ChipWIN Comps Historical Context: Year Two
Time for part two of this rambly, nostalgic blurb on ChipWIN comps “historical context”. If you missed the first entry, go read that
and then come back and continue on here after the break.
Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie here. After taking a month off for MAGFest craziness, I’m back with a brand new edition of my interview column, Hoodie Highlights! This one features a fun & informative chat with a lovely couple of bracketheads who just rocked faces at MAGFest 13 & released a killer new album!
Of course I’m talking about the dynamic duo of jmr & streifig of Marshall Art! Enjoy!
Hey everybody, Glenntai here again with another
round of hype and opinions loosely based on minor credibility and experience passing off as expertise album review! This time, we’re going to a subject very relevant to most of the internet forum subcultures as a dedication to the shenanigans of old and respectively new… or for those familiar with the term, old/newfa… arts. DAMN IT, those terms are just too offensive to innocent people. I can’t say it. We should be more careful of the words we use these days. After all, this is going on the internet, and the internet is…
Chiptunes = #SrsBsns (Serious Business) is a 22-track compilation comprised half of veterans and half of newcomers to the compilation series dedicating songs to a meme of their choice. That was the only guideline aside from no direct covers (an exception being made for one song in particular… you can most likely guess which one.)
We know you’ve been asking for every artist’s information, so we made sure to add all of their links to each specific song’s info section. If you dig the jam, you can…
Now enough of my rambling, let’s get onto some reviews and opinions on each track!
Glenntai – FUUUUUUUUUUUU (Apple Day Surprise)
The smooth, alternating jazz chords at the beginning with the monologue seemed appropriately cheesy for a compilation based on memes. What he then brought was something completely different than what we would expect from this fan of funk and swing beats… he broke out his first attempt at chip thrash. wait wait wait, this is about Glenntai?
FUCK GLENNTAI. -11/10 “BEST INTRO EVER BUT #FUCKGLENNDUBOIS .” – IGN
He gets the award for the only two references to SomethingAwful made throughout this album, though.
coda – PLS GO FAST
A highly-respected musical machine in his own right, as well as a veteran musician from the *chan pre-popularity-peak era (as well as the originator of the 8bit cover of Chocolate Rain… youtube it, you’ll thank him later;) Coda hardly needs an introduction to people who have known him from his soundtracks or some of the finer pieces now stored within the /f/ archive.
If you haven’t, be introduced to his very tempo and syncopation-shifting FM track based off of primarily Sonic-series instruments in only OpenMPT (and as he specifically states in the info section, “No VSTis.” Purists rejoice!) With elements of anything from funk to ragtime and your average four-bar EDM track, coda has proven almost timelessly that he can deliver even some of the hottest jams.
YZYX – I nyaned for hours ( ‘ w’)‼
YZYX has somehow managed to take the monotonous, almost droning earworm associated with Nyancat and made it actually listenable. Nyancat has been a tried, true and tired meme for a few years, and there are plenty of covers that take it towards an EDM route (ahem, guilty as charged, your honor;) but YZYX has offered enough variation to the song to make a tiring and repetitive track into something danceable, not repetitive in nature and playable in clubs that play more than Avicci’s “Levels” eight times in a row and try to bank their money off feigned-nerd clubber culture.
Here Between You and Me – Forever Alone
HBYM has rhythm expected from the early 2000’s-era pop rock bands and made a song exceptionally fitting to both the mood and spirit of the Forever Alone meme. Plenty of us can relate to the feelings (not necessarily the tales) within the lyrics while feeling the encompassing NES pulse channels’ vibrato and pitch slides that make one reminiscent of older Anamanaguchi tracks.
Theory of N – Bow Chippa Wow Wow
This electronic slow jazz with two-step percussion by Theory of N will keep you nodding your head the whole way through, especially with that deep square channel bass. It almost sounds like it could be a solid original track until you realize that it shares the same key as Careless Whisper and Sunstroke Project’s Run Away (sigh, yes, the epic sax guy song,) leading into some humorously well-timed licks of the famous sax solos.
Fun fake facts: 89% of people don’t recognize Run Away is Moldova’s only publicly-recognized hit. 99% of the people that did don’t know its originating country is Moldova. However, 100% of the people surveyed could see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’m predicting 100% of you will also thoroughly enjoy this track.
SingkongBalado – IDOUBLEDAREU
SingkongBalado starts off softer with a vocal sampling and duty-cycling arps providing a melody to soft chords right before SingkongBalado went full-force aboard the glitch/grime train to deliver a heavy, tension-focused track; appropriate for the meme. One could even imagine a dramatic scene, suspense building as you await the reaction to someone being double-dared.
Professor Shyguy – Helix Prophecy
Any fan of Clipstream (</shamelessplug>) might be familiar with this fantastic artist’s performances both on our web series and at our live showcase at MAGFest, leaving those uninitiated to Professor Shyguy’s golden voice and expertise on the simple pop song (as well as more complicated, not-as-pop songs) to enjoy this fantastic song giving tribute to Lord Helix and the prophecies within.
Maxo – Top Doge
Such Maxo. So doge. Much top. Wow.
On top of using chip elements to comprise the majority of the song, Maxo incorporated a similarly avant-garde and equally-painstaking practice of the K.K. Slider soundfont. In fact, the incorporation of K.K. genuinely puts the meme theme to the song, which is an otherwise light and bouncy, staccato-filled happy jam.
James Landino – lol, Chiptunes
A delightful reference to the only thing that people remember from YTMND except for its constant ripping-off of /gif/, James Landino brought Running in the 90’s back to life by keeping the Running in the 90’s rhythm and incorporating lyrics to replace the verse melody, returning to a simple and pure Running in the 90’s chorus. Although short, it was a fantastic moment to reminisce to times I almost received speeding tickets to this song.
Urizen – Ask Not for Whom the Jimmies Rustle (They Rustle for Thee)
When originally approached, it was expected that one member of Urizen was to do a track. Then I was presented with this track with the entire band portraying the dramatic tale of a valiant hero’s quest to prevent his Jimmies from rustling. The entire track is very reminiscent of a NES era action game, but the part I feel that really takes off in the song is once the rest of the band starts accompanying in lyrics, then immediately everything drops into the trollapalooza known as Guile’s Theme.
Rustle in peace, little jimmies. 4/1/2014 – 4/1/2014. There was no need to be upset.
Also, on a personal note, thanks for the free remaining handle of whiskey at NatsuCon, Urizen. If we cross paths again I’ll try to return the favor. I still don’t know why they scheduled me after you guys. <3
An0va – President Hoodie’s Theme
If you need an introduction to one of Philadelphia’s finest and busiest in the American chiptune scene, go find any of his tracks and prepare to feel silly for being left in the dark.
This track is a delightful little ditty depicting the light-hearted, adventurous follies of a mid-1900’s cartoon character opening tune. A notable difference is that, unlike the rest of the tracks, an0va specifically recorded his track to be at a lower quality. In addition, this track has no specific meme referenced to it, unless you count Hoodie’s typing language to be a walking meme in itself. I could almost imagine Hoodie himself replacing everyone in Steam Boat Willie, if it weren’t for the immediate anxiety of the idea of having more than one of that crazy man around in this world.
Watashimo – tfw no gf
For those of you who knew watashimo under his previous alias, shanebro, you’re in for a wild ride through the inner-workings of LSDJ. A two-channel chorused pulse echo leads the introduction and takes a step back to let the wav channel take lead, interchanging at different points. The song overall brings a reflective, sometimes nearly sad and nearly dreamy atmosphere, as if one was lost in thought absorbed over their own loneliness.
1000 Needles – Lost Lobos
When I was told this was about Insanity Wolf, I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately for all, 1000 Needles doesn’t disappoint. Period. I was pleasantly surprised by a lyrical verse encompassed by heavy guitars and noise that almost felt like it could keep you from being able to concentrate if you let it. The lyrics were humorous in nature by asking about Insanity Wolf’s child-stage history as if he was being evaluated.
K.O.M.H. – Y U NO PLAY 128 BPM
Kitty on My Head is a great example of playing with typical electronic music forms and putting them where he sees fit, all while maintaining a smooth transition from one to the other. This is a track filled with deep bass kicks and an infectious sliding WAV channel bass while the two pulse channels compete for which is the catchier melody. Once again a solid track from KOMH!
Sam Mulligan – The Coolest Story Bro
Sam Mulligan’s delightfully bouncy chip rock has taken on a life of its own in the last few years, but you can hear the polished results of his efforts in this song about a story that went nowhere. The sarcasm may have been lost on him, but his use of other popularized ironic phrases weren’t lost on me nor did they ever lose their charm coming from Boston’s resident Nerd Rock expert.
Shyabeetus – Chiptune Poop
I don’t care what anybody says, Shyabeetus is Philadelphia’s LSDJ WAV channel wizard, and if anyone tries to prove him wrong they’ll be smote by the barrage of custom kit instruments he has put into his tribute to the popular concept Youtube Poop.
Whether you’re all about Japanese Ronald McDonald, Pingas, Spaghetti, Gentlemen, Octagons or countless other YTP references, Shyabeetus has managed to put them all in there and manipulate each sound as if you were watching the video directly on youtube, itself.
Together We Are Robots – Pools Closed
A subject closely tied to several good memories of mine, Together We Are Robots manages to take the Habbo Hotel Raids and depict the story of many men’s struggles against MOD-Cleo and her band of (allegedly) racist moderators preventing their enjoyment of the pool, and later on protest due to the high levels of AIDS.
The use of a raspy voice to go along with guitar, wav channel bass, arp pulse chords and a highly effective hybrid between wav sample kits and the noise channel produce a very clean third wave ska element. The track itself is one of the few attempts of Chip Ska that have been made publicly available, period. I certainly wouldn’t mind more of this existing, friends, let’s get on this.
8BitJin – Click Here!
I only wonder what this could be, employing the tactic of click-baiting to reveal– DAMN IT. RICKROLLED AGAIN.
The evolution of the Duckroll, the Rickroll consisted of clicking a youtube link that promised one thing and then led you to the music video of Rick Astley’s pop hit “Never Gonna Give you Up.” This was highly over-popularized after it became not funny, as with every example the mass media has pretended to be “hip” with the “new crazy fads.” However, 8BitJin uses a wah lead that really takes precedence over the remainder of the track, much akin to how Rick Astley’s voice became a bigger focus of the song back in the 80’s. Very well-done cover, would click there again!
DJ McGranaman – Don’t Say His Name!
DJ McGranaman has made a hauntingly catchy track out of the famous Freakazoid skit, managing to incorporate custom cricket noises and the noise channel to introduce the track with a deeply syncopated hip-hop rhythm. While this occurs, the melody slowly evolves into an ominous overshadowing of the dire consequences should you utter his name. The end is sure to remind you of a childhood nightmare, and it felt so uncomfortably good.
Michael Zucker – Unstoppable
The one thing I can say, without a doubt, is that Michael Zucker has channeled the spirit of a T-Rex with grabby-claws and put it into music. May it have mercy on your flesh-snack of a body once it finds you.
Extent of the Ham – You Spin Me Around
Extent of the Ham (Jam) most certainly gets the award for the most challenging topic to spin a song from. Using VOPMex to bring in the tonal synths and a very funky bass line, it’s easy to get the feeling of an 80’s era pop song that was intentionally created to be too “weird” for audiences to follow. Regardless, Extent of the Ham did a fantastic job singing the stressed pleas of the misunderstood spider. However I will admit, much like the spider, I misunderstood the lyrics of the chorus for the first listen-through. At first I thought he was singing about Meatspin.
I’m incredibly glad I didn’t have to write about an ode to Meatspin. Thank you, Extent of the H/Jam. <3
D&D Sluggers – Slam Jam (of the Year)
D&D Sluggers manages to take a tried-and-true Quad City DJs track and throw into it various references from the secretly-required Guiles Theme to Jam of the Year, Storm Blooper’s “Somebody Stole All the Icecream!”, another reference to Epic Sax Guy, to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, to Trolololololing until halted by President Hoodie in the “production” booth.
This compilation is surprisingly delightful to all of those who would roll their eyes to all the abundant overusage of memes, a fantastic 22-track soundtrack to cause some shenanigans to, and a delight to all of us reliving days when the internet was a simpler (and easily much more offensive) time. Download it for free off of the Chiptunes = WIN Bandcamp, and make sure you have stairs in your household.
…DAMN IT HOODIE. I DIDN’T ADD THIS PICTURE. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
Sup y’all? =) Presidickbutt Hoodie here. For a good while now, folk in & around both the chip & VGM scenes have asked the very legitimate question, “Why in the everloving zombocon does Hoodie laugh at those gosh darned dickbutts so awfully much?”
Some have even surmised, “It’s only a matter of time before ‘Dickbutts = WIN’ becomes an actual thing.” Today, I’m here to unveil the beautiful dickbutt truth to all of you. Which is:
TIME TO DICKBUTT SOME ZOMBOFURKIN STUFF UP!!! #OHYEAH 8-)
And by that I mean, of course, 22 brand spanking new dickbuttunes to stick in your dickbuttholes however you dickbuttplease!!! Consider this to be “Expansion Pack: The Dickbutt Version” if you will (or don’t; you don’t have to; it’s a free country and shit).
Mastering by by Dj DICKBUTT, sequencing by Kubdickbutt, album artwork by Foxxdickbutt, and fully curated by yours dickbutt truly!
Because I’m a nice dickbutt, here’s the FULL ROSTER!!! (in advance for once…)
With a lineup that dickbuttitful, there’s no doubt it’ll go with everything!!!
Upvote on reddit HERE.
This dickbutt album will be the dickest butt that ever did butt some dick!!!
dickbutt dickbutt DICKBUTT DICKBUTT DICKBUTT DICKBUTT!!!11!11!111!!!11!1111!!1!
Has Hoodie finally lost his gorram mind?
Or is there something behind all of this dickbuttin’ insanity??
Stay tuned the 1st of April to find out!!
Same dickbutt channel, same dickbutt time!! 8========D
P.S. APRIL FOOL’S, DUH!! :3 Here’s the real teaser:
And link to 8 Bit Power Hour Facebook Event:
Hey everyone! Welcome back to Raw Cuts! Before we get started, last time I know that I promised you all that I’d be dropping a Solarbear interview next time I posted! That baby is still on its way, but due to conflicting schedules surrounding BRKFest, that interview’s been postponed to a later date. That being said, I’ve got an awesome interview for you with a rising star from Virginia! Taking a cue from Danimal Cannon, this dude combines sweet guitar skills with precise LSDJ composition and is definitely someone you should pay attention to you! Without further ado, I present my interview with Jason Doss aka Square Therapy!
Kuma: So tell me, Jason: I don’t know everything about you, but what I do know is that you’ve been making music for quite a while. Furthermore, you’ve shown yourself to be quite an eclectic artist. What first brought you to chiptune and how long have you been musician in the first place?
Square Therapy (ST): Well, if we’re getting technical, I started playing piano around three or four. My mom and her side of the family have always been musicians so I kind of fell into it by default; but, as far as chiptune/8 bit music goes, a lot longer than I make it out to be. I remember when I was about 10, I asked for this specific keyboard for Christmas because it had a “square wave” tone on it. I would sit and “write” what I thought to be music for my own little video game for hours. Though it wasn’t much more than me playing simple chords that I knew at the time haha.
Kuma: That’s rather cute, actually. I can see little you on a Casio just playing simple stuff at that age. That being said, your “own little video game”? Was it something imaginary you were doing or were you at the time planning on making a game? Do you still feel like that sometimes when you’re making music? Do you still approach it with that sense of childlike wonder?
ST: Haha It was a Casio, actually! And well, my dream ever since I was a kid was to write and compose music for video games! Which is also still a goal that I will continue to push for the rest of my life. In every little solo project I’ve done it has always contained a sense of chiptune, even before I knew what chiptune actually was.
Kuma: Have you had any luck pursuing that dream so far? I know guys like Jay Tholen, James Therrien of Br1ght Pr1mate and virt seem to have found success, or at least opportunities, in making music for games. Have any come up your way yet?
ST: Actually yes! Nothing major, but I’ve written for some college students that needed music for their projects and other small indie developers just for fun. It’s nothing I ever really plan on making money off of. Just a passion I really want to pursue.
Kuma: I’m actually glad you mentioned money, because money is always an issue that comes up eventually when it comes to music, or any form or artistic expression. When it comes to your music, your craft, are you passionate enough about it that you don’t care about making money off it or is it something you’d love to make your life professionally?
ST: Well, I will never charge for my music. I will stand by that no matter what. Every album that I produce will always be free for a digital download. Always. Now, for other formats such as vinyl and tape, then yes: that’s something I would charge for. And as far as writing music for someone else, I would say you would be paying more for my time than my actual work. Everything I write comes from my heart, and it’s something that I feel I’m just thankful for someone to listen to, money or not.
As far as shows go, a little gas and food cash never hurt anyone, but playing in front of a crowd is like a drug to me. Every time I get on stage it’s like getting a fix. So if I have to dish out cash for that fix, I would be willing to do that if it meant getting to play for people.
Kuma: Thats friggin beautiful, man. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone describe their music making or performing experience in that way in my interviews. Its quite touching.
That being said, you’ve been making music for a long time, and I remember you’ve been in a few bands before, particularly Zatsesuken (am I spelling that right?): a djenty, sorta metal band you were a vocalist for that was pretty damn awesome. Is making and performing chip compared to, say, metal like comparing a happy drug like E to a hard drug like Coke? Is each musical genre like a different high for you? And is there one high you prefer more than any, if so?
ST: Zantetsuken! ;D and actually yes! I’ve played/toured with metal bands more than anything else I’ve done, so it really is a different world and emotion. Playing metal is much more aggressive and anger focused, which is really not me at all. But then again, I have metal influenced songs that I write as Square Therapy, as well, so I guess I still go back to my roots from time to time. I never try to limit myself to any specific genre, though, which is why I love electronic music so much. I can do anything I want to with it.
In fact, I’ve already started working on my second EP which will contain many different genres. Some of what you’ll hear will include orchestral, rock, and ambient electronica, as well as singing in most songs. I’ve always felt that limiting yourself as a musician is one of the worst things you could do to yourself. It would be like living off nothing but pizza. Sure, I fucking adore pizza, but if I had to eat it every day and night, my body would hate me, as I would hate myself for never knowing anything other than pizza.
Kuma: It certainly would; although, if it were space pizza, I think I might be able to get by for centuries!
Kuma: Speaking of space pizza, let’s talk about your track you submitted for ChipWIN! First off, congrats for being one of the chosen artists to be represented on our second volume! How did it feel knowing you got selected out of nearly 150 entries?
ST: I can honestly say it was extremely rewarding. And after hearing the other tracks, I feel even more fortunate. I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed with a collection of artists before. So many different influences and styles as well as production. You can really hear a lot of personality in each song and I feel thankful to be a part of it! Also, on a side note of the whole Chiptunes = WIN community, I’ve never felt more welcomed in my life! A lot of music “nerds” can really come down heavy on you as a newbie to a community, but not at ChipWIN. I felt like everyone was instantly a friend, and it’s awesome to be a part of such a welcoming community, even if we are nothing but a bunch of shitty dickbutts!
Kuma: Hey hey hey! Dickbutts are not shitty! Butt tacos are! And they’re delicious!!!
ST: Okay, okay! I’m sorry! You’re completely right
Kuma: You’re forgiven…but I won’t forget. *salutes* I’ll never forget…
ST: It’s okay Kuma: I could never forget you, either! Not after MAG XI at least…
Kuma: Shhhhhh! Those are things people must never find out about!
ST: AND THEY NEVER WILL!
Kuma: Getting back on topic, though: the song you contributed was definitely full of energy and wasn’t anywhere near the angry or aggreissive energy you had with your metal at all. If anything, a lot of us were joking and complimenting at how Anamanaguchi the song sounded! Was that what you were going for at the time or was this just based on a fun, happy feeling inside and you decide to let it spill forth?
ST: Haha Well, even though I am a fan of the older Anamanaguchi, I wouldn’t say that was really a focus while writing the song. That song changed so much through out the writing process that I honestly don’t even know where the original idea came from. I wanted to bring out a lot of my personal feelings with 8 bit, as well as my love for other styles like post rock, as well. Which in all honestly, I probably listen to post rock and emo more than anything else. That and video game OST’s. But I am very pleased with the way the song turned out. I really wish I could go back and add guitar to it, which there is guitar on all the tracks in my upcoming EP except for an interlude. But I put a video up on YouTube of that song with guitar so I feel a little more content now. haha.
Kuma: Oh did you? I’ll definitely have to check it out! That being said, lets talk about your newest album, shall we? How long have you been working on this baby?
ST: That’s a funny question, actually. This EP is really some songs that I’ve written in the past 2 years and just brought back and added to. I was tired of releasing song by song and not having an actual product out there for people to download and listen to. But since I’ve decided to make it a release, I would say a couple months.
I’m also lucky to have been able to make the songs flow as well as they did with each other. I’m a firm believer in writing an album/EP as an entire piece or work rather than random songs on a track list, which is why I also feel that I will never release a full LP. I am extremely A.D.D., and find myself getting bored with my own work at times. So I figured the best thing for me is to just constantly release 3-5 song EP’s, each being a nice piece in its own. It will help me stay involved with my own music, and hopefully some listeners as well.
Kuma: Of what I’ve heard so far, I think its a good gamble. You know yourself well enough to keep yourself going and when to stop, and both are important. I must say, I do appreciate your view of wanting to make albums that flow and have a shared meaning to them, even if its not a concept album. That means a lot to the listener, and I think of what I just heard, not only have you done that well, but your post rock influences definitely shine brilliantly in this EP. Is there anything you, in putting this together, felt was a maybe or an almost you’d still like to put out there, but just weren’t ready to do yet?
ST: I think this EP is a great kick off to whats going to be an awesome chapter in my life. I’m very happy with this release, but I know there is a lot more that I am capable of on a personal level that will be featured in future EP’s. As I mentioned before, my next one contains a lot more elements than just chip and guitar. I also plan on doing a few remix EP’s, as well. I love to cover material as much as I love writing my own. It’s a lot of fun to take someone elses mind of music and turn it into your own little creation.
Kuma: Speaking of covers, should I take your love of chip and guitar as a hint at a possible Danimal Cannon cover? Huh? Hmmmm?
ST: Haha as much as I would love to do that, I don’t think I could ever be as satisfied with recreating something as awesome as he does. It’s funny you mention him actually, because I would honestly like to extend a shout out his way. Danimal Cannon has probably been one of my biggest inspirations in not only chiptune, but music in general. A lot of chiptune tends to run together for me, as I am not particularly a fan of dance; so when I happened to stumble upon him, I was blown away. He made me want to do what I do now: play guitar over chiptune and make it sound fucking bad ass. I still see him as a huge inspiration and look up to him very much. I’m a Danimal fanboy all the way. Consider him my chiptune Justin Beiber. In fact, I think my biggest goal for this ep would be to hear his personal feedback on it haha.
Kuma: Hopefully he gets around to reading this and is able to let you know. That being said, regardless of what comes of this album, I know we can expect great things from you. Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers in closing?
ST: First off, thank you! Thank you thank you thank you! If you ever decide to listen to even one minute to any of my songs, thank you! On that note, my new, self titled EP is out now! Name your price on Bandcamp and all that jazz. (EDIT: Scroll to the bottom of this interview to listen to it! =D ). This will also be followed by a livestream show I am having on 08.16.13 for my birthday!! It’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun and I hope everyone tunes in for the party!
Kuma: I hope they do, too! Jason, Square Therapy, it was a pleasure getting to interview you, my friend! I hope we get to do this again sometime! Peace!
Thanks again for tuning in with us here on ChipWIN! Don’t forget to keep up with Square Therapy on your preferred method of social media, as well as listening to his tunes on either Bandcamp or Soundcloud! Tune in next time as I provide you guys with a very special post BRKFest interview with some very cool people you all know! Ciao!
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!
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!?
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.
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.