8-Bit Betty (No Crocker added.)
Once in a while a musician comes along that stands out, not because of their actions or their abilities but simply because they do what sounds the best, and feels right. We just happened to stumble upon one such artist and worked up the courage to ask an interview out of her. We had to bribe her with promises of Hershey kisses and peanut butter, but she broke down and this is something like how it went:
8-Bit: Your music, while chiptune, has a very original style to it. So we have to start this fun-fest off by asking: Where does your inspiration come from?
Betty: My inspiration comes from a variety of places depending on the specific track. Some songs (which I won't reveal since it would ruin half the fun) have very specific narratives that I try to represent musically. Other times, I'll get a picture or assortment of colors stuck in my head that will give me ideas to try out. Most of the time, songs come out of a general feeling or sentiment. Most pop-oriented tracks are about the same topics, so what I try to do is use those same ideas as a base, but then either lay it on so thick that it becomes sarcastic, or find ways to abstract the idea somehow so it appears to be about something else. In other words, songs that sound like proclamations of love MAY be written for a piece of toast instead of a significant other. You'll have to make those decisions yourself.
8-Bit: Your music is presented as "Music for the Nintendo Generation" but what exactly does that mean?
Betty: My music is intended for all audiences. I like the idea of tweens listening to the same thing as twenty-something emo/indie rockers, geeks (such as myself), parents, business women...I even have a few newborn fans. In the end, the people who like it will like it and those who don't, don't. It won't make me change what I'm doing, and certainly wouldn't stop me from doing something different.
8-Bit: Why'd you choose the sounds of N.E.S.?
Betty: I don't know why I chose the sounds of NES. I had heard a really good remix of a bomber man song done by some kid in his bedroom for fun. When the Nintendo bass dropped, the track got a lot cooler. It made me start thinking about punk rock/pop tunes being programmed on gaming consoles, and how much more intense games would have been if they had punk or drum and bass influences. I really started liking the idea of "arcade punk" being a style. After checking out other chiptune stuff, I started trying to do my own. Some people are very picky when it comes to technology. A lot of chiptune or 8bit artists take a lot of pride in being able to stretch the capabilities of their chosen console. Some of that is extremely impressive, but I'm more into creating a track that feels right, no matter what it takes. As a result, I use anything from Nintendo, Gameboy, thrift store keyboards, circuit bent toys, cell phones, c64 ROMs, and yes, even laptops. Anyone who has tried to make 8bit music on the Nintendo can tell you that none of my songs would be able to be done with a single midines cart. I also EQ and compress most of the samples and loops I make with any of these devices so that they'll sound good in the final mix. I don't know why this would make a difference as to whether or not people like the music, but it matters a lot to some people.
8-Bit: In the not so distant past, we here at 8-Bit took a road trip to hunt for rare and exotic games, we took your music along for the journey. It's on this journey, we noticed your music synch's up with the entire world and that prompts us to ask: Did you know your music was in perfect harmony with the world?
Betty: There's pretty much no way to respond, so I'll blush and shift my feet nervously.
8-Bit: So word has it you have a new album coming out, what kind of sounds can we expect? Will it sound completely new or will it sound like an improvement of you're already unique and great sound?
Betty: There are a few new releases coming out. The earliest will probably be an EP on Dark Wing Duck Records (net label). The 4 to 6 tracks that will be on there are things I'm trying to finish that I had started long ago (some were started around the time I was doing the first up). It'll be interesting to see how they come out. There's an intense battle currently going on between old me and new me. There can be only one!!!!
Net31 is re-releasing both "Break Out. Out Break. Break Even?" and "Too Bleep to Blop" as a single full length on physical CD, which will be exciting! However, we're not sure if we'll be able to include the reading rainbow yet or not. Aside from that, I'll be releasing a completely new full length on their label later this year. I'm still wrapping up loose ends, so I haven't done a whole lot of work on it yet, but I'm going to be trying some new things. Each release that I do, I try to head in a different direction. Granted, the first two EP's have striking similarities, they differ stylistically. Now that the project is defined a little better, I think I'm going to start trying to stretch out more radically and see where the ideas can be taken. Who knows, though...maybe it'll be the same old junk. I guess we'll have to wait and see?
8-Bit: I know we agreed that we wouldn't talk to horribly much about your personal life, but we have to ask: What are you currently playing and are we going to hear it in upcoming releases?
Betty: It's funny you ask that. er...I mean...I'm shocked and offended that you would think its okay to ask me that! :p I've been getting back into PC problem solving/adventure games that I used to play back in the day like King's Quest, Eco-Quest, Rise of the Tentacle, etc. Good times. I don't know if you'll hear their influence in upcoming albums or not. I don't know that I'd consciously draw on them, but if you spend enough hours listening to anything...
8-Bit: So let's say we showed up at your home in the middle of the night and kidnapped you but were kind enough to let you take a few personal belongings what would you take?
Betty: I'd probably take my collection of mambo, rhumba, and tiki bar music records in hopes of being able to set up a swank hut like they had in Gilligan's Island. That, and one of my NES decks...the one that doesn't work. With nothing else to do, perhaps I'd finally get around to fixing it.
8-Bit: Now we've had some fairly serious questions up to this point, but now we have to ask you the most important of all questions: Are you prepared for a zombie apocalypse?
-Interview by 8-Bit Brian