Power Player #17: Jredd

Shortlink: noichan.org/4747
March 17, 2012 in Power Player

I suggest you take your shoes off, settle down on the settee and have a cup of cocoa. Usually I would write a nice small intro right about here, but I don’t need to. Jredd has given me about as in-depth interview as I could ask for. I didn’t want to snip any. 

jredd chiptune

Jredd by CosmoBuggi and Tender Sman

Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself? Where you’re from, what you do for kicks and what you do as a day job.

I was born in Ventura California, but I currently live in the small town of McMinnville Oregon. Almost all the hobbies I have aside from playing a few casual rounds of various Street Fighter Games and Hot Shots Golf on my PS Vita are somehow music/art related. I’ve been playing keyboards/synths for as long as I can remember and I have always been fascinated with anything that makes sound and can make interesting new tones that I can make music with. I have no job, I am a government mooch, but I have gotten paid for my music a few times so that’s something I suppose. My disability pretty much prevents me from getting a standard job, but I recently got approved for disability income so I don’t really need one .

My family says that even as a tiny baby, mom would put a keyboard on the floor and instead of banging on it like most kids I would put my head next to the speaker and listen to each note 1 at a time going up and down the scale , sometimes for hours at a time. I have cerebral paulsy so while other kids were playing outside, I had limited energy so I guess I spent more time inside making noise with various things than most :P

By 4 years old, I was trying to play along to the songs on ”Sesame Street” . Later, my brother had a program called ”Music Painter” on his Atari ST. He programed it to play a simple Mozart song, and the program could also play it backwards. Moments later, in the next room they heard the same song coming from the other room only a little slower. It was me figuring out how to play what I heard on a keyboard. I think I was about 5 at the time . We also had Streets of Rage for the Sega Genesis, and I loved listening to the music in the sound test. I continued to do that with any game that had a sound test and music to listen to that we had through the years.

Later, we bought a Super Nintendo and Mario Paint. My older brother would make animations in it, and I would make music. We still have some of them recorded on VCR tape somewhere . When I was 10, my uncle had a garage band and I was their keyboardist with them on the weekends when they would practice. It’s some of my fondest memories. By the time I was 14, we had a Sega Saturn and an add on to it that allowed you to play import games. We bought ”Dezamon 2” (Roughly Translated) ”Ship Monster.” It allowed you to make your own Space Ship SHMUP game. My brother would edit the sprites and such, while I would make music. I still have some of the music I made with it back then. Here is a sample.

I made that when I was about 16. Ah, memories! I’d have more to show you but 8 bit Collective went down and most of my stuff is on there.

In 2004. I got my own computer and started making electronic music. I joined a site called VGmix, which was all about making creative arrangements of video game music and posting them for others to comment on and review. I was on there a couple of years, and it had a rating system for how well people liked your song. I am proud to say that in 2006 before it went down, I made the category ”Stuff of Legends” Which meant that those who reviewed my song gave it a rating of 90 out 100 or higher. You can listen to it here. It’s a mix between hot head hop (Or bop?) from Doknky Kong Country 2 and Dire Dire Docks from Mario 64 with a lot of original ideas in between. You can still listen to it here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1Hg-qFGKfs

I tried submitting it to Over Clocked Remix, but it was rejected. I had a new goal, make something that passes OCremix’s standers and gets posted.

After that, I got 2 video game remixes posted on OCRemix. One is ”Mushroom Maddness” A New Super Mario Brothers Remix and ”Music Is a Weapon” a Revolution X Remix that started off as a joke and somehow made OCRemix too.

Don’t ask me how that works, considering the site uses a panel of judges to only post the ”best” remixes that pass their standards. Here it is.

Then I joined 8bit collective and got to be the new kid all over again! After a couple of years of trying I unexpectedly got number one for a couple weeks with this one bit track.

Around that time I also made a Korg DS-10 album. Unfortunately that site is down and no longer hosts it. I guess I’ll have to put those songs up here with some new ones in a new album sometime eh?

That brings us to the end of 2011. with FM-Possible. A Sega Genesis album that I, Groovemaster303, and Cosmobuggi worked on together and that’s posted right here and we are super proud of it. So far in 2012 I have made a couple of things but I’ve spent some downtime after FM-possible. Sorry that was such a long reply. I tried to shorten it, I really did…but music is pretty much my life and there’s more to it..but those are some highlights.

Were you there for the golden age of video games and if not, what was your golden age of video games. (where did you pick up from?)

I was born in January of 86, so 8 and 16 bit classics were my childhood. It influences my music still today weather it is chiptune, hi-fi. remix, or original. Sadly, I suck at most of today’s newer games because my sense of direction due to my disability is so bad that it affects my ability to navigate in most 3d games unless I play it a lot. I see the good in both classic and modern games, but I prefer 2d stuff to 3d for obvious reasons.

Do you ever feel there is still console rivalry between Nintendo and Sega chiptunes?

I think there are standouts in both Sega and Nintendo music, ”Rivalry” aside, there are many amazing sound tracks on all kinds of sound chips. Really it isn’t so much about one chip being better than the other, but how a composer uses a soundchip’s limitations to his or her advantage. That’s what it’s all about for me, and it is why I stuck with it and got into chip music too. I wanted to use the same tools as the musicians back then did and see what I could push out of those consoles myself. There is something thrilling about making an ”obsolete” console produce a new sound. I am glad so many people feel the same way.

Did you already know Groovemaster303, & CosmoBuggi or did you recruit them in for FM-Possible? How did you meet?

Groovemaster303 I have known since the old VGmix days in 2004. We always wanted to work together, but we used different programs to make music. I was going to make ”FM-Possible” a solo EP. However, he has made many FM synth albums and he is also skilled in VGM MM tracker and wanted to make an album with it himself. So, it turned out that we ended up working together and it was awesome. Cosmo Buggi is a friend I met a little later, sometime around 2008 or 09. I met him through another person, and we clicked because we both loved video game music, and a similar style of music writing to boot. He was working on other projects at the time of FM-possible, but still managed to contribute to our album on some songs and make some awesome back cover art to boot (Which he sketched, and another friend of his named Tender Sman colored in for us. All of our styles melded together so well that at times even I forget who all did what in some songs, and that’s how I know we all worked excellent together .

Have you had any negative backlash to the otherwise positive feedback about the album?

A little bit here and there, most of it is very positive. I take it with a large grain of salt because most people don’t completely understand what it is we accomplished. Most of those that do appreciate what we worked on for a couple of months have been awesomely supportive including my own close friends and family. Most of those who have negative things to say have either never made a chip tune in their life, or have never worked with VGM MM. I think they should work with the program and try to make music with it themselves. Then, maybe if they have some valid constructive critique to offer I would be more than happy to learn from it. Until then, their opinion doesn’t really carry that much weight in my eyes, but they still have the right to think what they will. Some people also think Justin Bieber is awesome and that Twilight is a good movie. I disagree, but everyone has a viewpoint and it doesn’t really affect how I feel either way. Same thing with our album. Most people enjoy it, and we’re happy with that. You can’t please everyone.

So you’ve managed to put concrete slippers the FM scene and make it sleep with the fishes, what’s new for your next project?

Ha ha, funny guy! Now that the FM scene is dead, next we’ll make an album and call it FM-Horrible and it will play one note for 5 hours ! No, but seriously. There are a number of options for a next project. I could do, a 1 bit album, a famitracker album. Realese/finish some tracks that didn’t make FM-possible as an EP called ”FM-Portable” Make a DS-10 album, or even make an album of what I consider to be some of my favorite songs in various chips and styles and just have it be a self titled album called ”Jredd” That way there is a variety and hopefully something for everybody to enjoy! Either way, another album is sure to come eventually.

Name 5 things you’d take with you in the Zombie Apocalypse

I am a realist and chances are with my disability, I won’t last long no matter what I bring. If you can’t beat em, join em. Eventually everyone will become zombies and there will be nothing left to eat in this situation. So, I guess I’ll get started on eating humans now, get some hipster glasses and say ”I was a zombie before it was cool” Because of my cerebral paulsy limp, I already walk like one naturally, so it’s a perfect fit. Also, here is a lame joke! What do you call a zombie that runs really fast? A Zoom-bie! This silly joke is based off of a typo I made while talking to a friend about zombies one time. We figure, it should be an internet meme and you guys are perfect for spreading it! Do it! Spread the Zoom-bie Plague!

How did you get into Chiptune?

I’ve always had a love for video game music, but when I was on VG mix. It was run by a chiptune composer by the name of ”Virt” His work is stellar, and I can’t stress enough how his site VGmix and the people there helped me improve my own music. I wish that site still existed, but I suppose all good things must come to an end but I can still dream . Also, while I was there, someone by the name of ”Rushjet1” was making authentic Nintendo video game arrangements with a program called ”MML” or micro music language which totally blew my mind. His first remix was called ”Techno-Tris” an NES dance remix of the game boy Tetris theme, and I loved it. After that, I searched for more people making new music with old video game consoles and wanted to one day do so myself, and here we are ! I have tons of influences and more names of artists I like than I can count, but those 2 people really inspired me to try making chiptunes myself, and 8 Bit Collective was the perfect place for me to break into the ”scene” eventually. Small world huh?

What sort of music do you like outside of Chiptune?

I don’t like every song I hear, but I like a little bit of just about every style there is..or I try to at least. I figure, the more music I listen to,the more I’ll be inspired, and hopefully make better more unique music myself. Even if I don’t like a song entirely, there is almost always something good or interesting hidden in it to be inspired by. So, I try to keep an open mind. You pretty much have to be open minded in order to be into chip music right? To me it’s all sound anyway, and it’s all interesting so I listen to whatever someone wants to show me or whatever I can find. Music is my hobby and passion, so the more I am exposed to the better.

Would you rather be a king for a day or a fool for his lifetime?

Forget being a king, it’s too much responsibility and people only pretend to like you because you have power. Fools tend to have more fun, and are larger in number than kings. This is why the internet is full of so many foolish things, and yet those things are popular. Being a fool is awesome as long as you have a group of foolish friends to be silly with. Being a king is awesome until you have no friends or someone kills you to take your throne. Now if you’ll excuse me, this fool needs some sleep. Thanks so much for the interview guys, It means a lot that I get a chance to do this. Maybe someday when I am a dead ”Zoom-bie” this will be a classic interview that will one day result in me being ”King for a day” until, I get infected and become a zoom-bie. I will be finally cured of my C.P, but I’ll still be hungry all the time. Can’t win em’ all eh? See ya around, and keep your eyes peeled for new music from me on chipmusic.org and hopefully a new album from me sometime this year! Take care, and long live Noi-Chan!

That’s not all. Here’s a nice video webcast  from Jredd that he did to send you all out. Don’t forget FM-Possible is available here on noichan. 

  1. it was very interesting getting to know you and your background more. You are truly legend in the chiptune community – keep on makin sweet tunes!

  2. Now I appreciate you (and your ol’ comments on my tracks) even more Jredd

  3. This was a great read!

  4. Cool story bro. And i mean that with all of my heart, and none of my sarcasm.

    • Thanks man, it’s not often someone gets an honest “Cool story bro” :D

  5. awesome and honest interview, you take fm-music to the next level jredd! but i think there’s just one missing question: ‘how do you feel when making music?’

    • I feel great when making music. There are times when I get lost in it and I don’t even know how much time has passed. Other times, I just have an idea, jot it down and don’t come back to it until later. I have lots of finished songs but even more unfinished ideas. It’s the same as anyone else expressing themselves in any form of art. Being able to take what you hear or see in your mind and then to transfer it to another medium so that others can get a glimpse into your head and appreciate it is extremely satisfying. Basically, it’s the feeling of having fun, but yet with the purpose of accomplishing something by the end so that you have a creation all your own to show for it and share with the world :D . There are few things that feel me with more genuine joy than that :D Thanks for that question, I hope I answered it well :) .

  6. Wow, he posted everything I wrote in it’s entirety. I hope everyone is alright with reading such a long interview. You guys are awesome for letting me “Tell my story” :P .

  7. This is amazing. Thank you Mikee & Jredd for this.

    • It was a pleasure :) . I feel honored to be featured in your interview series!

  8. jredd is a superhero

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