Hey guys! Welcome back to Raw Cuts! You ready for another dose of interview goodness? Well you better be because this week I bought Shane Banegas along for the ride, and he’s here to talk about whatever the hell I ask him about, because in Raw Cuts, I’m the man in charge! So without further ado, here’s the self proclaimed generalissimo from Louisiana, shanebro!
Kuma: First off, lets talk a little something that’s been bothering me. If one were to look up chiptune on SoundCloud and stumble upon your work, they will see a little snippet from you: one that claims that you’re just starting out on your journey into chiptune. To that I say, bullshit, good sir. Do you know why that is?
shanebro: Why is that!?
Kuma: Because you’re clearly much too talented to have just started out with this, sir! Do you have any idea how good you are? It’s really quite extraordinary. Tell me, prior to chiptune, do you have any musical experience or training?
shanebro: D’aww Kuma, you’re making blush. I honestly have so much to go before I achieve what I REALLY want to sound like! As far as prior experience… nope. I have a few good friends that are musicians themselves, so I guess I’ve always been around music, from classical to death metal and everything in between. Training? Nope, I played the saxophone in elementary school, that’s about it. Everything that you’re hearing is me saying in my head, “Hey this sounds good”.
Kuma: Shane, you’re rustling my jimmies with how good you are, especially because when I look at your SoundCloud, the oldest song on there is only a year old, and its quite good too. Although I notice its in FamiTracker, where as now you predominantly use Game Boys. Lets talk about that for a bit: your transition musically in hardware and software, such as what you like and dislike about each, why you made the transition, etc.
shanebro: Ahh yeah. my old stuff… oh gawsh.
That stuff was rough, and I love going back and listening to the stuff I started out with and comparing it to what I do now. I’ve learned so much! Yeah, I did start out with FamiTracker. When I first heard ‘Helix Nebula‘ by Anamanguchi, I went to Google and searched “How to make 8-bit music” and FamiTracker popped up. I managed to find 8bc back then when it was getting ready to die, unfortunately, but I did find some great help!
FamiTracker seemed easy enough for me, but I noticed most of the “popular” chipmusic sounded way different, so I searched the depths of the internet once again and found that it was made on a program called LSDJ with a Game Boy. The rest is history, really.
Straight up, I love LSDJ. I can do so much [more] in a tracker program than in a DAW which I frequently messed around with previously of my chipmusic adventures, but it never stuck. So to answer your question of why I made the transition, well it felt perfect to me! The fact that I had a toy that a lot of people discarded that could make beautiful sounds, although my sounds were hideous back then, lol!
Kuma: Its funny to hear other people call their older work hideous, but when I listen as someone from the outside looking in, I can only hear amazing things and progress.
That being said, lets talk about some of your influences musically. Obviously, you mentioned Anamanaguchi, and I can’t think of many in the scene who aren’t or wouldn’t be impressed with them or what they represent in terms of an ideal of success, especially with their recent triumphs with their kickstarter for Endless Fantasy and all the attention they’ve garnered since. Tell me, what and who inspire you to make the music you do, and why do you personally do it? Is this all just for fun for you or does making music resonate on a deeper level for you?
shanebro: Ah yes, Anamanaguchi pretty much started it all for me, and I have so much respect for them, and can’t wait to see them next month!
As for influences, well early on I listened to a TON of Chipzel! Like all day every day! And I would have to say Fighter X and his chaotic yet awesome way of writing really influences me, too. Space Town Savior is also another MAJOR influence of mine. He actually inspired most of my upcoming album.
I make chipmusic because prior to this I really haven’t accomplished much, in my opinion, so I saw this as a way to express my self in a good way. To think people actually enjoy my music really makes me overcome with feels. Seriously. If you would have told me a year or so ago that I would be having my OWN set at a major event, I would have called you crazy. It really surreal that all this is happening right now. I really love the chipmusic community.
Kuma: I’m glad you do make this music, and I’m glad you’ve become a part of this community. It’s certainly been a pleasure conversing with you, hanging with you, rooming with you at MAGFest. That was fantastic, btw. We are doing that again next year. But getting back to the topic at hand, I can definitely hear the influences you mentioned in your music. Especially in the song you did with softRESET, Celestial Bodies. Tell me: of all the people you’ve worked with in chip, who have meant the most to you? We know the ‘guch and Chipzel mean a lot to you, but of the people you’ve met and interacted with personally, who has been the biggest influence on you? Who do you feel you owe the most to?
shanebro: Much <3 Kuma. MAGFest next year is gonna be awesome!
Well I’d have to say Max (The Bitman) is one of those people who I enjoyed interacting with the most. We met last year, and road tripped to BRKFest ’12. He sort of became my “coach” back then. He’s been nothing but helpful whenever I had a question about LSDJ or whatever. The chipmusic community is awesome, but there is still a tiny bit of an “elitist” in it, which is totally understandable. Bitman and I will be working on getting an EP down with our power combined sooner or later!
I’d also have to mention Curtis (Solarbear), too. I remember last year at BRKFest we were riding back to his house from Taco Bell, and we were talking about stuff, and I was explaining to him how nervous I would be if I would be playing at something like BRKFest. I wondered if I would even get a chance to do that in the next 5 years or something. He pretty much gave me some uplifting words, which obviously translated into me getting a spot for this years BRKFest, which I am just so humble to be playing at.
Kuma: That’s awesome. I’m glad to hear that in so short a time you’re finally getting that chance to shine. You deserve it. That being said, come BRKFest, your fans will definitely be expecting to hear stuff off your new album. Let’s talk about Where Hearts and Minds Collide for a bit, shall we? When’s it coming out? What kinda gear did you use to make this, and was there a certain mindset, sound or emotional theme you were looking to capture while making this?
shanebro: Yeah, I’m super pumped for this opportunity! Where Hearts and Minds Collide will be out on June 17th for free, and I will be making a package that will include a physical CD, Poster, and shanebro sticker, so look out for that!
I used one Game Boy for the majority of the tracks, and a couple using two Game Boys in which I am totally new to, but I think they came out really well!
The mindset for this album when I had envisioned it was simple: This is my chance to shine (like you said previously). After my first EP, I felt like I could elevate my understanding of LSDJ and certain ways to make certain sounds. I had a bunch of help from guys like Auxcide, softRESET, and some others. I wanted this album of 12 tracks to be something that I could be proud of, and despite at this point listening to it over and over again to the point where I want to throw my speakers out, I really think I accomplished this goal. I want people to see that you don’t necessarily need to be Hanz Zimmer to compose music. If you really set your mind to it, and observe what people like–and what you like, mainly–you can achieve anything.
As for an emotional theme, it would have to be euphoric. Most of my stuff is really upbeat with a mix of really dark stuff if that makes any sense at all!
Kuma: That certainly is an inspiring message, and considering the quality of your music thus far, I have no doubt that you’ve succeeded in this endeavor. Will you be throwing a listening party or a doing a live performance to help promote the album?
shanebro: There will be a a release party on 8BitX on the 17th! Otherwise, who knows? I don’t want to give it all away yet.
Kuma: Not a problem, but I’m glad our readers and your fans will have something extra to look forward to with the release of the album.
That being said, Shane, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk shop with us. You’re amazing, your music is amazing, and I expect only great things for you in the future no matter what you do. Do you have anything you’d like to say to your friends, fans and our readers before we go?
shanebro: Thank you so much Kuma! I’d just like to say thanks to everyone who has helped me or encouraged me or even told me that my stuff is crap, and it needs to be improved. If you want to get into chipmusic, just do it! This community is the best, and I can say it has really changed my life since I’ve been introduced to so many people.
Much love to everyone!
Thanks for dropping by to check out this interview. Don’t forget to like/follow/etc. shanebro at his various social media outlets & to scoop up his pay-what-you-will album from his Bandcamp on June 17 (links below)! Tune in next time for another quality interview with another quality chipartist.