Tempest wasn’t the only Fan writer to interview a cool person at a convention. I went to AnimeNEXT 2011 too you know! I even interviewed someone there! He’s known as Chipocrite and he’s really cool too! I totally sat down with him somewhere and asked him good questions with deep meanings. Those questions, along with his answers, are here for your reading pleasure.
Kayarath: First off, before we begin, I must ask; are you a tentacle monster in an elaborate human costume?
Chipocrite: I wish. That would be awesome but I’m not.
K: Sorry for asking, but it’s important that I check. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!
C: If I was a tentacle monster, I would tell you. I’m not, but I wish I was.
K: Now seriously, what does Chipocrite do?
C: I make music using Game Boys. The type of music I do is known as “chip music,” and basically it uses the sound chip in the Game Boy. It’s not video game music; I’m using the Game Boy as an instrument.
K: When I saw you play, It does seem that you use the Game Boys for your instruments. They really are your instruments!
C: That’s how I think of it! People associate chip music with Video Games but it’s so much more. I’ll listen to other artists using systems like the Genesis, Amiga, and NES to make great music. It’s its own thing. I think of it as another way of getting notes out.
K: What is your genre of music?
C: A lot of chip music could probably be described as Techno/Dance. There are several reasons for that. It’s easy to get started that way and it sounds good. It’s also probably the most popular; people seem to like it. But I try to be a little more progressive with my music. It’s not just straight-ahead dance music. I try to incorporate things like complicated melodies, strange time signatures, interesting song structure. It’s important to me to keep the songs interesting and exciting.
K: People do like it. The AnimeNEXT concert was insane! People were so energized by your music they were literally running laps around the place! Me included! They were even chanting your name at the end of it!
C: It was great. I had a blast last night. I never had a response like that! If I knew it’d be this popular, I would have brought more CDs to sell at this convention! You never really know what it’s going to be like when you play for an audience who hasn’t seen you before. It’s a little bit like playing for a new town or place. But it’s definitely different and exciting to play for a whole new community, and to be accepted so easily. Some audiences might think I’m just screwing around with a Game Boy. If you don’t get them over that pretty quickly, it can be impossible to reach them. But I think people really understood what I was doing last night, and I would love to play more conventions. I’m booked for Anime World Chicago in August.
K: How do you feel when you perform? When you perform, you’re so engrossed in it you’re like a different person.
C: I like it. I really enjoy it. After playing a lot of live shows, I’ve learned that it’s important to get into it. When you’re into it, the crowd is too. If you’re not, you look like you’re just screwing around with a Game Boy. Some guys do nothing onstage. I feel I owe it to the audience to give them more. My energy feeds them and their energy feeds me. It works both ways.
K: How did you end up with your name?
C: That’s a good question! I struggled for months to get a name. I was being booked for gigs before I had one. Other names I tried were either dumb-sounding or already taken. One day, during lunch, I overheard the word hypocrite. I said “chipocrite” and it clicked. I googled it and learned that chipocrite is also a British slang term for a vegetarian who eats fish, like in fish and chips. It’s perfect for me since I really am a vegetarian who eats fish.
K: Do you want more explosions in your music?
C: Yes! From a literal technical standpoint, the Noise channel on the Game Boy is best for making explosion sounds. I actually learned a new technique about month ago to incorporate more explosion-type sounds into my music. However, you don’t want to overdo it or it’ll just become a gimmick. I want to do a lot of different things. There’s so much you can do with a Game Boy.
K: How does your “I Quit” song, which I love by the way, tell the story of quitting?
C: I Quit is the second part of a trilogy. The first song is called “You’re fired.” The two songs are part of a trilogy because they share musical traits. But I first came up with the concept while I was writing “You’re Fired.” I worked four hours straight making that song and at a certain point I decided I had to give it a name in order to save it. I had the movie True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger on in the background and decided the next line spoken would be the song title. It happened to be right at this scene where this guy was hanging off of a missile and Arnold yells “You’re fired” before launching it. Later, I decided it would be part of a three-part epic called the “Fun employment” trilogy. The third song is unwritten right now and will be called “Severance Package.”
K: You strongly encourage other people to create their own chip music. That’s an unusual thing to do. Why?
C: How I got started with chip music was seeing other people giving presentations and encouraging others to also get started. I didn’t really have the time or resources to research it on my own but I wanted to know how to make chip music. So really, other chip musicians encouraged me to get started, and now I want to encourage others myself. Getting more people involved is good because each artist brings something different to the table. It’s a great community. And when you go to a show where the audience knows a lot about making chip music, everyone appreciates it more because they have tried it themselves.
K: I would like to ask about your business model. You basically let anyone download the album and let people pay you whatever they want. Why did you do it that way?
C: That’s what they do on www.bandcamp.com. That’s basically for people who are used to downloading free albums. Many chip music artists release their work on the internet for free, so a payment-only model would alienate some people. I just want to get my music out there so anyone can access it through whatever means they prefer. And it’s great because the pay-what-you-want model also means that people can pay more than the recommended amount if they want. Some people will give me $20 for my music on bandcamp, which I really appreciate. They’re essentially paying for someone else as well. I’m on iTunes as well, though that’s really to get exposure more so then money because there are people who only use iTunes. There are even people who pirate my music. I don’t mind it (for now); I even laugh when I see it. The most important thing is exposure and getting people to listen to my music.
K: Now here’s the part where we end the interview by plugging and recommending some websites.
C: www.chipocrite.com obviously. It has information about downloading or ordering my CDs and other things you can check out. www.littlesounddj.com is the software I use on the Game Boy and it’s great. You can also check out popular chip music message boards if you’re interested in learning more. www.chipmusic.org is a great board. There are people all over the world on that site who do chip music. But be sure you do some research and read the manual beforehand so you don’t post questions that have been answered already.