BY: O’Niel Barrington Blair
Play it loud!
This slogan was used by Japanese video game company Nintendo in 1995 for the release of the Game Boy. Although the device was made with gaming in mind this small device sparked a musical movement.
Chiptune, the process of creating musical beats with older video game equipment, has been a timeless method of music making for decades.
Like a Haiku, chiptune music is all about creating something beautiful within limitations.
Pedro (Slime Girls) Silva and Jackson (Astroskeleton) Scovel are two artists who have taken the method of making Chiptune music and have made it their own. The two of them have worked together for live performances.
Silva said that although he pulls from chiptune inspirations he doesn’t consider himself only a chiptune artist.
“I never know how to describe the music that I make, so I just started saying Laptop Pop,” says Silva.
Scovel, on the other hand, said he works with many mediums, chiptune being just one part of it. He performs and composes his own musical pieces with a variety of methods.
“I started off making music with Gameboys, guitar and drums and it made sense to call it chiptune,” says Silva.
Some people think that in order for a song to truly be chiptune it must be purely created with and performed on the original hardware, said Scovel. He says he doesn’t personally follow this ideal, but he respects those who do.
“I used to be worried that people wouldn’t like my music because I exported famitracker files into ableton and made essentially fakebit, but I don’t even use 8-bit sounds anymore and people still seem to classify my stuff as chiptune,” says Scovel
Silva said he was inspired by Reformat the Planet, a documentary about chiptune music. Seeing what people did with old gaming equipment was exciting for him.
There is a big misconception that chiptune is a genre all in its own but it’s only a medium for producing beats, says Scovel.
“Chiptune to me is like the term guitar rock or electronic music, it only defines what you are using to make it,” says Scovel
Scovel released Synthetic Hexes, his most recent album, drawing inspirations from things including 80’s horror films, goth culture and Black Metal. He said the album’s tracks express his favourite aesthetics.
“I often go through periods of time where I’m absolutely engrossed and fascinated with horror, Halloween and generally spooky stuff,” says Scovel.
Silva recently wrapped two tours spanning September and October with his band mates. Scovel, Rob ‘Cyclops Rock!’ Duffy, and Devin ‘Vallco Guardian’ Macias are Silva’s team with the latter two playing bass guitar and drums.
In addition to touring Silva has wrapped up work on OMORI, an RPG game by OMOCAT, and he has many goals for the future of Slime Girls.
“There are other secret big things on the horizon for Slime Girls that I’m excited to talk about in the future,” Silva said.
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Story originally posted here, in 2016.