This month’s artist is as skillful with words as he is with music. An artist that loves to experiment with different types of artistic expression, and a designer at heart, he often dazzles everyone with his ability to communicate his enthusiasm, verbally and visually. It’s pretty clear from his social media profiles that he takes Chiptune seriously, and it’s very refreshing to see such an unbridled enthusiasm.
His first album was titled ‘Bomb Crusader’ and his friends influence is definately felt on his latest album, named ‘Blaster Raster’, after a lifelong connection that he shared with a rastafari that endured a life threatening motorcycle crash.
Greetings, readers! It feels like it’s been quite sometime since I posted a pre-show hype article, and what better time to do it than this summer season? Whether it’s keeping busy by reviewing rad albums that come across my radar (here’s my latest!), doing visuals for shows that have transcontinental coverage by Chiptunes = WIN’s very own Adam Seats, or attending MAGFest’s first West Coast expansion event, MAGQuest, there’s certainly never a dull moment in the life of the Prof.
As 8bitLA’s two year anniversary has passed, the cohesive team composed of Kevin “Wizwars” Martinez, Jesse Avila, Rob Duffy, Terence Calacsan, Tim Abad, Jamie Cristal, Calvin (redacted) and myself, have smashed noggins together in the height of the Freq.Fest era and will be invading San Jose, CA with 8bitSF to present the inaugural edition of Freq.Fest.NorCal, taking place September 11–12 at SLG Art Boutiki & Gallery!
Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie here with a special BONUS edition of Hoodie Highlights this month! While I do indeed have another fantastic visualist interview coming up in a week or so, I’m more than happy to first share this quality chat between myself & Mike Shirley-Donnelly of Curious Quail! They’ve a brand spanking new single embedded in the midst of this interview as well, which you do not want to miss! As always, enjoy!
So, as MAGFest came and went, I found myself suffering from PMD (Post MAGFest Depression). The reality of finally meeting all of my friends that I’d been talking to for months face-to-face, being able to spend quality time with them, and then each going our separate ways so soon was disheartening. While it certainly felt like forever waiting for MAGFest to finally descend, it concluded way faster than I was ready for. Leaving the Gaylord left a huge hole in my heart; I soon realized that the friends I met at MAG were ones that I wouldn’t see again for another year.
….Until the final days before Frequency 3.0. Soon, my PMD was a thing of the past—I was now just days away from co-hosting one of the largest (if not only) chiptune festivals on the west coast with my cohorts (Kevin Martinez, Jesse Avila, Tim Abad, Jamie Cristal, and Jonathan Pendergrass) in 8bitLA. While months of planning, logistics, and chats back and forth on Facebook seemed daunting and tiresome, Frequency 3.0 was finally becoming a reality.My passion for chiptune soon blossomed in an almost out of control measurement after I was asked to join 8bitLA in August 2013, and it was no longer just myself being interested in the music and culture—it bloomed into wanting to represent the ‘chipmunity’ that I’ve been passionate about for so long for no payment in return other than kind words, hugs, and thank you’s for the best weekend of someone’s life.
While my fondest memories of Frequency 3.0 were certainly eating delicious food, which included ramen in Little Tokyo with Hoodie, Kevin ‘Wizwars’ Martinez, and Steven ‘The Syntax Sin Tax’ Hendren, Snap Chattingan0va before load-in/tuning in to the LONELYROLLINGSTARSlistening party on Arecibo Radio, playing the showcased indie games (‘Mega Girl.git’, ‘Keys of Rage’, ‘Dodge Club Party’, and ‘DarkEdeNight’) and the gaijin Little Tokyo ‘romaine the streets’ takeover and purikura photo booth mob, nothing can quite express the spaghetti I spilt over such quality artists that performed. While I had no doubt that Frequency 3.0 would be awesome, I still can’t get over how incredible and eclectic the music was over the span of three days. Whether the Frequency-goer wanted a mixture of electrochip and drum ‘n bass (Mike Bleeds), progchip and progmetal (Buried For A Day), or straight up shoegaze (Meishi Smile), each of the 20+ performers really outdid themselves and made the event one of the SOLE contenders for the best weekend of my life… EVER. If you didn’t go, you certainly missed out, but that’s OKAY! There is a Vimeo video of Day 1 here, and two week archived streams available here (Day 2) and here (Day 3) as it took place in Downtown Los Angeles at the Smell for you to watch until your heart’s content.
While there was PLENTY of weekend chip performances that blew my socks right off my feet, my top three acts (in no particular order) are as follows:
What can I say? I have had a soft spot for this quartet since ‘Further’ was released November 19. If you remember my previous article, ‘Further’ is an album quite unlike I’ve heard before, and the four of them very appropriately preformed a majority of the tracks from this album. Their performance was absolutely mind blowing—their LIVE stage presence was accompanied with bouncy and melodic rhythms, as well as a wide range of styles and techniques through the blend of complimentary vocals very similar to that of the album itself (seriously, they must be wizards to be able to achieve such mastery.) The coolest thing ever? The four of them are the sweetest, most humble people you’ll ever meet, and I am very delighted to have had the honor of meeting them! If you missed them at Frequency 3.0, crashfaster is making an appearance at Rockage 3.0 in San Jose on February 7, as well as at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco on February 10.
2. Slime Girls
Blending a fusion of digital punk rock and head-bopping chiptune, Slime Girls (headed by ‘Pedro Invader’) from San Juan Bautista, California, combines Nintendo Gameboys, guitars and energetic drums to create fast, melancholy surf jams and danceable ska music tied very neatly together with melodic chip. Gaining influences from Bomb the Music Industry!, The Flaming Lips, Perfume, and The Aquabats, Slime Girls is anything you’ve ever dreamed of, and quite literally, personifies anime. Therefore it was no surprise that the Slime Girls had cosplayers in attendance. With visuals created by Eliot Lash, the three of them rocked the closing night until 1:10 in the morning without a single person dropping off from exhaustion (seriously, they were all too busy not trying to break something from crowd surfing or launching an anime body pillow in the air.) If you happen to be in San Jose, California around February 7, they are also playing at Rockage 3.0 and I assure your they will NOT disappoint. Hell, they’re even Danimal Cannon certified:
WOW. What a performance! I’ve seen Virt play a handful of times before, but this past performance at Frequency 3.0 was SO MAGICAL. While the dance floor was quite literally packed, claustrophobia couldn’t lay a finger on everyone who was sardined together during his set. Playing tracks from FX4 (including ‘Incident Zero’) and Mighty Switch Force 2, his performance was an absolute treat in that most of the tunes from FX4 were never meant to be performed live as some of the parts are too complex (seriously, this dude never ceases to amaze me.) Virt’s stellar performance of combining his versatile, charismatic style through’ big’ harmonious compositions left his fingers feeling the repercussions:
The greatest thing ever? That special, sneak peak, never before seen ‘Shovel Knight’ video game trailer that he wrote the music for. Oh man.. I’m excited just thinking about it!
If you were unable to attend Frequency 3.0 this year, make sure you can make it out next year (same venue!) on May 22-24, 2015. 8bitLA is already in the works of planning 4.0 with more information to be released as time progresses. Feel free to join the 8bitLA Facebook group, follow us on Twitter or Instagram, or download the artist sampler here if you’re suffering from Frequency feels very similar to how the rest of us on the team are.
That’s all folks! Until next time! Professor Oakes signing off!