet.  And a couple of tunes on those albums weren’t all cute.  I think I titled the one “Brimstone’s Bone Cavern”.  hahaha!

Kuma:  True, your album Tending the Mines, while it does have a few dream like songs, also feels dark not in the sense that it feels foreboding, but that it has a lot of emptiness to it, enough for the listener’s imagination to play around with the space between notes to fill in the void.

That being said, while I’m sure you’ll always find time for chip as it is something you generally love, lets be honest: there is another project you’re a part of that is becoming more popular. Lets take a moment to talk about it, shall we?  The Zou.  How did it start, and considering how popular the band is becoming, where do you think it’ll go from here and how will that affect what you’re doing as a chip artist with aspirations to compose for video games?

STJ:  Ah, thank you.  Tending is some of my favorite music I’ve ever written.  I’m really flattered when people say they’ve enjoyed it.  You’re spot on, empty is what I aspired for.  The Zou is a band I joined about three years ago and it’s been an amazing three years. They’ve always been pretty established and when I moved back to Ohio after high school they were in need of a guitarist.  They knew of me because the singer, Khaled, is my cousin and once he showed the other members my online stuff I was offered the gig. We’ve toured each summer and I’ve met some of my best friends while on the road.  The people you meet, crash at their houses, eat at Steak and Shake with at four in the morning, these people don’t forget you and you don’t forget these people.  Not to mention you learn so much about interpersonal communication, about crisis aversion, about working under stress.  Our new album, “Kills, Part 1” just dropped on iTunes and who knows where it goes from here?

Kuma:  That’s awesome.  I take it that those skills are what allow you to balance both your music and the bands, then?  It’s never been an issue balancing the two then, has it?

STJ:  Haha we used to have a strict “no side projects” rule but with my music being work related I partly obscured that hard no.  But the cool thing about composing so frequently on your own and also being in a band is you get to bring what you’ve learned to the table and apply it to songs what will be played and recorded by a group of actual people.  Really cool to hear what subtle changes take place to these moments which were once purely electronic.

Kuma:  Nice!  Any chance of seeing and hearing those subtle changes live this summer, as per tradition?  And will you tour for your individual project, as well?

STJ:  Ah, plan on maybe doing some touring circuits in the next two years but not quite yet.  But for now I think the best way to hear this process is to listen to the new album and its subsequent follow up Part 2 with some headphones on.  “Soon! Okay?” and “Ain’t There an Easier Way” are pretty good examples of this for now.

Kuma:  Awesome!  I’ll definitely listen to it after I get through listening to all your other amazing shit!  Seriously, man: both individually and with the band, you’re an incredible talent.  That being said, I think this is definitely a good place to wrap things up for now, but I do look forward to hearing more of your music, as well as interviewing again in the future, should circumstances permit.  Do you have anything you’d like to say in closing to our readers?

STJ:  Thanks!  That’d be lovely.  For now, if people want they can follow me on Twitter and maybe follow the indie game studio I just joined–rawrsoft–for some future happenings. We’re working hard behind the scenes, some big announcements in coming months.

Kuma:  Awesome! I’ll be sure to help pimp you out to my friends on Facebook and Twitter, as well!  With that being said, Mr. Martin, it was a sincere pleasure.

Thanks again for tuning in with us here at Chiptunes = WIN!  Tune in next time as I interview shanebro and we talk about his upcoming new EP, BRKFest, and things we regret doing at MAGFest maybe!  Peace!

sleepytimejesseRelevant sleepytimejesse Links:
Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | The Zou | Rawrsoft (Twitter)

Raw Cuts with Kuma #6: xyce

Posted by

‘Sup, chipWINners!  Its your boy Kuma back with another interview!  This time around, I managed to get something super special with not one but two awesome chiptune legends who talk to me about their creative process, how they first met, and a few other unexpected topics!  Without further ado, I present my first interview with a duo on Raw Cuts: xyce!



Kuma:  It is a pleasure to finally be able to get to sit down and talk with you guys!
How are you two doing?

Tom Offringa (xylo):  Good!

Roel Heerspink (cerror):  Great!  You?

Kuma:  Not bad, thanks!  Let’s get started, shall we?

cerror:  Yes sir!

Kuma:  I’m especially excited as this will be my first interview with more than one person at a time, so this should be very exciting!

xylo:  Haha it’ll work out!

cerror:  Hope it’s not confusing!

Kuma:  So, first question: you two both have solo careers as electronic artists, but you definitely seem to have been most prolific as a duo.  How did you two meet in the first place?

xylo:  I heard a keygen from X-Men and the name cerror came by.  I was pretty active on a dutch forum those days and I saw cerror his name across there as well, so I asked him if he was actually the same guy.  And he was!

cerror:  Yup!  So he contacted me and said he wanted to make tunes as well and I started to teach him some stuff.

Kuma:  Nice!

cerror:  And that way we started making music together.  That was in 2006, I think?

xylo:  Somewhere around 2005/2006 I guess yeah!

cerror:  He lived in Groningen and I lived in Meppel (hour away by train) so it was via internet at first.

Kuma:  Very cool.  That being said, Roel, since you seem to have been doing this longer than Tom has, I’m curious as to just how long you’ve been doing this before, especially since, in your equipment lists on your albums, you seem to be one of the chiptuners that prefers the sounds made with consoles and computers made in the early and mid 80s, compared to a lot of other folk I’ve interviewed who stick to Game boys and such.

cerror:  Wow, well I started like everybody else: with gaming.  First thing I gamed on was a commodore 128 that belonged to my nephews.  And later on I was a big Sega Megadrive (Genesis) fan and also old PCs, of course.  That was around ’92 or so.  I used to be a drummer and I saw a guy at school making music with Fasttracker II.  I got that one online and started to look for music to learn from.  I saw this site named traxinspace and it had like breakbeat and trance stuff but also chiptunes made by Zalza!  This was around 97.
Thus, I started to learn and remembered the good old days.  I also started research and learn and also purchase machines while learning the trackers.  I lost 1 hard disk with 800 bad tunes, but I just kept on doing it until today.  Only got pretty decent at chiptunes in 2003/2004 I think.

xylo:  Our choice of old computers like the Amiga and Atari instead of the Game boy is pretty much based on the sound it makes.  The trackers work great, we’re used to them and the chips in both those computers sound awesome.

cerror:  Exactly!  Of course, I’m heavily influenced by the demoscene (I’ve been a member since 2001) and crackteams I’ve been in.

in an alternate universe, cerror fixes homes damaged by earthquakes

Kuma:  Oh man, that’s awful about that hard drive you lost!  I’m sorry about that, but at least those tunes helped you become the artist you are today!  I’m glad you mentioned Zalza, as I’m listening to Mosaik right now!

Now Tom, I’m sure it was already exciting for you to work with Roel as it was, but I couldn’t imagine how you must have felt when you got a chance to work with Zalza and RADIx, as well!  Does it ever hit you out of the blue that in the…8 or so years you’ve been in chiptune that you’ve come so far and have had a chance to work with so many awesome artists?

xylo:  Working with Roel became very smooth.  As he taught me pretty much all the basics of Modplug and I was inspired heavily by the same kind of artists Roel was our styles mixed in pretty flawlessly.

cerror:  Yeah I have to quickly come in between and I must say that that was an incredibly coincidence . Our styles were pretty much the same.  Love for the same type of tunes.  Now I shall shut up.

their styles were so similar, you'd swear you were seeing double...

xylo:  As cerror was already a pretty known name by those kind of artists and we visited some demoparties it was easy to connect.  We talked to Zalza when he was planning on doing a Chipdisk with artists from back then.  So because of he mainly knowing cerror and we were working a lot together, he (Zalza) asked xyce to do a track with him.  We met him on Revision where the Chipdisk was released!

Working with RADIx was a true blessing, as well.  With social media coming up it was suddenly a lot easier to quickly get in touch with someone (asides from irc and stuff).  So we talked a bit about chiptunes and the idea came up to do a track together.

cerror:  I came in my pants when I got the news from Tom that RADIx wanted to work with us.  And not only once, but TWICE!  [RADIx has a] New album, too.

Kuma:  You have no idea how hard that made me laugh!

xylo:  Hahaha!

cerror:  Hehehehehe, it’s true though!  I mean, I’ve started making tunes since 2000 or so, RADIx since 92!  I am a 3rd gen chiptune guy.

Kuma:  I can only imagine!  It definitely sounds like the way i would react if someone like 4mat ever said he wanted to make music with me! I’d just….spaghettis everywhere!

xylo:  Working with guys as RADIx, Zalza, Malmen, alk and more feels incredible.  It’s amazing to work with those that inspire us daily musically and them taking the time to work with us and enjoy making music makes us very happy!

cerror:  Whahahaha, I would too if 4mat would ask us!  He’s also a demoscener, btw!
Totally!  Although I’ve made tunes for a while, I am not as famous as 4mat, RADIx or Zalza.  So it’s a super honor for me.

Kuma:  Damn!  It certainly sounds like you guys have been afforded a lot of opportunities in the scene and that, in particular for you Tom, that most of your career musically since having met Roel seems to have just naturally unfurled for you!  It’s pretty amazing!  Is there anything either of you wish you would have done that maybe you haven’t had the chance to do or something you wish to do differently artistically?  Such as maybe take up more on the visual side in the demoscene or experiment more with your sound?  I’m really curious.

xylo:  Well, experimenting is something we generally do.  cerror’s got his VST music which is pretty different.  But when we make music together and try a different approach (for example some doskpop, italo or drum n bass) the happy chords and vibes seem to come magically back in to our songs, which makes them instantly recognizable for most.

cerror:  Yeah, I really want to make tunes on more different types of machines.  Like the ZX Speccy, Atari XL, Sega, Nintendo (NES, SNES and Gameboy, in particular) and so on. But it’s really hard to learn new trackers.  Don’t have the patience/time for it.  And I can’t step off the melodies.  It’s just hard coded in my brain

xylo:  Concerning machines I agree with Roel.  Expanding our horizon with more machines would be great.

cerror:  I have a lot of machines. Just no time or sd cartridges/transfer thingies.  I’ve got a list here of machines I have.

Kuma:  Yeah I really have to agree there, Tom: I can spot a xyce tune out of a Coachella sized event on a single mp3 player, but there’s nothing wrong with those happy chords.  I think it just adds to what makes your music–and chiptune as an instrumentation and/or genre–unique.  Hell, that’s why I fell in love with it in the first place when I went to Blipfest last year.

That being said, one thing i have noticed with your music is the Sega sound and influence in what you produce.  It’s almost funny to hear you say you want to expand your horizons more but that sound, or sounds akin to it, are already there.

cerror:  Well style-wise it is yes. But the real sound though is missing. That’s what I want in the next album.

Kuma:  Is that intentional or do you think that just comes out subconsciously and you haven’t fully realized that its there yet?

cerror:  Not really recognize it although now that you say, I can see what you mean.  The basslines and chord hits definitely stand out.

xylo:  It’s the experience making music on those machines that is really important, as well. Our Amiga Mods and Atari snd’s have a very distinctive sound.  Our Fasttracker II tracks (XM) have a bit of clash sound with different kind of sounds, samples and stuff.

Kuma:  Since you bought it up, lets talk about your future projects, both together and individually.  What do you guys have up your sleeves for the next album?  What sorta hardware and software did you use this time around?  Did you stick to your guns or did you expand a little more?

cerror:  Didn’t really talked about it to be honest.

xylo:  Although it sounds like some other machines, making music on the machines alone makes it that songs have the very distinctive sound the machines produces, as the Atari and Amiga do, as well.  That’s the main difference between FastTracker II tracks ‘sounding’ like Sega tracks, and tracks actually made on the machine.

cerror:  Yup. Sound is important.  The feel, etc.  That’s why I dislike commodore style VST.  And stuff like that.  We do it hardcore

xylo:  No expending this album with other machines than the usual, but the album has a lot of variety in styles (some easier, some loud etc).

Kuma:  I can tell. I don’t even think Radlib/oxygenstar/what’sCarlsnamenow? does it quite as hard as that.

I have a feeling Carl doesn't even know what he calls himself anymore.

xylo:  We used the Atari 1040ST, Amiga 500 and PC just as the other 4 albums.

cerror:  We want to do more types of machines, but as I said: it’s hard to learn new trackers.  I can make a tune on an Atari blindfolded.  But a Sega tune?  Hard hard work!
I am 29 now so when I was 17 I had the time.

Kuma:  That’s very true.  I’m nowhere near even half the guys on cm.o, but I can at least make a little melody or drum beat on piggy tracker or sunvox in a couple minutes.  I couldn’t figure out FamiTracker or Schism Tracker for the life of me, though.  Also, I have to agree: it does seem–outwardly, at least–like Sega tunes are hard work.  Sega guys definitely seem to make up one of–if not the–lowest common denominator of what you see in chip.  Hell, outside The Duchess, the only other person I know that does Sega stuff is The Flight Away, and he does samples through his laptop as opposed to working with the hardware directly.

cerror:  Coda, for example, is what I want to achieve on the Sega.  Unfortunately it will take years and years to get there sound wise.

xylo:  Experiencing is always a good thing, but as some other trackers feel way more comfortable and known it’s easy to gripe back to those when you want to push out some inspiration in to notes.

cerror:  I’ve already made some patterns with a Sonic 2 drums and bass sound but now we need to make an entire tune.  And what Tom says is true: we can still make compelling music on the platforms we know, so why quit?  It’s just the wish to make on other machines, but that will come gradually I think.  Takes time.

Kuma:  Exactly.  Thank you for reminding me of Coda, by the way.  I came across his work briefly when I was first getting into chip about a year ago.  I forgot that this man was just a music making machine.

Cerror:  He is marvelous, I adore his stuff.  Also a good coder!

coda. coder.  don't think that slipped by me, Roel

Kuma:  I’d imagine so!  You spend as much time making tracker music as he does or you guys do, and picking up coding seems to become second hand, as well.  That being said, when can the public expect your new album, and will you be doing anything to promote it? Go on tour?  Radio show listening party?  Anything like that?

xylo:  We’ll try to get it released somewhere in the next few weeks. Hopefully sooner than later.  Promoting not really.  We’re discussing a listening party and, of course, yell some around on gigs.

cerror:  And, of course, Facebook and gig whore-ing.

xylo:  Besides Social Media spamming we don’t do a lot of promoting.  The previous albums seemed to go around the internet without a lot of effort (thanks for doing so people/listeners/fans!!!!!!!) so hopefully it’ll work out this time as well!

cerror:  And this album is a little bit more high profile, so we hope more people pick it up.
We have help now.  From the awesome people at cheapbeats.

xylo:  We’re releasing it under the Cheapbeats label, so hopefully a little bigger audience than the last album will pick it up as well.

[Edit: An online listening party has since been squared away on June 8th for xyce’s upcoming album via 8 Bit Power Hour on Click HERE for details on that!]

Kuma:  I’m glad to hear it!  I know your devoted fans, as well as new ones, will definitely be excited to hear what you two have produced!  Although it is interesting that you two are relatively quiet about what you make but have found such success in doing so.  Were you two always that way or was their a time you pushed harder to be recognized?  Or does the recognition simply not matter?  Do you guys just not give a damn?

Cerror:  Well it’s nice, of course, to get recognition, but it’s not our first priority.
We make the music because we like doing it.

xylo:  Well I guess recognition is always fun, and to hear people liking the music we make but it is definitely not a priority.

cerror:  And live gigs are the awesomest because we get to know new people, get drunk and party while showing our prides and joy!

xylo:  That is definitely true!  And I don’t really know how to get more known.  Talking on social media seems to work.  I guess it’s still a niche market and people liking our style will probably come across it some time.

cerror:  I have no idea how we got so pretty well known. [It’s a] Mystery to me!

xylo:  It’s very fun and actually makes me very happy to see people opening threads about our new works on reddit, for example, without any effort from our side.

cerror:  Plus youtube videos and the occasional Facebook ad.  It’s good for my fragile ego, but I still don’t see why people like us.  Well, we are pretty cool dudes.

xylo:  Hahaha.

Kuma:  Yes, that you certainly are!  That being said, I thank you both for your time, gentlemen!  This was truly a pleasure getting to interact with both of you!  Do any of you have anything you’d like to say before we wrap this up?  Advice you’d like to give? Promotional, ego stroking goodness?  Drunkfest stories you guys wanna share before this all ends?

cerror:  Well Monodeer and us are releasing a little remix of each other’s tunes on soundcloud!  He remixed our Atari track called Ses Seins on his gameboy and we did his track Syntheseur on the Atari!

Kuma:  Nice!  What about you, Tom?  Do you have anything you’d like to say?

xylo:  Well, there was one time where we went to Belgium to play with Men of Mega and RoccoW where some girl walked around being extremely drunk.  She was on a Facebook picture a few days after and if I recall correctly Roel called her a name on that post.  It came to be she was tagged and she didn’t really liked being called that!  Hahaha! Awesome keyboard-hero goodness!

cerror: Almost forgot about that!  Whahahaha!  It wasn’t nice of me but she was acting like a bit of a whore.  And we have a lot of good anecdote’s about men of mega guys almost falling offstage and falling on slippery road and drinking too much!  Stories like that.  Typical gig stories.  Hehehehe!  Thank you Adam for this interview!  Such an honor.

xylo:  But to wrap it up!  Visit a gig if you’re nearby to experience those in real life!  Keep our Facebook and Twitter in mind the next couple of days/weeks for updates on our new album and upcoming gigs and releases!  And thank you for having us!  Great opportunity!

Kuma:  Thank you for being with me!

Hope you guys enjoyed that article!  Don’t forget to follow Xyce on Facebook and Twitter so you can keep up with updates about their soon to be released album!  Join us next time as I take the time to talk to sleepytimejesse, a chiptuner and music composer who’s making quite a name for himself as a solo artist as well as with an increasingly popular indie rock band called The Zou!



xyce fun

Relevant Links:
Xyce:                                                      Xylo:                                            Cerror:
Bandcamp                                             Bandcamp                                  Bandcamp
Facebook                                               Facebook                                   Facebook
SoundCloud                                           SoundCloud                               SoundCloud
Twitter                                                    Twitter                                        Twitter

EDIT: Check out the new album below!!!

Raw Cuts with Kuma #5: Dire Hit

Posted by

Sup, ChipWINners?  Bet you didn’t think I’d ever be doing this again, did you?  I mean it’s only been like…half a season.  That being said, let’s kick off summer in style with an interview of someone who encouraged me enough to get back into doing this, Cole Caron, the rising star in chiptune known as Dire Hit!

Drugs.  Cole Caron is drugs.—————————————————————————————————————

Kuma: So, let’s start with something basic. How’d you come up with your name?

Dire Hit (DH): Well, I don’t really remember.  I started out as Aegyssystems, which sucked.  Honestly, I’m the worst possible person at coming up with names for things.
Dire Hit is a useless item in Pokemon, but I really like it as a name, and it just stuck, and now I think it’s too late to change it.

Kuma: Ah, that at least confirms my suspicions about the origins of your name, so lets move on.  Now Cole, I’m going to be direct here: while we certainly appreciate and admire younger talent and the promise people like you and your contemporaries such as Kaichan, Frostbyte and Chasing Bleeps hold, I must say, you are the youngest chiptuner I’ve ever met.  You’re only, what,15?  And on top of that, you started about a year ago, right?  What made you wanna get into this?  What made you decide you wanted to make music using video game systems us old farts had when we were your age?

A haunting reminder of our mortality.

DH: I started with chiptune at age 12.  My sister’s boyfriend used Nanoloop and I just really liked the sound, so I downloaded MilkyTracker and went with it. The product of that is as horrible as possible.  I had very little classical music training, and I did not understand the format at all.  After a few months I moved on to Arkos Tracker, and I stuck with that for a while.

Why I was drawn to chipmusic was pretty simple actually.  My parents are in the whole “videogames rot your brain” crowd, so if I were to get a game system, they were okay with it being hopelessly outdated.  So I got a Game Boy Color, an LSDj cartridge, and an auxiliary cable at age 13ish. I tried recreating what I heard in the likes of Sabrepulse and Nullsleep.  Of course I sucked, but it gave me the foundation for everything I do today.

Kuma: That answers a couple questions I was going to ask but brings up a couple more. I’ll try to go in chronological order based on the answers you gave me.  First of all, you said you first got into chiptune because your sister’s bf at the time used Nanoloop and it was a sound you were drawn to.  Now, you live in Seattle, a place that has a pretty nice chipscene.  Her bf wouldn’t have happened to be someone notable in the chipscene there, would it?  Someone like Turtlesaur or Electric Children?

DH: No one famous, as far as I know.



DH: I don’t remember what he went by, but it was during the prime of 8bc, so all of that is gone.  Womp womp indeed.

Kuma: Regardless, that is cool, and it does let me move on to my next question: we’ve already heard you mention that you find inspiration in guys like Nullsleep and Sabrepulse, but is there any particular reason why you’re drawn to those two artists over so many others in the scene?  Is it that they sound more modern than some other artists or is there an emotional level in their music which resonates with you?

DH: I liked the pleasant poppy songs in the beginning, but I’ve moved on to different feelings and styles.  Totally forgot to mention, but I was hooked on Ultrasyd ever since “move your body” and that was a major reason I picked up Arkos Tracker.  The 8bc charts were a big influence on the music I was trying to make.  One of the funny things about my early chiptune listening was that I never really got into any Seattle chiptune at the time.
Looking back, that’s crazy.  Electric Children specifically.  I remember listening to Electric Children Sucks once or twice, but not thinking about it too much.  Of course now I’m crazy into electro house.

Kuma: Really?  You’ve never been involved with the live chipscene in Seattle?  But you’ve got such good artists in your own backyard.  Hell, your city has a rich history of music, from chiptunes to grunge to college rock to grunge and…grunge…why didn’t you ever get involved with the live scene back then?  Please tell me you’ve rectified that in recent years.

DH: I’ve never played live, unfortunately (unless Clipstream counts).  My first chiptune live experience was X-Bit 2, because I wanted to see ovenrake and KGHB live.  I just fell in love with the people, everyone I’ve met has been so nice and supportive.
They all signed my hat.  I haven’t missed an xbit since.

DH hat
Unfortunately Seattle live chiptune has been hibernating at the moment, but there’s a Fighter X show June 1st, so hopefully that’s the kick this town needs for the summer.
And maybe I’ll even get to play a show.  Eventually.

If this show doesn't get chiptune back into gear in Seattle, I don't know what will.

Kuma: Wow!  That sounds wonderful!  Reminds me a lot of my experience at Blipfest last year, which is what first got me into chiptune.  I generally have to agree: most, if not all, the people I’ve met since becoming part of the chiptune/vgm scene have been incredibly supportive and fun to interact with, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities they’ve presented me with.  I’m sure as far as live shows are concerned, they’ll return the favor. That being said, you have, as you mentioned before, performed on Clipstream!  Tell us about that experience man!  Did you like it?  have you always been a fan of Clipstream?Would you do it again?

DH: It was wonderful!  My first time playing Clipstream it was like 1am PST, and I was not on the schedule in advance.  It was a terrible set, I had no real equipment, just a gameboy and some audio cables.  But everyone loved the tunes, and I made some great friends.
I was invited back, and I like to think I did a better job the second time.  I played in the most recent Clipsteam, too!  I had some webcam issues but the audio was just fine.  I’m more of a recent fan of Clipstream, but it’s nice to have one day a month for chiptune and shenanigans.

Kuma:  I know!  I really wanted to catch it but I got pulled away for family business earlier in the day, and I wasn’t able to catch any of this month’s show!  That being said, I know Glenntai must have been glad to have you perform!  It is one his projects he holds pretty close to his heart and being able to see it come to fruition must have made him very happy.

That being said, I’m very surprised at the fact that you said you have no real technical or classical music training.  That’s pretty unheard of in the scene, and I think you might be the first person I ever interviewed that said that.  As someone who’s one of the most talented chiptuners in your age bracket, do you have any advice for any novice chipbros and sistas out there?

DH: F commands.  That is all.  But in all seriousness, work hard.  Don’t put out songs that aren’t 100% the way you want them.  Although I’d like to make a mild correction, I’ve had some musical training.  Self taught piano and like 2 weeks of guitar lessons.

Kuma:  That’s not a mild correction.

DH:  Sorry about that accidental wrong answer then.

Kuma:  I will beat you senseless.

DH: Oh shit.


Kuma: But seriously, that’s good advice.  Will you be practicing what you preach over the summer?  And what is next in store for you, Cole?

DH: I will be releasing music this summer.  As far as what to expect from the future, I’m hoping to figure out 2xlsdj more than I have already.  I also have an arduinoboy I’m going to find use for.

Kuma: Oh? Is your new release gonna be in the form of an LP or an EP?  Details, man! Drop them like balls!

DH: I haven’t planned that far ahead, to be honest.  It could be a bunch of summer singles, or it could be a full length album.  Who knows!  But lots of bass, lots of loud drums and noise channel silliness.

Kuma: Well, I’m sure whatever you decide to do beyond releasing your next album that it’s sure to kick ass.  Do you have anything you want to say before we end this interview?

DH: I want to say thank you to everyone who’s helped me out!  Abducted by Sharks, Boaconstructor, Electric Children, Live Animals, Orbital Strike, and Turtlesaur have been nothing but supportive, helpful, and overall great friends. You may not see it everyday browsing CM.O but there are a lot of nice people in chipmusic.

Kuma: And with that open admission about CMO, I’d like to thank you for your time, Cole!  I look forward to hearing more from you, and to potentially interviewing you in the future!

DH: Sounds like fun!
You can keep up with Cole via his Facebook, Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages, which are listed below in the Relevant Links section.  You can also catch up with him at, if you’re so inclined to do so, as well as the Chiptunes=WIN group page on Facebook, as he’s become a staple of the community we’ve built there.

Tune in next week as I interview another person whom I haven’t decided on just yet.

cole with gameboyRelevant Dire Hit Links:
| Soundcloud | Bandcamp