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.
Jeffrey Fernandez, a.k.a. Hyper Foofie, was born in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, about 26 years ago. And, about four years ago, he started creating chiptune music. Spiritually social, he’s made a lot of friends along the way. Some of those are the ones that paved the origins of his nickname, which started as ‘Frodo’, which had mutated from ‘Freddy’, literally just a friendly nickname that’s the offspring of his given name, Jeffrey. Here, he shares with us his adventures and experiences being one of the few musicians who creates chiptune in Costa Rica.
How did you discovered your passion for creating Chiptune music?
When I was 22 years old, I went to Sweden and met one of my favorite groups, called Dunderpatrullen. We stayed at the same hotel and I remember that at 3 am Jim Lindgren (one of the group members) knocked on my door to check if there was any wine in my room. Even though sadly, the only bottle we had was empty (̄_(ツ)_/̄), I used that great opportunity to ask him personally how he created all those bleeps and bloops, and he joyfully showed me the mystical ways of the 8-bit music. When I came back to Costa Rica, my mind was already made up and all I wanted to do was some chiptune.
If you had to name the first thing that comes to mind when someone says the word “Chiptune”, which would that be and why?
It would have to be family because that’s what my musical life has become, even if it was a slow process. Chiptune, to me, is a culture where both gaming and music create something spectacular, and when someone says that word, I feel like a part of it. It’s like my ‘hakuna matata’, a way to be. ;)
Have you produced any other musical genres before you started creating your own Chiptune music?
No, at some point when I was at school I fancied metal and I wanted to be part of a power metal band, but I was way too young and I had no idea what I was doing when trying to not just form a band, but see it through. I unwittingly destroyed a guitar case, so my parents gave me the biggest reprimand ever. I didn’t touch another instrument in my life, well, that was true until I got out of college.
Through your album covers, I can tell that you are a big videogame fan. Is there any aspect of nostalgia present in your music?
Yes, definitely! It’s not particularly addressed towards a specific console or video game genre, but maybe I did try to make something similar to a video game cover: something fun and with lots of elements within the design itself.
Is there any particular sountrack or musical composer that you feel has influenced you as an artist, or you feel inspired by?
I can’t say that I feel that way towards a specific composer or band, but there is no denying that Nintendo (specially the N64 era) has served as a massive inspiration for my music, specially the works of Kenta Nagata, the composer of many titles that I enjoyed as a child, especially Mario Kart, the first and second Pokemon Stadium games and Super Mario 64.
How’s the Chiptune Scene in Costa Rica? I have seen that not long ago, you mentioned in the ChipWin community that you found another chiptune artist from your country, so I can imagine that it might not be as big as it is in other Latinamerican countries. Were you able to speak personally to that artist you discovered?
Chiptune in Costa Rica was not existant until I showed up, sort of like a blip. In the whole three years that I started producing in this crazy world I hadn’t met any other chiptune artist from around here, just a nicaraguan talent that went under the artistic pseudonym of BleeperCat.
At some point, I thought I was the only costa rican chiptune musician, until I found another guy that was composing 8bit music under the name of Leo Hofmann. That made me so happy! So I wasn’t the only one!
I instantly contacted him and afterwards we became good friends. At the moment, I’m trying to establish an alternative edm collective, and he’s more than included in it, so that we can invent some sort of “costa rican chiptune music genre” with me and work with different collaborators around the globe.
Is there any regular venue, like a go-to-place in Costa Rica where you perform your shows, or did you had to dig deep to find places to perform at?
Well, there’s the video game and anime conventions, but I no longer play in those sorts of places. It’s not the same than going to a specific place or a bar to listen and dance along with the music with a beer like DJ’s get to do. Then there’s the fact that in several of those sorts of events I got some nasty surprises like that time that my laptop got stolen. :(
At first it was just “Hyper Foofie vs the world“, but then I met several DJs that create house, techno, minimal, etc. that opened their doors to create events that included me on their lineup. It was a beautiful gesture and I was super exited that they took me in.
Therefore, I had to knock on several doors and find out who was interested in hosting these events. Luckily, I got a hold of some great leads that allowed me to generate events and create new spaces for Chiptune in my country. I also alternatively sometimes start an online streaming session with my friends and we simply all jam together.
When was the first time you heard Chipmusic played live?
It was in Sweden, at a city called Skellefteå where Dunderpatrullen was playing. The year was 2016, and I remember dancing my ass off and feeling stoked to meet so many people that shared the same taste for that bleeping and blooping music. Since it was my first time travelling by myself without a fixed course, I was also nervous, but it was extremely moving due to those special circumstances.
Did you had the help of a mentor when you started producing your own tracks?
I did almost everything by myself, but I have to admit that there were several people who helped me get there. At first, it was Tobias Gärder (a.k.a. Rymdkraft) who listened to my first experiment and helped me work things out. Then, after a while, I started producing on my own and had to develop my musical ear, specially how to do proper mixing (the first tracks I did definitely don’t sound so well as the last ones, of course). Several people help me get better at this, and even nowadays they still do, and I’m super grateful for that.
What is your preferred hardware/software to use when composing Chipmusic and your favorite setup to play live?
For production: Reason. I am totally not stressed about not using trackers or LSDJ, because I have tried that, and I discovered that I am not skilful in the use of them, hahah! Also, I very much like to mix my 8-bit music with sound samples and other synths.
For live performaces: My DJ controller hardware. I’m a certified DJ that studied at the DJ Lab (yes, as you read it, there’s a place like that in San Jose). Then, what I do is: I mix my songs and also the works of other artists that I love when performing live, to get the party started wherever I am. :)
Your social networks and profiles are spotless! How do you deal with the fact that you have to work on your own self-promotion?
Awww, stop it, you! Well, it’s a little exhausting but when you asume that position, you work with a lot of passion, since that’s the way you want the people to perceive your work. Then I feel that if you do it with a lot of heart and liveliness, then people will perceive your effort through the posts and messages that you want to transmit. That and the fact that I have a major in Advertising Design, hahah! The more you know! ==★
Do you have any VJ partner with whom you share a stage? What were your experiences when having to come up with audiovisual sets for the shows?
I don’t have a VJ partner, and I feel that is something that I need to incorporate at my events. I don’t do that because I actually do the motion graphics myself. In general, I create them thinking of something that I can just play behind me while I play, like a .mov that can run the whole time, but when I started meeting costa rican VJ’s then I told myself “I’m a fool, I have to include this talent in what I do and create some powerful magic with these sorcerers”.
Is there any instrument, either analog or digital, that you’ve always wanted to incorporate to your music but never got around to?
Imagine that, it would be a MariaChiptune. You shall see, you are probably laughing right now but I will do that I will hire a mariachi and we will make such an uproar, that it will appear in your morning news show!
What is your favorite Chipmusic artist and chipmusic album, and why?
I had to think about this for like half an hour, because they are so many!! But let’s say that “Keygeneration” by Dunderpatrullen is my favorite record of all times. It makes me so happy and it has been the first record that I bought from this genre. :D Another album that I love is “Amor Pungas” by Los Pat Moritas. It’s generated some special kind of moves, and every once in a while I listen to it and start dancing at work with my co-workers!
My favorite artists are: Fantomenk, Rymdkraft, Meganeko, Toni Leys, Los Pat Moritas, Dunderpatrullen and Dubmood (I’m sorry, I can’t choose only one).
As a person and as an artist, what do you find fascinating about your day to day?
I’m surprised that no one has released a sequel to Croc 2! Did a touched a special nerve there? Do you know who Croc is? The lizard that has a bump and every one in a while does “Ka-Boom!”, “Ka-Pow!”, “Ka-Splat!” with its tail while he saves his furry friends? He deserves a third game for sure.
I am also fascinated by how people get to make their wishes and projects come true, whether they are commercial or artistic in nature. And cats, I have eight cats and they suprise me every day with their unconditional love. <3
On what social media platforms are you most active and how do you engage with your audience over there?
I’m active at Facebook, Soundcloud and Instagram. But specially on Facebook. That’s how I met so many talents and the chipfam! :D
It’s always a pleasure to speak with artists that create several types of material, and this time we have a special treat, a video that Hyper Foofie created showcasing his work. Enjoy!
Hyper Foofie’s Overworld Map
- Blaster Raster (The vehicle featured in Hyper Foofie’s latest album cover).
- Pura Vida (“Pure Life“, a common lifestyle phrase from Costa Rica).
- Croc (Videogame).
- Tropical Toucan (Bird).
- Pioneer CDJ.
- Nintendo 64 Controller.