This is the second of three interviews for the launch of gamemusic4all.com. I hope you enjoy it. This interview is with the band Entertainment System whom you can check out HERE.Names: Chris Baines - Lead Guitar Ian Venator - Harmony Guitar JD deCampos - Rhythm Guitar Jeff Hammer - Bass Guitar Matt Pie - Drums
How old are you?: Chris - 24 JD - 23 Jeff - 23 Matt - 22
Band name: Entertainment System
How long have you been performing music under this name? About a year and a half, since February 2005.
How long have you been performing music in general? JD: I had been playing drums and guitar since sophomore year of high school. I was also in the Drama club! Chris: I've been playing guitar for about two and a half years now, when I joined I had only been playing for a little under a year. It was kind of intimidating playing lead with such little experience. Matt: Didn't get my first drum set until I was a freshman in college, so I would say about 3 years. Jeff: In some form or another since I was six.
Is this your first band? what former bands were you in? What music did they play? JD: This was my first band, although I had "jammed" with a few other people in an attempt to start up a project. Chris: Aside from a bunch of bullshit side projects that fell apart within the first few practices. (most of which were game cover bands), this is my first band. Matt: This is the first band I have been in. Before this it was just jam sessions with my friends. Jeff: I play guitar for Geisha Lightning, reggae hair style, rock and roll. I played in a Metallica cover band called the Evil Dead in high school.
Where did you get the idea for your band name? JD: Well, we had a few idea's at the time, The robot masters, the Shy Guys, The Pixel's, The Super Thrash Brother's. But we got to thinking that Entertainment System suited us quite well. It was kind of non specific and straight forward, but wasn't directly tied to any particular game. But to anyone that played classic games, it was easily associated with the NES. Also, come to think about it, that's what were doing: using a well calculated "system" of ROCK entertainment...makes sense right? Chris: I liked Entertainment System because it didn't scare people off with too much of a game related reference. I figured it would give us more of a shot with people who weren't regular game music listeners. Matt: I won't even mention the sad string of bad names I threw into the ring...... Jeff: The Sega Genesis.
Where do you currently reside? JD: Myself, Matt, and Jeff live in Baltimore, Maryland and Chris should be moving up soon from Annapolis (to Baltimore).
What was the first video game console you ever owned? What memories do you have with it? JD: The Nintendo entertainment system of course! I Remember getting it quite well I was about 6, and the suspense of getting my NES for Christmas was so overwhelming that actually bugged my mom into letting me open it on Christmas Eve, my cousin helped me set it up and I played Mario/Duck hunt until about 3 or 4 in the morning. Since then it's been family tradition to open one gift on Christmas eve. Chris: Atari 2600, my dad had one when I came out of the womb, I've pretty much been hooked since. Matt: Intellivsion was the first system I ever owned. Mostly I remember playing a disgusting amount of Tank Battle. Jeff: NES, cheating at Duck Hunt.
What is your favorite console? Why? JD: I would have to say the Nintendo Gamecube, Love the games, Smash Bros., Metroid Prime, LOZ Windwaker, Super Mario Sunshine, etc. The controller is great, it's a system everyone can enjoy, and of all the gaming stuff I've ever had it's had the least amount of problems, disc reading, freezing up, randomly shutting off- rarely does any of that. It's great! Chris: NES, I really feel that was the console that clinched my love for video games and really defines what the industry became today. Matt: I want to say NES or Gamecube but the more I think about it I'm going to say the Sega Genesis cause I owned that and played it longer than any other system I've ever had. In fact I still have the original Sega I got when they first came out. In addition to the fact it had all those awesome add-ons like 32X and Sega CD. Jeff: Super Nintendo, probably because I had the most games for it.
What is your favorite video game soundtrack? Why? JD: Duck Tales for the NES, every song on there is gold, but Megaman 2 comes in at a close second. Chris: I can't do just one, but I can do a basic top 5: Maniac Mansion, Super R-Type, Mega Man 2, Turtles 4, and Gitaroo-Man. Matt: It would probably have to be Einhander. The soundtrack was the perfect compliment for that awesome game. Jeff: Contra, it's awesome.
What is your favorite band/artist? Why? JD: WOW, that's tough, I'll submit my top five, 1. Weezer 2. OZMA 3. Smashing Pumpkins 4. Nirvana 5. Radiohead. I could go forever. Chris: I'll have to do a basic top 5 for this one too: Beck, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Rocket from the Crypt, and Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger, etc.). Avenged Sevenfold would have to be my newest inspiration and probably the closest thing to mainstream video game-like music out there. Matt: White Zombie! Hands down the greatest metal/rock/kickass band of all-time. Jeff: The Fucking Champs, because that's their name and they are.
What is your favorite video game? Why? JD: I mean that's so broad of a question! What genre?...What system?! I think Mario 64, it was one of the first games with a full free roaming 3D environment, I remember playing it for the first time and being totally amazed, the game is fun and challenging from beginning to end and it marked a real leap in what games were capable of then. But Smash Bros. Melee, Tekken Tag, Ninja Gaiden, Gitaroo Man, and Guitar Hero are definitely up there. Chris: Jesus Christ, you're asking way too much with these "only one" questions. Top 5: Super Smash Bros. Melee, Final Fantasy Tactics, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid. But my all time favorite series of all time (even though it's not in my top 5) would be the Gradius series, love shoot-em ups more than life. Matt: Bad News Baseball for NES. I don't even like baseball, but that game is so much damn fun with all the cut scenes. Always a pleasure. Jeff: Anything with Mary Kate and Ashley attached to it.
Do you still play a lot of video games? Which ones have you been playing most lately? JD: Yeah! Here's what I’ve been playing on NES: Contra, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Double Dragon, Duck Tales, Mario 3, and I'm on an ever burning quest to beat Ninja Gaiden 1. On PS2 I've been playing Megaman X collection, and Gamecube, Pokemon Colosseum. On DS I've been playing Pokemon Emerald, Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow, and Kirby's Canvas Curse. Chris: I really was just recently introduced into the whole Pokemon game scene late last year so I've been playing catch-up with all of them. Really amazing games. Smash Bros. Melee pretty much all the time, whenever, wherever. I play a lot of shoot-em ups all the time, every day, generally Gradius and R-Type. Just recently went through Super Metroid also. Matt: Don't play games as much as I used to. However, that didn't stop me from recently acquiring my own NEO GEO arcade cabinet, haha. Jeff: Yup, I play sports games a lot, and shooter stuff, and other stuff too.
What type of music besides video game music is most influential to you? JD: Everything listed in my top five. Chris: Ditto. Matt: Elevator. Jeff: Exclusively "Never Gonna Dance Again" by George Michael.
When did you first start making video game related music? JD: Well me Ian and Chris had started hanging out after losing touch for a while after high school. Our common love for Smash Bros. Melee brought us together and we ended up going to an Advantage show in Philly with Matt and Geoff (our first bassist). Chris and Ian being old fans of video game music had a bunch of Game sound tracks playing the entire trip up and back. When we returned to Annapolis the three of us started fooling around with a few songs from Megaman 2 & 3. We all had been talking about getting a band started, and the love of the music came so naturally, after we got the songs the way we liked them, we called Matt and told him we was going to be drumming in our new video game cover band, and ES was born. Chris: I had tried putting together a few projects before all this and basically started playing guitar specifically to play and arrange game music. The first project was basically me, Geoff, and Matt and we put together a pretty shoddy version of the Zelda theme (it wasn't good, but it wasn't bad). The second attempt was the same line up with Geoff on keyboards instead of bass and Devlin Moore taking his place. Terrible, I've erased all memories of this completely. I kept learning new video game themes on my guitar and started losing faith, when my old buddy Ian expressed interest in starting a project. JD who we had almost completely lost touch with also signed on and was really excited about the idea. Obviously, all we needed was a drummer and Matt who had been with me from the beginning had no choice in joining the new project. Matt: Started with the jams with Chris, Devlin and Geoff and then ES came together. Jeff: When I started playing with these guys.
What instruments and electronics do you use to make your music? JD: A Line 6 Flextone III with short board and a fender Strat Squire. Chris: A 50 watt solid state Peavey which later turned into a Line 6 Flextone III (God, I want to get a nice tube). Fender Strat for my guitar, love those little buggers. Matt: A Maryland Drum custom kit, DW and Black Panther snares and a mix of Zildjian and Sabain cymbals. Jeff: Bass guitar, amp, garlic and crucifixes.
Any advice to other people trying to make it in this genre of music? JD: Always try to put your own spin on it! And rock as much a possible. Chris: Always try to be completely original with everything you do, the same arrangements get old after hearing enough bands cover them the same exact way. Stay cool with everyone in the industry regardless of how different they're music is and how much covering game music might weird them out. It's all about connections and networking. Don't necessarily expect any respect from the beginning, stick with what you're doing, the more you play, the better you get. Matt: Don’t expect to make any money. Ever. In fact, plan on spending lots of money...lots and lots of money. Just do it for the fun cause it definitely can be a lot of fun. Jeff: Quit now, come to our shows.
I would like to thank Entertainment System for their time. Check them out at myspace.com/entertainmentsystem!