Happy Holidays to one and all! It’s that time of year again. Snow is falling on the blog, President Hoodie has made another amazing announcement, and we’re all scrambling for the perfect Christmas gift. As we all partake in the time-honored tradition of rampant consumerism, why not support some kickass chiptune artists while we’re at it? I think that’s a swell idea. Which is why I’ve decided to use this month’s review column to do a little something different. It’s the ChipWIN Holiday Gift Guide!
Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie here with one final ‘Volume 4’ info blast to loose on you before this crazy comp releases the following Monday night! Gaze, listen and read on as you eagerly await that goodness that is to be ‘Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 4’!
As always, amazing album artwork by Nate Horsfall of www.lightningarts.com.
For you PAX East 2015 attendees wondering where to find the awesome chiptune, VGM & nerdcore shows this year, hot diggity dawg do I have some news for you!
MAGFest Presents thePAX East Jamspace 2015! As always, this year will be a mix of open jam time aka your typical Jamspace awesomeness (starting around 10am all three days!) + some fantastic scheduled shows featuring 25+ artists from all around the VGM, chiptune, and nerdcore communities! (more…)
The UK may have Superbyte, the Netherlands may have EINDBAAS, but here near the United States’ capital, we have a little thing called MAGFest, and we like to think it does alright. While many of you came out and attended MAGFest with us from all over the globe (attendance surpassed 17,000 people this year!), I know there are many of you who were not able to. And if I’m honest with you, even those of us who DID go couldn’t have gone to everything that there was to do there unless the Ministry of Magic had given out Time Turners to the lot of us. That’s where this post comes in – I’ve done my best to assemble all the links, videos and pictures of the most happening happenings to have happened. Those of you who remember my Post-PAX PAX Post should be familiar with how I’m going to format this: As this was the Music and Gaming Festival, we’re going to have a #Music and a #Gaming section as well as a #Closing Thoughts, tagged as such for easy navigation within the post.
Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie here with yet another edition of my regular CWB interview column, ‘Hoodie Highlights’! This time around, I’ll be chatting with a talented individual from a three piece chipband located across the pond. Their self titled debut dropped this past June and caught everyone off guard in the very best of ways. Rumor even has it that they may be coming over to the states to tour! Learn about all of this and more in today’s interview with Matt Squibb of For Astronauts and Satellites! Enjoy!
Hoodie: Heya Matt! To get this rolling along, tell me a little about you and FAAS!
Matt: Hey Brandon! Sure! I’m the Guitarist/Gameboy(ist?) in For Astronauts and Satellites. We are a three piece postrock/chip band from the South East of England, two Guitars and Drums, and are relatively new, putting our first album (and debut release) out back in June.
Matt Squibb of FAAS.
Hoodie: Relatively new, but do NOT sound that way. ;) Wizwars got my attention freaking out about y’all’s debut this summer. I figured it’d be pretty good stuff, but was not expecting it to be quite THAT good. Haha Props for blasting into the scene LIKE A BOSS!
Matt: Haha Thanks! Well, as a trio we’ve actually been writing together in a different non-chiptune project for about 6/7 years! And I’ve personally been playing guitar and making music for about 12. We turned our attention Chiptune way and started FAAS with no knowledge of HOW to Chiptune, nor Chiptune in a live gig setup… Is Chiptune a verb now?
Hoodie: Chiptune is like zombo.com: ANYTHING is possible. 8-)
Matt: FAAS is a combination of our history song writing together, along with our individual song writing expirience, mashed with videogames. =D
Hoodie: That makes sense to me. Y’all definitely sound like you’ve been making music for a good while now. It’s hard to hide that, especially as a band. That sort of chemistry doesn’t happen overnight. Haha
Matt: Haha No, absolutely. I guess I should also point out that the Drummer, Ian, and I are Brothers, and our songwriting goes back even further than that of the trio!
And I guess there’s family chemistry, but I ain’t no Biologist.
But thank you. =) The positive response from the scene has been incredible and SO rewarding! It’s such a great collective too, everyone’s in to everything and wanting to collaborate and learn and move forward
Hoodie: This scene is a fun, crazy thing like that. Lotta down to earth, easy to work with creative folk, both fans and artists. It’s a blast! Glad y’all are jumping right on into it and enjoying yourselves.
Matt: Yeah, and it seems to me everyone is willing to give everything a go, jumping in to LSDj and things, trying stuff out for themselves! I’m glad we jumped right on in, and I’m very much enjoying it!
Hoodie: Good to hear! Although I gotta ask, seeing as how y’all already had something established musically, what prompted the introduction of chipmusic into your act?
BACKSTORY: GIMME GIMME.
Matt: Well, I hope you’re SITTING COMFORTABLY THERE BRANDON HOOD.
Yes, we did have something established, and I also had various “spin off” solo side projects and things like that, ranging from Ambient piano/string/whatever music, to Folk influenced singer/songwriter type things. It was actually Ian who initially had the Chipmusic idea, as he is really into his Starscream. Our old band were postrock/progrock influenced and that is the music we all really enjoy playing and writing. Ian played us a Starscream song and said “We can do something like that…” and so, we made FAAS and we tried!
I suppose a bunch of artists say “We are influenced by the sounds of our youth NIRVANANIRVANA!” and, so are we, it’s just the majority of my youth was spent on the NES!
I remember first getting LSDj and just staring at it. It took a good few (weird) songwriting sessions between Mike and I to figure out how to best include it, and we are still figuring out the balance between Chip and Guitar/Drums. I am happy with it overall though!
Hoodie: Sounds like a pretty natural transition then! Awesome. I can hear the Starscream/Infinity Shred influence – great band btw!! -, but y’all definitely have your own spin on it. I’m also quite the fan of the “space” theme when it’s done right. Pretty sure I’m not the only one in the chiprealm who is either. ;)
Matt: Yeah it was a rather natural transition. We all really love the Gameboy tones, especially the low grainy wav channel stuff!
Haha No, I’m pretty sure you’re not alone in that! I’m not sure why Chiptune lends itself to space so well, but, it just does! Our self titled album mentioned earlier follows a very loose space themed concept, which actually really helped with the writing, in terms of pace and feel.
Hoodie: Anything in particular that inspired y’all to do that? Besides, well, space. :3
Matt: Love of concept albums I guess! haha What’s prog rock without a concept album! I’d make FAAS do a Chiptune cover of Jethro Tull’s “Thick as a Brick” if I could! (… side project??). It really did help with the writing, especially as we were just starting out with Chipmusic and it was our first go. It helped to think “Right, this song is about this and is here in the story, and therefore should have this type feel” and so on.
I mean, it definitely worked for the album. And YES on that side project! hahaha
Matt: Ta! And haha, I’ll see what I can do!
Hoodie: Speaking of albums, I hear there’s something new in the works. Anything you can tell me about that?
Matt: Indeed! We are in the studio end of November to record a 3 track EP! It’s called “A Homing Light” and I’m rather excited about it! The tracks have a more visceral, jabby edge to them, emphasising the ROCK in postrock.
We have a release date of the 26/12 (or 12/26) set, so its a late Christmas present to you all! We are going down the Bandcamp self release route again, but shall also be looking to get it on Spotify and such things. You can however, get your mits on an early access copy, and even a limited physical copy…!
Album artwork for “A Homing Light”
Hoodie: Exciting! Already looking forward to hearing it!
But even MORE excited to potentially see y’all LIVE. Care to drop that bomb now?
Matt: Yes! We have kicked off a GoFundMe campaign to make it to America in the New Year! We’ve dubbed it the FAASUSA tour, it’s even a Hashtag!
The basic idea is we look to book shows where the donations come in from; the tour is governed by “you” so to speak! We’d love to share our music and live show with you guys over the pond, so we’re excited to see where our campaign takes us!
Full details can be found at gofundme.com/forastronauts. Each donation and share is REALLY appreciated by us! There are rewards to each donation too; as I say, you can get your hands on “A Homing Light” early if you back our campaign! The dates of early access aren’t defined at the moment, but it will be early December, right after we’ve agreed on the EP masters!
Hoodie: That sounds AWESOME. Will most definitely be pushing the hell out of that and throwing some $$ at it as well. Folk over here would LOVE you guys. I know I would!
Matt: Too kind sir! Thank you for that. It will REALLY help the campaign! Backers also get a thanks Tweet, kind of like a thank you card for a gift! hah =D We’d love to hear from Chipartists and promoters too, to help get some shows lined up!
Hoodie: Will happily put you guys in touch with some folk and see what happens! It’s definitely worth a shot!
Matt: Brandon, you just keep on giving! Thank you! Yeah, we’re really excited to see where this goes, and hope people are excited to see us over in the States too!
Hoodie: My pleasure, dude. You guys deserve it. You’ve got a really great act that deserves some additional exposure. And that’s what ChipWIN’s all about after all. =)
Any areas in particular y’all would like to hit up, or are you literally just down for when and wherever it can be worked out?
Matt: Thank you! We are down for whenever and wherever, though I guess it will have to make sense logistically! haha Wherever the funds come from, wherever people suggest, if theres enough interest from an area, we’ll go there! Though, I would like to go to New York…
Hoodie: We’ll see what happens I reckon! =D
Matt, it’s been pretty fantastic chatting with you. I wish you guys the very best of luck with everything! Any closing thoughts to add before we wrap things up?
Matt: We shall!
Brandon, thank you! Really means a lot! I guess I’d just reiterate that every donation goes a LONG way and really means the world to us three! We can’t wait to see where this goes, and, if it all pans out, meeting you guys in the new year!