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Th4 D34D Interview

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 ? Hit play and read on ?

Who is behind Th4 D34D?

Oh man, existential right off the bat!  Har har.  Well, I’m a multi-genre composer who loves working with old gaming sound chips to blend modern techniques and composition with the textures generated by ‘antiquated’ hardware.  I’m a music lover, and former guitarist for a number of metal bands including Skelator, Ritual Torture (formerly GutRot), Sentinel, PC Deathsquad, and many other projects.  I’m also a visual artist, including everything from pencil sketches and graphic design, to 3D Modeling, animation and video editing.  If it involves artistic expression, I am probably into it.

 

 How did you get into chiptune / what is your background?

I first started getting into video game music, not surprisingly, with the Sega Genesis.  Some classic tracks from the NES and Gameboy before that were really catchy, like Tetris and Super Mario Bros, but all the Sonic games, Gunstar Heroes, and Toejam & Earl: Panic On Funkotron were some of the first games where I would simply sit on screens just to hear the OST loop over and over.  Soon after I found a love for other chiptune composers like Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, Hiroki Kikuta, doing more RPG centric soundtracks on the SNES and PS1.  In the late 90’s I found the Shoutcast feature of Winamp, which was essentially a bunch of online radio streams.  There was a bunch of chiptune and/or video game OST stations, and so I used to just listen to those, or drum n bass stations, all the time.

However I didn’t get into chiptune tracking for years, as I was always playing in bands and writing music in DAWs.  I would compose faux RPG classical scores in Reason, and later did some FM synth stuff with Logic Pro’s EFM1, and eventually with Aly James’s FMDrive in Ableton.  I wrote a whole Sega FM influenced fakebit album I called, “Chip Lover” which led to me connecting with Rob 2612 (formerly Robugaa).  He was super positive about my album and encouraged me to pick up composing in trackers.  So a little less than a year ago now, I went and a downloaded the latest build of Deflemask and started tinkering away, focusing on learning the ins and outs of the software.  I made a couple of silly throwaway tracks for fun with the NES and Gameboy engines.  A few days later I made my first somewhat serious track on the YM2151 engine, “And Death Will Come”, since it seemed like the easiest with the most tracks available, including multiple PCM slots which could also be fine tuned, soft panned, and volume adjusted (features lacking in the YM2612 chip).  I posted this up on Facebook and got some awesome positive feedback from Dya, Jredd, and some other folks.  Soon after I decided to join Battle of the Bits, and started placing high in a lot of the competitions, getting tons of supportive feedback from the awesome community.  Hearing some of the tracks I was writing, Dya connected me with CheapBeats and the rest, as they say,  is history.

What are your inspirations for this album?

I could probably sit here listing off names all day.  I took a ton influence from many different rock, metal, jazz, prog and blues, musicians on a lot of the melodies and rhythms, especially the leads.  Of course classical composers like paganini, chopin and vivaldi heavily influence my lead writing as well.  Having grown up in the nineties, you’ll hear a lot of new jack swing and some house in a lot of the tracks.  But the largest influences came from retro gaming, the chiptune scene, and EDM.  I played some Atari and Nintendo as a kid, but the Sega Genesis and PS1 were the consoles that made me into a hardcore gamer..  Composers like Norio Hanzawa, John Baker, Dan Forden, Michiru Yamane, Yuzo Koshiro, Tim Follin, Konami Club, Sonic Team and tons of others really shaped most of the chip sounds.  I really fell in love with drum n bass as a kid in the very late nineties, and I’m a big fan of more modern neuro, dubstep and drumstep electronic artists like Reso, Dodge & Fuski, Teknian, Xilent, KOAN Sound influence the sound design of most of the drops, as well as some classic dnb labels like Renegade Hardware, Virus, Prototype, Rephlex and Valve Recordings.  Also fellow Sega chip artists like Rob 2612, Jredd, marcb0t and Strobe definitely inspired me with pushing the YM2612 capabilities on the album.  Like I said, we could be here all day if I was really being thorough.

What software did you use?

I wrote all of Future 2612 with Deflemask 0.12.0, although I used Ableton and GoldWave for creating and compressing the drum samples, and mastered the mp3/CD versions all in Ableton.

Which track was the hardest to write


To be honest, none of the tracks really gave me any great deal of difficulty.  I find making music much like putting together a puzzle, except I have to create the next pieces that fit rather than find them.  Sometimes I’ll have the whole song worked out in my mind before I start writing, but usually it’s a bit of an iterative process.  Ring Collector probably took the longest since I had worked out the first 8 bars or so, and then sat on it for a few months.  Eventually when I went back to finish the track, I reworked a couple of things in the intro, and then the rest just flowed pretty naturally.

Which track was the easiest to write

Genstep was the quickest and easiest to write.  The whole song popped in my head one morning, and I ended up working on it through the day and finishing it late into the evening.  It turned out to be one of the best tracks in my opinion, and is a personal favorite.

Anything special planned for this album?

Aside from having done the cover artwork myself, we have a Sega Genesis/Megadrive cart release, which I’m obviously really excited for.  I did some code editing and GUI work myself to get the rom customized just how I wanted it, using the free SGDK from Stef.  Somehow I managed to fit the whole album into the 4mb limit, although it is pretty much at the max.

Available here!

Have you any other projects that you’d like to plug?

I have a small gaming related channel at youtube.com/c/VG Fam that has been a bit inactive lately, but I hope to pick back up with some regular new content and even have plans to do some chiptune tutorials under the name Chip Fam.  You can also find me on my personal youtube channel by searching for th4 D34D (also you can just click here).  I’m also working with a new Sega group called FM Rangers, as well as an upcoming project called FM-Possible 2, a follow up to the original FM-Possible, so keep an eye out for that!

Thank you for the interview and I’m stoked to officially be a part of the CheapBeats roster!

Swerdmurd 24hr tracker challenge!

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When is it?

This insane conquest is going down from 12:00pm CDT til 12:00pm CDT, April 23-24.

TUNE IN ON TWITCH

https://www.twitch.tv/swerdmurd

Have you done this kinda thing before?

I’m somewhat of a veteran of this streaming last-minute stuff.  I’ve done 3 streaming 8 hour gamejams in the past:

  • Gloving Lawyer: Lord of Bird Law – little arena shooter thing for my friend Brandon where you murder lawyers with legal documents turned into paper planes.  It’s exactly as awesome as it sounds.
  • World of Nagatanks – little overhead tank-driving sim, made for my buddy Nagatron back when he was playing World of Tanks professionally.  It’s surprisingly solid, and I remixed a couple World of Tanks songs live.
  • Murderatti Golf – game for my friend Adam – little driving range simulator, and the only one I failed to really complete.  For what it’s worth, it was a way larger scope game than either than the above.

And I made a 24 hour gamejam (you can actually play online) called Brutal Alien Throwdown: Resurrection that’s actually one of the most solid games I’ve ever made.


 

What do you have in store for us?

Between 5 and 8 rock-solid tracks.  I’ll be releasing them in stereo as well – I use a fakebit imitation NES (2a03) chip after all – might as well have a bit of fun with it. 🙂 – I’m hoping to improve on my work on Astral Acrobat, and all under an impossibly tight, live deadline!Why do I do these things, again? /dies

Run down of the 24hours

  • 0:00 – 1:00 – Tutorial on my chip, how it works, and what I do to make music / my process
  • 1:00 – 1:30 – Duplicating out all of my blank tracks, showing a bit more of OpenMPT / modplug under the hood / proving that no work has been done.
  • 1:30 – 4:00 – First track.
  • FIRST BREAK – 4:00 – 4:15
  • 4:15 – 7:00 – Second track
  • 7:00 – 9:00 – Third track
  • SECOND BREAK – 9:00 – 9:30 (Dinner)
  • 9:30 – 12:00 – Fourth track
  • THIRD BREAK – 12:00 – 12:15
  • 12:15 – 15:00 – Fifth track
  • 15:00 – 16:00 – Cleaning up current completed tracks / finishing panning / making feasibility determinations on remaining track count
  • FOURTH BREAK – 16:00 – 16:30 – (More Food)
  • 16:30 – 20:00 – Sixth / Seventh track
  • FIFTH AND FINAL BREAK – 20:00 – 20:15
  • 20:15 – 23:00 – Eighth and final track
  • 23:00 – 23:45 – Finishing touches / checking panning / etc.
  • 23:45 – 24:00 – We’re done / thank yous / immediate coma

Anyone else involved?

Toni Leys – will be mastering the album

Sean – will be doing album art (album cover only / digital only)

 

Musho – The Interview

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Take a trip into the dreamland of one of the most unique artists we have on the label

Photo from Seven Force Records: https://sevenforce.bandcamp.com/album/seven-force-4

Photo from Seven Force Records: https://sevenforce.bandcamp.com/album/seven-force-4

Who is the man behind Musho? Tell us some more about yourself!

Alrighty! I’m a shy childish cat-thing, i’m officially at university doing stuff I don’t care for very much, but at night I transform into some kind of lazy music man. I’m confused about life, I sleep way too much, and i’m kinda obsessed about weather. Thunder’s my fave.

Anyway. We had lots of instruments lying about when I grew up so i’m mediocre on all of them. When I was an infant my father brought me a computer (rocking win 3.11 (for workgroups)) with a few cracked games that packed class101 cracktros. I really liked the music in there and when a friend gave me a shareware CD with modplug tracker, I was hooked. It took me about a year to figure out how to make new patterns, and another to find out you could use samples beyond the GM synth.

When I am An Adult I wanna have a radio show airing late Tuesday nights 01-04 AM playing weird generated noise with some improvised woodwind solos on top.

musho_maybe_c small

What’s it like living in Sweden?

At the end of the summer the birds stop singing. Late autumn is awfully quiet. In December I forget how most of them sound. Come spring, when the days get longer and sun stays up for six hours a day, they slowly slowly start to come back. But you never notice… until suddenly it’s April and the larks keep you up at night.

To me, your music has a really strong fantasy vibe to it. Like, I can imagine fairies dancing around in the woods with nothing other than the green glow of bioluminescent plants lighting their way… Just me? I don’t know, but where do you take your musical inspirations from?

Might be true! I read a lot of fantasy books (or I did when I was younger). I would say (in my mind at least) I mix 50% 90’s demoscene eurobeat with 50% Swedish folksongs. Then of course nothing comes out like that but that’s how most songs are first thought of.

I know the same sample is in “If I die tonight tell my family I reached 165 BPM,” but where does the title for the album come from?

Honestly? I do not remember. It was a friend who couldn’t find a good enough swimsuit or something. Like a lost dream of a nice bikini? Something to do with summer and the beach anyway. Most of these songs were written in summertime, or ruminating it, or anticipating it.

Was there a particularly easy or hard track to write?

I would say The Beguiling Miasma of Blood. The track went through several iterations with different vocals and musical acts. I think it’s the track I started earliest and finished last. In the end I didn’t even try, I just played around not really expecting something to stick. But suddenly it did!

Any gigs coming up?

Actually no. I only do shows on 1xDMG (for now at least). It’s been maybe a year since I last made a pure gameboy tune and I don’t feel too dope about performing the same songs as I did last year. So i’ve been lying low.

Anyone you want to say hello to?

Yea! Wiu to Maja whose birthday is April 4th. Meow to Tesla and Kosmos, my closest of kin. Real thanks to Teddy, who enables my fucked up night time adventures by being equally crazy, and paying my rent. Love to my v-town crew for not forgetting me even though I went away. And hugs to my parents for supporting me even though i’m a big baby!

Thanks!

Always the pleasure.

Bikini Dream Karaoke Edition is due out April 4th. Can’t wait until then? Check out Musho’s previous release here!!

Galaxy Wolf – The Interview

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Learn about the man behind Galaxy Wolf, his upcoming release and what he’d buy first if he had £1mil..!

Photo by Chiptography: http://www.chiptography.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/BRKfest2013_Day2_161w.jpg

Photo by Chiptography

Who is the man behind Galaxy Wolf?

My name’s Drew, I’m a Jack of all trades. Lately I’ve spent a lot of time teaching kids how to power Lego cars with hydrogen… for science. A few weeks ago I imagined telling my ten year old self that I’d be spending some of my adult life playing with gameboys and Lego. I think I’d have been pleased with that.

What were your inspirations for this release?

To be honest I don’t listen to enough new music these days. If I had to name check a few inspiring artists I’d say Dibia$e, edIT and Slugabed all have elements to their sound that I would have been incorporating. But to be honest I think most of it just comes from all over the place, I’ve listened to a lot of soul and funk over the years and I think it’s gone quite deep into the fabric of the sound, I can hear it in there anyway.

Which track on the EP was the hardest to write?

Well when you (Cheapshot) and I were first talking about this release, I sent over a few (almost) finished tunes, and some loop/riff type things that needed more work. One of those little scrappy sound nuggets was called Epsom. This happened to be the tune Harley decided to remix. For some reason I had a lot of trouble getting that one from the “cool loop” stage to the “actual piece of music” stage. To be honest I’d much prefer to just write loops all the time, I might play around with doing a future release as more of a kind of mix or collage type thing. Anyway I’m not sure if I’ll ever be totally happy with that tune.

Which was the easiest? 

That’s more difficult. I feel like a few of them just wrote themselves. I think I recall Slow Gyration being particularly effortless. Some of them have been around for quite a while and i’ve sort of forgotten what it was like to write them. Maybe I’m just rose tinting it but I think most of them came out pretty easily.

What have you been doing between releases?

I’ve had some periods of playing a lot of shows. I was lucky enough to play a couple of the bigger chiptune festivals last year, Square Sounds Melbourne and Superbyte up in Manchester. I’m also Doing a bunch of music for this 8-bit reggae/digital dub crew called Trinity Lo-Fi (who also appear on this release). That should be out really soon hopefully. Besides that most of the other stuff that’s been taking up my time I’d class as “non-chip related”. I have a couple of electronics projects that I think will be of interest to people which will get more attention once this release is out.

Do you have any upcoming gigs?

Actually yeah, I’ve just been asked to do three shows in the last week or so. In chronological order I’ll be playing at Eindbaas on 27th May in Utrecht, Hyperwave in June in London, an 8-Bit night in Bristol on 20th August organised by Tommy Creep.

Any shout outs you’d like to do?

Well having just written the acknowledgements for the release I can tell you there’s a whole bunch of people I’m grateful to and a whole bunch more people who I’ve had a great time getting to know through the scene. Basically anyone who has believed in me enough to allow me to travel somewhere and do my thing on a stage, with a special mention to Adrian and the rest of the Superbyte crew, Eugene, Kristy and the rest at Square Sounds Melbourne for providing the biggest stages!

If you had a million pounds, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

OK, let’s do sensible answers first then cool ones. I’ve spent a lot of my 20s working and studying because it hasn’t been economically viable to study full time, so I should probably do that. Also, round my ends a 2-3 bed house is gonna be getting on for about half a mil’, so guess I should probably just be sensible and… ah fuck it! Just googled space tourism and saw I could get a sub-orbital flight for like a quarter of a million, maybe if I can get up there I could perform some sort of gravitational slingshot and get back to whatever planet I claim to be from. I could buy like 100000 DMGs and sync them all up and that’d probably be something. One of the best things about what I do is the travel, I feel like I’ve had periods when I was moving about a lot. I feel good when I’m doing that, I suppose more of that. I’d like to go to all the different chip festivals in the world even if I’m not playing, just to see them all. Also Machu Picchu, there’s gotta be some crazy shit going down in that place, ya know?

Cheapshot: Thanks a lot for an insight into your rich and varied life and all that went into making this release. Let’s hope you get £1mil from sales so that you can do that space trip!

Detonating Star Systems is due out at the end of this week. Can’t wait until then? Check out Galaxy Wolf’s previous release here!!

Please Lose Battle – The Interview

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goodbye

We interviewed Please Lose Battle about their origins, their upcoming release and the secret behind their new EP name. Read on to find out more!

 

Please tell me about the band members. How many are you? What do each of you do?

Matt : Hey ! We’re a three-piece band. I’m Matt and I’m the chiptune composer, as well as the band’s bassist.

Moritz : Hi, I’m Moritz. I’m doing the artworks as well as the live videos projected on screen during the shows.

(The drummer is Jérémy, a wild man who avoids speaking. He’s kind though.)

When did you start as Please Lose Battle?

Matt : Please Lose Battle started in 2013 as a solo project. I was just getting into chiptune, and listening to Anamanaguchi and to some other 8bp releases made me wanna give it a shot.

At that time, I had several bands but I wasn’t composing the music, and it was kind of a frustration.

I watched some video tutorials for Famitracker (thanks 8bitdanooct if you happen to read this!), and I ordered my LSDJ cart. I started to compose frenetically, and I put some tunes on the community websites to get some CC. Jérémy was the drummer of one of the bands I was playing in, and after listening to some of my tunes, he said, “Man, why don’t you let me put some drums on your tracks ? I think it’d be awesome!” And it was. We started to play some shows in our hometown, and in 2014 we were asked to play for a big gaming festival in France (Stunfest). We looked for live visuals for this big event, and Moritz agreed to make some for this show only. This gig happened to be such a blast and the VJing brought so much to the show that after that we asked him to join permanently the band, which he accepted.

And that was the real start of Please Lose Battle.

Moritz : Exactly. Matt asked me to do the artwork for his first EP, because we had already worked together on other projects. When he told me about the Stunfest and his desire to strengthen the set with live visuals, I hesitated over doing it at first for lack of time. And then I changed my mind and agreed to do it, prepared some GIFs compilations, and after this show and the really positive feedback, I joined the band, and I have no regrets at all.

Who/what are your influences?

Matt : For the music, I think I’m not surprising anyone if I say that Anamanguchi got me into chiptune, so I guess it influenced me a lot, especially at the beginning.

Also, legends such as virt or Shnabubula, also fearofdark, are guys that I look up to. Their composing is really unrivalled.

PLB Bedroom EP

Also, our 2nd EP (Bedroom EP) left me quite unsatisfied with my composing, and Soleviio’s Sonus Antiquitatum which was released soon after that left me on my knees. This is easily one of the best releases I ever listened to, all styles combined. I was amazed and at the same time it gave me a big inferiority complex. I stopped composing for many months, and after that decided to surpass myself, to work harder, and to make more complex and darker harmonies.

I also have a lot of non-chiptune influences like Converge, Botch, Meshuggah, Town Portal, which explains the fast, violent, and mathrock side to PLB.

Moritz : For the visuals, at the beginning it was a patch-up work because of the hurry. I made a mix of animated GIFs put together with a theme for each song. Then, I took the time to create my own visuals and to do more than simply dressing up the stage. I didn’t know anything about VJing then, so I made some clips up, frame by frame, little by little.

Of course, chiptune sounds made me produce a bunch of pixel art, with a strong Japanese influence, the chiptune starter pack I presume! For this record, I want to work on something new, to try other approaches, and maybe get away of the VG context.

I like pop colours, especially when they can light up the band.

Screenshot 2016-02-08 08.35.28

What software / instruments do you use?

Matt : As I mentioned earlier, I took a shot on LSDJ, but I couldn’t compose anything because I found it kinda loop-oriented, and I was not familiar with that style at the time.

So I tried Famitracker next, and it may sound a bit like a drama, but it was a revelation. This was the perfect tool for me. The limitations took away the weight of searching in endless libraries the right sound for one instrument like in regular softwares, which I never got to cope with.

Also, it permits very flexible song structures, which was perfect for what I had in mind for this project : heavy, punchy, melodic tracks with mixed pop and math structures.

I’m kind of a monomaniac, so even if I tried other trackers/software, I’m still stuck on Famitracker because I love this tool. I use Neil Baldwin’s PR8 and Pulsar for liveshows though. These are fantastic and powerful tools.

We also used a regular drumkit and a bass (with some distortion) for the instrumental parts. We recorded with our usual gear, and we’re really happy with the result.

Moritz : As I said earlier, I didn’t know anything about VJing before Please Lose Battle. I started on a small free software, Elektronika, because it supported GIFs. I’m still using this software but with avi exports, and for the moment it’s doing the job.

Which track on the EP was the hardest to write?

Matt : I’d say Sunday Chill in Cosmos. I began to write this track the day before we went on tour in November 2014. We had spent 3 days working very hard on the liveset, and it was a peaceful Sunday (calm before the storm). But I finished this track last for this EP, a few months ago (late 2015). So it took a full year to compose.

This track is the longest I’ve written so far, and it took many different directions. I rewrote it several times, and I even thought of putting it aside for the EP.

But right now I’m really happy with the final form of this song. Jeremy did an amazing job with the drums on it, it gives the perfect atmosphere for this song : soothing, yet cadenced.

Tell us, why are you saying Goodbye to Joy on this EP? 

Matt: With this EP, we wanted to make something different: it has real instruments, and I wanted to compose darker songs even if it keeps a little happiness from the previous EPs. Also we wanted the physical object to be different: Moritz worked on a full artwork for a digipack CD and a booklet as he was really inspired by the songs. So of course it would have cost us much more than the other EPs (because of the studio, the digipack format, and the merch), and it took a lot more time in the making.

 

Moritz : As for the EP art, I wanted to break with my previous artworks, to bring something different, with more ideas. This EP is the result of a 2 years maturation, and we are now in the adolescence of the band. Goodbye Joy’s artwork means to reflect this transition: we’re on the way from the beginning’s ingenuousness to the project’s adult phase and its inherent questioning.

All of us actually experienced this during Please Lose Battle’s development : professional issues, changing direction, questioning about what we should do with our lives in order to be happy. The little guy on the art is in all these doubt phases we all have, wrapped up in beautiful pop colours.

goodbye-art

Do you have any upcoming gigs?

We are playing February 20th in Belgium for the biggest independent gaming festival of the country (Screenshake Festival), and it seems like an awesome event.

We are also doing a support show for a DIY IT collective the week after that in France.

In April, we’re playing a show for a numeric arts celebration in the north of France.

We are currently booking shows for the rest of the year, but we don’t have any other confirmed plans yet.

If you want us to play for you, feel free to contact us, we love to travel and meet new people !

Final Comments

Matt: Again, thanks a lot to James for the amount of time he spent talking and crafting this record with us, even though he has many other releases in the process with Cheapbeats. We are really excited about this release, and it was a real pleasure to work with him.

 

Cheapshot: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all these questions guys. Fascinating stuff. Look out for “Goodbye Joy” dropping later this month!

 

Swerdmurd – The Interview

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Listen to the album while you read the interview


Who is behind swerdmurd

Swerdmurd?  Why, that’s me!  I’m Dan Bisciglia – swerdmurd is an alias created during a somewhat drunken experience in college.  I attempted to rap, I failed miserably, I was accused of murdering the English language, and I responded by saying, “That’s why they call me swerd murderous.”  Ahh, life was simpler in my late teens.

What are your inspirations for this album?

This album is largely inspired by my love for original Nintendo (american NES) soundtracks – namely Megaman, Castlevania, and the big Nintendo staples (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, all that good stuff.)  I’m a huge sucker for the classic japanese VGM guys – I’m a major Nobuo Uematsu fan, as Final Fantasy is one of my first musical inspirations.  I love Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger / Cross), Motoi Sakuraba (Tales series, Baten Kaitos, loads of Namco-Bandai stuff), and I’m a sucker for Michiru Yamane and her insanely catchy Castlevania music.  If you were to pick old game music I’m most similar to, I’d say JDK Band and their work on the Ys series, as it’s probably my number one favorite series, both musically and gameplay-side, of all time.

I’m also a sucker for the not-so-EDM-ey side of electronic music.  I’m a lifelong Infected Mushroom fan, I adore Mr. Bill’s glitchiness, and Hypnagog / Terrafractyl reminds me of the super melody-heavy electronic music from my youth.  All of these sounds contributed to my current output, in a rather wonderful NES-style wrapper.

What software did you use?

I used OpenMPT, a Windows-based tracker launched in the late 90s.  Before that, I used Jeffery Lim’s Impulse Tracker, but moved to OpenMPT when DOS apps started becoming increasingly compatibility-handicapped.  I heard a Contra remix, via youtube, from someone using Schism Tracker who’s made his own versions of the samples in the NES’s 2a03 soundchip.  I liked the idea, so I did the same, sampling Contra’s Bass Drum and Snare Drum to complete the ensemble.  I use this mock-chip almost exclusively, going out of my way to ensure all the same limitations of the original chip are used.  Aside from a slightly different-sounding triangle bass and a bit more tonal fluidity with my static sample, all of this stuff would sound more or less identical through a system-perfect 2a03 solution.

Which track was the hardest to write

Hmm… Always a tough question to answer.  In a lot of cases, the song I found the most interesting was the one that flowed the most naturally.

In terms of the one that took the longest, that would be Unipsycle, the first track on the album.  This thing was the result of more or less 2 straight days of throwing notes at the wall, landing on a really neat psytrance-ey sound and one of my favorite melody re-introductions to date.  3:00 – 4:00 is my baby. 🙂

The hardest to actually finish was definitely Denizens of Darkest Night, which I almost completely rewrote 3 times because I just couldn’t get it to sound the way it did in my head.  I’m still not 100% satisfied with it, but a man can drive himself crazy trying to make things perfect.  I ended up doubling the song speed and reworking all of the volumes the entire-song long during my last pass, and cut a lot of the ending stuff that just didn’t work.

Which track was the easiest to write

Track 6 – Controllercoaster – I wrote in almost no time.  That song was almost a OHC (one-hour composition) – I want to say it took about 80-odd minutes to finish.  The solo just worked, first pass – it was one of those situations where everything I wrote was “right” the first time.  There are few better feelings in all the world!

What should people that like swerdmurd also consider listening to?

That’s a tough call, as I’d like to think I have a rather unique take on the whole “chiptune thing”.  Truth be told, I don’t listen to a lot of other music like my own outside of age-old game soundtracks.

I’d start with stuff like Toni Leys – he’s kind of the big-boy instruments version of my sound.  Jredd (Trevin Hughes) also attacks music similarly, with a very game-inspired style but still full-length, non-looping music.  On the LSDJ artist side of the fence- I’d recommend DBOYD, as he does what I wish I saw more of in the LSDJ community – strong melodies and pure tones.  Also, if you haven’t listened to Ben Briggs or James Landino by now, you should.  They’re pretty righteous.

And in terms of “other” music – some of the stuff I named above is great.  Infected Mushroom is always super weird, experimental, and excellently produced.  J. Viewz is a phenomenal musician and I adore his entire body of work.  Mr. Bill is the only glitch-esque artist worth listening to, Tipper does some really unique stuff with sound, and I’m a sucker for Hypnagog.

I know you are involved in Relay Bros. How did that get started?

To be honest, I’m not sure where the seed idea came from.  Toni Leys contacted me one night asking if I’d be interested in writing a tiny piece of a Megaman 2: Wily’s Castle remix.  I’m 930% sure he knew I would say yes before he asked.

His idea was to divide the song into 8 parts, to distribute them to 8 different musicians with 8 different styles, and to stitch all 8 parts together in one franken-song.  It went incredibly.  If I remember correctly, Toni contacted Jredd (Trevin Hughes) before myself, as well as Ika Risu.

And here we are, 3 mixes later.  We’ve got some rather big names interested in future mixes and I’m really excited to see where that project ends up!!  I mean hell, have you heard our most recent Sonic Boom track?  5 minutes of bliss man, I’m telling you 🙂

Have you any other projects that you’d like to plug?

Oh goodness… Where do I start?

Aside from the aforementioned Relay Bros. I’m also a game developer by trade.  My musical efforts, since age 12 (when I found Impulse Tracker) have always been towards the end of functioning as game music, and until I got on board with Cheapbeats in March, I’d only made a handful of full-length, non-looping tracks.

Check out www.vintagegames.us – it’s a bit of out date and I’m not the strongest WordPresser in the world, but you can check out a few of my finished games.  Maybe writing this will help give me the kick in the ass I need to actually update that godforsaken thing? 🙂

Barzeef’s Conquest – a free Gameboy-style platformer, and the first thing I ever used my homemade NES chip to write music for: www.vintagegames.us/barzeef

Brutal Alien Throwdown: Resurrection – Free, Flash game – overhead shooter where you kill 50 waves of aliens and get awesome guns.  Made it in 24 straight hours, while streaming – it was nuts!  www.vintagegames.us/batr

There are another couple projects in motion that I intend to get back to once this album is released and squared away, so follow Vintage Games on twitter and Facebook!  I might actually give another update before I die.

Vintage Games on Facebook: www.facebook.com/vintgames

Vintage Games on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vintagegamesllc