8-bit beats have been around since, well, video games really. But unless you were a hardcore circuit bender or programmer, it wasn’t until Nintendo let players create their own tracks with Trippy-H and Nanoloop that anyone knew Game Boy’s potential for music. Of course Beck and Malcolm Mclaren brought chip music to a more mainstream eclectic audience and, for a second there, everyone was working some kind of 8-bit sound into their own music. Of course, like Auto-Tune, it seldom finds a nice balance within the rest of the music.
Which is why Graffiti Monsters, guitarist and 8-bit composer Mark DeNardo and drummer Luke Silas, have to be one of the best at creating the most awesomely well crafted songs using 8-bit sounds.
How long have Graffiti Monsters lived in Brooklyn? In which part of Brooklyn do you live?
Five years in Williamsburg, formerly Bushwick, Brooklyn Heights, and some hostel on 103rd in Manhattan.
You have some incredible skills in writing songs that maneuver the Game Boy sounds through your guitar playing and your drummer’s rhythms. When were your first 8-bit projects?
Living in Chicago, I worked on a folk/8-bit combo and also some hip-hop. In Brooklyn it’s been a refining of the sound with drums sometimes more than one set of drums guitar and vocals.
I know Graffiti Monsters is yourself and Luke but I’ve seen live show pics where there are more people playing with you? Do you have to bring more folks on tour to make it work the way you want?
It’s funny but for over a year we’ve been a two-piece. It feels like a Brooklyn thing.
So how does your drummer keep up with you and the Game Boy sounds?
A previous drummer used headphones. Luke uses a monitor to listen to the Game Boy tracks—it’s pretty reckless.
Do you start writing your songs off of Game Boy tracks or is that something added later?
Both, melodies for me come out of my head, not on a tracking grid—I might write something first on guitar. Since we have a pretty good idea of our direction, sound design and stuff with Game Boy is minimal, it’s mostly tracking music.
What equipment are your workhorses in Graffiti Monsters?
My Squire Jagmaster guitar (man this is a gear-heavy interview). I don’t really give a fuck about gear; I just look for what works best. Then I have to get it fixed because most things break. Virgin Airlines broke my guitar. They suck. It should be ready for the show.
Do you see yourself moving on from 8-bit composing?
Yes I am definitely moving on sometime. At first everyone was into the novelty of it, now everyone is trying to cash in. I feel ahead of the bell curve. Maybe in the next year I’ll start my next band and it will not be an 8-bit band. Also, I’m looking to complete a solo project this month for online release and tape.
If I were starving in Brooklyn – what’s a good place to eat there?
Pies and Thighs.
Taco trucks in L.A. would do if you are starving here, so what do you think of L.A. so far?
Well at least you’re avoiding that East Coast Summer humidity. How do you deal with that?
AC and swimming.
Have you ever driven in New York because it isn’t so fun to drive here in L.A?
Yea gots a car.
Do you know Brandon Perry? (Because he’s amazing.)
Uh baseball—used to follow the White Sox, Mets. Don’t care about the Dodgers.
Don’t miss Graffiti Monsters this Saturday when SEANCARNAGE.COM partners with Walt! Productions and Pehrspace to present the final blow-out party for the most mind-blowing art event of the summer:
Featuring music from
+ DJ Jacob Safari
+ DJ Kyle Mabson
Starts 9:30pm / $5 / all-ages
Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd., in Historic Filipinotown
See you at the show!