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.
Hit play on ‘Macro’ below and prepare to dance. Welcome to ‘Monochrome’ by tiasu.
‘Monochrome’ by tiasu is an eight track chip-dance album that knows itself inside and out, expressing high-powered, strikingly danceable beats with a confidence that demands the attention it deserves. Labyrinthine amalgamations of familiar chip sounds and welcoming dance rhythms work in tandem to ensnare your attention immediately, with the above track ‘Macro’ being a remarkable example of tiasu’s artistic execution of electronic music.
‘Monochrome’ is a solid chip-dance album of eight tightly cohesive tracks ordered to deliver a satisfying night on the dance floor, which this album provides in spades.
Savvy employment of familiar chip sounds fused together with welcoming dance beats blur the lines between traditional electronica and classic chiptune, allowing fans of each genre a dynamic album everyone can embrace, exposing listeners to the highlights of both music categories. Breakdowns within ‘Spectrum’, for example, delve into a dub-step vibe that benefits greatly from the particular chip sounds tiasu has chosen, creating a unique “lighter” dub-step riff that melds fantastically with the album’s established tone.
The final ‘Monochrome’ track ‘Focus’ takes the furthest departure from the album’s dancebeat themes with the integration of a grunge bass through line, experimenting with a dark and gripping electronica sound moulded around a melody more akin to the rest of the album.
With a presentation as strong as ‘Monochrome’, insight into tiasu’s creative process is invaluable. Fortunately, tiasu was kind enough to spend some time sharing his experience constructing ‘Monochrome’, and that interview continues below:
Pixel Recall: How close is Monochrome to your initial conception for the album in terms of composition, theme and tone?
tiasu: Monochrome developed very organically – I didn’t start out with any specific preconceived ideas of what I wanted the album to sound like, but after I debuted two tracks at a gig and saw the reaction they got, I knew I had a direction & sound I wanted to keep!
Pixel Recall: What’s your live set-up like? Do you have a favourite piece of hardware?
tiasu: My live setup is very minimal – I use a gameboy for one or two tracks, and the rest is all in Ableton, controlled with a launchpad and korg nanokontrol. Oh and there’s also a – quite frankly, ridiculous – bat onesie, which is critical to the whole setup!
Pixel Recall: It’s been less than a year since your release of “mission control”. What do you personally feel has been your largest growth piece artistically between last December’s “mission control”, and this year’s “Monochrome”?
tiasu: With every release (Monochrome is number 7!) I’m getting better at creating something more cohesive, for lack of a better word. Mission control is 9 cobbled together tracks, and the album’s track order is the same order that I wrote them. With Monochrome, there were a whole bunch of rejected tracks (some of which I’ve released elsewhere), that I didn’t include because they simply didn’t fit with the sound of the album. Technically, the mixing, mastering & overall production is getting better too – which is always nice, it can sometimes be hard to listen to the old tracks, the production value… Some of it is shocking!
Pixel Recall: Do you have a specific plan of attack when it comes to composing a new track, or do you find each track comes to you in its own way?
tiasu: Each track comes about very differently – sometimes you can sit there banging your head against the wall hoping to get some workable idea, other times you might start humming a tune and suddenly there’s a 5 minute track sitting there!
Pixel Recall: Do you have any tips or tricks for aspiring artists looking to perform live electronic music like yourself?
tiasu: Tips and tricks? Honestly, just keep doing it – have fun, enjoy the process of writing it, enjoy performing it. One of the best things I’ve ever done has to be a challenge called ‘Weekly Beats’, writing a track every week for a year. Not every track is good, in fact the majority of mine are done in a very short space of time and complete rubbish, but that’s half of the fun!
Pixel Recall: Open mic: Any last thoughts, shout-outs, advice, or tour dates you’d like to make sure to share with your fans?
tiasu: I’ve gotta thank Derris ‘Nine-finger’ Kharlan, GZom, Biko, Loubanging & Sean ‘Birdball’ O’Dowd for putting up with me, Cody Hargreaves, Chris De Cinque, cTrix, aday, Pselodux & Claire Plunkett for being awesome, Belinda Haas for all the good times, the amazing SoundBytes/SquareSounds crew for putting on awesome shows (and being such rad people), and of course Chiptunes=WIN! I’m 100% sure I’ve forgotten about a million people I should thank, sorry!
I’m playing at the SquareSounds ExpansionPAX gig on the 2nd November at Forgotten Worlds in Melbourne, and I may or may not have a sneaky new track to play too…
‘Monochrome’ is cheerful, industrious, self-assured, and frankly music to groove to.
‘Monochrome’ by tiasu is available for download right now on Bandcamp, with pay-what-you-want pricing. ‘Monochrome is a must-listen, and if you can afford it, remember to support the artists you love so they can keep creating more of the music you love.
Pixel Recall (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love ~
Press play below to fall in love with this powerful foray into 80s electronica, ‘Distant Reality’ by Shirobon.
Released to the masses on Bandcamp February 4th, 2014, Shirobon’s ‘Distant Reality’ is a compact, delicious delve into cyberpunk that infuses you with flowing 80s-inspired synth, weighty bass lines and thoughtful lyrics.
The improvisational nature of the tracks in ‘Distant Reality’ do so much more than simply keep you guessing, they weave inspired transitions together with tell-tale 80s synth to set a mysterious cyberpunk mood that will make you wonder the results of your Voight-Kampff test.
‘Distant Reality’ is a set of 5 killer tracks that waste no time getting down into an 80s groove, embracing it with every single note. This is not a gimmick tacked onto a hacked-together string of ideas, the precision of execution and respect for the era come through loud and clear.
Impressive vocals across the album truly add to the atmosphere including Shirobon himself lending his own robotic vocals to “Regain Control”, “Perfect Machine” and “City Patrol (Stage B)”. “Immune”, however, introduces you to the world Shirobon has created with the unexpected and absolutely alluring vocals of Camden Cox. The weight of the lyrics equal the depth of the bass lines, and the result is beyond immersive.
‘Distant Reality’ tows melodies through inspired funk and synth elements with a directed, yet unpredictable approach to its composition: each change and volley into each new element during a given track on ‘Distant Reality’ feels like the most appropriate direction to shift into, but you simply don’t see it coming. Polished, experimental, and focused, ‘Distant Reality’ is a refreshing exploration of tone and theme in a sea of heartless electronica that deserves your £3 investment.
Shirobon was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his experiences building ‘Distant Reality’, and that interview continues below:
PixelRecall: Camden Cox’s vocals on “Immune” are gripping. How did the opportunity to work with her come about?
Shirobon: Thanks! I have actually known Camden Cox for quite some time. She also did vocals some time ago on my song “Running My Head“. She is a very talented vocalist! I have also produced a group of songs for her which will be released throughout the year!
PixelRecall: Where did you draw inspiration for your lyrics across the album?
Shirobon: These days I like to look up a lot of imagery before starting work on songs. I wanted to go for a Cyberpunk/Futuristic feel while keeping cool and introducing chiptune elements (More of the c64/Sega style) so naturally the lyrics reflect on that.
PixelRecall: The songs on ‘Distant Reality’, most notably with “Cyber Party”, have an engaging, almost improvisational feel to them. What is your creative process like when composing your music?
Shirobon: Well, when I work on a song I like to consider it jamming with myself (or in the case of “Cyber Party” with Radix!). So I would usually come up with some drums or a melody idea and then just jam over them. If it starts to sound good then I hit the record button and take it from there!
PixelRecall: Are you performing the vocals on “Regain Control”?
Shirobon: Yes, I’m a sucker for robotic vocals and love to use my voice when I can! (Also, it’s my voice on “Perfect Machine” and “City Patrol (Stage B)”.
PixelRecall: Did you have a “eureka” moment during the creation of the album you may not have expected to have?
Shirobon: I was having some trouble with “City Patrol (Stage B)” and couldn’t get it to feel good. It started off as a guitar/electro disco number. Before I gave up I thought I would make some changes and plugged in my modular synth and made some chip sounds, from there everything fell into place!
PixelRecall: Do you have a favourite memory from your experiences performing live?
Shirobon: I have had a lot of really fun times performing live and the crowds are always pretty intense, but i think one that stands out the most is when I had a large wall of death and saw this massive dude drop kick a girl in the face! But thankfully she was fine!
PixelRecall: Do you have any shows coming up?
Shirobon: I have a few! Playing at Nintendoom in Belgium which will be a lot of fun. I have quite a few coming up around Europe but i have yet to announce those…
PixelRecall: Any advice for aspiring chiptune artists?
Shirobon: Do it because you love it, not because you wanna make it (big). Popularity in the scene comes and goes but the artists that people love are the ones who have always loved to make (music) and not felt to give it up.
PixelRecall: What was your main goal when you set out to create Distant Reality, and do you feel like you accomplished it?
Shirobon: I just wanted to make something a little different from the generic releases that are out there at the moment, and not to try and jump on a trend and make some kind of bass music! I reckon I did a good job!
PixelRecall: Any final thoughts or news you’d like to share with the Chiptunes = WIN community?
Shirobon: Back Tracking and Distant Reality I consider to be warm up releases to show people what my sounds is like now. With them released I’m going to start work on an album! Still planning what sort of songs I want on it but it’s gonna be a journey that crosses over the sounds of chiptune and synthesizers!
Big thanks to Shirobon for taking time out for the interview!
Now go grab your copy of ‘Distant Reality’ on Bandcamp right now before the next time you hang with your friends so that when they’re like, “Have you heard of Shirobon?” you can be like, “Know him? I have Distant Reality on repeat!”
Pixel Recall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love
Juxtaposed in the eye of the storm between high-energy and ambience, LUST by Meishi Smile charges peaceful melodies with energetic electronic pop to create an engaging, contemporary album. Meishi Smile recently performed live at this year’s Frequency 3.0, lending his track “Honey” to the Frequency 3.0 Artist Sampler compilation album embedded below.
I highly suggest you press play.
“Honey” showcases Meishi Smile’s J-Pop influences and ability to weave emotion into contemporary electronic music. Whispers of cryptic lyrics may catch your attention throughout LUST; subtle windows into Meishi Smile’s state of mind during the creation of the album.
LUST flows from track to track with an ever-evolving stream of synth-laced electronica. The marriage of energetic melodies and cool, breezy ambience in this latest offering from Meishi Smiles makes for an alluring album of tracks that nuzzle into your brain-space and will stay with you for days.
LUST by Meishi Smile is set to release Jan. 28th, and pre-orders (in both physical and digital forms) are available here. [Edit: Album is RELEASED!! Stream below! =D ]
I was able to steal a few precious minutes from Meishi Smile for a few questions, and that interview continues below:
Pixel Recall: Hoodie tells me you rocked Frequency this year. What was it like performing at Frequency? Are you a fan of performing live? Do you have any upcoming live events we should know about?
Meishi Smile: I went to Frequency last year primarily due to see my pal Pedro in Slime Girls perform. It was the first time I met him, as well as Jami from Space Boyfriend and Thymine/Grace, who illustrates under the names Tochiimint and Mahoushoughost. I had a really great time with them, and I guess I’m mentioning such an encounter because it’s made Frequency this really symbolic thing of friendship to me, that looking back at meeting these people one year ago and being extremely close to them now, it’s reinforced a lot of what I believe in with my life and what I do creatively.
Frequency itself though is amazing. I haven’t been involved with those creating chiptune music for that long, but I’ve quickly discovered all the amazing underground artists in the scene who definitely deserve a lot more attention. Being amongst those people was a great feeling this year. It’s still a very small thing, but it’s definitely growing by the year and I think a lot of chiptune music is really in the spirit of punk rock. Just the general idea of chiptune to me has always seemed like that, and sort of rebellious in a way. A generation of kids growing up with video games and gadgets, a lot of them being told that it’s a waste of time by their peers, yet turning around and utilizing those things to do something that’s very creative.
My performance at Frequency was the first time I sang live and performed all original stuff. Usually I put a lot of remixes into my sets and have been in situations where I’ve felt the need to play only music that people can dance to, but I felt like this was a good opportunity to finally explore something much more in tune with my emotions. It’s definitely been the most meaningful set I’ve done so far, and I hope to continue to perform more shows like this in a similar vein.
I’ll be doing an online release party with my friends at SPF420, and DJing for this event set to celebrate the release of a zine dedicated to Yasutaka Nakata (producer of capsule, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Perfume). Aside from that, I have some out of state gigs coming soon and some surprises I can’t announce yet. I’m always looking to play more shows! Pixel Recall: Tell me about ZOOM LENS! How you got involved with them, how it has affected your music making/reaching out to fans/getting your music out there?
Meishi Smile: I actually founded ZOOM LENS and I’ve been doing it since around 2009, although there are some gaps where I took a year or two off since I had some moments where I lost heart in the project.
I originally created it in intention to primarily release noise music (I had a project back then called Yuko Imada that did harsh noise and ambient music), but then I met my friend Kyle, who was currently performing as Class of 1923 (his latest project is called Uio Loi). It opened me up to the idea of working with other people, and soon I met more people online and began to create a little network of like-minded people whose music I enjoyed and personalities and drive I respected and it started to blossom from there.
I use the term “digital punk rock spirit” in correlation with ZOOM LENS a lot. I guess to me that sort of means this community of people I’ve met online who are operating on a sort of level of subversive interests and ideals and that I want others outside of the music to identify with who we are as well.
For instance, with what I do with MEISHI there is a large degree of me being influenced by J-Pop and Anime culture, and I want to make that sort of thing approachable to others and something that one can be proud of liking. I think Tumblr and some other social media venues have made such things as this sort of ironic meme-worthy kind of thing. Even though that sort of culture has become more acceptable it’s still this kind of weird, uncool thing in a way. Ultimately I’m happy though that my music seems to fit underneath a wide variety of contexts and people who don’t even like that sort of stuff can at least be introduced to it on the musical/emotional level that I present it as, and possibly understand how that sort of thing has more substance than it’s taken for.
Not all of ZOOM LENS is even into stuff like that though, but I guess I use that as an example as ZOOM LENS trying to be something that represents a wide variety of interests, yet sort of comes together as this identifiable and unified whole due to this community of friends who just simply believe in what they believe in and do it.
Pixel Recall:During the production of LUST, did you discover a new favorite way of building/creating your music?
Meishi Smile: LUST is still a really weird record to me because it’s not what I intended to initially make MEISHI SMILE into. Like I mentioned, I used to record a lot of noise and ambient music and I really wanted to completely move away from that.
My initial goal was simply to create electronic pop music, and I was listening to a lot of production by Yasutaka Nakata at the time and the first Ravex album- that’s sort of what I wanted to do.
But as I went through different emotional experiences, I found myself making the album that would end up being LUST and I ended up channeling different influences and ended up making something that musically, I feel takes my influence from Shoegaze, J-Pop, Noise, as well as elements of music such as Happy Hardcore.
So I guess my discovery was that things can always change from your set intentions, and you should be open to that. What ultimately matters is that you successfully create something that channels who you and what you feel, and with LUST I think I really captured the feelings I had in those particular moments.
Pixel Recall:During the production of LUST, were there any unique challenges that you found yourself having to overcome? How were you able to overcome that challenge, and how did it help to shape the final release?
Meishi Smile: I initially released a low-key cassette version of it on Orchid Tapes, and since then I’ve grown more comfortable with who I am and what I do and how I record music, both on an emotional and a technical level. I suppose my challenge that came after I made that initial version was that I wanted to make it sound more like what I wanted on the level of finding more appropriate sounds and mixing the record better. The structure was there, but I felt sort of unsatisfied with what it was a few months later after its release. All that sort of grew with time, and after I released my EP with Maltine Records I had a lot more confidence to start doing things again and LUST slowly became the product it is now, which I’m much more proud of and finally happy to say I can close this chapter of my life.
Pixel Recall: Do you have a favourite technique or specific way/program you prefer to employ when making music? It could be a program, a way of organizing your thoughts, the way you create a given track, etc?
Meishi Smile: My approach to creating music isn’t really based on that much technical skill. I’ve played guitar since I was like 12, but I never learned any theory or how to read music and I’ve only fiddled with the piano since I started making music for MEISHI. I guess in saying that, most of how I make music simply comes from personal experiences that I try best to put into musical form. I find sounds by reflecting upon those experiences and thinking of the texture that brings out that particular mood.
A lot of those sounds are reflective of a lot of 90’s Nintendo video games, stuff I’d heard as a kid. I think I say that on a very general level because I like video games, but I’m not completely knowledgeable either now at my age. I would hole myself up and had little friends when I was young, so I would no doubt enjoy the textures in games like Bomberman 64 or Mystical Ninja Goemon, very “Japanese” sort of melodies, but that’s all I have. I think that sense of separation reflecting on something that I am so contrastingly close to and also removed from helps create a sound that some people have told me is kind of “nostalgic.”
Pixel Recall:Your style embraces a light, energetic, positive ambience. What draws you to this style? Do you have any specific influences? What is your favourite way to explore this particular style when you’re making music?
Meishi Smile: I think it all goes back to being influenced by a lot of Japanese music. There’s a particular moment in time that really influenced me in the way that I write, and it was when a friend of mine passed away in High School. During that time I had seen the movie Bright Future, and I really enjoyed the closing song “Mirai” which was by The Back Horn. I always felt a sort of message with that song. A sort of walking into the unknown, never retracing the steps of the past and simply saying goodbye to those moments with a sense of both heaviness and optimism. When I read the lyrics, they were very similar to what I had felt, it really hit me in a profound way. It was sort of the confirmation I needed when listening to foreign music that much of it is in the emotion, and from that emotion you can sometimes even sense something much more literal (such as the lyrics, in this case).
So with MEISHI SMILE I try my best to convey what I can in the abstract. Although I include lyrics to my songs, they’re not what I said when I recorded them. Most of the melodies and lyrics I make are simply me hitting record and singing stream of conscious. I don’t know what I said then, and the lyrics I use later are simply a placeholder that vaguely capture the emotion of what I felt. I hope that something can be felt despite what is read or heard. I think I want to just make something that is transcendent of the standard conventions of how you’re supposed to listen to music. I don’t meant that all in a pretentious way, but when I was listening to Japanese music as a kid, people would insultingly ask me “why?” That “if you can’t understand what they say, why bother listening?” To me, it’s because something can be felt. And I’m not sure why that isn’t a good enough reason for listening to music sometimes.
Pixel Recall: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Meishi Smile: Interpret your influences through your own state of mind and allow that to inspire what you truly want to create as an individual.
Pixel Recall: Is there anything else you’d like to leave our readers with?
Meishi Smile: Thanks for reading my rants all the time.
Huge thanks to Meishi Smile for taking the time to so eloquently answer those questions.
Get in on the ground floor and snag your pre-order for LUST here!
Pixel Recall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love
My my my, ChipWINers! I see that your eyes & ears are due for their second dose of Chip Treatment the Professor Oakes way! Here, read up!
While I’m sure you’ve all been recuperating from either 8Static Fest or Nerdapalooza, dreaming about MAGFest, or been stuck at work for incredibly long hours with no end in sight, I’m sure you’ve all been auditorily stimulated for weeks to come, am I right? While I’ve felt at the center of a mighty whirlwind of recent chiptune releases these past couple of weeks, I stumbled upon a very Godly late October release by Tampa-based producer Adrian “Zantilla” Shegstad entitled ‘Encounters’ that I’ve been dying to write about!
J. Allen Hynek—United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist who developed the ‘Close Encounter‘ classification system—provides inspiration for ‘Encounters’, a 7-track high-quality album released by Ubiktune on October 25, 2013. Coupled with album artwork by Rufus Blacklock—aerodynamic animator, illustrator and space music follower—Zantilla takes his listeners on a journey through space and time through melodic synths, epic programming, masterful mixing and drum sequences. While ‘Encounters’ screams Ubiktune release, Zantilla’s quality progressive chiptune sound is sure to be a fan favorite for months to come.
Receiving wide support from Dan Behrens (Danimal Cannon), a listening party on Noise Channel (Arecibo Radio), and a review from the crew over at Destructoid, ‘Encounters’ opens with ‘1st Kind’ as Zantilla creates an out-of-body experience within the first minute of album introduction. As he invites his listeners to experience this auditory narrative of communication between humans and extraterrestrial beings, Zantilla uses a wide array of FM sounds and 2A03 additions throughout ‘Encounters’. Through his inspiration from Dream Theater and Jake ‘virt’ Kaufman, Zantilla makes use of exquisite metal recording techniques through live drum sounds, velocity layers and kicks and snares stacked together which gives ‘Encounters’ a very rich sonic vibe. While Zantilla mentions that he makes his own drum samples out of “layering shitty drum sounds together,” I call it absolute chip heaven.
While I could talk about my love for this album for HOURS, two songs in particular really catch my attention…Zantilla, well done. While each of the tracks have their own distinctive sound, ‘2nd Kind’ and ‘3rd Kind’ are all Professor Oakes A+++++ 10/10 certified chip. ‘2nd Kind’ is very reminiscent of a dream sequence. I remember listening to this, very appropriately, right before drifting off to sleep one night.With a hypnotizing key pattern, ‘2nd Kind’ has a very haunting melody that is far from anything I’ve ever heard before. With a drum pattern that kicks up around the 30 second mark, each second of this track is anything but what one can anticipate, as Zantilla blends his Sci-Fi aesthetic into synthesized riffs toward the middle of this track. ‘3rd Kind’, on the other hand, is completely opposite—an ‘evil twin’ to that of its preceding track—heavy, metal, and completely beastly with no time to breathe by the 8 second mark. While I can’t help but head bang, ‘3rd Kind’ is a wonderful whirlwind of chord progression and catchy drum kicks that takes you on a wild UFO ride to the very end as it literally feels as though it dissipates into space.
While the album sure rings sweet bells in my ears, it is also an insane steal and easy on the wallet! While the quality of production throughout is expected in that of a full-price album, ‘Encounters’ can be downloaded on Zantilla’s Bandcamp for a minimum $2 (though I surely recommend contributing more!) You won’t regret it.
That’s all ChipWINers! Until next time on Chip Treatment — Professor Oakes signing off!
Sup y’all? =) Prez Hoodie here with an extra special interview feeaturing a few damn fine folk who just recently attended the much hyped 8static Festival. To be specific, both Adam “Kuma” Martinez & Adam Seats from here on the blog, and Emily K Feder, the fest curator herself. We sat down the other night for +/- three hours (!!!) and just chatted about the entire gorram thing. This rather lengthy transcript is pretty much the whole of it. So grab a beverage or two, settle into a comfy spot, and enjoy. \m|♥|m/
Hoodie: Been one helluva weekend for both chip & VGM. 8static Festival & Nerdapalooza
going down around the same set of days. CRAZY TIMES.
Adam D. Seats: As the kids say, “Ain’t that for shizzle, Brandon.”
Adam “Kuma” Martinez: That’s definitely an understatement considering even just the half of this weekend I attended with Seats. Emily and crew really did a kick ass job with the festival.
Seats: 8static Fest was face melting. Honestly, yes, megaprops to EmFed and her crew for pulling that off.
Hoodie: And yes, on top of you two crazy loons we have the festival curator, Emily Feder, herself joining us. THIS SHOULD BE INTERESTING.
Emily K. Feder: Yup, barely alive still.
Though I did muster a running jump off the PA.
Kuma: Yeah that was awesome! A few people got to stage dive and do various stunts actually. It was pretty intense.
Seats: Most of them being performers, come to think of it. Cough cough Danimal Cannon.
Hoodie: hahhahaha I can believe that. I’ve seen him in action at fests. When he gets on a roll, WATCH OUT.
And on that note, yeah, let’s hear it: first impressions. As a whole, how did this crazy ass jam feel?
Em: Honestly to me it felt like Blip 11.
Hoodie: JESUS. I was at Blip 11, Em. That’s one helluva statement.
Seats: I honestly don’t think I’ve been to anything like this before. I missed BRK, I’ve never been to Superbyte, and I never got to go to Blipfest. The only thing I have to compare this to is MAGFest, and I have to say this completely felt like all of the music parts of MAGFest to me, which is a good thing.
Hoodie: I’m not surprised to hear this at all. The energy leading up to it, with the Kickstarter and everything, was palpable. Even online, yanno?
Kuma: Blip 2k12 was my intro to chipmusic, so everything just felt magical about that weekend. Plus blip 2k12 was my birthday weekend, so it was double special.
That being said, yeah, the show was definitely worthy of that status. From SKGB as opening act to chibitech closing out Saturday and that after party on Sunday, everything about this weekend was magical.
Em: The thing I was most happy about it that it still felt like 8static.
Great visual setup, awesome sound, intimate crowd.
Seats: If this is what 8static normally is but on a smaller scale, then you must run a really fantastic event, Em. And I’m not saying that to be a kissass or anything, it was a slice of fried gold.
Em: Well to start off, we wanted to make sure nothing was Mickey Mouse. So we got a super legit sound system, rented the shit we needed to setup visuals properly, bought a huge screen; no bed sheets taped to wall, lol
Hoodie: hahahah Works in a pinch, but yeah, doing it all RIGHT = -thumbs up-
Em: Once we got the venue set up like we wanted it was mainly a matter of staying organized with setups so the changeovers could be done efficiently.
Hoodie: How’d that go?
Em: We didn’t have the ability to run late so schedule had to be on point. Thursday we had a couple problems. One being that the drums for Disasterpeace didn’t make it to venue until after show statred.
Hoodie: OH DAMN. XD
Em: So we had to set them up during changeovers and we lost hella time.
Kuma: That set was still awesome though.
Hoodie: -shrugs- Nothing you can do about that except roll with it, though.
Em: Then there was some drama with these girls that led to the police showing up.
Em: Which distracted me and some others from keeping show time on point.
Hoodie: Oh, live music problems: even when you plan for everything, shit always goes down.
Em: I had to ban them both from the festival. So A_rival started about 30 min late.
Hoodie: Y’all made it work, though. That’s what matters.
Em: But the amazing thing is that was all the problems we had. Everything else was smooth.
Hoodie: Got all the bumps out in the first night.
Em: We decided on Friday to get the artists to stage their gear so everything was ready to go during sound check. That way all we had to do was switch cables and go.
Hoodie: Good call.
Em: So those days were super smooth.
Kuma: Yeah I gotta say from a audience perspective, everything did seem to flow smoothly. Even very tiny things that are expected of chip, such as the occasional gameboy choosing not to work, didn’t last long. I’ve seen other shows where dead gameboys took forever to work out. This went smooth though.
Em: Bought us some extra time that Nullsleep used to play a killer jam
Em: And chibi had some extra space on Sat, so it worked out great. All the performers were super pro.
Seats: Yeah, aside from the insanity that was those two girls, everything seemed to go within normal operating parameters. And even the stuff that happened on stage got played off pretty well.
Em: And on point. No one phoned it in.
Seats: I think Boaconstructer showed up at one point to jump on with Trey Frey, and TF’s Gameboy started freaking out on him, but Boa just took over and made everything cool until it worked.
Em: Some key facts:
There were a bunch of people that came off hiatus/retirement to play this.
Hoodie: I know. That still blows my damn mind. How many total?
Kuma: Yeah that glomag set. To think this was the only time I’ll ever get to see him play still blows my mind because he’s just incredibly talented.
Seats: Guuuuh man Glomag (or as he is in my head now, Glomag-ojichan), that set was fantaaaaaaastic. And yeah, there’s a lot of people I haven’t seen since PAXEast this year.
Em: Aside from the obvious glomag, there was baron knoxburry (one of the best of show), adamgetsawesome; Bit shifter hadn’t played since Nov last year, Knife city was on hiatus. And he had all new shit, drum and bass stuff.
Hoodie: Oh wow. Didn’t realize that. I personally caught glomag at PAX East 2011. Was amazing. Had no clue it’d be one of the last chances I had to catch his set.
Em: Plus Disasterpeace kinds never plays. As Rich put it “welcome to Disasterpeace live practice”.
Hoodie: hahaha Very infrequently yeah. He doesn’t need to!!
Kuma: Also Alex Mauer.
Em: Alex Mauer hasn’t played since like 2009 (at 8static).
Kuma: Alex hasn’t performed in years, and the fact that he got to do so with Shawn Phase on drums was incredible!
Em: That set was killer
Seats: Didn’t Mauer play at PAX? Or did he just do that panel with you guys? But yes, him + Shawn was mind-blowing.
Kuma: No I think he just did a panel. He and I chat pretty often and that was one of the reasons he was so excited for the show. He hasn’t played publicly in a long time. He also got to promote the movie he composed the score for, “Motivational Growth“. Very nice.
Hoodie: Yeah, he was there (PAX East), but he didn’t play. We tried to meet up at it and failed miserably. haha Would’ve killed to have seen his set (at 8static). Also, THAT MOVIE. LOOK INTO IT. TOO FUN.
Em: So we got a lot of people out of retirement. And from what I’ve been hearing they’ve all been writing new stuff because of this.
Hoodie: Now *THAT’S* a coolass thing: getting artists excited enough about a show that they create new music for it. I did see a *LOT* of comments (online) like that after the show: fans and artists both exclaiming just how inspired and motivated they felt from playing/attending 8static Fest. That’s something to be proud about in of itself.
Em: One of my fave moments: Glomag transforming from old man in sync with dramatic music.
Seats: Glomag did a cover of the theme from Princess Mononoke as his opening song, which I KNOW he did just for the show – he said he’d have it up on Bandcamp soon.
Em: That’s true.
Kuma: Yah it was awesome hearing that new music, and the anticipation for it was only built up for the fact that you’d see them in the hall with headphones having these very private, human moments of just focusing on what they’re working on. It was fantastic.
Em: That’s why it felt like a Blip.
Seats: That, and the fact that everyone was just so approachable! I felt like most people you could just walk up to and have a conversation with and they were happy to do it.
Or maybe just drunk, but it amounts to the same thing.
Em: Many of the old school pillars of the community said to us, “We’ve just been waiting for you guys to take it over.” So it’s kinda like the Blip folks are passing the torch to us, which is an honor we take very seriously.
Hoodie: Awesome. Blip sold me so hard on live chipmusic. Both the music in general and the people involved in it. MAG and PAX East whet my whistle, but it was Blip that *REALLY* hooked me on it. So to hear that this spirit was alive at 8static Fest, that makes me really happy.
Kuma: And seriously: everyone from vets to newbies to even people I met who were on hiatus from the scene returned to the scene just because of this festival. including some people I met who weren’t performing but are very talented in their own right. It was very cool. In particular, I wanna give a shout out to Kara Hagerty aka Devious Xen. She used to go to school with stormblooper and co, lost touch with them, and reunited with the scene because of this. So super thanks to this fest for that.
Hoodie: That said, Em, are y’all ready for that responsibility? ;) Though I guess this show pretty much already confirms it. hahaha
Em: Well we felt like we were the ones who could do it and get the buy in. Turns out, we didn’t know that many people were waiting for us to do it. Getting the first show to succeed was the major hurdle.
Hoodie: I agree. It’s why we (ChipWIN) were happy to back it financially. And why so many other folk via the Kickstarter were too. When that succeeded, I *KNEW* everything would work out fine.
Em: Now we have hype and buyin from that so all the skeptical people on the fence will hopefully commit to being here next year.
Hoodie: It’s gonna be that much crazier next time. I’m just happy there *WILL* be a next time.
Em: There was some major stress all around with the planning. For different reasons.
Hoodie: heh Imagine that.
Em: But now that we did it, we can do it again. Easier at that. We learned a lot too.
Em: But if attendance sucked, that would be it.
Kuma: Do you guys think you’ll be using the church again, or was it just for this event, Emily?
Hoodie: Yeah! That *WAS* an interesting event choice! What prompted that?
Kuma: Cause I have to say, despite that it was at a church, that venue and the surrounding neighborhood was pretty legit.
Em: So there was a moment in Saturday when I asked people what they thought from the stage…
Adams, do you wanna tell Brandon about that moment?
Hoodie: Oh dear. hahaha
Seats: I think everyone needs to go check the stream for that moment.
Hoodie: No. I ain’t waiting. WHAT HAPPENED??
Seats: Like. Maybe this is just my brain trying to dramatify things, but Em came onstage and was like “Yeah, so you guys wanna do this again?” and everything just kinda exploded.
Hoodie: hahahah AWESOME.
Em: Basically I asked everyone how they liked the festival on a scale of 1-10. They said 11.
Kuma: Seriously. The crowd response was like hearing a colossus roar during the first hour of MAGFest.
Hoodie: THAT’S SOME INTENSITY, KUMA.
Em: So I told them to make sure they bring all their friends next time so we can sell out the place.
Hoodie: So what you’re saying is 8static Fest 2 is totes happening next year? Which is all I really care.
Em: It has to. There have been many festivals happening since blip ended and this was the one people seemed to have chosen as the successor. We have the best infrastructure here to do it. Philly is a gorgeous city every bit as fascinating as NYC, only cheaper.
Hoodie: Cheaper never hurts.
Em: And honestly easier to get to/around in.
Seats: Philly IS a lot more central, I think, at least for East Coastians. I much prefer going there than I would having to try to get to NYC.
Kuma: Well it does have a lot things going for it. The local, the energy, the ease of accessibility, the artists living and working there, and, I overheard a lot of talk of people wanting to move to philly, particularly on Sunday night during the after party.
Em: I heard that too.
Kuma: But more importantly, I heard definite talk of some vets who seem like they will be moving to philly in the next year.
Em: It’s like I said in that blurb, Brandon. Basically Philly has inherited the mantle of the Jerusalem of chiptune.
Kuma: Pretty much. MAGFest is Mecca, so Philly is def our Jerusalem.
Seats: As a Jew, I support that analogy.
Em: It’s been building for a long time and this def dislodged it.
Hoodie: Incredible. This is all I was hoping to hear: that the event was a stunning success.
Kuma: And I have to say, the venue the after party was at was pretty cool too.
Hoodie: So the after party was kickass too, huh?? That’s always a good sign as well.
Em: It was, more low key but that’s what we needed I think
Kuma: Oh yeah! Between that incredible line up and the intimacy of the space that it was held at, I’d definitely pay to go there again.
Seats: And I’m crying tears of blood I had to miss the afterparty.
Em: Chibi and A_rival spilling some surprise jams at end def helped. They afterparty was cool too because it sort of reminded me of the old 8static back when it was in west Philly.
Em: I/o handled the after party. They are our close friends in New York. They started I/o because they were inspired by 8static, so the partnership was inevitable.
Kuma: At the end, turned out to be after my crew and I left to get shake shack, unfortunately, but yeah, minusbaby, ricky brugal, daurugon and wet mango all brought it hard. And I have to say I was super impressed by wet mango. I’d heard all the others before and love them dearly but that was my first time seeing wet mango live and she killed it.
Seats: Also, super happy to hear about the inter-city cooperation on making things good. I feel like sometimes, all I hear about are how isolated certain towns’ scenes are, so to hear about people working together is heartening.
Em: So yeah, that was an epic moment when people told us we had to do it again. More powerful than making an announcement.
Back to your questions about the church. It’s a very respected venue. More of a punk rock type place. We had to supply all our own gear, but I’ve seen Godspeed you black emperor there, horse the band, etc. Chromelodeon played several and their final show there. They were the origin point of Philly chip and vgm. Also an origin point for chip at MAGFest (probably the first band actually). So there was a major historical significance to the place. Seeing Dino playing on that stage again was legendary. The place was perfect. And the green room was a kitchen. lol
Hoodie: Wow. Had no clue about that. Just saw it was a church and went, “LOLWUT? CHIP CHURCH?”
Kuma: I have to say, speaking of Dino, the lineups were formed immaculately.
Kuma: Some shows I’ve been to sometimes hodgepodge it but everything flowed nicely from one artist to another.
Seats: Oh yeah, definitely, it didn’t feel like there was too much of one thing going on.
Em: I got a LOT of feedback about the curation.
Kuma: Especially prog rock time between chipocrite, animal style and cheap dinos.
Seats: Like you’ve got a few people who are more hardcore, like Saskrotch and Rainbowdragoneyes, and I like that they got spread out over the weekend. Mostly so that I didn’t get beaten entirely to a pulp in one night, but let it happen over the weekend.
Em: Well the lineups were very carefully chosen. I spent a LOT of time to get it right, to make sure that basically we’d have really good balance. Basically picking a lot of variety not only in musical style but also in the instrumentation.
Hoodie: I am aware from my own experiences: PICKING SOLID LINEUPS IS HARD AS FURK. Especially in a scene this rife with amazing talent.
Em: There were some people that got passed over, like Kris Keyser for example. Simply because we had enough edm/dancy stuff.
Kuma: True but some of those guys still got to perform via surprise cameos for certain songs.
Kuma: Like Kris Keyser got to play a song with bubblyfish.
Seats: I like that even if people weren’t on the bill, they still got a chance to come out.
Kuma: and exileFaker was joined onstage by Corset lore and glomag.
Seats: Same with Boaconstructor on with Trey Frey, or Tony Ness running up to hop on his favorite song with Glomag.
Em: Glomag joined corset lore for king crimsons red. Trey Frey was unreal. He really needed to finally play a big show and get some credit.
Kuma: He really did.
Hoodie: Speaking of lineups, gotta ask the obvious question of y’all: favorite performances/moments/etc?
Seats: Oh lord. Let’s talk about how people rushed the stage for Glomag and Chibitech.
Kuma: You mean how we killed shanebro’s knees. XD
Seats: Or Danimal moshing during his own set and being held aloft by the pit while wailing on his guitar. Or watching Dan and adamgetsawesome rule the pit for a while. And oh God, can we talk about the Radlib set? Both of them, really?
Hoodie: Yes, Seats. You can. ;D
Kuma: You mean jock jams?
Seats: Yes, I mean jock jams.
Seats: I mean, like, holy hell man. Obviously, I’d never seen Radlib live, but it’s funny because he’s not like a lot of the artists. He was super calm the whole time, even though the audience completely was not.
Em: Yeah he really is calm.
Seats: He was just kinda smiling and playing the jams while the entire audience went mad. And then his DJ set the next day featured some choice Donkey Kong Country 2 remixes, which me and Inverse Phase were chatting about.
Hoodie: Yeah, I finally briefly met Carl at PAX East this year. Incredibly chill dude.
Kuma: Yeah Carl is always like that from what I’ve seen. I kinda love it
Seats: Actually, y’know, just kinda in general, it was cool seeing all these people performing live.
Seats: Like you get a lot more out of it that way, I think. Probably moreso with people like A_Rival, who are VERY heavy on interacting with the audience.
Hoodie: I can relate to that, Seats. Every chip show I make it out to is *THAT*. On the intertoobs I’ve had plenty of interaction with, & have even gotten to know & become good friends with so many of these folks. But then to get to catch ’em perform live, hang out, party together; it’s pretty magical stuff.
Em: But the thing I think that made it different was the curation. It wasn’t just a show of all these acts. The flow and variety really made it sing.
Seats: But like, even folks like Radlib or Saskrotch who never said a word to the audience during their sets, seeing them do what they do just makes the songs feel more full.
Em: That is essentially what has always made 8static special. Live chip is best chip.
Kuma: That’s true, and that’s something I do appreciate a lot. Again, in particular, I gotta thank Emily for getting SSD Engage out.
Seats: Ooh, mos def.
Em: They were a big surprise for many people. None of the old school dudes really knew them.
Kuma: I loved all the acts I saw, even the ones I’ve seen before, but when it comes to variety of sound SSD put the biggest smile on my face.
Em: Glomag was blown away. They are a personal fave of mine.
Hoodie: I loved their albums already, but they blew my damn mind at BRKFest. *REALLY* fantastic live.
Em: Perfect way to start Saturday. Then to Danimal then Bubblyfish and void vision.
Seats: Oh dude, freaking Void Vision. I’d never heard of her, but THAT set was amazing. Like, all of her equipment, plus her friend on the violin and all the crazy stuff she did with that…
Em: Yes void vision uses all vintage synth gear. The kind of stuff you don’t just plug in and work but actually have to constantly adjust to tweak you sound.
Hoodie: WOW. That’s nuts. I had no idea.
Seats: I was with MrWimmer and Auxcide during the Void Vision set and Auxcide was visibly jealous of her gear – evidently, he’s quite the collector too.
Kuma: I’d only seen void vision once or twice before and she only did one song each time (4th anniversary 8static show and an open mic for fun respectively) but yeah I was very surprised at how good she was. Fumu got all sorts of crazy for that set.
Em: She’s amazing. Carl P is in love with her.
Kuma: I can see why. XD
Seats: She also had the whole gothic lolita vibe going on with her outfit, which was QUITE a startling difference than everyone else. It was totally awesome. I respect people who’ve got killer outfits as well as mad skills.
Em: She isn’t strictly chiptune But it’s the same theory. It’s all old gear and hard to use. So I think it’s relevant.
Hoodie: Yeah, definitely.
Em: Doubt anyone else would ever book her for a chip show though. Her stuff is more cold wave scene.
Moving on, the fest ended with half the venue on the stage during chibi’s set.
Hoodie hahahhahah Ain’t that how it always works in chiptune???
Em: It was pretty insane.
Seats: Oh God that was as hilarious as it was awesome.
Kuma: It was.
Em: She’s super shy so it was a good idea for A_rival to play hype man on her set. It was pretty killer.
Seats: She was so soft spoken! I was sorta laughing every time you or A_Rival had to talk into the mic for her.
Kuma: Yeah he did a great job of that, although I was super happy she decided to crowd surf at one point, because it did show she was trying to break out of her shell.
Em: Especially when he got the 8static to keep chanting 8STATIC.
Hoodie: Very quiet reserved personality, HUGE EXPLOSIVE GINORMOUS CHIPMUSIC. Ain’t that just how it works sometimes??
Kuma: When I first met her on Thursday night, she was so shy I felt bad talking to her.
Seats:Oh God me too! I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt dumb trying to talk to her.
Em: She stayed at my house the entire time and is shy in general. But her and Alex are tight. I still can’t believe she came.
Kuma: I can’t either.
Hoodie: That was one of the (admittedly many) announcements that twisted the knife in my gut (for not being able to attend).
Seats: Side note, A_Rival’s Skull Mask/Kigurumi combo was amazing.
Kuma: Also its not a chiptune show without a horse head mask.
Em: Brandon, I should have told you up front she was playing.
Hoodie: Was a pretty big reveal, that’s for damn sure.
Em: But I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want all these people trying to get on the bill just to play with her.
Hoodie: Of course. You handled that damn well.
Kuma: Seriously. It was a bigger reveal than knowing that Curtis Ware payed for BSK to come out to BRKFest. And that was insane.
Em: Everyone did it without knowing anyone else on the bill, because they wanted to (play the fest).
Hoodie: Yeah, you mentioned that before. *THAT* is pretty fucking cool.
Em: Probably could have scored some bigger acts if I did (announce her before finalizing the booking) but oh well. I don’t regret a thing about the booking. The lineup was super solid. All of the performers really brought their A game.
Hoodie: Infinitely better to bring in acts that just wanted to play the show vs. wanted to play just to perform with so-and-so.
Seats: I honestly don’t know how the show could have been better.
Kuma: Well considering you got not only cihbitech but knife city and glomag to do their thing, I know you can shoot even higher next year. And I’m not-so-secretly hoping you can get Depreciation Guild to come out of retirement for one night. I would love that.
Seats: I mean, I’ll be honest: I’m super poorly informed about the chipscene, but everyone there, INCLUDING the people I’d never heard of, were amazing.
Em: Adam, that’s how I felt the first time I went to 8static. And that’s how I wanted everyone else to feel when they did.
Kuma: That’s how I feel most times I go to chip shows. To be honest, I really don’t review artists before I go to shows. I just go to be surprised and, I gotta say, I was surprised. And inspired. And elated.
Em: So what kind of vibe were you guys getting from the crowd during the show? Was it too long? Were the changeovers timed well?
Hoodie: Yeah, guys. Let’s hear a purely fan based perspective now. How did the whole thing feel?
Kuma: I think outside of Thursday, the change overs were spaced out perfectly. In fact, they were faster than I expected.
Seats: I think everything went pretty well. Nobody grumbled. Some people (cough A_Rival) spent the time hulahooping.
Em: I thing next year I’ll def scale it back to 8 per day again. Which was the original plan.
Seats: But I mean, the set changes gave you enough time to breathe, maybe go restock your booze supply, and then jump right back in. I think it was done quite well.
Em: The house music, which Dino handled, was good too. That helped.
Kuma: The whole show felt wonderful. The people were friendly, and I had a great time.
Em: I felt like I was in a room with 100’s of my best friends.
Kuma: The pre-show Dj sets were awesome, too. Although I still can’t believe what CUTMAN did.
Hoodie: What’d he do?
Seats: OH MAN SO I MISSED CUTMAN WHAT DID HE DO
Kuma: Going back and forth between Philly and Florida to perform and party.
Seats: Oh that. Yeah. YEAH. Mad props to him.
Hoodie: Ah, right! Yeah, I caught most of his Nerda set. Was damn good stuff as always!
Kuma: Omg that guy is crazy.
Hoodie: He’s a cyborg. It’s not just an alias. He’s actually part robot. I’m convinced of it now.
Kuma: Seriously. He spun on Thursday for 8static, as well as partied and helped vend, then went to Florida and played on Friday for nerda, then came back Saturday and was in a mosh pit with us for chibitech and OMG WHAT IS HE.
Seats: Oh yeah man, he was next to me in the Chibitech pit.
Em: He was so stoked to be back.
Kuma: I could tell! He was beaming on Saturday.
Em: Yeah I mean look at that pic of me dropping the mic. He is right next to me flipping out. He actually wasn’t planning to come on Sat and then chibi released her new album. He texted me and said he was changing his flights to come back and see it. lol
Hoodie: THAT’LL DO IT.
Kuma: He made the right decision. That needed to be witnessed.
Em: It was good timing for us that her album came out a week before show.
Seats: True freaking story.
Em:Luckily I knew she was gonna blow up majorly this year and asked her before all that happened. Don’t think it would have happened if we waited. Btw she loved it here! She’s our pal now too. Good friend to have. Same with A_rival. Two of the nicest people ever.
Seats: Well A+ job on snatching her up before she came too cool for school, Em. I’m not gonna lie, she’s what sold me on it.
Em: Also, I’m glad you liked they DJ sets. That was another new idea that we haven’t done before.
Hoodie: Yeah, that seemed like a perfect way to start the chipshows on paper. Glad it worked out irl.
Kuma: Alex Mauer and SSD Engage were the gifts I came for, but chibitech, glomag, baron knoxbury… that was like saying I’m getting a new entertainment system with my xbox one and ps4. And it was spectacular.
Em: Who completely surprised you guys that you basically knew nothing about, or better yet didnt even care for and seeing them live changed that?
Kuma: Saskrotch, XC3N and Baron Knoxbury.
Seats: I’ll go ahead and fess up that I didn’t know who Glomag was other than from the 8bc torrent from a while back. BOY DID I FAIL AT LIFE.
Kuma: I was surprised at saskrotch cause my knowledge of his vast expanse of music was limited and I didn’t know he could kick that much ass. And XC3N and Baron Knoxbury I knew nothing about and they made me smile in ways I never expected.
Em: Those guys are both awesome people that never played Blip and I wanted to make sure they got on this bill. Same with br1ght pr1mate, Trey, etc
Kuma: Hell, I got so excited about Baron that after the after party on Sunday, he gave me a 45 of battle of the bits winter edition for free.
Seats: Oh, you know, Rainbowdragoneyes’ set was pretty awesome too. I roomed with him at PAX, and I saw him perform, but it was an entirely different experience at 8SF.
Em: He is amazing.
Kuma: rde always brings it. I saw him perform in Brooklyn last year and between his energy on stage and his silly, unassuming demeanor when he’s not performing, he’s become one of the people I look forward to seeing most at events.
Em: Xc3n was a person I kinda got a bunch of people asking me “Why?” Then when he played they were like, “Good call”.
Seats: Also, Chipocrite is just consistently better every single time I see him. I’m sad we’re losing him and you guys are getting him back.
Hoodie: Seriously, I got more excited and irked (because I couldn’t come) with each artist announcement. As we all (understandably) keep reiterating, the entire lineup was sincerely AMAZEBALLS.
Em: Oh during the Facebook announcements? That was so much fun. Because the artists didn’t know themselves.
Hoodie: hahahah Yeah, watching them react to such was half the fun.
Kuma: Yeah I noticed that seemed to be a big draw for a lot of the people performing. That there was this chance to not only get to play, but to see people they hadn’t seen in years coming out of the woodwork to do their thing again, people who were close friends just doing their thing again.
Em: Totally. It was incredible.
Kuma: I thought that was really touching actually. Seeing all the people I admire smile and get pumped over seeing everyone else on the list. Super good times.
Hoodie: It really is just an amazing scene. It’s damn hard to not be drawn into it, especially with enough live exposure to it.
Em: I actually thought about joking and saying something like “What if I was just saying names out and none of them had actually been booked?” Haha
Kuma: Actually when you first started name dropping on Twitter a lot of people seemed to think that was the case.
Hoodie: EVEN BETTER.
Kuma: I certainly did for a bit. It seemed too good to be true.
Em: Tell me more? This is a good perspective.
Kuma: A_Rival had recently performed in Tokyo and had to prep for MAGFest, so no one expected him. glomag, of course, caught everyone off guard. And the Alex Mauer thing, do you have any idea how many people thought that would never happen? Hell, Remy practically stopped dead in his tracks when I told him Alex was going to be playing.
Em: Haha! So people thought it was a scam?
Hoodie: This crazy line-up honestly *IS* part of what gave me the feeling that this could be “the next Blip”. That and the energy leading up to it, as previously discussed.
Kuma: You were just dropping all these names one after the other, and maybe some of them we’d believe, but really? All of them? Especially after the significant lack of a Blipfest for over a year.
Kuma: I was almost expecting this to be an cm.o prank at first.
Em: That’s awesome. Although I hope people didn’t decide not to come because of that…?
Kuma: No. I think the more and more you posted across different forms of social media, the more real it seemed. Was only suspect when you were first rattling off names on Twitter.
Em: Well I started with chibitech. Which instantly got everyone’s attention.
Hoodie: ahaha YUUUUUUUUUUUP.
Em: I knew people were gonna be skeptical. That’s kinda why the Facebook thing was a good idea too. It gave them all a chance to deny it.
Hoodie: Do you really think people were skeptical??
Em: I mean, the Toy Company show didn’t fully pan out as expected. BRKfest is awesome but definitely smaller scale. So people were gonna be like “ANOTHER ‘fest’??”.
Hoodie: I… find that odd. Y’all have been doing this AWHILE now. It’s only natural that this finally happened. Seriously, when I saw the announcement my only thought was, “ABOUT FUCKING TIME.”
Em: I think people in the know thought that. But less so for more casual people/fans. I think the lineup (really) was the selling point. The lineup had to be golden (for this to succeed).
Kuma: Lets be real now: it was the line up and the brand name behind it. And BRKFest was amazing, but BRK is young and (geographically) far away from most of the chip scene.
Hoodie: True on both accounts. Which, as a side note, makes BRK’s success even more magical imho (kicked ass even in a remote location!).
Kuma: Having a well established brand behind that line up was key.
Em: Actually I had to fight to call it 8static vs a new name. Although I thought that the branding was key. Same with the netlabel.
Hoodie: Honestly, I’m glad you *DIDN’T* change it for any of this.
Em: Yeah I am too.
Kuma: Same. I couldn’t imagine going to anything else in Philly.
Hoodie: There’s enough momentum and, hell, even history at this point already associated with the 8static name; it was only fair to name it after such.
Em: It works. Tbh Joey hates the name, but I love it.
Em: I don’t think he sees it like we do. He’s been around since day one.
Kuma: XD Well what was the alt name going to to be, if you don’t mind me asking?
Em: Something else that makes it work. (We had) nothing good. Xstatic. 85tatic.
Bunch of stuff like that.
Kuma: I remember static X but I thought there was also an Xstatic
Em: There is a comic by mike Allred called xstatix. There were some totally unrelated names too. I don’t remember any right now. That was back in January.
Hoodie: Dickbutt Fest. Sorry. Couldn’t resist. :3
Seats: I thought that was the name of your house every Friday, Brandon? :P
Em: Blip already took the best name possible.
Kuma: Yeah it sure was.
Em: Basically keeping the name was a good idea. No own tried to fight me on lineups or anything. We all just did our part and trusted each other. Which I don’t think is common.
Hoodie: Wow. That’s awesome. It’s a helluva thing to have everyone working that well in unison. Requires a lot of trust and familiarity.
So, I gotta ask, Em: now what? Just keep rocking along, building up bigger and better, month by month? Other special plans? I know the netlabel is moving along.
Em: I’ve already started booking next year.
Em: So far no repeats. Although there will be some when it’s done.
Hoodie: Again, lotta amazing talent. Will be easy to do a damn near completely different roster and have it be just as amazing. That’s always a challenge though: balancing new performers and repeats.
Kuma: Very true. There’s so much new talent and also talent that hasn’t been tapped yet that we could def see an original roster in both NY and Philly for the next couple years easily.
Hoodie: And just generally some of the best people I’ve met, PERIOD.
Em: Doesn’t have to be as insane with surprises this time, just good and solid. I think we won over any doubters or haters.
Hoodie: If not, they can’t be won over. And POOP ON ‘EM.
Seats: I will say, of all the things being drank at 8SF, haterade was not among them.
Em: Question: although it was a damn good turnout for a first “fest”, do you guys have any insight into why it wasn’t even better?
Seats: I’m going to venture a guess and say Nerdapalooza? Brandon might know more on that end.
[Hoodie FYI note: That’s where I was at during this: performing with Lords of Thunder at Nerdapalooza!]
Hoodie: I honestly don’t think Nerda pulled much away from this. Seriously different events. Very little chip at Nerda this year. Mostly nerdcore, VGM, and other nerdy relevant bands.
Em: I agree. Other than you, Chris and Nullsleep, there didn’t seem to be much.
Hoodie: Professor Shyguy was there too. And D&D Sluggers to play the after party. Otherwise, that’s about it.
Kuma: Honestly, I think a lot of the turn out issue had to do with (people saving up to attend) MAGFest. A lot of people wanted to go (to 8Static Fest), but many are tight on money or are straight up unemployed. So when given the choice of two events to go to, one they’ve been planning for all year and the other that just pupped up, it made it a hard call.
Hell, I gotta admit, even with the money I had saved up, getting the time off was a hassle, and the money handling was an issue as well. Getting a hotel for a good price was hard to do and if I hadn’t gotten the hotel I did at the last minute, I would not have gone.
Seats: I WILL say hotel shenanigans were rough. When I looked, everything was waaaay too expensive. I’m glad Kuma: found what he did, or I wouldn’t have gone either.
Em: There was a police convention that messed up all the hotels. But yeah, I’m imagining a lot of it was just not having enough time to plan.
Kuma: Exactly. So they chose to stick with the one they had been planning for already.
Em: I’m hoping next year (with a more advance notice) people will plan and save up accordingly.
Seats: Hopefully we can convince people that they’ve got at least two things to save for now.
Kuma: Yeah, I think after the kinda show you pulled, and with knowledge of another one happening next year far in advance, you’ll see a bigger turn out next year.
Em: What are your thoughts, Hoodie?
Hoodie: Outside of everything already discussed, I dunno. Mostly the timing issues I would I guess. The more time people have to plan for an event, the better.
Em: I think people heard about it in June. Did not know the lineup until August and at that point didn’t have the time to plan accordingly.
Hoodie: Although time of year too maybe? October is a strange month for events, particular in the related scenes. In-between all the summer crazy and before MAG, as Kuma pointed out.
Em: It’s a good time IMO. Weather is nice. And there isn’t any real conflicts.
Seats: Also, tbh, having not been in Philly for a very long time, I didn’t realize how walkable the city was, so when I couldn’t find things nearby, it was disheartening.
Kuma: Yeah, I’m glad everything was super walkable. Moreso than New York. Weather was nice too.
Hoodie: Yeah, it is in-between events. But still, near holidays. Money = tight. Limits travel. Especially with a lot of the broke-assery most of the folk in and among us deal with.
Kuma: Very true.
Hoodie: Although without Nerda to play at, I would’ve definitely been there regardless of any of that. Would’ve found a way, no matter what.
Em: Keep in mind Blip used to be in December.
Hoodie: Oh really?? I wasn’t aware of that!
Kuma: Neither was I.
Hoodie: Now that you mention it, it’s last few iterations were in Spring, & not long after PAX East. And that didn’t seem to hurt it.
Em: Moving it to spring was a majorly smart idea. Blip11 was first one in spring. That’s why there is no Blip 10.
Hoodie: At any rate, I really can’t guess much else besides “debut festival” being what limited attendance in any form. Now that it’s been proven, that’ll fix that.
Em: (All things considered) attendance was pretty damn good.
Seats: I do think the attendance fit the venue well. It wasn’t horribly packed, but the room never felt empty.
Em: I don’t have the numbers but what do you guys think it was at peak? 250?
Seats: I’d say 200-250’s a fair estimate.
Kuma: That sounds about right. I’d say Saturday had about that many people.
Hoodie: I texted back and forth with Dan Behrens a bit afterward. He said (in regards to attendance) that it started off a bit slow on Thursday, but was pretty much chaos by the time it wrapped up.
Kuma: Yeah that’s very true. Thursday was definitely the lightest day cause well… it was a Thursday.
Hoodie: Yeah, exactly. I’d say that was probably the only issue there.
Kuma: But by Friday night, 9pm on forward it was packed. Hell, even the after party had more people than I expected.
Em: Yeah Nullsleep’s set was when I saw it was filed up, and we let him play extra because we were ahead of schedule.
Hoodie: Good problem to have.
Em: Actually he ASKED if he could keep playing. That doesn’t happen often. He was really into it. I stood up on stage and looked at the packed house and was like, “Not gonna stop this train just yet,”.
Hoodie: hahahah Awesome.
Alright, we’ve rambled on about this for a few hours now. Hell, that in of itself kinda speaks well for the fest. haha Any closing thoughts that need to be shared before we wrap this up?
Other than, of course, next time? I’LL ZOMBOFURKIN BE THERE. If I somehow manage to get another gig on the same weekend as it, I’LL CLONE MYSELF GORRAMIT.
Seats: Well, “MOTHERFUCKING 8STATICFEST” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well as “MOTHERFUCKING MAGFEST,” so I think we need a new Hoodie Spam Catchphrase (TM) for this event. The idea is the same regardless.
Em: I’m just totally blown away at the love and support everyone who was there showed each other.
Kuma: I haven’t felt this close to the scene in quite a while. And I haven’t bonded this closely with anyone in a while. So thank you Emily, Seats, even you, Brandon. Thank you everyone. This fest meant a lot to me and helped give me clarity as to what I want to do with my life for the next 3 years; the end result being life in Philadelphia, chiptune or not.
Em: Oh wow.
Hoodie: AWESOME. It’s what the combination of the VGM & chip scenes did for me in recent years (and still are!), so I can relate.
Em: So you are one of those people who wanna move?
Kuma: New York is special but… there’s nothing here for me anymore. I’m realistic about what it’ll take to pick up my roots and move somewhere where I have no nuclear family or financial support other than myself, so it’ll be a couple years, but yes… its going to happen.
Em: With Trey and Auxcide moving in its kinda set.
Hoodie: Oh wow. Trey Frey too??
Em: Yeah Trey is moving soon.
Seats: You know what, I’m kinda iffy about saying this, but I honestly think this weekend saved me. I’ve been in a REALLY shitty place for what feels like an incredibly long time, and this weekend was the first time I’ve felt alive and happy in I don’t know when. Maybe MAGFest? But since I’ve gotten back, nothing has been quite so horrible. Even the shitty stuff is tolerable. So thank you, Emily, and to all your minions. This weekend was what I needed to get back to being a normal human being.
Em: Adam, that isn’t unusual. I’ve heard it from many people this weekend. A lot of performers are considering it too.
Hoodie: For something as inspirational as this, it’s not unusual at all. It’s a hell of a lot more than your typical concert, or musical event. Becomes more involving, inspirational. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain, but I get it. 1000%. It’s why I do all the crazy shit I do now: really fun, satisfying sense of *DOING* something, making awesome. A purpose of a sort even, if I can go that far.
Kuma: Definitely. I just exist here in New York. I felt alive in Philly. Alive, safe, and dare I say happy.
Em: It’s why I moved. Took me 3 years and it happened.
As for your other question, Hoodie, we plan to keep booking great shows every month, upgrade venues as needed, and spread more love.
Hoodie: Good to hear! Seriously, props to you and the crew, Em. Amazing, *AMAZING* work. Thanks for doing what you do. Definitely keep at it. Everyone in the scene loves y’all for it. At least the ones that matter (i.e. most of us).
Em: Thanks dude.
Kuma: Yeah seriously, thank you, Emily. I know we said it a thousand times already but I’ll say it again: THANK YOU.
Em:It’s my pleasure. I love what I do. I encourage you to check out the stuff on twitch if you need too. Even if you start with chibi.
Hoodie: Oh trust me, I will. hahahha
Seats: Oh yeah, are you gonna parse it all out to Youtube? Like as the separate sets?
Em: I think that will happen.
Hoodie: Speaking of Twitch, I’m thrilled the event was livestreamed by a combo of 8bitx, Clipstream, and Arecibo Radio. I enjoyed it on Thursday, and am sure other folk that couldn’t attend enjoyed it the other days as well!
Em: Also, I said this at the show but again here: the chip music community, our community, is one of the most diverse musical communities I’ve seen; in terms of gender, sexuality, age, musical taste. I’m proud to be a part of it.
Hoodie: As you damn well should be.
Em: And that’s probably why both the Adams feel like its saved them.
Hoodie: It’s a strangely wonderful, wonderfully strange thing, that’s for sure.
Em: Its so real and unpretentious.
Seats: Pretty much.
Hoodie: Real definitely = the right word.
Seats: These people are so down to earth.
Hoodie: It’s part of what pulled me in for sure. I think it’s part of what pulls everyone in!
Em: And the fake people, the haters, etc. get left behind.
Hoodie: Also true.
Kuma: Seriously, everyone in the scene is beautiful and real. Even the people who wear masks, they take them off and admit they wear masks to keep form getting hurt. And I respect that honesty so very much.
Em: We did it and you guys help make it happen.
Hoodie: This is a damn good example of seeing enough of the folk involved, the chipscene as it were, pull together and act as a collective to make something happen. #FEELSGOODMAN
Em: Everyone is in euphoria right now.
Hoodie: Some folk snicker at the whole “chipfam” idea, but when it comes down to it, it’s really there.
Em: Some of those folks evaporated. The negative types.
Hoodie: Fake people usually don’t last in general, especially in the face of something like this. It’s part of why it feels so real.
At any rate, thanks to the three of you for your time. This was damn fun. I couldn’t be happier to hear how well it went, and how much y’all enjoyed yourselves. That alone makes it a success in my book.
Em: One of the best weekends in my life.
Kuma: Thank you for the interview, Hoodie, and thank you Emily and Seats for the memories. You’re all beautiful people.
Hoodie: NOU <3 And see y’all at MAGFest!!!