Posts Tagged ‘piko piko detroit’

Aydan Appreciates: ‘April Showers & May Flowers’ by The One Electronic

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Hey, all you lovely readers! It’s been a while since I’ve written for the ChipWIN blog, but it feels great to be back now! With the first official day of spring behind us, I couldn’t think of a better way to welcome the season than by checking out The One Electronic’s latest release, ‘April Showers & May Flowers’. You might recognize Michael Vallejo’s stage name from ChipWIN: Volume 2, but he’s been a part of the Piko Piko Detroit crowd for quite a while. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

The first track, “Nimbonebula”, opens calmly and quietly before blossoming into its simple-sounding, yet effective melody. A multitude of different sounds are utilized effectively throughout the song. From the sparse notes of the xylophone, to the chords strummed from an acoustic guitar, nothing sounds out of place in this melodious piece. The second track, ‘The Warmest Week’, also has a soothing melody, and The One Electronic’s lyrics make the song all the sweeter. ‘The Warmest Week’ is aptly named; just listening to the song warmed me up inside.

‘It’s Spring and I’m Thinking of You’ is another one of Michael’s tracks that uses live instruments in addition to chipsounds. The light-hearted chords in the beginning of the piece, while not necessarily the focus of the listener once the electronics come into play, are an aural treat and provide a wondrous backdrop to a well-written song. The rewinding effect used on the chords at about the midway point caught me pleasantly by surprise. The melody ringing over the acoustic chords could have just as easily been replaced with vocals or another instrument, in my opinion, but doing so would have changed the overall feeling of the song, and I feel that it’s perfect as is.

The third and fifth songs on this release are differently paced than the other three songs; they’re faster and more energetic. ‘Carpig’s Wild Ride’, the third track, utilizes a kick that reminds me of Kommisar’s music. The vibrato-esque pitch bending at 2:17 is one of the small things about this track that makes it truly excellent. The 32nd-note drums used in a few places give the track an even more energetic feel. Closing out the release is ‘Sushi with Raeko’, a track that opens rather modestly in comparison to the rest of the songs. ‘Sushi with Raeko’ builds slowly into a carefree, danceable vibe that’s sure to have you bobbing your head to the beat.

You can nab this release for just $3 on Piko Piko Detroit’s Bandcamp page, more than a fair price for an album this lovely. But before I sign off, I’d just like to point out that The One Electronic is trying to become the first chiptune artist to play on Vans Warped Tour, but he can’t do it without the support of the community! Check out his campaign page here, listen to some of his previously unreleased tunes, and make sure to share the link around and show your support!

Much love!

The One Electronic
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Raw Cuts With Kuma Special: BRKFest 2K13

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Hey guys!  Welcome back to Raw Cuts!  This time around, we have a very special edition of RC, as I took the time to sit down with three very special people to reflect on the event everyone is still buzzing about: BRKFest 2K13!  So without further ado, here’s my interview with Brandon “President Hoodie” Hood, Erin “Chip Mama” McQuisten, and Rob Remy “AutoRemi-PK” Pease about the event everyone is calling “The New Blipfest”!
——————————————————————————————————————–

Kuma:  So, it’s been a while since we’ve all been together. 8 months, in fact.  Jeeze can you believe that?  I haven’t seen ya’ll in 8 months?

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

President Hoodie (Hoodie): DEFINITELY way too long.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hoodie:  HAHAHA!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

al's bar burger daniel davis

Photo courtesy of Daniel Davis (an0va).

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hoodie:  Hahahahahaha YES!

Remy:  Yes we can.

Kuma:  Mustached dude?

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

Kuma:  God that alone sounds like half of chiptune!

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

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

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

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

Hoodie:  CUTTING EDGE.

mark thomas the cutting edge

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

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

Kuma:  NICE!

Mama:  40s – 50s, I’d say.

Hoodie:  Wearing a mustache competition t-shirt. hahaha

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

mark thomas crowd surf

Photo courtesy of Shane Banegas (shanebro).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remy:  Yes.

Hoodie:  It was damn fantastic.

Remy:  Plain and simple yes.

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

Kuma:  D= NO WAI!

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

curtis ware and his beard

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

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

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

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

Kuma:  Now I gotta hear this!

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

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

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

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

smiletron chiptography

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

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

Hoodie:  I held it in.  Just barely.

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

Hoodie:  Erin almost screwed that up for me.

Mama:  Sorry, babe.

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

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

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

smiletron chiptography bittersweet

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

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

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

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

Remy:  Very much so.  It was cathartic.

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

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

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

dan park chiptography

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

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

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

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

Hoodie:  And somebody else too, I believe.

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

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

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

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

Mama:  Remy’s Great Adventure!

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

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

Hoodie:  TAKE THAT UNIVERSE!  You sure showed it!

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

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

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

Mama:  Hahaha!

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

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

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

Mama:  He melted faces.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kuma:  D=

Remy:  BSK did Mario at a rave.

Hoodie:  Hahahahaha!

Kuma:  DAN FINISH UPLOADING THE VIDEOS ALREADY!

bsk breaking it down

Photo courtesy of Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

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

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

Hoodie:  I’M THINKING.

Kuma:  DO IT NOW!

Hoodie:  IT’S HARD.

Mama:  HNGGG!

Hoodie:  I TRY NOT TO DO IT TOO OFTEN.

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

Hoodie:  HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Mama:  Can I do a top 3?

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

Hoodie:  Auxcide.

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

Auxcide chiptography

Photo courtesy of Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Kuma:  Nice.

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

Kuma:  Your turn rynamom!

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

Remy:  SMILETRON Plays the Feels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mama:  Oh jeez

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

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

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

AND THE DATATHRASH PRESHOW AS WELL!!!

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

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

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

Remy:  Yeah, Yung Cunni’s got mad skillz

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

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

ERG datathrash

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

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

Mama:  Sludge Metal Ice Cream Truck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hoodie:  Haha GOOD POINT.

Remy:  Nothing but love for Philly chip.

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

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

Mama:  Yes you can, I’ve seen it.

Hoodie:  OH YES YOU CAN.

Remy:  Grow a liver.

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

Remy:  Hahahahaha!

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

Hoodie:  TRUTH.

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

pabst blue ribbon

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

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

Kuma:  Wait, what about his sax?

Hoodie:  No, he forgot.  NEXT TIME.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hoodie:  HAHAHAH YES!

Mama:
Hahaha!

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

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

Remy:  The Cougar Bait was hella rad.

Hoodie:  And those nachos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remy:  LET’S GO.

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

the institute tots

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

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

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

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

Remy:  Spot on, Brandon.

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

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

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

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

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

Mama: Yay! Only 4 hours!

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

Hoodie:  YUP!  THAT’S THE ONE!

Kuma:  HNNNNNNNNNNNNNG!!!!!

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

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

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

Hoodie:  MAN OH MAN DO WE EVER!!!

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

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

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

amanda lepre

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

Remy:   Yeah, no kidding.

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

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

andrew kilpatrick

Mama:  AK is cray cray

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

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

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

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

Mama:  Of course, sweetie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kuma:  Oh, I definitely will

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

Hoodie:  Thank you! This was pretty damn fun!  Next BRK? YOU BETTER BE THERE!
——————————————————————————————————————–

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

\m|♥|m/

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

Clipstream:
Facebook | Twitter | Ustream

Chiptography:
Facebook | Chiptography.com

Hoodie:
Facebook | Twitter

Ryn:
Facebook | Twitter | Chip Mom

Remy:
Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2 (Tracks 1-6)

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HEY EVERYONE. It’s been quite a while since I did my first guest write-up on this blog, which was a review of Kola Kid’s “Afterparty” EP. Since then, a number of fabulous chiptune albums and compilations have come into being. However, I’m certainly not afraid  to say, as a long-standing fan of chiptune, that Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2 is quite possibly the GREATEST CHIPTUNE COMPILATION EVER RELEASED. I’m going to be discussing the first six tracks from the album, so bear with me as I find the words to describe the sheer amount of excellence contained within each of them!

Track #1: Starpilot – Just The Right Amount of Whelm (Qubert Dancing The Paisley Underground)

Ah, Starpilot. Your unique take on chiptune music has always amazed me. Ever since listening to “Experimentalist” , I’ve known that there isn’t anyone else who can quite do what Starpilot can. This track is upbeat; “Just The Right Amount of Whelm (Qubert Dancing The Paisley Underground)” is one of the many tracks on the compilation that just makes you want to get up out of your seat and dance. It’s a track that makes you feel like you’re at a rave in space. As the opening track of the compilation, it’s the introduction to another fantastic chiptune journey.

Track #2: Theory of N – Buttdawg Funk

I didn’t know about Theory of N before listening to the strangely-yet-aptly titled “Buttdawg Funk”. The track has a very bouncy sound to it, and as a listener it’s almost impossible NOT to tap your foot to the beat. The solos in the song stand out quite a bit; they’re all incredibly well structured. Having checked out Theory of N’s Bandcamp after listening to “Buttdawg Funk”, I can say that each one of his tracks are definitely worth a look. I also discovered that Theory of N is an OCRemixer who’s been around for quite a long time!

Track #3: Petriform – Heliofluid

“Heliofluid” is catchy, and makes great use of non-chip sounds as a support to the leads. Exciting and fast-paced, the music switches flawlessly from exciting to mellow and really entertained me as a listener. The minimal use of kick in the opening focuses the listener on the chip leads. Given Petriform’s hard-hitting, modern twist on chiptune, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits it BIG in the future. Petriform has also delved into writing music for a number of different genres, including noise, drum ‘n’ bass, and IDM; his talents aren’t only seen in the chip community.

Track #4: Mark ‘TDK’ Knight – Hoovering With A Hangover

Mark ‘TDK’ Knight isn’t a stranger to the ChipWIN community; he previously appeared on chipWINter with his brilliant track “Sunrise”. “Hoovering With A Hangover” sounds like it could be a custom file you’d see in a rhythm game such as In The Groove. Mark’s masterful command of chiptune melodies really shines through in this song; the main melody is incredibly composed , and the build-up in the intro is extremely well done. Additionally, his musical composition skills haven’t gone unnoticed; he has been employed by a number of large companies, including Konami, Warner Brothers, and Crytek, just to name a few. To top all of that off, he has received a number of awards from BAFTA; his first was awarded to him in 2000, and he has continued to shine since.

Track #5: The One Electronic – ♥∞

A fellow member of the FlashFlashRevolution community and a notable artist within the Piko Piko Detroit community, The One Electronic (aka iPatcH) makes his ChipWIN debut on the Volume 2 compilation. His song, “♥∞”, feels slower and calmer than the previous tracks, which sets it apart from many other songs on the compilation. It’s mellow and happy, and the melody is quite catchy. The common changes in lead sounds are a welcome addition and really give the track its own unique feel.

Track #6: Monomer – Dastardly Deeds (feat. Yoann Turpin)

Monomer’s presence in the chiptune community is not long-standing, but the quality of the music he’s produced is wonderful. His most recent album release, “Quite Operational”, was released through the massive chiptune netlabel Ubiktune, and garnered a massive amount of attention. His track, “Dastardly Deeds (feat. Yoann Turpin)”, feels funky and improvised, with a similar sound to fellow Ubiktune artist Shnabubula. The solos in the song are phenomenal, fusing perfectly ideas from chiptune and funk, whilst adding his own twist.

Keep your eyes peeled next week for the next installment of The ChipWIN Blog Volume 2 coverage! Stay classy, everyone.

Relevant links:

Starpilot: Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Theory of N: Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Petriform: Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Mark ‘TDK’ Knight: Website | Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

The One Electronic: Website | Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud

Monomer: Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

ChipWIN Logo Ver.2

Raw Cuts With Kuma #9: SSD Engage

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Welcome back, ChipWINners!  It’s time for another interview facilitated by yours truly!  I’m especially excited to be sharing this one with you guys because, not only is it with a very cool group of dudes (i.e: interview with three artists at once! BOOYAH), it involves people from a very small, lesser known pocket of the chiptune scene based out in Cincinnati, Ohio!  And one totes worthy of the extra hype! (Hype? At ChipWIN? Who would’ve thunk it?!?).  So without further ado, here’s my interview with Narayan, Jon, and Michael, the bombastic trio known as SSD Engage!

sweet ms paint skills...
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Kuma:  Let’s get started, shall we?  How’d you guys first meet?  What brought you three together?

Narayan (SPRY):  WELL [that’s a] long story that starts in, of all places, high school.
Jon and i were in a band in high school called Bluepoint.  He was the drummer and I was the singer/rhythm guitar player.  We had a good time

Jon (Disabletron):  And Na had the foresight to bring Michael and I together to jam!

SPRY:  Michael went to the same high school as me, and Jon [lived] in the neighboring town.

Michael (sp00ked):  I met Narayan through mutual friends.  We went to the same high school, but a few years apart.

Disabletron:  And we had a classic 120 bpm jam session in the studio.  The rest is history.

sp00ked:  Pretty much.

SPRY:  About a year ago is when we first got together as SSD Engage.

sp00ked:  Its been a year?  Oh yeah!

Disabletron:  Really?

SPRY:  Yup.  BRKFest was our debut performance.

Kuma:  Yeah that sounds about right.  Your first release as SSD came out in july last year.

SPRY:  It was kind of a surprise.

Kuma:  How so?

sp00ked:  Yeah it wasn’t started with the whole idea being a group at first.

SPRY:  sp00ked and SPRY had both been booked and I asked Curtis (Solarbear) to put us back to back so we could do a bit of colab and throw our drummer in there.

Disabletron:  Hahaha!

SPRY:  [To] Really shake the place.

sp00ked:  Just another drum fill.

Disabletron:  Exactly.

SPRY:  And then we decided to keep jamming afterward,  and stuck together this long somehow.

Disabletron:  Five albums later.

sp00ked:  Haha!

Kuma:  Well you guys have been friends for what seem like years, now, so I can’t imagine you guys not being together this long as a group.

SPRY:  We released our first album, Peakout, right around BRKfest.  I think we got a few more albums in us, maybe.

sp00ked:  Maybe…

Disabletron:  We’ll see.

Kuma:  I’m sure you do.  You guys seem to be pretty steady in your efforts, dropping an album every season so far.

SPRY:  We said we’d set SSD aside for a while after our last album and then somehow we ended up with a new one a couple months later.

Kuma:  Would you say the pull to be together was…titillating?

sp00ked:  Yeah, its kinda the pace you go.  We are all always making music so it makes sense to keep on making more titillating ideas.

Disabletron:  We always need more tracks.

sp00ked: (shares this photo on Facebook)

This mother fucker trying to terk mer jerb...
Kuma:  Hey!  Stop doing my job!  That’s what I do after the interview: put in memes and shit XD

a cute cat

sp00ked:  Haha forgive me.  Picard was calling me.

Kuma:  I totally will.  Now where were we?

SPRY:  I’ll be making music one way or another, and I know these guys want to keep making music.  We feed off each others drives and learn new things in the process.  We each have our areas of expertise, in a way.

sp00ked:  Yeah we do a lot experiments on own and bring it back to each other.  Makes our sound evolve.

SPRY:  Jon’s got dat beat.  Still our drummer, more solid than ever!

sp00ked:  Indeed.

Kuma:  I can tell, and I’m glad you brought that up, as I took the time to go through your catalogs of music individually and as a trio prior to this interview, and I have to say, you all have some rather unique styles going on and some really cool stuff going for each of you.
Would you guys care to talk about your individual approaches to your music?

SPRY:  Michael, wanna take that one first?

sp00ked:  Sure.  For myself, I approach writing and performing music with my emotions. Its something I learned when was young.  I notice when I put my feeling into a piece it will always get my point across.  I try to make the listener not necessarily feel my feelings but their own.  I try to make my music an experience rather than a tune to hum along with.  I was a listener.  I’m generally a reserved person.  Music is where i let my feelings out.

Kuma:  Nice.  I can totally respect that. It definitely shows in your music, especially your solo work, even going back to early work like gangbang‘s “Miss me, don’t dismiss me”. Although I gotta say, even with what you said in mind, you retain your danciness in your music, and that’s cool.

sp00ked:  Haha!  Yeah, thanks!  I always try to make it a funky time.

Kuma:  What about you, Jon?  How do you approach your music?

Disabletron:  I’ve always had this thing for hip hop beats since I was a student of acoustic drums.  It took a few years for me to figure out how to emulate those beats.  By switching over to the drum machine, I finally figured out the west coast style approach was for me
and learning how to write these beats around my supporting cast has been the true challenge.

sp00ked:

Disabletron:  You know it, Michael. ♥

sp00ked: ♥♥

SPRY:  I let these guys do most of the feeling around here.  LOL.

sp00ked:  Oh, c’mon!  You got feels, too!

SPRY:  ♥

Disabletron:  Feeling is fun!

SPRY:   As for me, I work a lot with math and rhythm in my composition to reflect the often chaotic but structured nature of my thoughts/feelings.  I’ll go on binges of writing 3-4 songs in a few days and then a few weeks on other projects, mixing, mastering, artwork, networking etc.  I find strange harmony in chaotic things so my music sometimes feels overwhelming, but that’s part of the expression for me.  I am sometimes overwhelmed by music so I like to be able to pass that on to whoever can handle it.  I tend to do everything myself when I do a project and see it through from conception to publication.  I have been involved in music in many ways and I enjoy being able to piece all the parts together myself and get better at each of the steps of the process independently and together.  Sometimes I write music just to see if its possible, not really because it sounds good, but that’s why I have these two around: to keep it palatable.

Kuma:  That hip hop influence definitely shows in your music, Jon.  Even at the start of your EP, Roadblock opens up with this subdued bass line and steady high hat reminiscent of early west coast hip hop.  It’s pretty cool that you got to carry that over into your work, especially after years of trying to emulate it and figure out how to make it your own.

As per you, Narayan, I’m glad you addressed that chaos that’s in your music, as you seem to be, from what I’ve heard of all three of you, the most experimental with your sounds.
You’ve taken some big risks and by doing things with Invisible H and have made interesting concept albums like Natural Tendencies, but I feel you found your voice with Heptagrammatron.

Disabletron:  Narayan is a true technician.  That’s why we enjoy his company.

sp00ked:  The Technician.

SPRY:  Its funny you say that because Heptagrammaton was the first real chip album I did on my own.  I have yet to really make my sequel to it because it was so massive.  That album was basically the first year of me making chip music and since then I’ve only done a few EPs.  I am sitting on about 50 unreleased solo songs, though.  I just keep forgetting to produce them!

I’ve [also] got a trash album in the works with datathrash that should be about experimental as I go, as well as a few dozen other stragglers.  I’ll get to them eventually, but I just keep writing new stuff instead.

sp00ked:  Yeah, Narayan does go off in periods of mass songwriting.

Kuma:  Damn, 50 solo songs and a datathrash project?  That’s quite a bit!  Do you guys have anything similar up your sleeves?  Jon?  Michael?

We may have gotten 146 submissions for volume 2, but there was only one winner this time around...

sp00ked:  I have about 15-16 songs for a LP I should be releasing it next month.  Its going to feature nanoloop songs 1xlsdj and 2xlsdj songs.  I’m calling it called frankincense.  It has songs these guys havent even heard yet.  Muwahaha!

Disabletron:  I’ve got a few fresh tracks for my upcoming solo Disabletron album, but 50?!  No way!  I’ve been focusing on getting my gear situation str8.

Kuma:  Nice!  How soon can we expect to hear a new Disabletron?  I’m a sucker for things made with MIDI controllers and synths.

sp00ked:  MIDI MIDI MIDI MIDI freedom!

Disabletron:  MIDI production center!

sp00ked:  MIDI bathing center!

regular show ohhhhh

Disabletron:  Sometime this summer as far as my album goes.

sp00ked:  Yeah, Im going to work on some tracks for that dawg.

Kuma:  MIDI bathing center?  Is that like Guitar Center for that lonely guy who clearly has no friends in that Guitar Center commercial?  The one who spends his lunch breaks playing at the store every day?

SPRY:  We’ll be donating a couple melody and bass lines for that one.  Its a digital bathtub that you can play naked and make colors and music.

sp00ked:  Dude, I know guys like that.  They jam at the guitar center.  [It’s] annoying.

Kuma:  Jam at the guitar center every day?

SPRY:  Actually, it was Sam Ash yea?

sp00ked:  Yeaaah.

Disabletron:  I jam at rogue!

Kuma:  I dunno what rogue is but it sounds respectable!  Sam Ash, though…well…at least its not like those guys that used to jam on the keyboards at The Wiz.

sp00ked:  I just want a Game Boy center.

Kuma:  That’s called a garage sale!

sp00ked:  Pretty much.

SPRY:  We’ve actually bought most of the thrift stores and hobby shops out of Game Boys.  They are becoming more scarce around Cincy.

Kuma:  Sounds like you need to haggle some from Nikola.  He sells grayboys for 10 bucks a pop.

SPRY:  Naaa ive got a stock pile.  I’m good for a minute haha!  That’s solid, though

Disabletron:  Haha!

sp00ked:  I need more!  I have every color besides blue.

Kuma:  I only have clear and black, but I make my music using piggy tracker on my PSP primarily, so its not like I use my game boys often.

sp00ked:  Piggy is awesome.  I’ve been wanting to get into that more.

SPRY:  I’ve been stocking Game Boys for a while, but I still use the first Game Boy I modded and I haven’t opened it in 2 and a half years.

sp00ked:  That’s true.  That SPRYboy is solid.  It’s funny: when we started this group, I’d been making lsdj music for only 4 months at that point.

Kuma:  I’d love to see it (SPRYboy) sometime.  That being said, lets get back on track, guys.  You’ve all mentioned future solo projects coming out, but whats next for you as a group?  When is the new album coming out?  And what plans do you have to promote it? Concerts?  Radio shows?  Anything of that nature?

sp00ked:  oooooo0ooo0 new stuffff!

SPRY:  We’ve got a lot planned and its pretty much all ready to release!  We’re releasing a double album, “Stereo” with 9 new tracks and 6-7 old tracks remade on july 4th.  We’ve got a listening party on the 3rd right before it!

Kuma:  Nice!  Who are you doing the radio show through?  8bitx?  Arecibo?  Alpha Omega?  And what about concerts?  Can fans expect to see you guys again at BRK this summer?  Or at Piko shows out in Detroit?

SPRY:  We’ve been trying to refine our sound and production techniques with this last round and really come into a new version of ourselves.  We’ve learned so much along the way that it seems almost a shame to let it go underutilized.  The listening party is gonna be on 8bitx with Andrew Struve hosting!  We are playing BRK, we just got off the Chip Charged show in detroit and we’re looking to play ____ (~he tells me a secret that I won’t share with you here~) which i didnt tell you about.  Then beyond there, we’re looking to book outside of Cincy, but havent made any solid plans yet

sp00ked:  New Yorkkkk!

SPRY:  We usually just get distracted by making music in the studio and forget to play shows, but we’re workin’ on getting out there, for sure!

Kuma:  Did you just say New York?

Disabletron:  We need more shows!

sp00ked:  I’m trying to plan a show for us there.

Kuma:  Kuma will be able to see you!?!?!

SPRY:  i hope so!

sp00ked: =3

Kuma:  Have you tried talking to Ricardo or emfedex?  ‘Cause even if you can’t get a show in NYC, you can probs get one in Philly.

sp00ked:  I’ve been talking to Ricardo.  We might play sometime in fall, I think.

SPRY:  And we played 8static in January thanks to emfed!

Kuma:  That’s right you did!  You played 8static and I didn’t get to go cause I worked that weekend! tearsofthesun.mpg!!!

Disabletron:  It was a great show!

sp00ked:  It was a hell of time!  Philly knows how to party!

Kuma:  Don’t rub it in my face, damn it!

SPRY:  It was a hell of a time.  Killer sound after we blew it out on the sound check!  Hahahahaha!

Kuma:  But yes: Philly does know how to party.

SPRY:  I blame Jon’s bass drums.

Disabletron:  It set the benchmark for our new style.

sp00ked:  Yeah, it did.  We made Midwest Coast like right after that.

Disabletron:  Hahaha wait for the MPC-2000 next 8static!  We are gonna bring it!

sp00ked:  Oh yeah!  Four MPCs on the the floor!

Kuma:  Well if Philly and blown out speakers helped set the bar, I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got next.  That being said, gentlemen, I’d love to thank you for your time and flexibility!  Do you guys have anything you’d like to say in closing to your fans and anyone who happens to read this?  Let’s start with you, Jon.

Disabletron:  I just want to thank you first, Kuma, for giving us this opportunity!  I’m looking forward to catching our true fans at BRKFEST!!!!  SHOUT OUT TO FUMU BATTLESHIP AND THE CURTIS B. WARE!

Kuma:  Woo Fumu!  He’s my bro!  I’ll be sure to tag him in this article so he knows you sent him a special shout out!  What about you, Michael?

sp00ked:  Thanks for all the support!  I’ve never been in a scene so loving and caring like this.  I think as for our sound, I feel like we are just beginning.  I see a lot expanding for our next albums.  Thanks for this, Adam.  It was nice to reflect on what we have done.  See you all at BRKFest!!!

Kuma:  And last but not least, you, Narayan.  Give us your parting shot!

SPRY:  There’s so much I could say, but I’ll just hit a couple things quickly.  We didn’t really go much into us musically as a band but that might be a good thing, lol!  I’ll leave it at Jon and Michael have great intuitive sense for music and I like to use their great raw material and mold it together with my own stuff with brutal logic to make a monster that feels and thinks.

Our production has been evolving along with each of our albums toward something new and amazing, but as yet undefined.  We keep looking for new and amazing sounds and techniques and as long as we can keep doing it, I’ll be pushing forward.  For all the people out there who might listen to our music, I hope that this has been a brief window into our insanity!

Thank you, Kuma, for being awesome and ChipWIN for also being awesome and I want to thank all the great people and communities that are part of this spiderweb of scene(s)!  I keep meeting new people and broadening my horizons through them and I hope to keep on this crazy journey for a while!  See you all sometime soon, I hope!

Kuma:  Fantastic.  Again: thank you guys, and have a good night. I look forward to seeing you guys and possibly interviewing you all again.
——————————————————————————————————————–

That’s it for this edition of Raw Cuts!  Tune in next time for yet another fantastic interview! In the meantime, make sure to follow/like/etc. SSD Engage to keep up with their latest releases, both solo and as a group!  PEACE!

\m|♥|m/

SSD EngageRelevant Links:

Facebook:
SSD Engage / SPRY / sp00ked / Disabletron

Soundcloud
SSD Engage / SPRY / sp00ked / Disabletron

Bandcamp
SSD Engage / SPRY / sp00ked / Disabletron

Twitter
SSD Engage / SPRY / sp00ked

Edit: ***BOOM*** Teh new album!!

Chiptunes = WTFLOL Track-by-Track Breakdown w/Kuma

Posted by

Welcome back to the blog, fellow ChipWINners!  As I’m sure you’re largely aware of at this point, we here at Chiptunes = WIN have taken the time to release another EP to hopefully sate your undying gluttony for music that is, quite frankly, awesome yet monstrous.

Monstrous!!!!

While our next colossal compilation will be here before you know it, I’d like to take the time to talk to you about this little amuse-bouche we’ve put together. Because it needs to be understood just what an epic undertaking this was.

You see, we here at ChipWIN pride ourselves in putting out some high quality music. We also take great delight in being part of a community that–along with other net labels, internet communities and artist collectives–has helped foster growth in our little corner of the world and has brought us all a little bit closer together.  It is with this spirit of collectivism in mind that we are proud to have reached out to some of the most well known and promising artists in the VGM community and asked them to interpret some of our work as their own.

The results of this ambitious undertaking are absolutely astounding.  Don’t just take my word for it though: take the time to listen to the fruits of our labor as I reflect upon why these artists live up to their titles.

 

Track #1: Tommy Did The Walkin’ by The World is Square feat. Sam Mulligan & Ryn

The first song on our EP was originally done by The J. Arthur Keenes Band (feat. Crayona and the Colorettes) and has quickly become one of the most popular and beloved songs released by ChipWIN thus far.  Between the catchy lyrics, funky blips, classic west coast guitar tone, and vocals that sound like a they’re coming from a car radio, the song invokes memories of 60’s surfer and jukebox rock that would make even fans of the Slime Girls giggle with glee.  It’s really no wonder this song caught on like it did.  It’s one of the biggest departures from traditional chiptune we have ever been presented, and it’s these qualities that prompted a few very special people to do a cover of this song for us when asked to step up and help out with this compo.

Enter The World is Square: a video game cover band that’s made a name for themselves by specializing in acoustic and folk instrumentation of classic video game soundtracks by SquareEnix. Nick, Josh, Lauren, Dave and Joe make up this motley quintet of multi-instrumentalists from Massachusetts who have taken their love of the games this incredible company has produced and turned it into a successful, well recognized act in the VGM community, and in a relatively short amount of time at that!

Since the release of their premiere album in 2012, No Phoenix Down Can Save You Now, the band has gone on to play numerous shows, including notable events like MAGFest 11 and PAX East 2013.  It’s been during their shows that the band came to make friends with a couple special people who would lend their talents to this cover: namely Sam Mulligan and our very own Chip Mama, Erin “Ryn” McQuisten!

Chip Mama makes everything better...waitaminute...

Chip Mama makes everything better! waitaminute…

The combination of this amazing band’s instrumentals, Sam Mulligan’s pure awesomeness (the guy plays 6 instruments, sings, plays in multiple bands and DJs his own radio show: Nerd Rock Radio) and Ryn’s surprisingly smooth vocals (the result of years of competitive ensemble and church choir singing) culminates into an interpretation that not only embodies the catchiness of the original, but bottles the combined enthusiasm these people have for this song as well.  The incredible energy everyone brings to the table helps turns this funky jukebox tune into classic TWIS goodness with vocals (a first for the Squares).  The song comes across as a combination of drum circle hippydom and an almost bardic retelling of the epic tall tale of Tommy, whom you really shouldn’t mess with lest you end up a chalk outline at the scene of his crimes.  It’s practically a tease to adventurers passing through his town who happen to hear this jaunty crew, warning them of the ultimate tough guy, and that they best just pass through if they know what’s good for them; but if they don’t, at least they can’t say no one warned them. Warned them about Tommy.

Tommy: a man who, in his later years, would legally change his name to Samuel Gerard and redeem himself by hunting fugitives such as Han Solo and Simon Phoenix.

Tommy: a man who, in his later years, would legally change his name to Samuel Gerard and redeem himself by hunting fugitives such as Han Solo and Simon Phoenix.

If this song tickles your fancy, you should definitely check out TWIS’ debut LP, as well as work by Sam Mulligan such as Big Hand Band Van Man, and NickelPunk’s All I Could Do: a heart breaking, powerful and deeply personal EP which features a track with Ryn called “The Longest Two Days”.

 

Track #2: The Lunar Whale by Tim Yarbrough

Speaking of tall tales, no one song strikes as a tall tale, or better yet, a myth, than The Lunar Whale.  Originally composed by Danimal Cannon, a man who really needs no other introduction, because, c’mon, he’s Danimal Cannon! The Lunar Whale isn’t so much a song as it is an invocation of this intense being of myth that simultaneously strikes awe and fear into those who bare witness to its glory.

Wind Fish, Lunar Whale, poTAYto, poTAHto.

With it’s deep, punching bass line, pulsing tri-waves, and intense, syncopated melody that continually builds against some incredibly slick drum rolls, The Lunar Whale is like listening to a wizard summon forth an unbridled force of nature & attempt to control it, only to be dumbstruck by the majesty and sheer power of the creature he’s called forth in his failing struggle to become its master.

So what do you do with a piece of music like that?  How does one take a song that’s essentially an invoking spell and turn into something of their own?  Well, in Tim Yarbrough’s case, the answer was simple: take it, strip it down to its most basic components, and focus on the melody underneath the complexity that is The Lunar Whale. And what better way to do that than with Mr. Yarbrough’s weapon of choice: the acoustic guitar.

Sexy, beautiful acoustic guitar.

Having played the guitar since he was 14, Tim has since gone on to become one of the most recognized figures in the VGM scene.  A member of multiple bands, including The Altered Beasts, Space Camp, Another Place in Time, and–most notably– The OneUps, Tim has made music his life, as he not only performs in several bands and at several venues, including MAGFest and PAX, but teaches guitar as well.  This intense skill and passion shine through in his interpretation of Danimal Cannon’s song, as Tim’s playing goes back and forth between styles such as classical guitar, western, and even Spanish guitar, sounding at times like a flamenco guitarist’s homage to the great beast in the sky.  The result is a song that produces the opposite effect of the original, in that it comes across as a song meant to lull the cosmic behemoth to sleep beneath the calm waves of a silent sapphire sea.

Tim’s work is nothing short of amazing, and while I highly recommend checking out all of his acts, if his acoustically driven sound is one you’re especially drawn to do not miss The Altered Beasts. Their recent LP, Transfiguration, features a delightful selection of jazz guitar duo VGM arrangements.

Delight like a… a werewolf baby…

 

Track #3: The Hearts of Everyone by Jameson Sutton

The Hearts of Everyone is a dream like farewell of a synth lullaby composed and performed by Dmitry Zhemkov, the musician better known as C-jeff: founder of the Ubiktune record label.  A keyboardist and composer by trade, C-jeff has helped turn his label from a site that specializes in micromusic to one that encompasses numerous genres within the VGM & chipscene.  Furthermore… I just gotta gush a little bit.  I don’t know what it is about Russians and their synths (seriously, Dmitry is among some good company with the likes of Alexander Zolotov and Mikhail Ivanov), but when you put the artificial ebony and ivory at their fingertips, magic just comes spewing forth like a water miracle from a Judeo-Christian Prophet.

If Russia could turn their synth music into miracles, they’d all be highlander jedis.

So how does one take the musical equivalent of a water miracle and turn it into something even more special?  Simple: take that water and–with the help of some classical piano and string orchestration–turn it into wine.  In the case of this cover, our miracle man is Jameson Sutton: a deftly skilled pianist, composer and singer who goes by the name Shadix.  A man who would turn the simple, clean melody C-jeff constructed and convert it to a fine, cool climate merlot. One with a deep, barely translucent plum color which is sipped slowly while lounging pensively in a throne, pondering what a man is.

Dracula has a theory revolving around secrets. It’s based on a song by Sam Mulligan.

In all seriousness, what’s perhaps most touching about this piece of music is how well it embodies what Mr. Sutton seeks to create as a musician.  Jameson, having been inspired by the Xenogears soundtrack as a child (a gift his father sent him from overseas while on tour of duty in Korea), decided that he wanted to make music that moved people the way he was by the game’s score.  Taking that into account, it becomes abundantly clear as to why he chose “The Hearts of Everyone”.  Making a cover that’s an arranged version of an already beautiful song not only allows Jameson to pay tribute to C-jeff’s incredible musical ability, it also allows him to pay homage to composers such as Yasunori Mitsuda: the man who created the soundtrack that inspired him (and many others, including TWIS) to make music in the first place. In doing so, Shadix creates an experience that resonates as deeply as any piece of music that Yasunori has produced.  I wouldn’t be surprised if one day you find Jameson’s name on the cover of an album featuring arrangements of the next big RPG.

If Mr. Sutton’s music has had the desired effect, I highly recommend you check out his Soundcloud for more of the same.

If you aren’t moved by Jameson’s music, you’re obviously a shoggoth.

 

Track #4: Papercut You Into Little Pieces by VikingGuitar feat. Cory Johnson

That being said, even if you are a heartless, unloving, Lovecraftian monstrosity (bastard), or you’re just a badass who prefers his music have a little more ooomph to it, we do have something may be right up your alley.  See, there’s this song called Papercut You Into Little Pieces. It was made by a chiptune duo named Marshall Art–which is comprised of Jeffrey Roberts aka jmr from Canada and Mikhail Ivanov aka Streifig from Russia.

SYNTH RUSSIANS!

Taking their name from an inside joke that refers to something having to do with a supposedly racist drawing of Eddy from Chromelodeon as a wild west sheriff, the duo’s combined 21+ years of musical experience has made slow progress putting out music together, due to both time and distance constraints on both their behalves.  However, when the two do find the time to produce music together, the result is awesome. “Papercut You Into Little Pieces” resonates with the excitement of exploitation film tropes such as the classic Mexican Standoff, as well as Mikhail’s “intention of turning it [jmr’s original song that became Papercut] into a Pink Floyd jam from the very beginning”.  The result is a song that sounds a lot like something you’d hear in a film by Quintin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez or Quintin Dupieux, such as Rubber: a movie that makes fun of and indulges in said tropes as a tire gains sentience and psychic powers, which it then uses to kill people.

You thought I was making that up, didn’t you?

In short: it’s an awesome song. So awesome, in fact, that when Erik Peabody chose to cover the song, he knew he couldn’t do it alone.  So he summoned the help of another awesome musician by the name of Cory Johnson to help him do this cover justice. Now you have to understand something, Erik Peabody isn’t just anybody.  He’s the man known as VikingGuitar: a musician who’s made a name for himself doing incredible metal covers of some of video gaming’s greatest music, including Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, Megaman X2, and Cave Story.  He’s also the founder of the Viking Guitar University, an entity which allows Erik to give back to the community that made him famous in the VGM scene by teaching people through video lessons how to play guitar and record from the comfort of their own home.  So when Erik decides he can’t do it alone, he really can’t do it alone.

Enter Cory Johnson, a man who’s made only…one album?  Yeah, that’s right: Cory’s only made one album, but that album is the result of years of music and a degree in audio engineering that came together to make one of the coolest interpretations of classic Zelda music to have ever been made.  An album so cool, in fact, that not only is he going to another post rock album covering other Zelda songs, but he’s also working on an Earthbound postrock album, as well.

So what happens when you combine these two titans in a musical collaboration?  The answer is a cover that sounds like an audio summer blockbuster to the original’s exploitation film origins.  The difference is like comparing the first Terminator film to the second: the first may have established an awesome story, but the second took it over the top and just makes you go “Whoa!”, like watching a badass walk away from an explosion. I really don’t think I need to say anything more because seriously: WHOA.

Even children look awesome walking away from explosions

 

Track #5: Bahamoot by Stemage feat. Travis Morgan

We all know walking away from explosions can’t be the only badass thing a hero in a summer block buster does.  That hero’s gotta fight.  They gotta grit their teeth, give a dirty look, and when someone or something comes along that actually can knock them on their ass, they gotta ball their hands into fists and beat the shit out of the monster that thought picking a fight with the hero was a good idea.

Just Like this.

That’s exactly what happens when we’re talking about a song like Bahamoot by Stern Fucking Zeit: a chip metal duo out of Germany who kick as much ass as Blade does in a vampire nightclub.  Having made a name for themselves in their home country and abroad by performing at over 70 live venues, these guys make music that combines the best aspects of multiple genres to craft a sound that’s as unique and refreshing as listening to Abducted By Shark’s Ronin.  As such, it’s only fitting that some of the most amazing people in VGM get the opportunity to cover a song of this magnitude.

Grant Henry.  Travis Morgan.  Two of the most well renowned artists in the VGM scene and some of the most respected names in metal as well.  Grant Henry is the artist most well known as Stemage, the multi-instrumentalist who founded the VGM beast that is Metroid Metal. The band features some of the best musicians in VGM/chiptune, including Danimal Cannon, and have become so legendary that they’ve become a regular feature of several gaming related festivals over the past 5 years, including PAX East, Nerdapalooza and and the last five MAGFests.

The Last. Five. MAGFests.

Not to be outdone, the partner in crime he chose to work with, Travis Morgan, is also a beast of a multi instrumentalist, as well as a singer, with 10+ years experience under his belt.  If that’s not impressive enough to blow your skirt up (you jaded mothafu–), Travis has also had the profound distinction of having performed in over 14 countries world wide, and with multiple bands, including Atheist!

Yeah. Zombofriggin’ Atheist!

The by product of this collaboration is a song that manages to stay very faithful to the original but still kick ass in its own way.  If the original Bahamoot by SFZ was about watching the tireless hero fight his one true nemesis, the metal cover Stemage and Travis whip out is the equivalent of watching said hero look out on the horizon after that battle, only to realize that his next fisticuffs session isn’t so much a battle as it is a one man war against a horde of the undead. A war he’s going to fight with his bear hands, at that.

And you thought that “bear hands” was a typo.

 

Track #6: Midnight Snowflake by Cory Johnson

Regardless of how you chose to fight the zombies, whether it be with bear hands or bare hands, you’ll find that somehow you’ve survived, and it’s suddenly…Christmas?  Yeah, that last battle lasted so long, it’s time to forgive and forget all the bad things that have happened to you and find peace within yourself as we approach what is both the end of this ambitious album as well as the year, apparently.

Yippee ki yay, mother fucker, and a happy new year.

And what would Christmas be without our very own Vince Kaichan: a young man who’s become well known for being disproportionately talented for his age.  Having been classically trained in piano and violin for 11 years, Kaichan took to composing his own music about 4 years ago, and has since gone from making ambient trance to chiptune and performing before a worldwide audience through Glenntai‘s monthly web concert series, Clipstream. So when a teen of this immaculate talent and skill makes a Christmas song so lovely that it transcends that holiday season, what is one to do to make it their own?

Well, sometimes when someone covers or remixes a song, they slow it down slightly, extend it, and turn what is a meditative moment into a journey.  One that allows you to breathe, take everything in, and even enjoy the small, beautiful things all around you. Who better to do this than Cory Johnson.

Cory’s ready for the holiday season. are you?

Wait, wasn’t he on the list before?  Didn’t he do that thing with that guy who does the badass covers of the Cave Story stuff?  Yep.  Cory made a comeback on this album and in a big way.  Remember when I said that, despite having only released one album, that he was an amazing musician?  You really couldn’t tell just how skilled he was while he was working with VikingGuitar, could you?  No, it’s okay.  I don’t blame you: that was primarily Erik Peabody’s song so it had his signature sound.  But now it’s Cory’s time to shine, and let me tell you: if Kaichan’s original composition makes you stop by the woods on a snowy evening, Cory cranks up the existential factor and turns it into a fork in the road as you decide if you should walk the road not taken.  Through this piece’s gradual build up, Cory proves that road is worth taking, because you’ll be amazed at where you end up.  As amazed as reading Robert Frost while looking at photographs by Ansel Adams.

As you walk off on that seldom beaten path, this EP comes to an end, and you may be wondering whats next.  Well, what does come next?  Before you continue on your journey, I’d like to take to a step back and say something.  The release of this EP marks a very special moment for us here at Chiptunes = WIN.  Approximately one year ago, a young man named Brandon L Hood fell so deeply in love with chiptune that he too decided to walk the road not taken by starting not only what would become a netlabel, but one of the fastest growing and supportive communities in the chiptune & VGM scene.

Over the course of the past year, we’ve released four albums, with a total of 94 original songs having been released through our label.  We’ve also been involved with several festivals, been featured on numerous internet radio shows, and have grown to amass 875+ members in our Facebook Group, 1150+ likes on our Facebook Community page, & 760+ followers on Twitter.  We’ve been sponsors to numerous album releases, had some of the most in depth and also derpiest conversations in the chiptune community at large, and have become a respected name in entertainment.

All of it is thanks to you.  You have made ChipWIN what it is today.  You’re the reason we blog, promote, and travel as far and as often as we do to not only enrich chiptune and VGM as genres, but as communities and forms of artistic expression as well.  To say thank you for reading our articles, listening to our albums, and generally supporting us Chiptunes = WIN is an understatement, but it is the only right thing to do.  Brandon may have taken the first steps bravely on his own, but it’s because of you guys: the fans, illustrators, musicians, promoters, bloggers, gamers, visualists and DJs, that we even exist, let alone thrive, and have even become an extended family for one another.; a family I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of.

Since having joined this community, I’ve been witness to incredible acts of artistry, creativity, hilarity, thoughtfulness, charity, humanity and humility.  I’ve seen people who have been on the verge of homelessness get help in the form of album purchases and donations through the page.  I’ve seen younger fans get advice from their older chipbros and sistas on how to deal with bullies, liars, and the struggles that come with growing up. Most importantly, I’ve seen people come together and share their ideas, creativity and passion for what we do and what we love in ways others can only dream of.

In short: you put the “WIN” in Chiptunes = WIN.  To that, we say thank you, and ask you to stay on this journey with us.  There are great things in store for Chiptunes = WIN.  We’d like to continue to be a part of your lives, as well as have you as a part of ours, as we make those great things a reality.

Thank again for reading and listening.

\m|(=^(T)^)|m/

Kuma, Chiptunes = WIN

Amazing album artwork, as always, by Nate Horsfall.

Relevant Links:

Stemage:
Stemage.com | Bandcamp | Twitter | Metroid Metal

VikingGuitar:
Bandcamp | Fb page | Twitter | Youtube | Viking Guitar University

Cory Johnson:
Bandcamp | Cory.fm | Twitter

The World Is Square:
Bandcamp Fb Page | Twitter | Youtube | Tumblr

Jameson Sutton:
Fb Page | Soundcloud | Bandcamp

Tim Yarbrough:
The OneUps | SpaceCamp | The Altered Beasts

Travis Morgan:
TravisMorgan.com | Youtube

Sam Mulligan:
SamMulligan.com | Bandcamp | Fb Page | Twitter | Nerd Rock Radio

Erin “Ryn” McQuisten:
Chip Mom | Twitter

The J. Arthur Keenes Band:
Bandcamp | Fb Page

Danimal Cannon:
DanimalCannon.com | Bandcamp | Fb Page | Twitter | Soundcloud | Youtube

C-jeff:
C-jeff.com | Twitter | Fb Page | Ubiktune

Marshall Art:
Bandcamp | Fb Page | Twitter | Soundcloud

Stern Fucking Zeit:
Bandcamp | Fb Page | Soundcloud | MySpace

Vince Kaichan:
Bandcamp | Fb Page | Twitter | Soundcloud

Raw Cuts With Kuma! #2: Decktonic

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Hey guys! Welcome back to another edition of Raw Cuts With Kuma.  Did you enjoy the last interview with SKGB?  I sure hope so!  That being said, this time we have an interview with a very well rounded figure in the scene (he came from a background in game design and has found a home in music production), and who’s rather well known on the east coast.  I took the time to talk to Christian Montoya, the man also known as Decktonic. We chatted about his music, the state of the current chipscene, and some recent events that have shaken it up in the past couple weeks.  Lets get to it!
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Kuma:  So what got you into music in the first place?

Decktonic:  In 2009 I was making my own Flash and iPhone games and I thought I might try to make my own soundtrack music as well, and it was right around the time that KORG DS-10 came out, and I just picked it up on a whim while at my local Gamestop.
I had no intention of making dance music, I was just thinking I would make simple loops for my games, but as I started exploring the program, I realized I could do a lot with it, and that tipped me over the edge of the rabbit hole with electronic music production.

Kuma: Very cool.  That being said, as you just mentioned, you did come into this with the intention of doing it originally just to make loops for games you were working on at the time.  Would you say that since then, your passion for music has over taken your passion for gaming?

Decktonic: I would say the two have diverged.  I still design games for a living, but music is a hobby that I like to pursue when I want to relax while still flexing my creative muscles.  My style has also diverged, since I don’t do soundtrack work at all.  I’ve been obsessed with electronic music for as long as I’ve been obsessed with video games (as long as I can remember) and I think music production has allowed me to get in touch with this obsession in a very deep way.  It’s also very important for me to look at music on its own, not as part of another creative work but for the purpose of making songs that stand on their own as just “good music” (whatever that is).

Kuma:  Hahaha.  Well so far, I can definitely say of what I’ve seen [of your performances] and heard of your music that you definitely know what good is, but you express a sentiment that I’ve heard echoed a lot among people in the chiptune and vgm scene, which is this dichotomy of wanting to make music for the sake of music but also acknowledging the video game roots that this genre of music has because of the hardware and software used to make it.  As someone who’s been on both sides of the fence creatively, was it easy for you to separate the two or is that something you think-even if it doesn’t particularly apply to you- may be a hurdle for the genre in general?  Is it not possible for the masses to be able to separate the music from the gaming culture?

Decktonic:  That’s a loaded question, so forgive me if I ramble in my response.

Kuma:  I’m aware that it is, so pardon me if you feel like I’ve put you on the spot.

Decktonic:  No this is good, lemme see… The way I see it, any producer under 30 grew up with video games.  Their influence is present in all styles of music these days.  Hmmm… there’s chiptunes, and then there’s music made with old gaming hardware.  I don’t fall into either of those categories.  I make music with a Nintendo DS program that emulates a classic KORG analog synthesizer that was all the rage in electronic music production before the NES existed.  If there’s any nostalgia that I’m to associated with, it’s the raw underground electro music of the 80s.  The early days of synth music, maybe.  That’s what a lot of my work has been compared to.

At the same time, I’m totally comfortable with the EDM community and have been known to play in modern software like Ableton Live and Traktor a few times, but I do call the chip scene my home, whether I fit in or not, and I’ve seen this issue quite a bit.  It’s something everyone is still figuring out.

There’s a lot I could say about it, but here’s the best way I can put it: if producers want to take advantage of that retro game nostalgia, that’s cool.  There’s nothing wrong with it.  I wouldn’t be afraid of that.  If producers want to keep their distance from it, then chip music needs to establish it’s own culture.  Not just an underground Internet counter-culture, but something that speaks to the nature of the music itself.  I think chip music was meant to be the new punk, but I haven’t seen enough of that.  I like getting down in the pit to some Nullsleep or Monodeer, and if that’s the culture we like, let’s put that at the forefront.  Let’s wear it on our sleeves.

Oh, one last thing I was going to add to that.  I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.  I think it’s fine if some producers go in one direction and some in another.  There’s this false notion that the community needs to be one scene with a common mindset.  That would be a mistake.  It’s a big community.  Niche, maybe, but there’s a lot of potential.  I like that things are going in a lot of different directions.  It lends itself to more creativity and freedom of expression.  We should embrace that.

Kuma:  I like that sentiment.  It’s very thoughtful on your behalf and I like that you aren’t afraid to tackle the fact that regardless of how chip is accepted or interpreted that its roots are what they are and there’s nothing to be ashamed of, no matter which direction we choose to take it in.

Speaking of directions, I and a few other artists have noticed that-especially with the end of Blipfest (RIP)- chip seems to be migrating out west and seems to be finding a very comfortable spot in Detroit, a state well known for producing and embracing new and cool music historically, from classic Motown R&B and Soul to Punk Rock to Acid House and D&B.  As someone who’s been primarily out on the east coast, how do you feel about the focus of chip shifting towards these other states and how do you feel the shifting of the spotlight from the east coast to the midwest will affect what’s happening here in places like NY and Philly?  And yes, Detroit is a state now.

Decktonic: (LOL)  Honestly this is something I’ve thought about a lot.  First of all, it’s great that chip music is finding more “homes” in the USA.  It makes sense that collectives should be springing up in different areas, and let it be said that what’s been going on in places like Detroit or the Midwest US (see: BRKfest) is totally home grown.  These are local movements that are entirely grassroots born and raised, we are talking about a bunch of young chip heroes just getting together and throwing shows however they could. It’s impressive what they’ve been able to accomplish in a short time, I look up to these guys.

As for New York City and Philadelphia, let’s face it… the music scenes here are very commercial.  There are a few established chip monthlies (8static, I/O, Pulsewave) that are doing well but otherwise there isn’t much interest among promoters to do what I will call “weird music.”  This is considering that these two cities have a lot of electronic music, but it’s all in the club scene and if you aren’t making dubstep, trap or dutch house and DJing all the top 40 hits then you won’t be getting much attention around here.  The chip scene is still just a handful of people throwing shows when they can and usually doing it as a labor of love.

I’ve seen a lot of independent music venues and art spaces come and go in the past few years… it’s hard to make the “weird music” venue thing work when rent is so high.  Now I’m not complaining… I love this area.  We just have our work cut out for us in terms of growing the audience, taking on bigger risks and ultimately carving out a bigger scene around here. I’m very optimistic.  And who knows?  If I get a chance to take my brand of bass beats out to Detroit or Kentucky or some other corner of the globe, that would be awesome

Kuma: While I’m definitely optimistic about the future of “weird music” as well, I must admit I’m glad you bought up the idea that New York’s music scene is very safe because it brings us to a much more recent event.  I’m sure by now you’ve heard through the grape vine about what happened to Oliver Hindle aka Superpowerless.  While -like him- I’m not necessarily surprised by the fact that the judges on Britain’s Got Talent didn’t let him through into the next round, what I am disconcerted by is the idea that he and his friends were made to look like damn fools by the mainstream media.  Do you think this recent experience will be a hindrance to the scene and act as a sort of scarecrow, keeping chip and vgm artists away from the spot light of mainstream media fame, or do you think we’ll actually break through that barrier and be commercially accepted?  Furthermore, do you think -considering the fact that some of us have found relative success just by being “internet famous”, so to speak- that current main stream media success is even necessary for us to survive and thrive as scene or genre?

Decktonic:  First of all I respect Superpowerless for taking such a big risk in all this.  I’m kinda torn about the whole thing.  On one hand, if I had a chance to be on a show like that, I’d probably jump at the opportunity.  On the other, I wouldn’t expect anything different.  I see it as a combination of a negative perception of electronic music and another negative perception of “nerd culture.”  I don’t really have any advice in this matter, other than to say that we aren’t the first ones to go through something like this.  The earliest computer musicians were looked at as a novelty and a sideshow act.  For a while nobody was willing to accept synthesizers on stage.  I guess all I can say is don’t be ashamed of it.  I think it’s futile to try and get validation from people that obviously don’t get it.  Do I expect the judges on Britain’s Got Talent to appreciate chiptunes? No.  I think it’s a matter of finding the audience that does appreciate the kind of music you are doing, and focusing on them.

For a while electronic music just existed in underground clubs.  It was totally separate from mainstream pop / rock / jazz.  They had their own labels, their own shows, their own scene.  The electronic music movement even had to do their own festivals.  It was only recently that we’ve seen electronic producers and DJs sharing stages with rock and hip hop artists.  Basically what I’m trying to say is, let’s build what we have and not worry about the people who just don’t get it.  It’s an exercise in futility to do anything else.

Kuma:  Well said.  That being said, there is one last question I do have for you, and that concerns the scene itself.  No outside influences or interpretations.  None of that crap.  It involves age, and I’m not simply talking about the age of those involved in the scene.  I’ve met young cats like Chasingbleeps from Ireland who’s only 15 whipping out some great stuff for a first LP and I’ve seen guys like 4mat who have been doing the computer and chip music thing for more than 20 years now, which is astounding to me and makes me respect him and his music even more, but I digress.  When I say age, I mean the lifespan of the scene itself.

While there is definitely a lot of life popping up in a lot of places, there are also little pockets, little murmurings here and there already about people concerned about how long chip will last.  How long will the Game Boys keep ticking?  How long do they really have until it becomes something tired, and they’re talking like it’s already on it’s deathbed.  While you’re not a Game Boy user, and you yourself even stated that while you feel chip is your home that you see yourself more as an EDM artist, how do you feel about chip where it is now?  Does it feel healthy to you, or do you feel it’s starting to die out a bit too, or do you think this is just the beginnings of familiarity breeding -not necessarily contempt- but perhaps boredom?  Boredom of seeing the same people perform or on the dance floor?What’s your take on this?

Decktonic:  Man, people have been playing pianos for centuries and I still like to hear a piano when I can!  I think when people put forth these kinds of sentiments, like, “chipmusic is dead!” they need to put a big “IN MY OPINION” at the front of it.  I think before you can even get the words out of your mouth, some kid you’ve never even heard of is going to come along with a Game Boy and play something that will catch your attention.  If people are tired of chip music, they can go elsewhere.  I’m still having a good time.

Kuma:  I’m definitely glad you are having a good time, because that means a lot more music from you, as well as just the general enjoyment of your company at these venues (although, admittedly, it has been some time since I’ve seen you.)  That being said, Mr Montoya, I know there’s a lot more that could be said and could be asked about you, including about your other projects such as Miami Slice (which I still don’t believe exists, just like Ricky Brugal), but I think here’s a good spot to end the interview. Before we go, do you have any closing statements or remarks you’d like to make?

Decktonic:  I don’t know if that answers your question at all, but to answer it directly: “LA LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU CAN’T YOU SEE I’M LISTENING TO RICKY BRUGAL GO AWAY.”

Kuma:  Hahahahaha!  Wonderful!  Christian, thank you very much for this interview and for a little more insight about you and your views on this wonderful scene we’re in.  I look forward to conversing with you again.

Decktonic:  Same! Oh, wait!  I missed that last question!  One sec!  I’m trying to think if I do have any actual last words… Oh!  Just, I’m always looking to meet more people that love chip music, so if you see me at a show, say hello!  That is all.

Kuma:  I’ll definitely pass it along.  I have to admit this makes an amusing little addendum to our interview.

Decktonic: ha ha OK!  Yeah the LA LA LA part was in response to the second to last question!

Kuma:  But it worked so well for the last one, though!

Dectonic: LOL NO!

Kuma: Lol!
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Hope you guys enjoyed the interview!  Tune in next week as I take the time to talk to CompyCore, a chiptune artist and entrepreneur that’s looking to make a name for himself in fashion and in chiptune!

‘Til next time.
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Relevant Links:
Decktonic on Bandcamp
Miami Slice on Soundcloud
Superpowerless on Bandcamp
Korg DS-10

christian montoya