Power Player #22: AndaruGO
- So I heard you lived in Japan for a while, explain yourself.
During my Junior year at college I was selected to study abroad in Nagoya, Japan at the Nagoya University for Foreign Studies (affectionately dubbed ‘NUFS’) for a little over 11 months. It was one of those ‘defining’ moments in my life– kind of something akin to Harry Potter being told he was a wizard and that everything was going to be okay from now on. Of course we all know that once Harry found out who he was, that he also found out about Voldemort– so I guess that would be a fitting analogy haha. It wasn’t until I was 9 months in, with my life completely falling apart overseas that I truly realized what living my dream entailed– and I quickly realized that it was unrealistic and foolish to think I could survive it alone.
- Is that how you got into chiptunes?
I would say living in japan had a fair amount to do with it– but more indirectly. I think every person that had a Myspace account back when that was still a viable format for social networking remembers hearing Sabrepulse (Hey kate, anyone?) and that was my first real introduction to people that were making contemporary chip music within the original format limitations. I always wanted to make chip music, but it was one of those things that was extremely hard to find out how to do. I tried VST plugins on fruity loops and stuff like that, but it wasn’t the pure analog tone that I was looking for– I seriously googled and searched every possible variation of ‘how to make music with a gameboy/how to make chip music/how to make chip tunes’ and came up with nothing for about 4 or 5 years. Then in the summer of 2011 I heard the word ‘LSDJ’, typed it in to google, showed all my friends and cohorts, and never looked back.
- How do you feel about the scene right now?
The aforementioned reasons as for why I got in to chip music speaks volumes about the scene, in my opinion.
I want to start off by saying that this music scene is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced– I’ve been playing music and going to shows for at least a decade now and I have yet to experience anything with an iota of the power and resonance that chip music has in the modern landscape of music.
—Now, what I think of the scene has been said by many people. The concept of ‘sell your t-shirt, not your ideas’ is an extremely detrimental thing in a niche format-based genre like chip music, considering the format limitations and the learning curve of getting the machine (gameboy, amiga, whatever) to do what you want it to are not to be taken lightly. It is because of that, I think, that we should collectively try to inspire and invigorate the ‘up and comers’ or ‘newbies’ in the scene by sharing what/how/why we do what we do with our formats. It shouldn’t have taken me so long to find out about ‘how to make ACTUAL chip music with a gameboy’ but it DID, and the only things I can blame that on are a compound of 1) my own stupidity/inability to placate the Google Gods to hook a brother up with some chip-intel. And 2) the scene, afraid of being ‘dethroned’ from their position as ‘the best’ by some new person making ‘better’ music than them, actively hiding the means to create their format of music (you would be surprised how hard it is to actually find out how to make chip music, try it out yourself and see how few people mention LSDJ
. I think it is a pretty lame thing)
For a bunch of people that exist on the internet, I think we do a shit job of sharing how we actually do what we do with the outside world. Sure, someone might make a track that gets popular, or gets featured on a Rhianna track– but at the end of the day we have to take what we do with a giant grain of salt and just keep having fun. Share with everyone. Be friends forever. Let’s just hug forever with music.
- I saw your video from open-mic, how was your trip to Blipfest?
Geeeze BlipFest NYC 2012 was like a baptism of sound. I still can’t even properly express how awe-inspiring it was, and I’ve had well over a week to think about it (and re watch the videos on Chip Music Chronicle) haha. Day Zero, the open mic– that was a dream come true. I signed up to be in a random pool of about 60 some people (they closed the sign up list a week or so after they started accepting applicants online) and of those people only about 20 got to play (plus KillerWhale as a secret guest). I felt really humbled by the whole experience, because I really, truly wanted everyone to be able to play. All of my friends (except for CrapHazard and EM-F) were just sitting around drinking free Sangria, sullen and depressed about coming all the way from Michigan, Ohio, and all over the midwest/ east coast. It was a really great start to what became an extremely cathartic and moving series of days. No sleep, lots of beer, smoking way too much, and lots of metal neck from thrashing (combined with a horrifying bus ride on the recently closed-down Chinatown Bus that smelled like piss and cabbages, and finished with a 12 hour car ride in which I drove 8 of the 12 from NY to Cincinnati) ended up being the perfect combination of horrible events to set off a creative forest fire in my brain. Seriously. So many creatures are on fire right now.
—Blip Festival is something I would recommend to anyone that enjoys chip music, or just really good people. I may be being sappy, or over dramatic, but I would have to say that I met some of the most inspiring and humble, down-to-Earth people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Josh Davis (bit shifter), Chris Burke (Glomag), and a host of other people I don’t care to name drop because I don’t want to look like a total jack-off– meeting them in real life, and forging a real and personal bond with them after having looked up to them for so long has completely turned my life around.
NEVER STOP DREAMING.
—But yeah, definitely go to Blip. I started saving literally 3 days after NYC 2011 was over and managed to make it to 2012. I’ve already started saving for 2013. You can do it. And I better see you fuckers there!!!!!
- Tell me about your involvement with BRKfest.
Aaaah, BRKfest– this is something I am really proud to be a part of. SolarBear and I spend a lot of time talking on FaceBook chat and texting and crap (it’s fucking CUTE)– and by talking, I mean I usually just whine to him and he deals with it haha. But in all seriousness, Curtis and myself really wanted to prove that with the internet, a powerful DIY aesthetic, some good old fashioned Team-Work and Scene-Unity, you are capable of anything. Curtis has done about 98% of the work though, I mainly provide moral support and manage the Twitter/FaceBook page. He found the venues, talked with artists, and has provided a lot of the financial backing/technical support for the event set-up. He really out did himself, and I expect that this event will really help solve the horrible problem that the mid-west chip scene has with diaspora.
- How’s the scene in Cincinnati?
Man, the scene in Cincinnati is a peculiar one. There was an American travel-writer that was traveling through Cincinnati, Ohio, and remarked on the way that men wore their hats and facial hair, saying that “I wish I could live in Cincinnati when the world ends– that way, it won’t come for another 13 years”. Now whether or not this fellow said that or not is beside the point, considering how vivid an illustration it gives of my city. The people that would be expected to be in to chip music just don’t ‘get it’ yet because they still think Folk Music is cool (OMG SO 3 YEARS AGO AMIRITE). Combined with the smoking ban killing the bar scene down town, and the race riots a few years back scaring away all the rich white people, Cincinnati has had it pretty rough. I know a lot of people in bands here that just don’t play shows here because people just won’t come. The ethos of the Cincinnati music scene can be summed up as “you play in Cincinnati until you can get out of Cincinnati”.
—More from the chip music perspective, the way we do things in Cincinnati has come from the fact that our music scene is a fucked to death burning pile of shit. You can’t get anyone to get out of their houses to come see a show for a ‘regular’ or ‘real’ band– let alone your gameboy dance music (or whatever the fuck you do, these things I’m saying about myself are applicable to anyone making chip music in Cincinnati in my opinion) so there’s a lot of ‘playing to no one’ or ‘hey it looks like 70 people RSVP’d and they’re all my friends!!! OFUQ no one showed up and I’m playing to the bartenders/employees.’
I DUNNO THOUGH I think I need to get out of this city. DEBATE OVER THAT. IN THE COMMENTS. OKAY GO GO GO GO
- How many chiptuners have you met?
I’ve met a lot of other Chip musicians, and it’s always great when you do. I met almost everyone at Blip this year that I wanted to meet– but soon realized that I wanted to know everyone hahaha XD I would say that I know a LOT though, mainly through my desire to make this my job (I’m unemployed, so it is now, hahaha)
- Who inspires you musically?
I really like super euro-beat. Holy fuck, I was watching Initial D the other day with HunterQuinn and we both just started fist pumping so hard to STAY. Fucking legit.
—But as far as emotional content, I really enjoy The Pillows, new Nullsleep (collapsed desires/ein sof style), HunterQuinn, and bit shifter. I can’t stress enough how much chip music I listen to, so I just wanted to give out the obvious ones. I just really like listening to anyone that can push a single gameboy without any additional instrumentation to its absolute limits. Like NNNNNNNNNN.
- What’s your deal with H.P. Lovecraft?
I love me some Howard-Phillips Lovecraft. I’ve found it surprising how much of my life and what I do/how I feel as a human being in the vast lakes on infinite blackness resonates with HPL’s writings. There’s just something about him. We were born five days apart (I was born August 25th, he was born the 20th), both enjoy exceedingly sweet coffee, and were/are both very peculiar fellows. His fiction has a certain resonance with me, that I can’t quite explain. There’a an immersive quality in his literature, coupled with a breaking of the ‘fourth-wall’ through his literary style– something I’ve always been able to come back to no matter how many times I read and re-read his stories. I definitely see a lot of similarities in chip music and pulp-fiction/weird-fiction, which is probably why Lovecraft is such an influential person in my life.
I’m constantly working on new music and visual art– right now I’m preparing some video loops for an installation I’m doing with a friend (some cool gameboy camera loops layered with weird black and white stuff). I’m really excited about it, it took me two days of editing to get it together. Musically, I’m working on my next release, ‘Necronomitron 1.0′– an entirely Lovecraft inspired album. Kind of like my sonnet to him, haha. I’m going to be releasing the SAV files, and I’ll be accepting remixes for a second album ‘Necronomitron 2.0.r’ so keep posted, folks
—I’m also working on a secret album, but that’s a secret.
- How many releases do you have out?
So far, I have release 2 solo albums (6 tracks each) and a split with my buddy HunterQuinn. My junior release will hopefully be a turning point in my song writing, and hopefully everyone will like it U.U;;
- You Vs. HunterQuinn, who would win in a fight?
I think HQ and myself would have quite the brawl– but I think that if we fought, everyone would lose. It would take a lot for us to have to beat each other to death, and when that happens– watch out. Ken x Ryu world-ending battle of all time. And then silence because we aren’t making music because we are dead (WE ALL LOST)