Tiasu, Chiptune Extraordinaire: An Interview

We have a really awesome interview for everyone today! Tiasu, a musician that is currently taking twitch by storm has been kind of enough to take the time out of his day to do an interview with us. I hope everyone enjoys the great read!

With a lot of musicians, it’s a lifelong pursuit. How long have you been making music?
I started out playing drums at the age of 7, guitar at 13, and I’ve been stuck doing music since! I did a uni degree somewhere along the way where I met amazing musos like biko, VincentGiles and Derris-Kharlan n/ , and through Derris met so many amazing chip musos like cTrix, little-scale, pselodux, godinpants, maddestkingsalive, aday, dotAY, calavera and the rest of whole amazing Aus chip community (it’s too big to list them all!) – massive thank you to Kristy and Eugene who run the phenomenal SoundBytes and (along with dotAY) SquareSounds and put on such amazing shows.
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Which artists do you listening to while making an album? For instance, Monochrome. Was there a certain artist or group of artist that you happened to gravitate toward during the process?
I try and keep up to date with as many of the new chip releases as I can – there’s a great community on Reddit, the Chiptunes=WIN Facebook page and also the awesome ThisWeekInChiptune podcast – and then whatever my guitar and drum students think is the latest and greatest music on the radio at the moment.
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It’s been a lot of Taylor Swift lately… I also get introduced to so much amazing music through all the different casters on Twitch. I’ve become somewhat addicted to Twitch in the last month, you can normally find me lurking in a channel or five, and the sheer variety of music is actually astounding. I love it.
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How do you start making an album? Do you just make tracks until some seem to fit together or is it more deliberate than that?
When I start writing an album it’s always very chaotic. No real structure or concept until I have a couple of tracks down. Once I’ve done the first few though, it’s very easy to find that “direction” that I’m heading towards, which definitely helps with the writing process.
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This year, I’m also doing a project called “WeeklyBeats”, which entails writing a new track every week for a year – and while I keep my album releases and WeeklyBeats entirely separate – they’re completely different concepts (and WeeklyBeats is a huge variety of styles, I’ve had everything from ambient to progmetal to country to orchestral…) – sometimes I might start a new track and find it difficult to decide where I’m going to release it!
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What instruments do you play?
Guitar, drums, a bit of piano, the tiniest smidgin of clarinet, and a lot of gameboy!
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What is the biggest show you have played?
I’m really privileged to have the opportunity to play fairly often in a number of different groups. I do some freelance playing here and there, corporate gigs and musicals. I got to play at a big arts festival in Hobart as part of a “chipsuper band” named Square Tony and the Arps, which consists of cTrix, Pselodux, Derris and myself playing covers of our own tracks and other well known chip pieces.
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I also play with Derris when he performs live, and we got to play a huge show in Adelaide as part of AVCon. As ‘tiasu’ I’ve played the SquareSounds festival, which was huge, and Soundbytes shows always have a great audience who really love the scene and the music.
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But the biggest show? It has to be playing at ExcessiveProfanity aka Cody’s Birthday stream – there may have only been about 20 people in the room, but there were 1000 people watching on twitch and it was awesome!
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Have you ever tossed out a track after finishing it?
All the time. All the damn time! There’s one track that didn’t make it onto ‘Monochrome’ on my Soundcloud, and another couple ended up on WeeklyBeats, and about 2 or 3 more just ended up in the trashcan. Sometimes they’re salvageable – there’s one track on the album that I debated about including for the longest time. It almost didn’t make the cut. I went back in, 2 days before the release, and rewrote half of the parts, changed sounds, completed changed the mix, changed the structure… Even changed the name! Cody has an old version of the track somewhere. In the end, it came up good, and I’ve had more than one person tell me it was their personal favourite – but it was close to not being on there at all!
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Whats the hardest thing about being a musician and trying to market yourself?
Oh boy, that’s a question and a half! Hardest thing about being a musician? Writers block. Sometimes you can sit there mashing your head against the keyboard for a day and not come up with a single good note. Other times, you’ll start working, and suddenly it’s dark outside and there’s a new track on your iPod! If I flip that question around – the best bit about being a musician? Live shows are definitely an amazing experience, there’s a room full of people all in sync and enjoying your music.
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Another one are the people coming up to you, tweeting at you, chatting to your on twitch, thanking you for your music. I always get taken aback by it – hang on a second, I should be thanking you for taking the time to listen to it, why are you thanking me? But it’s one of the best feelings. In terms of marketing?… I’m terrible at it! I couldn’t sell bottled water in the desert. Luckily for me, I have amazing friends who will go entirely out of their way to help. I honestly cannot thank everyone that has taken this album and put it out there, by tweeting about it, re tweeting it, Facebook sharing, the insane number of twitch channels that play it (& of course interviews on awesome websites <3). Excessive Profanity though… He played the demos. He hyped the album. And then dedicated an ad-free show to launching it. No one would have heard about it if it hadn’t been for him!
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Massive thank you and shoutouts to Claire Plunkett (thepunklett.dunked.com) for the amazing logo and album arts, ExcessiveProfanity, EddieRuckus, ThunderCast, ElegyofGames, Innominatius, Kisuke, YaboiDequan, PoultreeGeist, PixelFAQCast, and all the other amazing casters on twitch (sorry I can’t list them all! I’m subbed to 14 channels and follow 95, and they’re all amazing), Kad, Gino, Naz, Spacyyy, Cthulu & all the other mods & chatters & lurkers in Cody’s channel, Hoodie & R. Morgan Slade from Chiptunes=WIN, DJCutman from TWiC, Derris-Kharlan, GZom, Biko, loubangin, Sean ODowd for putting up with me at home, Chris De Cinque for being awesome, my amazing family who come to every show, and everyone else who’s tweeted or retweeted and been lovely and amazing people! ❤
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Thanks to Tiasu for taking the time to do this interview with us! If you want to check out his work here are some great links for ya!
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Tiasu’s Links:

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