WT: To begin, could you please give us a background about yourself, what you do and how you came to write chiptune?
Vince Kaichan: Ever since I was really young I've been involved in music in some way shape or form. I started taking instrument lessons at 6 years old, and coincidentally that's about when I started 'writing' music; I was shown an introduction to the wondrous world of computer music through a copy of Cakewalk Studio that my dad had bought, haha. I didn't write anything really worth presenting until about 6 months after I started writing chip though.
Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly how I came to get into the chip community, and every time I tell the story it's bound to change somewhat. All I remember was that it involved Crystal Castles (LOL), Anamanaguchi, and strangely enough little-scale, back when he actually did Gameboy tracks; after a while I wound up stumbling on to 8bc. I finally bought a bleepbloop cart from Nonelectronics and a DMG from eBay around October/November 2010, and the rest is history, pretty much.
WT: What went into creating ‘Dog Days’ in terms of influence and production?
VK: The only solid influence I can pin down on Dog Days is the sing-a-long, hand-clapping-y breakdown from Bit Shifter's Reformat the Planet (which I ended up emulating pretty closely, for better or for worse). Other than that, everything basically fell from the sky into my lap. There's probably some other influences in there that I didn't even notice.
Fleshing out the idea into a full song didn't take very long, since the idea was very clear in my head and because LSDJ's workflow is so fast. All in all, it was pretty easy to write this compared to some of the other tracks I've done.
Actually, this song was also "seeded" by an experimental track that Parallelis posted on SoundCloud called "Melt the Bird". The melody in the chorus entered my head almost right after I had listened to that for the first time, and then I got the idea for the breakdown, and then everything fell in place after that.
WT: What has been your favourite release to write thus far?
VK: Hmm, that's a tough question. I'd probably say it's a toss-up between On Thin Air and this upcoming album I'll hopefully be releasing sometime soon.
On Thin Air was basically a whole experiment in trying something completely different, and I really like the way it turned out. It was a bit hard at times, but hard as in it was a fun challenge, not a frustration, and I think it really opened me up to doing more than just Gameboy music.
As for the upcoming release, I really liked writing it because it covered the period of time where my LSDJ skills just seemed to ceaselessly grow exponentially, and it was just amazing being able to see myself improving so much with each new track I finished. The release as a whole is definitely on a higher level than any of my other Gameboy releases to date. (I just hope that I haven't reached another plateau yet, haha)
WT: What are the biggest influences to your music?
VK: The biggest influence on my music is probably Nonfinite, and especially his classic song Bluesight. That song alone is probably the single largest factor to influence the main style of chiptune I write today, not to mention all the tips and tricks I learned from studying the save file that came with my bleepbloop cartridge. Simply put, I wouldn't be where I am right now if it weren't for Nonfinite's music.
WT: You used to work under the alias VCMG, what was the motive for change?
VK: An unfortunate coincidence was the motive. Around December 2011 I suddenly started getting lots of hits to my Bandcamp site and views on my SoundCloud account, and it wasn't until someone messaged me on Soundcloud that I found out what was happening.
Turns out, the two founders of Depeche Mode were starting a new project as a reunion thing, and they came up with their name by putting their initials together, which unfortunately turned out to be VCMG. I was totally stunned that something like this would happen, and I did try to get in contact with them about this, but the lack of a clear channel for communication to them (I ended up trying to email Vince Clarke's manager) and the fact that they're mega-famous and I'm obscure meant that there was really very little I could do to avoid being completely trampled underfoot by them, so I quickly tried to come up with a new name and stuck with that.
Whenever I'm asked about this, I always refer to Mikeeteevee's write-ups over on NoiChan.org (http://www.noisechannel.org/4811), since he does a much better job of explaining the whole situation than I could ever do.
WT: What influences do you get from outside of chiptune?
VK: Outside chiptune, I'm not very sure what my influences are. Artists I listen to on an almost-daily basis can have almost no effect on my music, and songs I listen to once or twice can have a big effect. I also draw from quite a lot of sources, sometimes from places I don't even consciously realize, so making even a partial list is pretty difficult for me.
WT: What are your aspirations for the future of your music?
VK: In the far future I hope to become a professional soundtrack composer for games, movies, or other media. As for the more immediate future, I'm hoping to do some more non-chiptune or chip & something. Oh, and to try and get some more indie game soundtrack jobs.