WT: Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you first came into contact with chiptune please?
softRESET: Yeah, my name's Casey and I'm 20 years old. I really got into chiptune a few years ago; I was making really awful nintendocore under the alias Red Gyarados, and ended up befriending PANDAstar on Myspace. From that point on, I was completely hooked. I remember going right out and buying a used gameboy and a flash cart, only to be entirely discouraged by LSDJ's learning curve. Fast forward to last year, I decided to pick it back up and softRESET was born!
WT: How did the name softRESET come about?
S: Ah, the name softRESET was one that I had in my head for quite a while now. The act of soft resetting is pressing a certain button combination on an electronic device set in place by the manufacturer to restart the device without physically turning it off and back on again. (It's also a great tactic in the Pokemon games) I think it ties in well with my music, in that I've essentially done the same thing with my life through making chiptune; restarting and paving a new, much better path.
WT: What prompted to choose and continue to use LSDJ and the gameboy over other formats?
S: Well, for years I toyed around with other DAWs, as well as playing instruments in real bands. It was all well and fine but I never really felt like it was something special. I wrote so much music, but it was never up to the ridiculous set standards in my head. It wasn't until I learned the ropes of LSDJ that I felt like I was actually doing something right. The complete lack of presets and limiting myself down to 4 channels really sparked something in me, I felt like my voice was actually coming through my music for the first time since I'd started. At this point I can't imagine composing in anything else.
WT: Could you please tell us a bit about the Piko Piko Detroit project and your involvement in it?
S: Of course! Piko Piko Detroit is a netlabel and a collective of artists who love and embrace 8-bit cultures: video games, chiptunes, pixel art, etc. We strive to support the Michigan economy and the midwest as a whole by using local businesses for all merch and CD production. Our main goal is to help the internet based community inspire and make a difference to real people and societies. Creating an inviting scene in and around Detroit, and promoting tourism is our contribution towards fixing some of the economic and social problems here. I didn't connect with them until last November, but it seems like everything has been going uphill ever since. I was recently voted in as the lead sound engineer, with my first big project being the Midwest Collective compilation put together as one of the rewards for our Kickstarter receiving full funding earlier this year. I'm really excited for the future of PPD, and looking at what we have planned, it's sure to be a wild ride!
WT: What artists have influenced your work, in particular your track "Conscience"?
S: I take influence from everywhere, including but not limited to other artists. If I had to choose though, I'd have to say above all else my number one influence is Bubu. I've been good friends with him for a while now and his style has always been something I've appreciated. JuicePouch is up there as well, I feel like his music is just dripping with emotion and that's something I really like to get across in my own tracks. From there it gets a little more abstract, emo bands such as Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) and Mineral, and even as far out there as Coheed & Cambria. Everything I hear and every situation I encounter on a day-to-day makes its way into my music in one way or another.
WT: I understand your debut, 'Transitions', is out soon, could you tell us a bit about how you put it together and how it came about please?
S: Yeah, definitely! Transitions is an album that loosely details my life in the past 6-8 months. It's about getting everything back on track. I had a lot of problems with anxiety and depression, and kind of just became a reclusive asshole for a while. I lost a lot of friends and my band at the time completely fell apart. Eventually I realized that was no way to live my life and set out to mend social wounds and start becoming a productive, functioning human being again.
WT: So would you say you find composing and playing music almost therapeutic?
S: For sure, it's my own personal release from the burdens of real life. I would be composing whether people listened to it or not. Just from playing shows alone I've made tons of progress in getting over my anxiety, I'm always meeting new friends and traveling to new places and I don't feel like I have to be worried about the unknown anymore.
WT: That's great to hear. Apart from the upcoming 'Transitions' release, what's next for softRESET?
S: Well, I have a split EP with Shanebro coming up! We're collaborating on 4-5 songs together, and it should be out by the end of spring. Other than that, I don't have anything substantial planned, just playing shows and writing as much as possible until the details for another album fall into place.