As WeeklyTreat Fatigue begins to settle in post-halfway point, we decided that the 'over-the-hump' track best be a brilliant one. So, who better than Spaceman Fantastiques!? When he isn't making fake accounts he makes outstanding music, so be sure the grab the track here!
WT: To begin with, what was your first contact with the chiptune scene?
Spaceman Fantastiques: Well I grew up playing video games since as long as I can remember, but I would say my first interaction with the chip community was about three years ago. Summer of 2010 was when I found 8bc.org.
WT: Your back catalogue features tracks written in both 100% chip and chiptune/guitar, what prompts the choice between the two?
SP: I started out just making chip, and feel like I really pushed a lot of what I had at the time (8bit magic plug in) to its limits in terms of sound (even though I am still finding new ways to make it). I write most of my material on guitar and so it was only a matter of time before I decided to combine them. I try to select what needs live instrumentation based on the feeling and ideas behind the song itself. if it is for a retro styled game then I would go all chip, if it was something experimental (my fav ~__^) I would use what I have at my disposal to make the best music possible.
WT: Could you run us through ‘I Hope...’ and ‘The World...’, how you were inspired to write these albums and how they came about?
"I Hope the Stars Can Hear This" started out as me just messing with chiptune stuff. Exploring the sounds. The more music I made, the more ideas started forming. I really enjoy having a unified theme for music so when I started to form the album I just had an idea about a spaceman. A man on a journey. He wakes up, can't remember anything and then just heads out on his journey. Halfway through he remembers some things about who he is and what happened to him. Vows to seek revenge. Gets it but then the bad guy gets the last laugh.
Once I had the basic outline I just thought of how to actually put these ideas into a musical format. That part is actually kind of hard to explain... I try to use instruments as characters or ideas. For instance in the song "Nice to Meet You! Please Call Me Namec Aps!" the beginning of the song is being told from the perspective of someone else. A man is telling the main character about his own past but is mostly wrong until one line and in the middle of the story the Namec has a realization; then remembers his past correctly. So in the song the first build up eventually breaks down and comes back with one part the same but the rest of the music changed.
It’s representing ideas like that that lead me to start the second album (along with having extra material). I wanted to make something better and more cohesive from the first album. The only problem I had starting out was that "I hope the stars can hear this" was a looped album. I made it so that our hero was stuck in his eternal hell...so how to make a sequel...one day I just had a great idea to have the albums start and end the same way so that they can loop into themselves and into each other. I really think it worked out well. I drew a lot of inspiration from rock on the album. It is a lot heavier than IHTSCHT. It was also written a lot more on guitar than the first album and because of that I am working on a remix to the whole album involving guitar, but that’s something for the future :)
WT: Musically, what are the main specific influences that find their way into your work?
SP: I really like a lot of shit haha. I find myself picking out parts of music I really like no matter the genre. But I am a very technical guitar player and I guess I always have been. making music on my own I wanted the songs I wrote to sound as full and awesome as they good so I adapted some weird half rhythm half lead style and I think it works out nicely. I also always want to tell a story. So most concept albums are something I really listen to and soak in. I love being able to have a story flow into the next chapter and hearing that happen really does it for me. I think the first real instance of me hearing that was Mars Voltas De-Loused in the Comatorium. And you can probably hear a lot of their style in mine.
WT: Do you play live often, or do you have plans to do so in the future?
SP: I don't play live often. I would like to for sure just haven't really done it. Once I finish the reworking of 'the world according to Mr Meleon' I will probably try a little harder to get out and play some shows.
WT: Could you tell us a bit about the creative process that went in to making your WeeklyTreat?
SP: Well, honestly it just kind of all worked itself out. I started with some chords I had been messing around with on guitar. (Which I wrote mainly in a subway station after a drunken man asked me to play something he could meditate to). I set up stuff in my room and just started playing. Once I got the first chord progression I transcribed it into GarageBand. Then started to build from there. I used a bunch of effects on guitar and used a moog rogue, which I had found in the trash, for some of the bass, and just let the music flow from there. A lot of the ambient soundscapes are just me messing with some delay pedals. I wanted to have something that was epic in a way so I had the build-up change into a trippy epic march. The slide guitar that plays there was actually just an accident when I had dropped my guitar. The sound of it sliding off my bed made me think to use a slide (improvised by a cologne bottle). And really at that point I was just having fun. I really enjoyed making the song. There is an alt take that I might submit to the B-sides of the weekly treats as well :)
WT: Could you tell us a bit about your most recent release, [sleep]?
Of course! I had a lot of fun making [sleep] actually. It started out as an idea of making music to represent a sleep cycle of someone through one night of sleep. So I chose myself as the test subject haha. I generally get a shit nights rest so I started out the tracks at 1am and continued forward. After making mostly chiptune music for the past few albums (besides the drum tracking and a tiny bit of ambient guitar) I really wanted to explore the marrying of other instruments with chip instruments. The album starts out the moment I fall asleep and just kind of drifts off from there. I set a schedule for myself and really stuck to it. I worked hard pretty much every day on whatever track I was currently on. I tried to work in order just having the pieces build into themselves but I did a little bit of jumping around when writing. I tried to use a lot of continuing themes and the entire album is based around the C chord. As a dream interpretation, I really tried to make it as progressive as possible, having even the riffs be a little different when they repeat. I really enjoyed doing the 'play' in the middle of 5am. I had written some stuff and got some friends to do some voice acting for me. Add in some crazy ambient randomness and it became something pretty cool.
The end of the album was something that I had in mind right from the beginning of writing. It is a shame that a lot of people on my bandcamp will listen to that first, but such is life.
WT: Any future release planned for Spaceman Fantastiques with details you don’t mind divulging?
SP: I am working on reworking 'the world according to Mr Meleon". I plan on having it be two versions. One with guitar in a lot of places and one with only chip. My hope is to have them be identical note wise but we shall see how it all pans out. I am working on something for The Drunken Moogle, in which I am excited for, but can't really speak about just yet :). I have an EP idea that I might pick back up. Most of the songs ended up on my last bsides album but I was thinking of reworking some of those as well. I also have a few projects in the works for some friends that are doing video blogs and podcasts but I don't have too much information to divulge at the moment.
I am looking for people who need some scoring done for a game, but maybe that's not too far off.