In order to prepare the student body for Wesleyan’s annual concert
in the hockey rink no on Foss Hill whoops back in the hockey rink, we set up an interview with Luke Silas, drummer for chip-tune indie-rock band Anamanaguchi. Since forming in 2004, the band has been featured in Rock Band and have written and performed the music for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. They even played Zonker Harris Ze Who Must Not Be Named Day in 2010. Luke writes in from Norway, where Anamanaguchi was performing before coming to Wes tomorrow.
Wesleying: I have an NES and an old Gameboy in my room right now, so when I first heard your stuff, I freaked out a little bit when I recognized old sounds from something like a Ducktales NES game. What inspired you to produce this style of music?
Luke Silas: Actually, we each came at the idea of chip music from drastically different approaches! Pete started making music with an NES in high school, having grown up playing video games as well as playing in bands, and made the decision to merge the two when he found out online how to program Nintendo sound chips. I suppose my backstory is the most similar to Pete’s, except I wanted to make insane metal with chip tune. Ary arrived from a much more programming-oriented interest, as he wasn’t deeply into video games from a young age. James has always been very into electronics and taking things apart, so it made perfect sense for him to re-appropriate this hardware for something more awesome than it was ever meant to be. Ultimately, however, we all just love the sound and have lots of fun working with it!
WES: When I saw your “Meow” music video, I couldn’t believe that this was your first video—it was so visually striking and dynamic. Can you talk about what it was like shooting that, especially shooting in what looks like an old arcade (that takes pennies instead of tokens?!)?
LS: The “Meow” video was a truly exhausting joy to create. We fleshed out the idea for a little while before hooking up with some incredibly talented guys who worked on Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job, and got to work! We shot overnight for three nights, mostly at an arcade in Westchester, New York that Pete and James used to go to all the time when they were younger. It made for long nights, but what better way to get through those long nights than in an arcade with free play all night with all your friends?
WES: Do you guys remember playing Wesleyan in April 2010? I heard it was pretty shitty weather for Zonker Harris Day that year.
LS: Of course we remember that! It rained out a bit during Dan Deacon’s set, but how could that possibly stop a Dan Deacon show? We moved inside and played a sweaty, awesome show.
WES: What’s going on with the Furby-inspiration? I was on your website, and it felt like a dream (nightmare?) come to life when my mouse had turned into a rainbow Furby.
LS: What’s not to love? Furbys are fun as hell!
WES: I read that you guys have been inspired by some of the more pop-y artists of the last few decades, like Weezer or the Beach Boys. Can you talk about that a little bit more, and is there anyone else that you really draw inspiration from?
LS: We really take inspiration from all over the place, which really shows on Endless Fantasy. We like noisy snotty punk, we like huge trance anthems, we like Andrew W.K., we like the Spice Girls! And that’s only where we overlap; individually, our tastes are completely disparate, but not out of line. That’s what makes it so fun to work together — we all love different things, but love enough of the same things that we know what will work and what won’t.
WES: Is there anyone right now that you’d like to collaborate with, who you haven’t had the chance to?
LS: We’d definitely like to work with Eiffel 65. We’ll get them on a track someday, that’s more or less a promise.
Look for Anamanaguchi in the Spurrier-Snyder Rink stage tomorrow afternoon for Spring Fling.