Posts Tagged ‘Datacats’

The Unicorn Princess Royally Reviews: The Kick.Snare & PULSEWAVE Crew

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Happy June, folks!

The last month has been pretty insane for me. I just moved from Boston to the glorious concrete jungle of NYC for work, and part of my plan is to be closer to the scene here, and other great music scenes I love.  New York City is a breeding ground for inspiration if you look in the right places. There’s always something to do, someone playing a gig, someplace hidden that’s DIY filled with passion projects. There are young people and people who’ve become worldly throughout the decades, taking what they know and using it to hopefully inspire others. This brings me to this month’s article: I wanted to cast some light onto some of the people in these converted warehouses and buildings to showcase the positive difference they’re making with art, visuals, music, sound, and booking.

Last month, I had a really cool opportunity to play at a Kick.Snare event, held in Bushwick. The event is hosted and run by Kris Keyser (also known as ‘Onism’) and Christophe Richard (also known as ‘Note!’).  I’ve also had the opportunity to attend my first PULSEWAVE show, which was the second time I was at Babycastles. This article is about the last month and the kind people I’ve come across at a few NYC events.

kcksnare_MAY20-1

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Raw Cuts With Kuma Special: BRKFest 2K13

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Hey guys!  Welcome back to Raw Cuts!  This time around, we have a very special edition of RC, as I took the time to sit down with three very special people to reflect on the event everyone is still buzzing about: BRKFest 2K13!  So without further ado, here’s my interview with Brandon “President Hoodie” Hood, Erin “Chip Mama” McQuisten, and Rob Remy “AutoRemi-PK” Pease about the event everyone is calling “The New Blipfest”!
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Kuma:  So, it’s been a while since we’ve all been together. 8 months, in fact.  Jeeze can you believe that?  I haven’t seen ya’ll in 8 months?

AutoRemi-PK (Remy):  That’s nine months too long.

President Hoodie (Hoodie): DEFINITELY way too long.

Kuma:  You guys on the other hand though: ya’ll got to go to BRKFest, which looked awesome from what I saw on Clipstream!

Hoodie:  YES. YES IT WAS.  It seriously felt like a mini-Blipfest, no lie.

Kuma:  That’s actually what I wanted to ask you guys!  You’ve all been to a lot of fests. Blip, PAX, MAG, Nerda.  How did BRK compare to those?

Chip Mama (Mama):  Well it was my first all chip show.  I’d seen a bunch of good chip acts at MAG, Nerda, and PAX, but the amount of awesome at BRK was overwhelming.

Hoodie:  Yeah.  I love Blipfest (or at least the one that I made it to in 2011! haha), but BRK definitely felt like a smaller, more tightly knit Blip.  It was endless good times! And dickbutts.  Lots and lots of dickbutts.

Actually, that’s my one regret: I didn’t get to draw a dickbutt on anything. :*(  Tommy (Thunderfox) brought a shirt that everyone signed and Tony (monotony) had his cast up for inking.

Remy:  BRK is a lot smaller but a lot more closely-knit.

Mama:  I agree with Remy: it seemed like everyone there knew each other either from in person or on the tubes.

Kuma:  Wait really?  That was your first all chip show?  I find that hard to believe considering you’re Chip Mama!

Mama:  I consider myself home-schooled in chiptune by one of the best.

Hoodie:  HAHAHA!

Remy:  Brandon isn’t the president we need but he’s the one we deserve.

hoodie batman hero
Kuma:  I’d hope so!  I think it’d be a disservice to all of us if you were just on the side while Brandon did all this fun shit!

Hoodie:  Real talk: BRK = only my second “all” chip show!

Kuma:  What? Brandon you too! You’re our President!  watrudoin!

Hoodie:  Sure, I’ve been to a handful of MAGs, Nerdas, PAXs, etc., but not too many *JUST* chip shows.  I wholly blame my location for that: BF, Arkansas. >_>
Working on that, tho…

Kuma:  You’d better.  Remy, the close knit feel at BRK, did it feel like 8static?

Remy:  It felt like 8static with southern hospitality. I can safely say that the best bar and the best coffee joint I’ve been to were literally right across the street from one another.

Kuma:  Yo seriously, what was up with that place you guys all went to eat at!  All the pictures of the food from there look like waffle house x9000!

Hoodie:  DAMN. NO KIDDING. Al’s bar & that coffee & donut joint = QUALITY.

Mama:  Oh my lord, the food and the coffee joint were AMAZING.

Remy:  The Institute in Philly is a TOUGH spot to top but Al’s Bar in Lexington really won my heart.

Mama:  Al’s was full of really nice people and a lot of first timers hearing chip that DUG IT and left with stickers and CDs and everything.

Hoodie:  Everyone was talking about the grub from Al’s last year. I expected decent pub grub at best, which would’ve been cool. Not the case, though. FANTASTIC EATS.

Mama:  One random guy even ended up crowd surfing during Trey Frey’s set.

Remy:  Yeah, the food at Al’s Bar puts most dining establishments- forget bars- to shame.

al's bar burger daniel davis

Photo courtesy of Daniel Davis (an0va).

Hoodie:  Damn, I could sure go for one of those Apple Jacks donuts at that coffee shop right about now…

Kuma:  What!  Strangers crowd surfing to chip and a bar that beats out The Institute?  Now I have to make it next year!

Mama:  Hell yes you do!  One of the bouncers went home with ChipWIN CDs!  And the bartenders had a stack!  The music was beyond what I expected!

Hoodie:  More real talk: BRK turned out *EVEN BETTER* than I expected.  The music, the people (locals included!), the food, EVERYTHING = WIN.

Kuma:  Damn it, I really have to do this next year! But, damn: so many things to go to next year!  That being said, you guys have any crazy fun stories you want to share? I’d love to hear about random after party nonsense or travel stories that you may have!

Mama:  Can we talk about the mustache dude that crowd surfed for a second?  cuz WOW!!!

Hoodie:  Hahahahahaha YES!

Remy:  Yes we can.

Kuma:  Mustached dude?

Hoodie:  I totes thought he was a creeper at first. hahaha.

Kuma:  God that alone sounds like half of chiptune!

Mama:  He’d never even HEARD of chiptune before.  I thought he was a creeper at first cuz he was taking pictures, but when folks started talking to him he was totally enthusiastic.

Remy:  Because if anything embodies what makes this collective scene great, it’s the reception he gave all of us that night and the one he got in turn.

Hoodie:  By mustache dude, we mean some random local who came to Al’s to grab a few beers and encountered chiptune for the first time in his life and HAD A DAMN BLAST.

Mama:  Wanted to be able to show his friends “the future of electronic music”

Hoodie:  CUTTING EDGE.

mark thomas the cutting edge

Kuma:  OMG that’s so damn cool!  Was he an older cat?  He sounds like an older cat!

Hoodie:  Totes an older cat.  Leather motorcycle jacket and everything.

Kuma:  NICE!

Mama:  40s – 50s, I’d say.

Hoodie:  Wearing a mustache competition t-shirt. hahaha

Remy:  He actually crowd surfed during Trey Frey‘s set!

mark thomas crowd surf

Photo courtesy of Shane Banegas (shanebro).

Kuma:  WAT!!! We got a possibly 50 year old chiptune fan out there because of you guys! that’s so freaking amazing!

Hoodie:  Seriously, that whole incident finished off the final night PERFECTLY.

Remy:  He won best mustache, both at BRK and in our hearts.

Mama:  He’s friended a bunch of us on FB and wrote a really awesome thank you note on the BRKfest FB page.

Hoodie:  “The Mustache of Our Hearts” <– ALBUM TITLE

Mama:  LOL.  You’re totally right, Remy.

Kuma:  Now I gotta ask, cause Dan Park hasn’t finished uploading all the video to YouTube yet, and I could catch all the sets on Clipstream, but for real: was trey’s set that godly?

Remy:  Yes.

Hoodie:  It was damn fantastic.

Remy:  Plain and simple yes.

Mama:  He got stage rushed on the second song, if that says anything!

Kuma:  D= NO WAI!

Remy:  Solarbear had us bumrush the stage and you don’t say no to that man and his beard.

curtis ware and his beard

Photo courtesy Curtis Ware (solarbear) and Chris de Pew (Storm Blooper).

Kuma:  DOOD, EVEN AUXCIDE AND SHANEBRO DIDN’T GET A SECOND SONG BUMRUSH!

Hoodie:  And I’ll own up to this here too: I’ve always enjoyed Trey Frey’s music, but never caught him live before.  And honestly, just never *quite* understood why people freak out about him *SO* much.

*NOW* I get it. *EXCELLENT* music.  And just an all around quality dude, too.  Super chill, super nice.

Kuma:  Now I gotta hear this!

Remy:  Trey Frey is as great a person as he is a musician, and that’s saying a LOT.

Hoodie:  Agreed 1000% Remy.  You can just tell that with some people.  Just by interacting with them, watching them interact with other people, talking to them a bit.

Kuma:  Yo, speaking of super chill, super nice, that final SMILETRON set, man.  I didn’t catch all of BRK, but that set man…I felt the feels through the stream, man.

Hoodie:  EXTREME amount of feels. Feels overload. 34987sadf654asdf654345.  Almost solemn even.  When the hell does *THAT* adjective come into play for a chipshow? Appropriate though.

smiletron chiptography

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Mama:  There were tears and sniffles.  At least from me.

Hoodie:  I held it in.  Just barely.

Mama:  SMILETRON is significant for me, since it was one of the first artists Bran and I listened to on some long car trips.

Hoodie:  Erin almost screwed that up for me.

Mama:  Sorry, babe.

Hoodie:  Ay.  He was one of the first artists I introduced her to in the chipworld, and just one of our favorites in general.

Kuma:  God, I can only imagine how you two must have felt seeing him. How bittersweet.

Mama:  Just watching his face during the set, it was almost like he was saying goodbye…

smiletron chiptography bittersweet

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Hoodie:  A bit sad to see him close up that chapter in his musical life, but at the same time major props to him for doing that when it feels right vs. continuing to drag it out beyond what is proper.

Remy:  I want to say that Casshern and S.P.R.Y. in particular did such an amazing job keeping that stream going and it is with no disrespect that I say no video could hope to capture the energy in that room.

Hoodie:  Like I said, some solemn heavy stuff, man. But in a *GOOD* way.

Remy:  Very much so.  It was cathartic.

Hoodie:  Agreed. Speaking of those cats, though, + the live sound guy & various visualists, AMAZING ZOMBOFURKIN JOB on *ALL* their parts!

Kuma:  Definitely on both accounts.  That was a solemn show if I ever saw one, but man, did SPRY and Dan kick ass for us at home!  I really wanna do something for them to thank them for all the hard work they did.

Hoodie:  
He did an *EXCELLENT* job, no doubt.  Hell, I didn’t think there even *WAS* gonna be a Clipstream until within the last weekend.  Glenntai stepped up to rock that, and then when he had to bow out because of illness Dan volunteered to take it over.  And he certainly did.

dan park chiptography

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Mama:  I think I gave them cookies. If I didn’t, they deserve some!

Kuma:
  Yeah, the visualists were awesome, too!  I definitely recognized ohhinaifu and datacats work there!  Who else was running viz for BRK?

Remy:  I have endless respect for datacats, both for all that he did to help me get out there, and the hard work he put in on visuals and his (TWO!) performances.  There was a PIXELSEED video used, which is always awesome, and I believe andaruGO stepped up for visuals for a couple of sets!

Hoodie:  And somebody else too, I believe.

Kuma:  Wow, andaru does visuals?  I know he does graphic design and illustration, but I didnt know he does live visuals, too.  Also, I agree: PIXELSEED is the man.

Remy:  PIXELSEED wasn’t there in person, but he very generously puts his work out there to be used by artists, which is very respectable.  I want to say there was one more, too, but the person eludes me.

Hoodie:  Part of what makes chiptune live shows so damn immersive is the excellent visualizations that accompany the music.  And that was there 110% at BRK, for *DAMN* sure!!

Kuma:  Seriously, that timing of Glenn’s pneumonia was unfathomable to me, especially considering all the work and build up he was doing to get there with Lora and Remy!  I’m just glad you managed to make it down there, Remy! Although not without trouble, it seems.

Mama:  Remy’s Great Adventure!

the adventure of remi
Hoodie:  Man oh man, poor Remy’s Great Adventure indeed! XD   ANOTHER ALBUM TITLE!!!

Remy:  Hahaha, when you’re on a long trip like that it’s never smooth sailing.  datacats came through for me in a huge way and I can’t possibly thank him enough.  He’s a paragon of selflessness.  Hahahaha!  Yeah, it really seemed like the universe did NOT want me to go to BRK.

Hoodie:  TAKE THAT UNIVERSE!  You sure showed it!

Kuma:  Dood, at least Remy’s adventure ended happily, unlike Starpilot‘s “Tales Of Being Treated Like A Border Crossing Mexican!”.

Hoodie:  DAMN THAT.  I was *SO* pissed about that shit!!! -flips all the border dickbutts-

Remy:  I’ve got 99 problems and fascism is most of them.

Mama:  Hahaha!

Kuma:  All that spiritual ascension, and yet he himself couldn’t levitate past airport securitah.

star pilot live
Hoodie:  I was so looking forward to meeting him and catching him live too!!  Another time, though, I suppose.  Regardless, he was definitely missed at BRK.  What a bucketload of rotten dickbutts, man.  Ew.

Kuma:  Seriously: that was a load of bs ever heard any, and I work in a public hospital: bullshit is my dayjob.  That being said, you guys did manage to luck out with BSK!  I can’t believe he came all the way from Japan to play at BRK!

Mama:  He melted faces.

Hoodie:  NO KIDDING, MAN.  That… just… I DON’T EVEN

Kuma:  No…no you have to clarify this for me because that was one of the sets I unfortunately missed.

Mama:  I was thinking about crowd surfing up until that point, and then he made the energy in the room go SO HIGH.  I decided that I had to go up.

Kuma:  On a scale of 1 to Killer Instinct, how many faces did he melt!

Hoodie:  Outside of Ralp at Blip 2011, I haven’t had much exposure to Japanese chip (especially live). [writers note: Ralp is from Spain {Hoodie note: OOPS! :3} ].  In general, it has a completely different kind of energy/feel.  So frenetic & hyper & AWESOME.

Mama:  People talk about 4 to the floor, that man was all 8 out the GATE.  As in all 8 cylinders (Bran was looking at me askance from across the room)

Kuma:  D=

Remy:  BSK did Mario at a rave.

Hoodie:  Hahahahaha!

Kuma:  DAN FINISH UPLOADING THE VIDEOS ALREADY!

bsk breaking it down

Photo courtesy of Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Hoodie:  Even as awesome as he was, I can’t call it my favorite performance of BRK. Mostly because I’m not sure I *CAN* pick a favorite. Everything was SOOOO GOOOOOOD~  And that sounds generic & lame BUT GORRAMIT IT’S TRUE!!!!

Kuma:  No.   No I’m not giving you that excuse.  Serious question time!  Pick a favorite performance!

Hoodie:  I’M THINKING.

Kuma:  DO IT NOW!

Hoodie:  IT’S HARD.

Mama:  HNGGG!

Hoodie:  I TRY NOT TO DO IT TOO OFTEN.

Remy:  No, it really is true.  A lot of BRKFest consisted of once-in-a-lifetime performances, things you just COULD NOT miss.

Hoodie:  HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Mama:  Can I do a top 3?

Kuma:  No.  While I believe all of you on how amazing these performances are, that doesn’t make you exempt from the question.

Hoodie:  Auxcide.

Something about his music that just *REALLY* resonates with me. And his energy live. Just… DAMN.

Auxcide chiptography

Photo courtesy of Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Kuma:  Nice.

Hoodie:  THAT WAS HARD!  DAMN YOU FOR MAKING ME PICK!

Kuma:  Your turn rynamom!

Mama:  Since Bran picked Auxcide (and therefore our parental obligation is filled), I’m gonna probably pick SMILETRON, cuz of the feels.  I’m all about the feels.

Remy:  SMILETRON Plays the Feels

Hoodie:  Yeah.  He’d be my favorite for that reason.  I HAVE DIFFERENT FAVORITES FOR DIFFERENT REASONS.  SUCK ON IT.

Kuma:  Remy, that’s a bad album cover waiting to happen, no matter how true it is.  Btw, it’s your turn!

Hoodie:  C’mon Remy.  Man up.  CHOOSE.

Remy:  I really wish I could back my way out of this, hahaha.

Hoodie:  NOPE.  Time for you to pick and have that pick made public for all the world to see.

Kuma:  Here, I’ll help.  Of the performances I did see, I think the one I liked most was andaruGO!  Andrew’s a sweet heart and I love his energy on stage. I just wish he played MACHINDER during his set.  Other than that, he pretty much played his new album live before releasing it was awesome

Hoodie:  HE WAS AWESOME.  His energy was NUTS!!!!  But that’s andaruGO for you hahaha!  Meeting him was great, too.  Meeting *EVERYONE* was so damn great!!!

And yeah, it’s (his new album) gonna be KILLER.

Kuma:  Nice.  Okay, Remy: it’s your turn.

Remy:  I would say Solarbear, because his performance drove home the fact that, holy shit, I was at BRK.  It happened.  How, I do not know.  Plus east coast chip is just so much better than west coast.  Really, I don’t know what meds people are on to think otherwise.

Mama:  Oh jeez

Kuma:  Very true.  On all accounts. Besides, its not like crashfaster is worth half the music they make.  (just kidding, I love Morgan and crew.)

Mama:  DON’T TALK BAD ABOUT MY CRASHFASTER!  Long live chip with words!

Hoodie:  Other favorites: Roboctopus really got me dancing, an0va was amazeballs (my first time to see *JUST* him live vs. w/ Cheap Dinosaurs), SMILETRON (again), Protoflight (he’s 15!!!), SSD Engage (I EXPLODED WHEN THEY PLAYED 1973!!!), shanebro, & Trey Frey.  And everyone else. Because yeah.

AND THE DATATHRASH PRESHOW AS WELL!!!

Remy:  Yeah, I’ll probably take a lot of flak for joking about east/west chip but whatever. Solarbear is ok.  He doesn’t drag us down TOO much.

Hoodie:  …I missed Solarbear’s set…. ;___;

Mama:  I’d like to tip my proverbial hat to Protoflight. Cuz he’s only 15 and ohmigosh he was amazing.

Remy:  Yeah, Yung Cunni’s got mad skillz

Hoodie:  But then again, SOLARBEAR SUX SO WHO CARES.

Kuma:  Dood that preshow!  I feel like the Datathrash crew doesn’t get the love they deserve! how was that?  Did EGR himself play?

ERG datathrash

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Hoodie:  IT WAS GREAT!!! Having to get up early enough to be there at noon after night one was kinda rough, though.  hahah Coffee shop across the road saved the day once again.  What was that one random band with the drummer that I’d never heard of before (that played the preshow)?

Mama:  Sludge Metal Ice Cream Truck.

Hoodie:  SLUDGE METAL ICE CREAM TRUCK!!  They were badass!!

The hour long open mic they (The Preshow) opened with was pretty sweet too!

Kuma:  I think that’s the most badass name I’eve ever heard for anything ever

Hoodie:  hahaha Yeah, they had me on name alone.

Remy:  The Datathrash show kicked off pretty early and was less hyped comparably but I can guarantee you that everyone gave 100% up there.  Whether you’re playing to ten people or one hundred in that capacity is irrelevant, everyone who took that stage was impressive in their own right.

Hoodie:  ^ THAT.  Remy busted out a couple of jams on the spot for the open mic, too.  IT WAS AWESOME.

Remy:  Plus, The Dutchess’ tore the fucking roof down with his Wish cover, and that was with about twenty people around the stage.

Hoodie:  HOLY SHIT!  I DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE THE DUTCHESS WAS GLENN UNTIL BRK!  HE WAS AWESOME!!!

Kuma:  And that’s the thing I love most about chip: no matter what the skill level, everyone gives what they can and everyone supports with all their heart in return. I love it.  Also, yeah, Glenn Bauer busts out some crazy stuff!  But that’s what happens when you make music around guys like an0va and skgb!

Hoodie:  Haha GOOD POINT.

Remy:  Nothing but love for Philly chip.

Hoodie:  Introducing Dobbins (and a handful of others) to the majesty that is Sam Adams Cherry Wheat on the final night was a highlight, as well.  I apologize to all of you in advance for the alcoholism this is sure to cause.  And props to one of my roomies, Jason Doss aka Square Therapy for bringing that!  Prevented me from being sad once I discovered they didn’t have it at the bar.

Remy:  Pff, you can’t get drunk off Cherry Wheat.

Mama:  Yes you can, I’ve seen it.

Hoodie:  OH YES YOU CAN.

Remy:  Grow a liver.

Kuma:  I think Hoodie’s liver is specifically designed to get drunk off cherry wheat

Remy:  Hahahahaha!

Mama:  And Jason brought goodies from Starbucks! Breakfast bar because of him.

Hoodie:  TRUTH.

Kuma:  But to be fair, a lot of us got drunk off poor man anger juice at blip and you don’t see us complaining.  “Poor man’s anger juice” being Pabst Blue Ribbon.

pabst blue ribbon

Hoodie:  POOR MAN ANGER JUICE LOLOLOLOL!  THOSE WERE ON SPECIAL AT THE BAR.  I drank a few.  They’re still fucking awful.

And Dustin, well… he didn’t really bring anything except himself.  BUT THAT’S OKAY. *BUTT*DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWG~  hahahhahahhahha!

Kuma:  Wait, what about his sax?

Hoodie:  No, he forgot.  NEXT TIME.

Kuma:  Oh, that sucks.  But yeah, Pabst is terrible.  Glenntai and I came to the conclusion that Pabst is armpit juice, cause that’s exactly what it smells like

Remy:  At Blip ’12, 99% of us paid 1% prices for 5% alcohol by volume

Hoodie:  Seriously: good beer has ruined my ability to drink shittastic lager.  At least until I run out of money, and then I can still destroy some Bud Light. XD

Kuma:  Oh man Bud Light!  I can’t remember the last time I had a beer that wasn’t Pabst, a Sam Adams specialty flavor or Brooklyn brewery!  Fuck, now I gotta pick some up!

Mama:  Beer is gross. I found some amazing ginger ale at the bar.  And made it “special” for myself.

Remy:  Hoodie showed me some good picks at Al’s, too. He’s very adventurous with his beer drinking.

hoodie and his beerHoodie:  Yeah, I’m all about tastier brews nowadays. Cheap shitty lager still works in a pinch, though.

Remy:  Beer is SO gross. Fuckin’ love it.

Hoodie:  HAHAHAH YES!

Mama:
Hahaha!

Hoodie:  There were a few local brews that were tasty, but I think that Country Boy Cougar Bait was my fav.

Mama:  I had some peach gin, one of the tiny bottles, and I put it in a big glass of that Ale 8-1. It was divine.

Remy:  The Cougar Bait was hella rad.

Hoodie:  And those nachos.

Mama:  Went great with my bison burger with balsamic and grilled green apples.  The nachos!  Home made tortilla chips!

Hoodie:  Fuck me, man!  If we lived in Lexington, I’m pretty sure we’d all be going to Al’s to grab nachos and beer after this interview. hahahaha!

Remy:  Not even kidding, I could live in that bar.

Mama:  We three would have a booth.  It would have our name on it!

Hoodie:  I mean, seriously, that’s one of those joints that makes a place worth living at. haha!

Remy:  Fuck it Hoodie, let’s just do it anyway.  Let’s go right now.

Remy:  LET’S GO.

Kuma:  Remy, you had Institute tots: how do those nachos compare to loaded tots?

the institute tots

Remy:  Damn, that’s a hard question.  I would have to say the nachos win this round but I’m gonna have to eat that Institute jawn again, doe.

Hoodie:  Yeah, I’m definitely going to have to eat something after this interview. XD  I miss Al’s.

Kuma:  Same, man. I might go to the Mexican spot down the street and get some nachos, myself.

Hoodie:  I think it’s a testament to Al’s greatness that we’ve spent about as much time talking about the bar as we have BRKFest. hahahhaa

Remy:  Spot on, Brandon.

Hoodie:  AND EVERYONE THERE WOULD AGREE THAT IT’S DESERVING.

Kuma:  That being said, BRK sounds like it was incredible in every single way imaginable. So now I gotta ask: what’s next for you guys?

Hoodie:  GOOD TIMES.  Also *VERY* nice to have a chiptune festival that’s in driving distance of where I live. hahaha

Mama:  Next adventure is Nerdapalooza!  Or is it Nashville, Bran?

Hoodie:  Working with some folk on a few smaller local shows, but nothing quite like BRK yet.  NASHVILLE.  That’s one of the shows. hahaha

Mama: Yay! Only 4 hours!

Kuma:  Wait, wait hold up for a second.  Nashville…you wouldn’t be talking about the first of the semi regular show series Roboctopus is looking to host out there, would you?

Hoodie:  YUP!  THAT’S THE ONE!

Kuma:  HNNNNNNNNNNNNNG!!!!!

Hoodie:  He, I, Arnie of Datathrash and a few other cool dudes are making this a thing.  It’s taken awhile (we’ve been brainstorming it since earlier this year??), but it’s gonna be worth it. I’m already sure of that.

Kuma:  YES!  You guys totally need it to be a thing! The Midwest suffers of terrible under representation!  I know kloudygirl tried to do street busks and such in Texas and a few others tried to do the same here and there, but damn you guys need an 8static.

Mama:  Yes it does!  And we’ve got really talented folks in this region.

Hoodie:  MAN OH MAN DO WE EVER!!!

Kuma:  I’m so glad this is finally happening for you guys

Hoodie:  With a little time and effort and WORK, maybe this’ll turn into that.  Time will tell.

Kuma:  I hope so.  Even if its not strictly chip, I know you guys can make something wonderful happen there…as long as you have Amanda Lepre doing everything…which she’s already doing, so it’s gonna be a okay.

amanda lepre

Hoodie:  HAHAHAHAHA!  Her and Danimal do indeed do *ALL THE THINGS*.

Remy:   Yeah, no kidding.

Hoodie: I do enough of the things.  That’s good enough for me.

Kuma:  Seriously. I love what I do in the scene, but I can’t do what they do, let alone what you do, and god help me if I try to do what Kilpatrick does, cause I dunno how he does it.

andrew kilpatrick

Mama:  AK is cray cray

Hoodie:  Fuck that guy. He’s an asshole. ♥

Kuma:  I only know one asshole in this scene, and just like Bigfoot, his existence is questionable at best.

Mama:  ^Thats how Brandon expresses his man-love.

Hoodie:  I put a ♥ after that statement. That clears it all up.

Mama:  Of course, sweetie

Kuma:  What about you, Remy?  What can we expect of you in the next few months?  Same for you, Erin.  I know you and Bran are joined at the hip, but can we expect more Ryn vox?  Also, when can I expect mah cookehs?

Remy:  It’s always up in the air, man.  I never know what events I’ll make it out to or when I’ll have a release so I try not to make a big deal out of anything.

Hoodie:  DEFINITELY!  She’s in the midst of working on some more collab goodness as we speak!  As far as cookies, that’s up to her.  I try to eat all of those I can.  Y’all can get your own damn cookies!!!

Mama:  There is more Ryn vox in the works!  Princesses in Another Castle is working on getting a few songs together, and I’m in the early stages of a 5 track EP in collaboration with NickelPUNK. I’m super excited

Kuma:  Eh its all good, Remy.  I know nothing’s set in stone but it makes me happy that you’re doing your thing. And more Ryn vocals yay!

Remy:  I’m just keeping relaxed and focusing on having some modicum of output. I’m not going to release a Teaching Machine or an Information Chase my first time around and that’s okay.

Kuma:  Like wise: I don’t expect any EP I put out to sound amzing, but I’m happy my newer stuff sounds a little more Decktonic as of late.  I think that about wraps up everything here.  Thanks a lot guys!  This was fun!  We should definitely do it again!

Mama:  Thank YOU. I hope you can make something coherent out of our rambling

Kuma:  Oh, I definitely will

Remy:  If you put an egg in your shoe and beat it, it’ll glue everything right back together.

Hoodie:  Thank you! This was pretty damn fun!  Next BRK? YOU BETTER BE THERE!
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Thanks for tuning for this special edition of RC!  Don’t forget to follow BRKFest on Facebook to keep up with the lastest shenanigans, as well as updates on media uploads pertaining to it!  Special Thanks go out to Hoodie, Ryn and Remy for this interview, as well as the many numerous artists who contributed to BRKFest, to Clipstream for making this a global experience for those who couldn’t make it in person, and to Chiptography for use of her immaculate photos in this article, as well as generally continuing to chronograph the awesomeness that is the chiptune scene!  Peace!

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BRKFest:
BRKfest.org | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter |

Clipstream:
Facebook | Twitter | Ustream

Chiptography:
Facebook | Chiptography.com

Hoodie:
Facebook | Twitter

Ryn:
Facebook | Twitter | Chip Mom

Remy:
Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

The A_Rival/Inverse Phase Mini-tour: Richmond Edition

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It’s not often I get to say that Richmond gets cool chiptune concerts coming through here. We did have Anamanaguchi a while back, but for the most part if you like chiptunes in Richmond you’ve got to go to MAGFest, or go to one of the other crazy shows on the East Coast. But here in Ol’ Virginny? Not much goes on, which is what makes the spontaneous shows like this awesome.

In fact, everything about that show was fantastic – it took place at Gallery 5, which as with much of Richmond, has been repurposed from some random brick building into a gallery/venue. What’s cool is that it’s actually Richmond’s oldest firehouse, as well as oldest police station/jail, so the stage (and bar) are set up where the fire trucks used to go, and the rest of the building is set up as a museum. It’s a pretty neat place (the first time I went there, there was a Tom Petty cover band playing, and I lent the lead singer my top hat for a few songs), and since the dudes who run the joint are totally cool, we might expect more things to come here! What was even cooler is that because the downstairs at Gallery 5 is fairly open, the other room that the stage and bar weren’t set up in was packed with oldschool games – provided by the wonderful Bob Broomfield, owner of the Carytown Play ‘N Trade and general all-around radical dude. A_Rival stomped me in Street Fighter 2 on the SNES no fewer than three times in a row – dude plays a mean Ken.

DA SHOW

Can you see the fun Mike is having? CAN YOU?!

Can you see the fun Mike is having? CAN YOU?!

I want to preface this next part by giving thanks to the unofficial official photographer, Stephen Roberts – he was kind enough to share his album with us, and he got some fun action shots. If you want more than the few pictures I slap in here, you can check his album on Facebook.

So officially on the list, there was A_Rival, Inverse Phase, and Cuttlefish, with Datacats on visuals (Datacats does visuals now, protip). There was also the return of Mike Peloquin, AKA Open Mike AKA Not-That-Open Mike AKA Pelololoquin as the opening act, doing some Franz Ferdinand and Queen covers, which was totally fun. Also, Datacats went up and did double duty, both by setting up the visuals as well as playing an open mic set (because he’s multitalented and he can do that).

Seriously, Chris is awesome.

Seriously, Chris is great.

As to the main show, it started with Cuttlefish, who you may remember from my 8-Bit Invasion writeup as that guy who, living up to his stagename, was ludicrously hard to locate, let alone turn up any information on. As it happens, though, he was hiding in Richmond the whole time! And just like last time, his set was brain melting. He also had a friend of his come up and do a duet with him, which was super great. (I think he might have also been responsible for like a fifth of the crowd, and it was NOT a small crowd, so we can say he totally brought the ruckus.)

And then he used Chaos Control and became Super Cuttlefish.

And then he used Chaos Control and became Super Cuttlefish.

After that, Inverse Phase got up and started off his set with a Name That Tune game, giving away such swag as t-shirts and CDs. He went on to do a considerably long set, going through much of Pretty Eight Machine and some of his other fun covers. He then had A_Rival show up and spit some lyrics on top of one of his tracks, and the set was over. The crowd took some time to buy some merch, buy some beer, and generally prepare their bodies for the wave of music that was to come.

IP totally met Trent Reznor and told him about P8M. Apparently he was super down with it. Success!

IP totally met Trent Reznor and told him about P8M. Apparently he was super down with it. Success!

I’d like to take a second and talk about everyone’s setups thus far. Mike and Inverse Phase had laptops running trackers, Cuttlefish and Datacats had Game Boys running LSDJ (not including Cats’ laptop running visuals from the AV booth). But A_Rival was totally fancy, rocking his Mac with two iPads feeding in to adjust volume and various other effects for his tracks. I snuck a peak when he was testing stuff before the show, and it’s pretty fantastic. I’m a big fan of being space-age and future-y with tablets, so this completely rocked my socks.

As to his set, A_Rival played through the entirety of his new album, Truthcannon. Now, I’m fairly, uh, unknowledgable when it comes to the EDM/dubstep/etc scene, believe it or not, so I was moderately unprepared for what happened next – all I can say is that it was an explosion of electronica in the best possible way. After he wrapped up the new album, he then went on to play one of the hypest tracks I’ve ever heard live.

I kept wanting to scan his QR Code shirt, but it's lies! ALL LIES!

I kept wanting to scan his QR Code shirt, but it’s lies! ALL LIES!

This show was too good. Mad props to all involved. If you missed it, I feel for you – but hopefully, you’ll have more chances to see them all live soon! Hit up those Facebook links above to keep track of where they’re gonna be, and hit up the music links below if you want to get a taste of what you could have heard if you’d been there! (Or what you did hear if you were there, like a cool kid!)

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Datacats | A_Rival | Inverse Phase | Cuttlefish

ChipWIN Tracks: #18 – #23

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Hey toys and joys! It’s your boy Kuma back from his hiatus fighting gorillas and asking people to tell me their secrets!  And in turn, I’ve learned so many things.  So, so many dark and terrible things about all of you.

Muhahahahahahahahahahaha!

Muhahahahahahahahahahaha!

But that’s not what this is about!  This article is about us pushing to get these ChipWIN Volume 1 write-ups written & released so we can make way for the upcoming Vol. 2!
So with that being said, let’s get started!

ChipWin Track 18:  Total Disaster by deadbeatblast

Founder of the BitMasters netlabel — which has produced work by artists such SMILETRON, Whitely, StarPilot and Kedromelon — the Canadian who calls himself Jake Deadbeat is incredibly skilled at what he does.  Whether you’re into jungle dnb, ambient breakbeat or thematically epic chiptune, if you enjoy music that both inspires intense moods and visuals as well as makes you want to get up and bust-a-move, this is an artist you should definitely pay attention to.  You can check out deadbeatblast’s other work (including my favorite song by him, Hyperspace V. 1.2) on Soundcloud, or follow what he and several other artists are up to through his netlabel.

ChipWin Track #19: The Out by crashfaster

Founder of 8bitSF and co-counder of monobomb records along with minusbaby, Morgan Tucker may arguably be the most prominent and passionate promoter and producer of lo-fi electronic music and chiptune on the west coast, and his love for both is evident in everything he does.  Having rocked a of wide array of abandoned tech from modded Gameboys and C64s to Vocoders and 808s, crashfaster has crafted some of the catchiest chiptune as an artform that the genre has to offer. Creating songs with incredibly dancey rhythms and drum lines to reflective lyrics like those of the song “time” to instrumental grooves such as “ascension”, Morgan knows how to get a crowd moving  (even if it is to lyrics that are sometimes heartbreaking as hell).

Perhaps the most notable aspect of crashfaster is its transformation from being a formidable solo act to being a 4 person hivemind with the inclusion of Ryan Case on guitar, Devin Nixon on drums, and Amy English with her incredibly sultry vocals. The result has been an act that has gone on to rock some of the coolest venues across the country, including the DNA Lounge in San Fran, I/O Chip Music showcase in NYC, PAX East Jamspace 2013, and, most importantly, MAGFest 11 this past January. If crashfaster is your thing, you should definitely keep up with them on Facebook, and check their homepage for upcoming events.

ChipWin Track #20: Harmonix by Iamcloud

Surprisingly young for someone in the chiptune scene, Frostbyte — the artist formerly known as Iamcloud — is a classically trained guitarist whose tutelage has provided a strong musical foundation for an artist who has gone on to rock the monthly Ustream concert series Clipstream by producing electrical, vivid, colorful music that invokes as much passion aurally as it does visually.  The result is a synesthetic experience that can only be described as awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that even more prominent musicians such as Br1ght Pr1mate have taken the time to personally express their amazement at how deftly skilled Frostbyte is, as he and other young contemporaries such as Vince Kaichan and Dire Hit (other young upstarts who are also still in high school) have come to represent the full promise and potential of the next generation of chipmusic.  But don’t let Harmonix be the only evidence of his awesomeness: head on over to his Bandcamp and let albums such as SHUT IT AND DANCE 2012 EP speak for themselves.

ChipWin Track #21: Did You? by Fraktal Face

Patrick Phillips aka Fraktal Face is a regular attendee/participant of events like Pulsewave, I/O Chip Music and Control Flow in NYC as well as an artist on the Jellyfish Frequency netlabel and a staple of the New York City chipscene.  Whether he’s performing or composing, Pat brings a combination of videogame nostalgia and love of DnB, trance, 80s house, and techno to the chipscene and does it incredibly well.  The result, while sometimes lengthy (Patrick has become notorious for being the guy who needs more than 5 minutes at open mic) is always worth it.  Fraktal Face is one of the few musicians I’ve found in the chip scene that know how to not only build up to an awesome experience with each song, but know how to wind it down and end it just right, as well.  While “Did You?” is definitely a strong example of the amazing skill set he has as an electronic musician, “Battle Face” is a noisier, more frenetic example of this same skill that’s highly reminiscent of music from games of the 32Bit era of gaming, particularly games such as Zero Divide. Its unusually pleasing pitched noise frequencies, heavy bass and glitchy rhythms just make you wanna get down. If you wanna keep up with Fraktal Face, Soundcloud is the way to go. He doesn’t post frequently, but when he does, it’s always worth it.

Chipwin Track #22: Stardrive by NickelPUNK

A skilled musician who’s been honing his craft for 12+ years and has produced soundtrack work for various computer games, Sean combines his classical sensibilities with the passion of his inner gamer to create music that appeals to a wider audience than expected.  Whether it’s a foray into darker tones with industrial pieces such Trant Raznor, more traditionally sounding chip/vgm work he’s done for games such as Laser Bombs 2.Bro, or vocal tunes such as Lost the Deposit–a song that reflects on a relationship gone awry– NickelPUNK is an musician that consistently delivers powerful, thought provoking music with each release he puts out.

For those of you who are digging Stardrive, or for those of you who enjoy vocals with their chiptunes, I do highly recommend downloading I Miss Boston or his surprise release EP, All I Could Do (which features a track with vocals from our very own Ryn!).  I also recommend checking out his work on Soundcloud, as you can also listen to music he’s contributed to video games such as Bosses Forever 2.Bro, as well as a preview track off his soon to be released EP, The Image of Cool.

Chipwin Track #23: Special Beam Cannon by Chip’s Challenge

Taking their name from the signature puzzle game of yesteryear, this young trio of upstarts from Rochester who have helped define the upstate New York chiptune scene deftly combine their skills to make aural awesomeness.  The fusion of Karl von Steuben’s hard hitting drums and joyful synths and chips coupled with the rhythmic chords of Zach Sigmund’s guitar and groovaliciousness and topped off by the syncopated licks of Ben Wheeler’s bass result in instrumental mayhem that would make lovers of Rush’s YYZ turn their heads and say “Woah”.  From tracks such as “One More Step“, which is reminiscent of post rock legend Maybeshewill’s “I’m in awe, Amadeus!”, to their signature self proclamation song “We are Chip’s Challenge”, this mathematical trifecta has crafted a formula that consistently results in infectious, face melting music to party hard to!  Don’t take my word for it: hit up their Soundcloud or better yet, their Bandcamp and download their live album Chip’s Challenge Live(s)!, and marvel at the fact that this is one band that’s just as amazing in person as they are in studio.

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Relevant Links:
Artist Facebook Pages:
Deadbeatblast | crashfaster | Frostbyte |
NickelPUNK | Chip’s Challenge

Artist Music Access Pages:
Deadbeatblast | crashfaster | Frostbyte | Fraktal Face |
NickelPUNK | Chip’s Challenge

Record Labels and Promotional Venues:
Rochester Chip | Jellyfish Frequency | 8bitSF | monobomb |
BitMasters | I/O | Chipmusic | Pulsewave | 8static

Post-Madicon Hype/Detox ChipWIN-tern Breakdown

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Heydily-ho, chipperinos! Now that my body has had a chance to recover from Madicon, I can finally take the time to tell you about Saturday, or “Hey, Let’s Put All The Chiptune Stuff On This Day” day.

Inverse Phase kicked off the day bright and early at 10am with his “History of Soundchips” panel, which I really recommend if you ever get a chance to go and watch it (he does this at most conventions he attends). It’s an overview of many of the different soundchips that have been involved in chiptune production through the years, from the various kinds of Atari chips all the way up through to the crazy personal computer chips like in the Commodore 64. I still can’t keep them all straight  – but he’s been doing this for 20 years, so he’s had a little more time to. That panel bled into his next panel, which was a talk titled “Making Chiptunes 101”. This is the other panel that he typically does whenever he’s invited to conventions – basically, he asks for a music suggestion from the audience, and then shows you how to write it using Milkytracker, which is a fun little PC tracker which is great for making chiptunes (you DO have to have your own WAV files to give it voices for the instruments, but those are easy enough to obtain.) This time around, he did “Crash As You Are”, a Megaman-flavored rendering of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” It was hilarious!

In other paneling news, DJ Cutman gave a really informative “How To Make a Beat” panel, demonstrating how to use Ableton to funkify yo’ remixes. The panel almost didn’t happen due to both the fact that Macs hate being compatible with literally anything and that there wasn’t an HDMI port for Cutman to hook up to, but thankfully datacats swooped in to save the day and they ran the presentation from there. He ended up taking Terra’s Theme from FFVI (or FFIII, if you’re talking about the American SNES port) and added some sweet hip-hop drums behind it. It’s a really great panel – there’s a lot of basic theory that Cutman goes over that is applicable not just in hiphop but in any kind of music you want to make. As an added bonus, he explained some of the major key features of Ableton above and beyond those pertaining to simple hip-hop funkification – all sorts of fun things like how to sync your beats per minute from one piece of your music to another, things like that. If you’re looking to start doing some legitimate mixing I’d suggest you  take a look here – I mean, sure, you’ve got your ProTools and your Fruity Loops and your Cubase, but Ableton is really intuitive. AND THAT’S NOT ALL – if you act right now (and by right now I mean whenever), you can actually get lessons from DJ Cutman! The panel he gave is actually a condensed version of an eight one-hour session Skype class that he teaches, so if you’re interested, shoot him a message on his Facebook!

The main events, of course, were the concerts. Inverse Phase and Cartoon Bomb did some sets during the day, which rocked as always, As an added bonus, DJs Cutman & Super Sonic, as well as datacats and Cartoon Bomb all “busked” in one of the open areas of the convention area as they were preparing for the evening. Datacats ended up DJing behind a fundraising event, followed by Cutman laying down some nice disco and house beats while the rave got set up. DJ Super Sonic took over the rave, making it all dub-tastic, but once again the room sought to thwart our fun and datacats swung in to save the day with his laptop. DJ Dr. Wily also made a brief appearance, though he managed to disappear before DJ Cutman got to the rave, of course.

So that’s it! Well, wait, no, that’s ALMOST it. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Jon St. John, one of the most beloved members of the MAGFamily, was in attendance, and hung around during datacats’ set while he got his face painted by the folks at Tainted Reality (pictured below, photo credit Shawn Morgan). By the end of it he looked monstrous, which seems about par for the course if my experiences with him have taught me anything. And speaking of MAGFamily, there were many more of them rolling around the con! And many of us (myself included, of course) ending up having a miniature MAGStock at Bill Del Gallo’s house. Good times were had by all in attendance, lemme tell ya!

So basically: Do you like MAGFest? Do you like smaller conventions, where you can be a little more intimate with the guests (NOT LIKE THAT) and get to talk to them and learn from them? Maybe you should give Madicon a try next year.

WIN-tern out! We’ll be back next time with more Spotlight!

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EDIT: Datacats himself caught an error in my attributions – Mike Peloquin didn’t take the Jon St. John picture, Shawn Morgan did! Mike’s actually the guy in the background of the picture. A No Prize for you, datacats!

MADICON HYPE ANNOUNCEMENT!!

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31459_10200262918846896_234684659_n

Yo wait what? What’s all this then?
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT IT IS, RANDOM INTERNET PERSON.
IT’S THE HYPEST SHIT THIS SIDE OF MAGFEST!!

So let’s bust this down: MADICON is an annual science fiction convention aka GEEKFEST that’s presented by James Madison University’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Guild. It’s been happening for over 20 years now in some form or fashion, which includes March 8th-10th 2013 (i.e. THIS WEEKEND!!). They’ve had some pretty major authors and artists come through in the past (Rob Balder of Erfworld, Jim Butcher of the Dresden Files, Kelly Turnbull of Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, the list goes on).

But this year — oooooh man this year — this year, it’s a mini MAGFest.
Jon St. John will be in attendance; chipmusic & VGM is being well represented via DJ Cutman, datacats, DJ Super Sonic, Inverse Phase, and Cartoon Bomb; Inverse Phase is even up to his old tricks, hosting a plethora of chiptune panels throughout the weekend, so if you want to get your learn on, you’re covered there too!

There are, of course, many other things to do – there are several LARP groups, the 501st Storm Troopers, and a whole slew of authors to tickle your fancy. It’s also in Harrisonburg, which is quite a lovely little town if you’ve never been. And to top it off the con is only 20 bucks for the full weekend, and staying in town isn’t terribly expensive. Plus, there are some great bars downtown (and perhaps some parties happening nearby? WHOOOOO KNOOOOOOWS!?!?!?), so if you’ve broken your hype circuits, you can pop down to the bar and grab a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat to recharge and be back on your merry way.

I, Adam Seats, will be in attendance, of course, so if you want to say hi, feel free! I’ll probably be wearing my ChipWin shirt to be easier to find. And if you’re not on the Madicon Facebook event page, HOP ON. Hope to catch you there!

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