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Chip Music, Demoscene

5-quick-questions-noise-channel-kristina-kaufman

5 Quick Questions: Noise Channel (Kristina Kaufman)

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OSV: You host the popular radio show Noise Channel. What is the concept and overall goal of Noise Channel Radio?

Kaufman: Noise Channel focuses on chiptune music and culture. Listeners can tune in and expect to hear some of the best chiputune music out there from artists all around the world. My hope is that they will ultimately expand their horizons when it comes to this type of music.

OSV: How did you discover chiptune music?

Kaufman: I was the girl that left the NES version of Maniac Mansion on while doing her chores…just so she could listen to the music. I was 11 years old at the time. Fast forward ten years to my 21 year old self laughing uncontrollably at virt’s Gameboy version of the “Thong Song”. I also really liked his work on Drymouth, a GBA game that never saw the light of day. Since then, I’ve been following the chiptune community as best as I’m able; being a physical science undergrad makes it tough sometimes! I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the first two Blip Festivals in NYC and befriend many chiptune artists over the years. I even made virt sit down and teach me the very basics of LSDJ. He helped me write a cover of Peter Schilling’s ‘Major Tom’ which he performed with me during a Pulsewave show in Manhattan. While it was fun, I’ll leave it to those who are much more talented than I!

OSV: Who are some of your most favorite chip music artists?

Kaufman: The easy answer is that I like virt’s music so much that I married him! My newest favorite is a Japanese artist by the name of TQ-Jam. I completely fangirled out and wrote him an email going on about how much I enjoy his chiptune music. Lucky for me, he understood it and I didn’t creep him out! :D That’s always a scary moment… Some of my other favorites in no particular order are YMCK, Disasterpeace, Chibitech, Infinity Shred, hally, Shnabubula, C-Jeff, George and Jonathan, Yogurtbox (coda & surrashu), Bud Melvin, RushJet1, etc… I could really keep going with this; there are so many talented chiptune artists!

OSV: 1 year in, what are some of your favorite moments with Noise Channel so far?

Kaufman: The first episode that aired was both nerve-racking and amazing. I wasn’t sure if the newly set up equipment was going work properly or even if anyone would bother tuning into something like Noise Channel. I did have some microphone issues, but the first show had a great turnout and it assured me that a live chiptune show wasn’t such a crazy idea.

The Danimal Cannon Roots Listening Party was also one of my favorite moments and one that defined the show as a whole. I thought having a listening party would be an interesting way to give Roots a bit of hype right before its release. It would also give the listeners an opportunity to get closer to the Danimal since he’d be in the radio chatroom. The night of the show it was incredibly windy and power was going out in other neighborhoods. I gave all of the music from Roots and show notes to another Arecibo DJ just in case my power went out too. Luckily the power stayed on.

Furthermore, the listening party was a huge success and broke the listening record for all of Arecibo Radio. It did so well that other chiptune artists started approaching me to do the same kind of show for their upcoming albums. Other live radio shows started having listening parties of their own. In fact a week doesn’t go by that I’m not invited to at least one sort of listening party. Yeah, that’s probably my fault. Sorry everyone! D:

Shortly after virt’s FX4 party (which was another of my favorite moments and the most listened to episode) our dog Nugget became very ill and nearly died. Nugget is an integral part of Noise Channel. Myself and the listeners consider it good luck for the artist if he barks after his/her song. virt and I decided that all future money made off of FX4 would go to Nugget’s hospital bills. We asked the listeners that if they enjoy the show and love Nugget, to please donate in the form of purchasing FX4. Anyone can download FX4 for free if you want, but we received large donations after our appeal. It brought me to tears. I’m very happy to say that Nugget received amazing hospital care and he’s alive and very happy! This, without question, was my favorite moment involving Noise Channel. I seriously love our listeners.

OSV: As a fan and avid supporter of chiptune music, how would you like to see the music and the community evolve going forward?

Kaufman: Jake and I are in agreement about this, but he uses more profanity when he talks about it: We want even more people in the scene who write chip music because they consider it a challenge and a way to grow as musicians, not just because they see it as a cheap and easy way to get attention, or to be part of a clique. I’ve seen people who seem to be less concerned with quality songwriting, and more with the “OMG RETRO 8-BIT TEH WINNAR” hype stuff. Spending all day decorating your Game Boy isn’t going to make you stand out anymore, people are looking past the nostalgia fad, and thinking critically about the music itself. So we want to see more and more people writing music that stands on its own as music, and even inspires people who are outside of the chip scene.

Check out Noise Channel at their website. Noise Channel airs every Thursday at 10pm Eastern on Arecibo Radio.

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