Interview : My Very First

The inside panel of the 'Atebite and the Warring Nations' CD artwork, with a lot of help from old NES sprites.

Archived here for posterity, I think this might be the first interview I ever did about my music. I was 20. We talked a lot about chipmusic and one of my first albums, Atebite and the Warring Nations. (interview, chipmusic, youth, tools, process, technique, games, influences, Atebite and the Warring Nations)

Developing a Style

During high school I had thought I had found my one and only passion, Graphic Design, so I focused all of my free time and creative energy on putting together websites, designing logos and print work, and so forth. It wasn’t until I had graduated and starting going to college for New Media that I realized that creating music was as much my passion as was design. I’d say I started writing music around my last year of high school, but I didn’t really have video games in mind. I’ve always been a huge fan of gaming and I think this sort of came out subconsciously through my music. People who would comment on my early music which at the time was mostly guitar based, would always say things like “this sounds like it could be in a video game” or things of the sort. So what eventually happened was I started fooling around with synthesizers and listening to lots of Nintendo soundtracks, in addition to continuing to play guitar. I also started doing a lot of looking around to see what other people were doing. I’d say one of the biggest influences on my music was and still is the man behind the Metroid Metal project, Stemage. Some of the best video game influenced to this date I have come across, for sure. You can’t go wrong with Metroid. I started frequenting their forums and the Minibosses forums and have since made a lot of contacts with people who have similar interests to my own and its been great, I have a lot of projects going on at the moment, some of which will be coming out soon.

On Chipmusic

While some people have this innate attraction to the sound, others are turned off by it and find it rather annoying. Others think of it as too gimmicky. Besides appealing to my inner child, I am attracted to the simplicity of the sound. I’ve always found it an interesting medium to work in. Just like any other category of music, the work tends to range from extremely good to extremely bad, depending on who you favor and what you are listening to. I also think that the 8-bit sound and style lends itself really well to creating conceptual music, which is something that has always interested me greatly. The music in its original form is meant to accompany an experience, and I am trying to recreate that with my work. I don’t think it’s a gimmick, I think of it as any other instrument.

As common as it seems these days to see cover projects there is also an absolutely huge amount of artists creating original music inspired by game consoles and old computers. I think the difference is that a lot of the music isn’t getting the exposure that a band like the Minibosses has gotten. I think that partly has to do with the fact that a band that plays songs that so many people are familiar with allows them to draw a larger audience a lot quicker. Not to mention that they are an awesome band. I think as more and more artists creating original VG inspired music start to organize shows and tours and the like, you will see that get bigger.

Creative Process From Songwriting to Production

It tends to vary for myself. Sometimes I’ll write all of the melodies of a song on my guitar, but other times I’ll write out a chord progression the piano or come up with something straight from my head. The basic process that I often take is using a MIDI sequencer/notator that allows me to input my notes onto a computer.From there I’ll take the MIDI and run it through any number of samplers, synthesizers, and the like. There are actually a lot of ways these days to emulate or recreate the 8-bit sound. 8-bit groups such as YMCK have created there own audio plug-ins that are based on sampling snippets of actual NES sound. My last album, Atebite and the Warring Nations, was all synthesizers that were patched to sound like a retro game console.

On Atebite

I tried to leave as much of it to the imagination as possible, but I suppose the basic idea is that of a musical narrative. Certain sounds on the album are very representative of the kind of effects you might hear in a game. A good example of that is one specific part in “Atebite’s Descent: Full on Frolicking” which going back to now reminds me of a character such as Pac Man chomping away at something. On the other hand I added sampled acoustic drums and some weather and such in between certain tracks, so… When it comes down to it, I was mainly focused on writing an album that would work together as a story with characters and important events.


We’re working on an album that is all short tunes that loop, just like background tracks might do in your typical game. The next Disastertron album will be called “Neutralite”. We’re trying to incorporate the events of Atebite and the Warring Nations into the music as well.