This month, we were graced by a new Cheapbeats release written and produced by UK electronic artist, Gesceap. Released on May 4th, the seven track album is full of glitchy percussion and hypnotic melodies composed with Nanoloop. With a variety of digital elements comes a strong song structure created from from samples and soft synths. Interestingly enough, this was the first Nanoloop iOS album ever released on Cheapbeats, so on top of the sound being sublime, listeners can hear history unfolding right before their ears.
When I listen to a record, just like how when I make one, I tend to listen and check my mixes on both my studio speakers and headphones. I’m currently on the road and, as I write this, I’m limited to my iPhone speakers. Just from hearing it from this extremely limited audiosource, I can say the album’s mixes are done very well. The percussion cuts through perfectly, and the bass holds its own space without creating a centimeter of mud. While an album isn’t just about a great mix, I can honestly say that each track was wonderful to listen to and the album itself was easy to listen to at one time. As a whole, it was unique and beautiful, and I can see why Cheapbeats proudly released it.
Welcome back, Chipwinners! Judging from the good bit of positive feedback I got from you guys regarding last week’s Decktonicinterview, I’m guessing that you’re enjoying these! I’d like to thank all of you in advance for the support, and hope that you keep coming back here for more raw, unfiltered goodness!
That being said, this week’s interview lightens the mood some as we talk to Dylan Brown aka CompyCore, a dynamo of a chiptune artist and graphic designer who’s taken the time to talk to us about the finer things in life, such as art, clothing, and Skittles.
Kuma: So lets start with something simple. “Compy”: where’d this nickname come from? I’m a curious Kuma.
CompyCore : Compy is actually just short for Companion. It was an online alias that I would use for Half life 2 multiplayer. Eventually everyone started calling me “Compy” on there, and it became a thing.
Kuma: Ah, very cool. So did you come into the whole chiptune thing as a gamer first, or did chiptunes make their way into your life in a completely different way altogether?
Compy: Yep, video games have always had a HUGE impact on my life. I was raised by a Sega Genesis as a kid, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without games. It probs would be pretty boring.
Kuma: Is it also safe to assume that video games have also had an impact on your style as an artist, as well, or does that inspiration come from a different source altogether?
Compy: Definitely. I’ve been doing pixel art now for 12 years, and graphic design for 2. My start as an artist began as a 10 year old making shitty free ware RPGs with a program called the OHR RPG Creation Engine. Most of the work I did with it was solo, but I did have a few small projects I worked on with a friend of mine that went by “spoonweaver”. It was a fun little rpg creation engine that was really user friendly, and had a great supportive community behind it, too. Highly recommend it to anyone looking to get started into indie games. Back then I used the alias “blue pixel”, so you’d have to look that up to find my games.
Kuma: Very nice. Now that we’re on the topic of your art, I’d like to take the time to ask you about it more in depth, particularly about your most recent project: ToastyCo. After years of making art for and related to video games, and even making music using video game hardware and software, what was it in you that decided to go with clothing company?
Compy: Haha! It was actually a really random idea at the time that sorta snow-balled. The “Play it LOUD!” design was a class project in college, and all my friends and I thought it would make a great tee. I mentioned the idea to one friend of mine, and his neighbor does screen printing. From there, it snow balled into more designs, more interest from friends, more people hearing about it, and before you know it, I’d have 20 different items, and a clothing store opening.
The design that started it all.
Kuma: Lets talk about this store opening. When and where is it happening?
Compy: The store’s opening Friday, March 1st in Thurmont, Maryland, on Woodside avenue. The shop was an old hang out spot of mine as a kid. It was an old skate shop in town. It was the only real hang out spot in town, so I’d end up going there almost everyday and hang out with friends of mine. The owner of the building’s a friend of mine and he’s been trying to sell it for years. I feel like if I’m gonna have any success in this town it’ll be there, through the memories me and my friends have made there years ago. It only makes sense that it should be the first place I open a retail store. It’s a real small town though, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that it goes well.
Kuma: That’s quite a gambit, considering it is a small town, but from what I’ve seen from having partied with you at 8static and MAGFest, you’ve got energy in spades, my friend. Do you think you’ll be able to bring that same kinda energy to your sleepy little town as you do to the shows you party and perform at?
Compy: Maybe. I do plan on using the building as a venue for tons of parties/shows, so hopefully the people will get pumped about that. I’m also using the back of the store as sort of a “home base” for ToastyCo., giving me a place to do my own printing if I wanted to store shirts, etc. I’m sure it’ll take some time, but things will get going.
Kuma: I definitely have faith in you and your vision my friend, but what you just mentioned now about using it as a venue brings me to something else I wanted to ask you. From what I remember, you mentioned wanting to throw a chiptune party in commemoration of the stores opening. Now obviously, you’re gonna be performing there, but are there any other artists we can expect to see out there? Can we expect to see a regular scene in Maryland now that you’re opening your store?
Compy: It’s really hard to call that one. The only other chip artist driving distance from me right now is datacats. Trey Frey moved to like, 4 hours away. Kedromelon is up in your parts these days. I’m probably going to be the only chip artist preforming there regularly, but if anyone ever shows up, they’re more than welcome to have a stage to dance upon, and an ear to listen.
Kuma: I’m definitely glad to hear that. You know, regardless of how spread out the scene is, we’ve definitely seen success in small movements that grew and grew fast. Solarbear already has the second annual Brkfest in the works and the Piko Piko guys are skyrocketing right now. Disregarding what scenes are hot right now and your current priorities revolving around the store opening; if you could be in any one place–as far as chiptune is concerned–where would it be and why?
Compy: Oh, that’s hard! Haha! I guess either Detroit or Cincinnati I’ve got mad love for everyone in both communities there. I’m actually making my way up to Detroit for the first time this April.
Kuma: Very nice! Any chance of hearing anything new at these shows? I’d love to hear more stuff along the lines of Frost Magic or Ristones.
Compy: Yes! Lots of new songs on their way! I might be releasing something tonight actually, so watch my soundcloud for that!
Kuma: I definitely can’t wait to hear it! Heck, I just might include it in this interview when I post it! That being said, I think this is a good place to end our interview, but before we go, do you have any last words or thoughts you’d like to share for our readers?
Compy: Life is beautiful. Stay positive, stay boosted. Also, Toasty Co.: Home of the best shirts in the world! All shirts come with a free packet of Skittles!
Kuma: Yo, why do all your shirts come with Skittles, anyway?
Compy: Because I can’t mail chocolate in the mail! It’ll get all squished up! Also, Skittles are better.
Kuma: Thanks for boosting ChipWin with this interview, homie. Peace.
Hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did! Don’t forget to hit up Toasty Co. for the some of the coolest t-shirts on the planet, all of which come with a bag of skittles and stickers! Also, be sure to follow CompyCore on SoundCloud to hear the latest this spunky, sugar powered chiptune artist has to offer!
Tune in next week for Raw Cuts #4 with Jay Tholen, as we discuss his music, art, faith, and a new project he’s working on that you should definitely keep on your radar!