Attention please! We are looking for a new writer!

電波の世界 started in December 2007 and while our passion for the genre has only increased over the years, it's been difficult to find time for new articles and features. That's why we (denpanosekai and mandichan) are looking for an enthusiastic new writer! Here are some typical articles and tasks:

※ album previews and reviews
※ event reports (comiket, M3, live, etc.)
※ artist spotlights and interviews
※ denpa watchlist renewal
※ a new theme would be nice!

Do you want to make a difference and contribute to the original and leading source for English denpa news worldwide? Please contact denpanosekai [at] gmail [dot] com today!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Ultimate Chibi-Tech Interview

You may have seen the name Chibi-Tech before, you might even have heard some of his music. Maybe you've witnessed him dropping some mad nerd-ledge on various NES music forums, or maybe you've noticed his multiple chiptune covers and live performances adulated by many Japanese NicoNico users, or maybe... you don't know him at all? That's fine too, and we here at 電波の世界 will set you straight with our second exclusive interview. When you're done reading, you can always lurk his sporadically-updated blog, but feel free to ask him any other questions in the comments section!

Who is Chibi-Tech and what's your mission?

Ohhhhh man... where to start!? I'm usually quite reserved when it comes to revealing hints about myself, but I guess it's time to give some solutions to certain mysteries!

In any case, nice to meet everyone! I'm Chibi-Tech. I'm currently do multimedia editing as a living, but more importantly in this case I'm a freelance composer who also occasionally composes audio for video games. Contrary to initial beliefs, I currently don't live in the electronic utopia known as Akihabara, or Japan for that matter. In reality, I live in that other electronic haven across the ocean: California's Silicon Valley! Unfortunately it has little semblance to Akiba. After all, the few promenades here have almost no cosplayers or hopeful pre-idols loitering around, the specialty surplus electronics shops are spread out way too beyond a good walking distance from each other, the numerous racers in my area still haven't adopted the complete itasha look yet, and the nearest maid cafe is a good 10 miles away from my home. ;)

You're probably wondering why Denpa no Sekai granted some quasi-weeaboo an interview opportunity, huh? Hey, that puzzled me at first too! Then I remembered...

With all efforts to avoid patting myself on the back (self-promotion personally makes me gag), I guess I'm best known for the 8-bit NES/Famicom NSF chiptune music work I've done over the years. All struck in 2003 -- during the so-called "golden age" of homebrewn NES chiptunes. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Famicom's introduction in Japan, a contest named FAMICOMPO was held during the summer. At that very same time, the whole denpa music craze had started to pick up steam thanks to an OP theme song for an eroge called Miko Miko Nurse.

Falling in love with the song's onomatopoeic charm, I decided to cover it. It wasn't a very good cover musically-wise (in my opinion the 1st place 'originals' entry was so much better it's not even funny), but I did pull off a rather novel vocal gimmick that, to put it lightly, garnered an unnatural amount of attention from Japanese netizens. Even after the competition was over with the original compo server depleted of bandwidth and all the authors' names revealed, the thought that a "foreigner" had created a cover of something with completely Japanese-centric nerdiness only added to more confusion & questions raised. The additional vocal stuff I followed up with eventually typecasted me as some sort of "virtual idol", with my music's vocal techniques carrying it forward.

As I tried to improve my technical skills on the NES further by creating a few more moe & denpa covers of the same vein (yet refusing to enter a competition song that relied on vocal wankery for the next two compo years), I decided to bite the bullet and enter another vocal-induced NES song for Famicompo MINI vol.3. I made a certain original song that took those voice techniques to rather... ummmm... peculiar topics. Despite my my awful Japanese language skill at the time, I even made a scenario for it! Putting it lightly, that song eventually had its own following -- the story even spawned its own illustration book with dedicated character created! Yes, this all happened before a certain virtual idol with her own voice appeared over a year later. :)

My mission now? I'm hoping to spread the word out how chiptune, despite being all fun and games, should be more seriously respected as a legitimate form of music expression -- no matter what kind of genre it tries to express. As far as my own selfish wants, my personal mission would be to free myself from that typecast of "mysterious foreigner who made the Famicom sing", and hopefully replace it with "less-mysterious foreigner who creates original game music... who coincidentally was also responsible for making the Famicom sing!" And of course the impossible pipe dreams of finally being an in-house musician at a Japanese game company instead of merely a contractor... but hopefully fate will have a sense of humor in the future!

Some of your most notable commercial work is probably the Zero no Tsukaima: Fantasy Force PS2 SHMUP soundtrack. How did Marvelous Entertainment approach you and what was the whole process like?

Just a week after I had came home from my trip to Japan in the summer of 2007 (and networked with both old familiar friends & new contacts there), I was delightfully surprised to find an email from a Japanese visual novel developer who knew about my work and wanted me to compose a couple of chiptune tracks for a PS2 game based on an anime franchise. Obviously this was too good of an opportunity for me to pass up, so I quickly accepted their request. I definitely wasn't prepared for the bigger surprise when I later found out that the anime franchise was none other than Zero no Tsukaima. My jaw hit the floor.

They had told me that they wanted music that resembled old 8-bit Famicom Konami games (most notably Twinbee and Parodius-style tracks), yet had my own sort of flavor to it. Obviously using vocal techniques would have been inappropriate for such a project though, so I decided to try going all out Konami-style imitation. I think I didn't completely succeed on that level, since my own individualistic quirks started to squeak out, haha :) . If anything, the tracks instead resembled the techniques of my awesome fellow NES chiptune friend, Iwamoo.

The soundtrack was created in roughly less than three weeks of timeframe. Considering I was still employed at my former college even after graduation, I tried to seize every free opportunity to sit down with a music tracker and track my ass off. Rest assured I was able to finish everything on time, even with sudden deadlines and necessary changes brought about on occasions!

However... despite having so much fun composing my heart out, I ended up not being completely satisfied with the soundtrack. In fact looking back, I would have drastically changed a lot of material! Since I was involved with the project very early on, I had to work with very preliminary information. I think my biggest fault on the project was not asking enough questions throughout the project timeline (somehow, I think being more vocal would have at least saved the soundtrack from having certain... ahem, "reverberating enhancements" layered on top which otherwise honestly drives me totally nuts!). Then again, I think this is the glaring flaw with the concept of outsourcing parts of creative work outside the work environment with no direct interaction -- and is something that all freelance game musicians just have to laugh off and deal with.

I vowed not to repeat the same mistakes as last time for the new upcoming release, though! (yes, Fantasy Force gets a "2nd Impact"!) In addition to having better compositional techniques applied, I feel that the music more closely matches the stage themes -- largely in part that a lot more questions were volleyed during the development process. I no longer have to feel bad about mismatching fruit songs with nighttime backdrops! About the only roadblocks I had with this new project was a laptop breaking down and unexpected obligations (imagine having to explain yourself to your Japanese contact about the American judicial system and being forced into jury duty... orz). Regardless of the sudden trouble encountered, I'm hopeful that Fantasy Force 2nd Impact's soundtrack will exceed expectations this time. Please look forward to this release soon~~

Do you feel like this large scale project opened a door to even larger projects in the near future? How about working on the next IDOLM@STER 8bit album? They seem to be very popular in Japan. (ed: Chibi-Tech recently contributed a track to "Squarewave Surfers ~ Memory of 8bit")

As far as maintaining a game music career, I think the clout I managed to earn from Japanese companies has enabled me to score bigger Japanese game projects. I would imagine this would be a near-impossible feat for a westerner to be given such a chance (especially for something obviously more hardcore-fanbased such as Zero no Tsukaima omake games, haha), but I also feel that Japanese developers are starting to understand that there are a few shining westerner gems out there whose work can definitely fit if given a chance. Plus, generally Japanese developers are way more understanding of the importance of having a dedicated music composer who knows about proper game music aesthetics. For a freelancer, this helps tremendously.

It's definitely in contrast to how American/European developers traditionally throw in existing licensed songs and call it hard work, or hiring famous film composers who flaunt their mega-bux gigastudio symphony racks as a lure to spit out uninspiring tripe into a loose hodgepodge (lol sonic chronicles lol). With those odds stacked against me, I still have quite long ways to go until I can score a big game with a western developer. However a freelancer's chances of scoring something great in game consoles are a lot better than it used to be a year or two ago -- thanks to new services such as WiiWare.

Speaking of that! Everyone has heard about the new Mega Man 9 right? Or for that matter, everyone also knows about Doukutsu Monogatari (Cave Story) by now I'm assuming? With the nostalgia-factor propelling them, it proves that there's still a viable market for "old-school" pixel artists & chiptune composers to fuel the desires of retro-gamers. Even though I hardly look at 8-bit chipmusic for their nostalgia factor (my love for 8-bit chipmusic is due to only 10% nostalgia, and the rest due to my curiosity & love for exploiting tight technical constraints), it has undeniably been the main reason we've been seeing newly-created-yet-retro-inspired games such as Cave Story, Mega Man 9, and the Fantasy Force series -- and why there's a newfound appreciation for this sort of audiovisual aesthetic. With 8-bit nostalgia's growing popularity, I hope that it makes American/European game companies take the concept of putting well-composed chiptunes in their commercial products seriously -- like what the Japanese seem to be doing so far. At the same time, hopefully it will keep me glued to what type of music I love composing the most.

A cat Nintendo DS Lite is fine too.

So yeah! In short: Despite the usual pitfalls that any average freelance musician encounters, I'm confident that this opened up an even bigger door for me -- chiptune-based or otherwise. In fact, leading to answer the second part of your question...

It's been a pipe dream for me as of recent, but I'm hoping to compose my own moe/denpa track(s). Not just pure chiptune arrangements as in past either, but honest-to-gawd real original material with its own Japanese lyrics and background storyline. Composition itself is no problem for me; I just rely on my whimsical senses like usual. In fact I have a couple of concrete storyline ideas right now that would most likely meld well with the composition cues itself.

My major roadblock is that I probably can't make my own Japanese lyrics without obviously screwing up something in the process! I'm more adept at Japanese than I was a few years ago, but I think it's still not to an acceptable level to start writing lyrics. That, and I always fear that the song would not live up to its full novelty potential without direct cooperation with the lyricist and singer ("direct" as in personally sitting down with the talents in the studio for a week or two as we proactively brew up ideas). Knowing Japanese internet culture memes and interjecting random onomatopoeias without applying them in a lyrical sense properly can only go so far. After all, the transcript for the Oniichan song was already bad enough of a trainwreck! (Although my friend G___orz did one hell of a bang up job creating its lyrics, haha... ;) )

Despite all this, I'm just lucky right now that it's only a matter of asking friends when I want to use the talents of a Japanese moe-inspired singer to sing on top of my tracks, as opposed to using some wanker vocalization software that has already been around the block a few times. That, or... you know... tweaking around NES PSG pulsewaves in an attempt to recreate an arch-nemesis voice. ;)

Barring that, I'm definitely still open to doing official arrangements for existing franchises as they appear. Coincidentally enough I'm friends with both the KPLECRAFT crew and quad/luvtrax (who were both responsible for the IDOLM@STER 8bit albums, in addition to quad working on the original Famison 8bit albums with momoi -- as well as other various projects involving his chip knowledge), so maybe a further continuation of the series with contributions from my end can materialize in the future. I've also been impressed with ambitious projects such as Getsumen to Heiki Mina Chiptune Collection (in which I know most of the musicians who contributed too!). Hopefully I can get involved with something similar once the opportunity comes by.

You also appear on multiple doujin compilations, recently the Psyvariar tribute that was released at C74. How do these projects come about, and what does it feel like being on the same comp as some very well known and established Japanese chiptune artists?

I guess they come about because I love keeping close contacts with Japanese chiptune friends all the time (who are much more tightly knit than other musical communities in general). But at the same time, I tend to think of them as more of the worldwide "chiptune family" than anything else. Even I treat my friends in YMCK in the same level as my other American/European/Japanese chipmusic friends: All part of that tightly knit community that share the same love of making the best of within the box.

You have done your fair share of live performances, how would you rate the experience? As a punk musician, it's definitely what got me going through the hardships of being in a band; gigs are incredibly satisfying. How is it different/similar for a chiptune musician? What are some of your best live moments?

I'd say they're still as satisfying as a real band, considering that old consoles & handhelds still require the same amount attention to detail and live interaction as a band's guitar / bass / keyboard / drums. However, I'll admit that the whole novelty of pulling out an old game machine such as a cheapo classic Gameboy or a NES to play music in a live event is much more appealing to watch than seeing someone with a laptop full of god-empowering VSTs or automatic Max/MSP patches, or even... saaaay... watching some schmo trying to flaunt some mega-bux Croakin' Lads Weako Timbafag Edition keyboard or a Wackmutant Leper controller or whatever the artsy-fartsy folk with too much money nowadays like to show off in your typical electronic music battle. Either that, or maybe it's the fact that you can't easily pull off an automated iTunes playlist with an old game console or portable. ;) Hell, even the ever-present danger of the game console glitching out during your live performance gives out its own character! (though having a setup completely fail on you due to some stupid technicality that could have been remedied with a bit more careful planning -- and therefore having to hobble along with an aforementioned laptop playlist... THAT was definitely not fun for my first big performance.)

I'll have to say that my performances in Kyoto and Fukuoka have been my favorites, as I was able to cater to an enthusiastic crowd that immediately recognized my work. It was fun collaborating with my Japanese friends even with the language barrier ever so present. Having dedicated visual novel screens sync along with your song certainly gives out a very warm feeling inside (especially when your song was originally meant to parody typical ADV / visual novel games, yay!).

As far as a memorable moment, I think that would have to go to performance at Fukuoka. From the rare "just-had-to-happen-that-day" situation of having a cold summer night in a beach of the southern-most tip of mainland Japan came out a very fun performance. Near the end of my set (where I traditionally hit if off with the final moments of Oniichan Dakara Iiyo), I decided to have a little... ummmmm... physicality with my NES. Unfortunately while straddling the now-animate love machine, I then accidentally cut off its power! Lying on my back with a missionary NES covering my assets, I fumbled with its sand-coated controller as I attempted to revive the whole love sequence all over again -- leading to a second peepshow of unintentional hilarity. I look back at it with sheer red-cheeked embarrassment, but I can't deny that it was arguably the most fun trainwreck I've experienced. ;)

Will you eventually release your own album (free/online or otherwise) of original 8bit songs? I'm surprised you haven't done that yet. In fact, it's very difficult to obtain your compositions.

That is a good question! Haha yeah, that is quite a problem I'm fully aware of... orz

Most of my material, which are in 8-bit Nintendo NSF music format (aka not an MP3) has been spread around by mainly internet word-of-mouth and the compos I took part on the past. Usually from there on individuals would host their own converted material for me, haha. Perhaps the novelty of a foreigner who never takes himself seriously as he makes moe-vocal arrangements with the NES' squarewaves helps with online distribution too... which I guess it's not too bad for someone who still currently has an incomplete website and almost no self-promotion effort involved (the former will be remedied soon enough though!).

But yeah, a lot of material is definitely out there -- just not in the appropriate formats that anyone can easily listen to. And yes, this is still a problem I need to address. Actually, a lot of these problems stems from historical problems I've had a few years ago -- where the webservers I kept migrating to would immediately kick me out due to bandwidth problems whenever I released something. Now that the price of having a decent amount of alloted bandwidth each month is a bit more reasonable than it used to be a few years ago, my only reason why I haven't done so is... well... time. I refuse to say laziness!

But hey! The thought of releases perfectly leads to your next question...

You wrote an 8bit cover of KOTOKO's "Princess Bride!" one of my absolute favorite denpa tunes of all time. There's also the "きゅるるんKissでジャンボ♪♪" remix which is every bit just as good. Do you ever plan on remixing more SHORT CIRCUIT or even MOSAIC.WAV songs?

Ohoho! There's a couple of 8bit remix material that I still have to formally release in some way or another. Yes, this does include MOSAIC.WAV songs, as well as a few other well-known groups out there. It's funny that you mentioned about future remixes, because a couple of my Japanese friends (as well as Nullsleep painting a red bulls-eye on my back as I speak) are wondering when I'll release MoeNES – the album that's supposed to include all my past NES vocalization works, as well as currently unreleased material.

However, I also suffer from so-called perfectionitis -- which isn't helped that I keep getting less confident about my older material. Though, I really should release that album someday huh? Some of the existing songs in its lineup are becoming awfully stale... ;)

(Editor's note: Here's a bunch more Chibi-Tech songs. Note that you need a NSF plugin for Winamp, I recommend Festalon)

You previously mentioned MOSAIC.WAV as a major source of influence for your compositions. What other artists and games left a definitive mark on your style?

I'll have to say that my preference of styles & composers that I try to follow seem to change whenever I start on individual songs! It makes my head hurt remembering all the styles I tried to emulate (not to mention how much I cringe knowing how much my own renditions sucked an ass, haha). Just on my latest projects this year, the grab-bag of musicians & styles I tried to reference (rather heavily sometimes) included the likes of ALI Project, Iwamoo, MOSAIC.WAV, Narucci, Santaruru, Tim Follin, UNDER17, Virt, YMCK, Zabutom, ZUN... and even good old standby Amiga demoscene and intro artists! It's not to say that I like listening to every single one of them. But many of the composers that have an influence in my own style also happen to be already highly praised by many... and often with good reason too.

However, I noticed that the artists that I keep liking long-term also happen to make music that never takes itself seriously. Automatically this already includes most moe & denpa artists such as UNDER17, MOSAIC.WAV, and even the upbeat artists from IOSYS. But this can also extend to heterogeneous folk such as Virt and Tim Follin! After all, how can one resist a fantastic, if inappropriate, cockrock session full of Jethro Tull flutes in the middle of a frantic shootout battle? (yes, I'm listening to the NES Silver Surfer soundtrack for the umpteenth time as I type this... orz)

While we're in the topic of games: I guess the ones that influenced my recent projects include... again surprise surprise, ADVs & visual novels! Considering that Leaf's ToHeart was one of the first ADV games I ever played, I can safely say that the game's unbelievably catchy music had consistently influenced my chord progressions. I'd say I generally get much less ambition from the more solemn naki-ge material done by the likes of Visualarts/KEY, though it definitely was a big ambition when making the Oniichan song! Different schools of thought apply here in the ADV/visual novel music realm.

For chiptunes in games, I'll have to say the majority of Konami's NES game music have been constant ambitions in both technique & style. Hell, the summer remix I contributed for the Squarewave Surfers compilation was a total stylistic knock-off of the old Famicom Ganbare Goemon games! Specifically though, I'm a big fan of one of their former alums: Kyohei Sada. A lot of people know him for arranging Contra's soundtrack into the NES. I know him better for co-composing "Kimi wa Hoehoe Musume" for the Famicom ADV game "Idol Hakkenden." :) Judging by the lyrics, I have a feeling his song is one of the grand precursors to moe & denpa music as we know it today!

Chiptune is slowly but surely getting recognized as a musical genre, though it remains solidly anchored in the gaming world that created it. I think the problem at this point is that it features no lyrical content or message. A Tokyo group called "DENPA PARTY" are throwing events and composing music under the "NO WAR" banner, clearly a political message (simple though it may be). If you started adding lyrics to your songs, what would they be like?

Haha with all aside from synthesized vocal techniques, I honestly never thought of it this way. However, maybe that kind of deliverance can get certain problems with chiptune's public perception off my chest!

My problem is that the general public either thinks of chiptunes in two ways. One: Their first impressions are that chiptunes are not legitimate music in their own right simply due to their age -- and often get dismissed as "crappy General MIDI sounds" not worthy of serious evaluation. Two: People exploit 8bit as some sort of retro-waxing of "a simpler time" without much real thought put into it. Emo-wanker groups are probably most well known for this. It honestly gets tiring to see a young kid yell out "Whoa that totally sounds like MEGAMAN MUSIC" without putting much thought to why I make this kind of music. It's all a combination of misinformation and groups of people trying to stake their claim on its nostalgic factor.

I highly doubt that my music would have a political message included, but if I had the chance to speak up, the themes would sum up along the lines of "Hey, retro-boy! Some of us actually try to make these NES boxes and Gameboys sound more than just blip-bloop wanker material to exercise your wannabe philanthropic thoughts of 'the old days.' Some of us are actually fucking better than that. AND FER CHRISSAKES STOP CALLING IT 'MEGAMAN MUSIC'!!!"

But then again, I bet that message wouldn't be taken seriously if it was laced in the happier genres I tend to make. Haha, such is the dilemma... In the meantime, I'll just have to keep avoiding to gag whenever my colleagues start giving me a little dance while shouting "DO THE MARIO! SOOO RETRO..." after I mention that I sometimes make '8bit' chiptune music.

One of your trademarks is the full maid outfit you seem to wear both on and off-stage. Is cosplay a major part of your artist persona? What does it mean to you?

Hooray for special hobbies! I won't lie here and blabber about cosplay being a spiritually enlightening experience or something equally lame. However, I try my best full-hearted effort in pulling it off nicely & ambiguously (I hope I hope I hope... I'll just keep telling myself that!). Being a stereotypically small & hairless Asian helps a bit too ;)

I'll admit that it does kind of give much more novelty on stage whenever I play my denpa arrangements, though! Actually, you know the チビテクちゃん girl in the illustbook? My hair is currently long enough to tie them in a twintail fashion with my Famicom's controllers, so maybe it's time to start representing that image!

Ehhhhh, honestly now... I think I'm getting too old for this. Surely there's no place in the corporate world where MAD COSPLAY SKILLZ are desirable workforce traits? Hmmmmm actually be right back, got to submit that application to Hibaritei...

Many of us would love to write our own 8bit tunes, but I noticed there are few tutorials out there and trackers have a very steep learning curve. How did you start and what advice do you have for newcomers?

Haha you're right, it's awfully hard to track down coherent tutorials for chiptune making, even though it's now easier than ever to acquire the compositional tools for the most popular computer & gaming platforms out there. Any person nowadays can buy themselves a Little Sound DJ / MidiNES or download something like Famitracker or MCK and make their respective host console bloop out chiptune tones & noises. Making those tones & noises sound good, however? Ohhhh man, now THAT will require some good clean knowledge.

How did I learn? Being a very bored kid with too much time, pretty much. After all, instead of what normal AzN ThuG KiDZ in the early 90s usually did in school like tagging gang symbols on walls or burning cigarette butts on their own skin for initiation rites, my idea of a thrill after each elementary / middle school day class was to continuously stare at my Amiga's monitor as the tracker program on the screen scrolled musically-indecipherable code from some MOD file that I freshly ripped from a demoscene intro – and obsessively analyze that code as it translated itself into a musically-coherent sequence for my ears. I guess playing the role of a typical LAMER kid (which all the cool folks nowadays would call HIKKI) at least paid off on learning techniques for what is arguably the best compositional method for chiptunes.

Chibi-Tech on stage w/ Virt @ Blipfest 2007

If you're starting out, you're probably not going to have enough time to stare at a bunch of tracker commands scrolling all day though. So if there's a basic rule for chipmusic I should recommend, do make sure to copy & print out that command list, paste it on your wall, and memorize it. You'll make much better chipmusic if you know how to use commands correctly -- be it tracker, MML, or some other compositional method. The easy-peasy ways of letting the VST instrument do all the work often doesn't apply here. I mean... there are "retro" VSTs like Tweakbench's Peach / Toad / Triforce to fake it all out, but do you really want everyone to make fun of you for sounding like a poser with overtly inaccurate simulations? Just sayin'. ;)

If you insist on VSTs for your own sequencer though (and I can't blame you if tracker/MML jargon starts to make you dizzy), Magical 8-bit Plug / Syntendo / "NES VST" can work wonders if you use them correctly. They're at least better than those otherwise popular Tweakbench trainwrecks. Just remember that you should understand the limitations of the soundchip before engaging in XXXtreme polyphony, otherwise the purist nerdshoes out there will hound you down and pillage your land and babies. I honestly won't mind too much as long as you don't boast that it's "PURE NES SOUNDFONTS LOL!!!1," but just keep in mind that there are definitely chiptune purists out there -- and they often won't hesitate to grill you on anything that sounds even remotely unrealistic.

Studying existing chiptune works out there obviously helps. There's various schools of thought here, such as the old European Commodore 64 cracktro style of layering high-speed arpeggiating chords throughout the whole tune to make up for the lack of polyphony (the arpeggios honestly gets on my nerves nowadays, considering VERY FEW artists pull this off seamlessly). There's also the archetypical Japanese style -- where instead they relied on juggling smartly-composed melodies to make their songs sound as full as possible (the techniques are often more simplistic, but that's what puts them in an advantage anyway -- since the mix is never crowded with crap spewed all over). I used to rely on the former, but now prefer the latter by a long shot. Actually, this should be common sense for making any kind of interesting music genre, but it's more than ever so important in chiptunes to have a good grasp on music theory, especially if you're attempting to squeeze out an orchestra in only 3 melodic channels of polyphony! So unless your idea of a good song is layering a bunch of crappy high-speed arpeggios as makeshift pads, you'll want to instead make strong melodies to make up for inherent limitations. Don't make my mistake, that's all. :)

Actually, what am I saying? Seriously now: Listening to & analyzing moe & denpa music is truly a good start for making memoriable chipmusic. No really, I am not kissing up to DnS. Given their profound homage & references to the techniques of old-school (Japanese) game music, this should be a no-brainer! Go buy some UNDER17 CDs or download some MOSAIC.WAV off iTunes, and school yourself on stuff that has true melodic value on the inside.

Though in all honesty, you really should just have fun creating anything in chiptunes that your heart desires! However, all I can ultimately recommend is that it's better not to retro-retard yourself in chiptunes only for its nostalgic aspect, but instead see it as a chance to exploit the best out of such dinky restrictive sound sources -- both technique-wise & compositional sense-wise. After all, the world needs less crowds of "Hurrhurr retro bleeps! Look I'm Captain N! BEO~~W!!! BEO~~W!!!," and more "Holy crap!!! That NES sounds like a freaking symphony section / cockrock guitar ballade / denpa singer!!!"

In any case, best of luck in creating some extraordinary chiptunes!

Denpa no Sekai would like to thank Chibi-Tech for doing this interview as well as providing us with photos and graphics.


Anonymous said...

Great interview! Thanks to you both for doing this.

- Bud

jsr said...

Awesome interview! Thanks for doing it!

Chibi-tech is definitely one of my favorite chiptune composers, and even the reason I first discovered denpa music (yes, I fell in love with KOTOKO's music after I found the source of those covers). :)

Now I can't wait until MoeNES is released! ;D

Anonymous said...

^ woah!! jsr of famitracker fame!!

I can't wait for MoeNES either... hopefully this interview will be the impetus that makes chibi-tech realize it's long overdue!

hell I'd totally pay for it!!!

PantsGoblin said...

Hey, it's the maid guy I met at AX 07 and had lunch with with Paranda, Mandi etc. For some reason, I didn't know he was this into it (even though I know he was into making chiptunes).

Jenn said...

Awesome interview. Count me in as another fan of Chibi-Tech. I met him half a year ago while he was performing with his friends at Red Rock Cafe. I absolutely loved his set, and he even gave us his Moenes CD and his really kawaii business cards. He suggested a few gameboy tools to us, and now my bf makes chip tune music all the time in lsdj.

I'm so jealous of his maid photos, hehe. It's funny, I had this feeling he sometimes dressed up as a girl like in his cards. Did he draw those? Maybe he has more? I have two cards, both his maid catgirl and a winter penguingirl. Maybe he can draw me something. ^_^

"After all, instead of what normal AzN ThuG KiDZ in the early 90s usually did in school like tagging gang symbols on walls or burning cigarette butts on their own skin for initiation rites"
Okay i'm ethnically chinese myself, but that just made me laugh real hard.

Anonymous said...

Great interview, I'm interested in him now!

Well I do like chiptunes for their nostalgic value, like most people, I have limited musical theory, so I just like what I like. I love chiptunes. If I hear the same composition with real instruments, I almost always prefer the chiptunes version.

Long live chiptunes!