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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”!
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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!
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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

ChipWin Track #17: Titan 2 by Kedromelon

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So you just listened to the meditative sounds of datacats and are feeling at ease, having found inner peace through the beauty in the simple things that surround us all.  However, just before you can truly ponder on that which is to come you feel yourself starting to snap back to reality!  You awaken from your gentle meditation, only to find yourself suddenly strapped into the cockpit of a badass star fighter!  Before you can even question what’s happening, the lights on the take off strip transition from red to green and you’re blasting off to your next destination: Titan 2!

Kedromelon

Kedromelon is a man who knows what he wants and goes after it with full force!  Hailing from Titan (aka Maryland, the homeworld of other notable artists such as Compy Core), Noah Lemen studied music technology at NYU and has since become one the many bodacious and deftly skilled chiptuners to call the city his home.  Crafting aggressive, hard hitting music such as Sky Attack, Let it Glow, and my personal favorite, Recoil, Noah is a musician who composes refrain that instills vigor in anyone who listens, and keeps the pace going song after song.

As is the case with many other artists that have come before him on this compilation, Noah is capable of incredible diversity, and even took a break from making chiptune for awhile to work on another style of music that he excels at but is perhaps less known for: post-rock.  While he hasn’t produced as much music in this genre as he has chiptune, his skill as a composer shines through regardless.  Songs from his EP Demos and Old Stuff such as Reflections and his most recent post-rock single, Rails, reveal a sensitive, introspective and even forlorn aspect of this multi-faceted artist that many don’t seem to know about.

That being said, don’t let the hipster facade fool you: chiptune is most definitely Noah’s joie de vivre, as he has currently put aside all of his other projects to work with Tate Gregor, a fellow NYU alum and chiptuner known as PopSTAR, to form an epic duo known as CHILLBRAVE!

close enough

actual photo of CHILLBRAVE

CHILLBRAVE has yet to release a full EPs worth of music on either Soundcloud or Bandcamp, but considering what each artist brings to the table and what they’ve put out so far as a duo, they are definitely a force to be reckoned with in the scene.  If you’re digging Kedromelon in any way, this is definitely the act to follow to keep up with him.

Til next time.

\m||m/

Relevant links:
Kedromelon on Bandcamp
Noah Lemen’s post rock on Bandcamp
PopSTAR on Soundcloud
CHILLLBRAVE on Soundcloud

kedromelon

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.
\m||m/

Relevant Links:
Decktonic on Bandcamp
Miami Slice on Soundcloud
Superpowerless on Bandcamp
Korg DS-10

christian montoya

Raw Cuts With Kuma! #1: SKGB

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Hey there, chipbros and sistas!  Welcome to the first edition of Raw Cuts with Kuma! What is Raw Cuts, you ask?  Well, Raw Cuts are unedited, candid interviews with some of the coolest, hippest minds in the chiptune scene!  From big stars to up-and-comers,  Raw Cuts was made to allow for a very in depth look at the thought processes of some of the artists, visualists, designers, and promoters in the scene, and maybe even a couple lols on occasion.

This first interview is one I did a while back with an artist who contributed to ChipWin’s very first compilation album, our 51 track beast of an LP.  I went into it wanting to get to know and understand this artist more, but I ended up also getting some advice from him on my road to becoming a fellow chiptuner.  Best known for his unique manipulation of noise, laid back demeanor, and dat luscious freakin hair, here’s my interview with Aleister M. Williams, the artist known as SKGB!


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Kuma: So, lets start with something basic.  Your stage name, SKGB. What was the inspiration for that? What does that stand for, anyway?

SKGB: Well… I basically needed to change my name from SOMETHING WHICH WILL NEVER BE MENTIONED AGAIN!  And I wanted it to sound “cool” I guess, so I took some words that meant something to me and I turned em into an acronym.  I’m sorry, but at this time my agent, Aleister Williams, will not permit me to reveal what SKGB stands for.

Kuma: Hahahaha fair enough, good sir.  That being said, what first got you into chiptune?  Had music production always been something that was a part of your life or did it come later in life?

SKGB: Well, when I was five I decided I wanted to be an artist ’cause I liked cutting the little stick people out all pretty-like.  For a while I wanted to be a visual artist of some sort, then I got into the art of play in middle school and designed shitty little indie games with some Swedish software.  Finally, I found my way into chiptunes, listened to everything I could on 8bitpeoples, started checking out tons of circuit bending stuffs, and smoked too much weed.  Why paint one painting, when i can paint a billion diff paintings in every different person’s ears?

Kuma: Very true!  Your music certainly has reached a wide audience, but I do have to admit you have a style all your own on stage.  It seems to me you definitely haven’t completely abandoned your need to express yourself as a visual artist, particularly when the art is you, such as during your recent show at 8static.  Care to elaborate more on the inspiration for that show?

SKGB: Well, Christmas is all corporate evil now, so I just figured i’d inject some electro-pagan-witch-funk into the mix of consumerist bullshit and see what happens.  Also, I jokingly put “An SKGB Christmas Special” onto the official 8static bookings a while back and Emily Feder (EMFEDEX, Chipmusic Chronicle) made me follow through.

Kuma: Hahahaha!  Oh dude you’re killing me!  That being said, lets talk a bit more about your music.  While there are a lot of chip artists who seem to find their groove after a while and seem to fit neatly into one sub genre, your music is just everywhere!  Hell that Xmas set alone had the dance floor alternating between grinding and thrashing to pop and locking faster than Saturday at Blipfest!  If you had to define you as an artist, what would you call yourself?

SKGB: Well I guess basstripnoisechipthrash or something like that.  My brain is constantly getting bored so I have to constantly keep doing new things to keep it occupied.

Kuma: Would you say that boredom, or a fear of it, is ultimately the driving force behind what you do?

SKGB: Not really.  To be honest I don’t know what boredom is anymore.  I wish I had time to know it, though.  Then maybe I could have more time for a good book and pipe and some pets or something.

Kuma: That’s honestly refreshing to hear, as boredom seems so pervasive in modern culture.  I regress, though.  Lets back track a bit though to your personal style of music. Are there any artists in particular that inspire you to do what you do,chip or otherwise?

SKGB: Yeah. A whole lot.  No but really, I guess, as a kid I listened to a lot of jazz (bebop, avant guard, swing) my mom had.  I grew up listening to stuff like Nirvana and Soundgarden and Alice in Chains and 1st wave ska, then a whole bunch of techno, then chiptunes, then dubstep (like 2008ish stuff).  Now I just listen to a whole buncha shit.
The artists who inspire me the most now are the ones i’m in close proximity with. Dino Lionetti (and all of Cheap Dinos).  The fellas on the Madwaves collective i chill with lots,
and stray chipthrashlings who make it up to Philly: Kool Skull, The Ghost Servant, S.P.R.Y.

Kuma: Very nice.  Kool Skull is one noise artist in particular I’ve come to enjoy greatly, in particular for something he said to me at his last show in NYC before moving out west. He said “the one thing you always gotta remember about chip is that chiptune is about making music easy.”  Would you find in your experience that sentiment to be true?  That making chiptune does make the music production process easier than if you had done it by more traditional means?

SKGB: It all depends.  Me and Kool Skull tend to have the complete opposite workflow when it comes to music. He likes to work on tracks real fast like, and I like to spend hours tweaking and tweaking (a song, you silly).  My advice would be, don’t let anyone else tell you how to make music.  I mean, personally, i’ll find any way i can to make any sort of music i can, because anything else would make me feel real sad ;_; traditional recording or tedious tracking, s’all good.

Kuma: Hey, its all good.  Like you said, this is about you doing what you love and what makes you happy.  You do that however you want my friend.  That being said, one last question for you.  You’ve been in the chipscene longer than I have. Seen its ups and downs, and have earned the respect and admiration of your peers and fans.  Over the course of the year, the chip scene has seen some incredible changes, from the rise of Chiptunes=Win to the farewell of Blipfest.  In your personal opinion as both a fan and an artist, what do you see yourself doing over the course of 2k13 and what do you think will come of the scene, as well?

SKGB: Well… I see myself making a whole bunch of music that doesn’t sound like “traditional” chipmusic, calling it chipmusic and pissing a whole bunch of people off (lol).
As for the “scene” as a whole, I don’t see an end to chipmusic in sight at all,
though i do believe the locus of chip hocus pocus has and will continue to stray farther from the east coast.  Going to BRKfest last year blew my mind wide open to the fact that yes: chipmusic is just as big, if not a whole fuckton bigger, than it ever was.  In fact, the entire midwest corridor is on hot fiyah, Piko Piko Detroit, Cartrage, BRKfest, and all the travelling artists in between are fucking shit up real proper over there.  But mark my words: the 8static crew still have a few surprises on their .sav roms.

aleister crowly

\m||m/

Relevant awesome links:
SKGB on Bandcamp
SKGB on Facebook
Chip Music Chronicle
8Static
Piko Piko Detroit