This Month in The Overworld: Una Niña Malvada

- Posted June 27th, 2019 by

This month’s Chiptune artist never ceases to amaze me with his rave style bangers and his witty, surreal and flashy Instagram stories. It’s always a quirky and wild ride listening to the tunes of Una Niña Malvada!

Drawing of Una Niña Malvada by Rano.
Drawing of Una Niña Malvada by Rano.

Una Niña Malvada, whose real name is Marcelo Aliste (nicknamed Rano) has lived in Santiago de Chile (Chile) all his life. He considers himself to be a very boring but restlessly creative individual, so he has always tried to learn and produce a lot of things: with design, painting, drawing, programming and music. According to him, he is the classical case of “master of none”, although I beg to differ.

Rano creates as if he always tries to tap into the child in all of us, and having several musical projects, Una Niña Malvada is the one that has the most longevity of the bunch. The visual mascot of the project is a lovely female pooch that Rano draws all the time and can be seen throughout his social media. Being such a well received project internationally and online, one could also reflect upon his drawings, that have an 80’s anime vibe, but in which the content is universally relatable, and has a contagious glee, much like his music.

For you, personally, what is Chiptune and what is the first image that comes to your head when you think about Chiptune?

The first thing that comes to my head is nerd people doing nerdy things. Guys locked in their bedrooms using trackers and consoles, with hentai posters in the background. Chiptune is certainly a very entertaining and limited medium to do stuff, it is generally considered a music genre, but it’s more like an aesthetic tool, since there are as many genres within Chiptune as there are musical genres in the world. 

Which were your first experiences with Chiptune and how was it that you got into it? Where did you learn about the existence of Chiptune music?

My first approach, as a lot of people’s experiences too, was through game consoles. When I was little I played NES and Gameboy, and using headphones in the last one was quite an experience, since the stereo sound was quite pronounced, there was separation of the channels, with no middle ground. That’s when melodies got stuck in my head, like the one on Super Mario Land, Stage 1-1 (Gameboy version) that is my favorite. <3

Una Niña Malvada playing live.
UnaMalva playing live, photo from Once Super Portable.

So, that sticks with you, when you hear it again. After a while, when I was older, and was browsing through electronic dance music forums, I remember reading a post about Chiptune, and at the time I didn’t like the idea, since I had the bad luck of hearing metal-like examples emulating guitar solos, and that wasn’t of interest to me. 

Everything changed when I listed to a record from a Japanese label named 19-T, that was Cow’p‘s first record and it was entirely made with nanoloop. His style was more akin to my taste and I remember it blew my mind. Added to the fact that I didn’t had any laptop and I was spending a lot of time in my university, from that day the thought of making music with a gameboy got into my head. 

Still, I’m not a style purist, so the use of Chiptune as a complement to other ideas has interested me much more than using it as the center of my creations. 

What are your views regarding the local Chiptune scene in Chile? 

It’s small, but full of love. ♥︎ Every once in a while we make these small concerts organised by Jota Cápsula and Bluu, where we invite friends to play, dance and have a good time. 

When you want to listen to new music or discover new artists, whether its online or offline, related to Chiptune, where do you go?

I used to visit several internet forums, many that no longer exist and I have forgotten their names, but when I need to check something out I currently search it on and Twitter. Also, long ago, circa 2005-2007, Myspace was a good source for interesting finds, I think there’s where I most found groups and collectives. 

Una Niña Malvada playing live.
UnaMalva playing live in Santiago de Chile.

Have you made lots of friends within the Latin American Chiptune scene?

Actually, I find it very hard to meet people, I’m the worst in that sense. -__- I know a few chiptuners through the internet, and from latin america, I only know guys from Argentina, like Akira 8gb, Super Guachin and Pat Moritas.

What do you think that is, that makes your Chiptune music style personal?

When I started, I used LSDJ in an emulator, in my idle hours in the office while I did design practice. I remember I uploaded three songs. It was nice to see that my songs were reviewed in two japanese blogs at that time (Music Forest and Vorc), so I had to translate it, and for what I understood, they were interested in that it had pop melodies with a disfunctional but interesting structure, so they catalogued me as “broken pop”. To me, it was quite the motivator, so I continued doing some more songs. I uploaded them to different forums and there they invited me to be in compilation albums and things like that. 

As I learned to use new software, my songs got more complex, but I always continued with those melodies that have a childish like style and good vibes, even when the party beats are avobe 180 bpm. 

What is your favorite live gig setup?

A couple of gameboys, a beer and my Korg Electribe ESX-1. ♥︎

Una Niña Malvada playing live.
UnaMalva playing at the event “Café con Cables” by Aramais (PH).

Are you currently experimenting with any new gear that you would like to talk about?

Since I put on hold Una Niña Malvada as a project (until further notice) I’ve been developing and composing music for other projects with different machines and techniques: as RBNO, which I could catalogue as sharp ambient techno, something a little bit emo filled with arpeggios and digital whispers, which I do most of completely from my cellphone. It’s amazing how these gadgets are incredibly powerful now and you can create an album entirely using that. 

On the other hand, I have Ping Pong Club, which has a classic Acid/Braindance format, using exclusively hardware for its production. It’s very entertaining to not depend on a computer, but it was hard, specially to compose on it, since it’s not the same than being in front of a screen, and because of my background, I’m a very visual person. Then, it’s quite a change on my frame of mind, besides of the fac that for Ping Pong Club, I’m adding a sort of romantic karaoke like vocals, pretty ridiculous and that are sang badly (in fact, I’m a little bit ashamed to upload those songs to the internet).

What kind of influences, outside of the Chiptune genre, do you bring with you to your music?

I’ve always been an Aphex Twin and Rephlex fan, so everything is kinda obvious, hahah. Besides, the breaks will always be in my heart, since I was little I was infatuated with Rap and Breakbeat, so the natural evolution was Jungle and Breakcore. On the other hand, everything that’s japanese, anime, chinese bootlegs, corean banchan, I don’t know, anything inspires me, and food as well, food comes before anything else.

What is your favorite way to communicate with your fans in social media?

Having them send me photos or videos of dogs. :o)

How do you feel about the repercussions that your tracks had in the international scene?

Actually I don’t know! I mean, I feel that my style is not “pure” Chiptune, and technically I may never get to be on a really good level to stand out, and honestly I never took it very seriously. I think that, in a way, I got some attention because of that mix of childish ringtone melodies and complex, hyperactive rhythms as if the world needed to end. 

I think that in a way I won a place in the Hardcore Chiptune scene of a very remote place, in fact, it was a wonderful surprise that I was listed on a Latin American Chiptune list in Bandcamp on 2018, from an album that I made on 2012 and only recently people has started to download it, lol.

And last but not least, where would you like to have Chiptune go towards, in the future?

Hmmm, I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it. To me, Chiptune has always been the past. Using computers with limited processors and softwares that are a bit cryptic, with lots of limits, whether they are related to sounds or to structure. It’s a retro technological masochism, almost like a fetish, so maybe it will be something more related to a porn like genre for your ears.

Una Niña Malvada’s Overworld Map

Una Malva's overworld map by Pixel Syndrome
Una Malva’s Overworld Map by Pixel Syndrome.
  1. Aphex Twin (Musician).
  2. Bogdan Raczynski (Musician).
  3. Cow’p (Musician).
  4. All the drum machines, although my favourite is the TR-606.
  5. Potato Chips.
  6. Serial Experiments Lain (Anime).
  7. Neon Genesis Evangelion (Anime).
  8. Sailor Moon (Anime).
  9. Soulseek (P2P Software).

Rano a.k.a. Una Niña Malvada
Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud

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