‘Endless Fantasy': Q&A with Anamanaguchi

The 8-bit rock band Anamanaguchi. Pictured (from left to right): Pete Berkman,  Luke Silas, Ary Warnaar and James DeVito.

The 8-bit rock band Anamanaguchi. Pictured (from left to right): Pete Berkman, Luke Silas, Ary Warnaar and James DeVito.

By FEMI ABORISADE

Anamanaguchi is playing in Houston at Fitzgerald’s July 18. Purchase tickets here.

Without video gaming, Anamanaguchi would have never been created. The four-piece band, consisting of Pete Berkman, James DeVito, Luke Silas and Ary Warnaar, play guitars and drums but are fleshed out by a hacked Nintendo NES system and Game Boy. As a result, their music resembles the background music for classic games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man and Kirby, but only if they had punk pioneer Milo Auckerman as a composer.

A band described as being ” serious about being happy,” Anamanaguchi broke into the music scene in 2006 with Power Supply,” an EP full of  songs bursting with bright and colorful chiptune melodies driven by grungy guitars. After releasing their first full length album, “Dawn Metropolis,”  and their stellar single “Airbrushed,” the band received the opportunity to provide music for “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game,” a crowning achievement for the band and a nice callback to their sound’s roots.

Anamanaguchi’s second full length album, “Endless Fantasy,” shows the greatest evolution for the band yet. Along with the band’s standard 8-bit punk songs comes an extensive collection of electronica, dubstep and trap-influenced grooves with better overall production. The Collegian had the chance to chat with the band’s drummer, Luke Silas, about the group’s career, their new album, their favorite foods and more.

Collegian: Three of the four members actually started out as fashion school students. How did you guys make the transition to making music, and how have you incorporated that background into your artistic process?

Luke Silas: To set the record straight, all four of us were fashion students! We had all played music before, and our internships were specifically geared towards music production and composition in addition to our fashion duties (Prada specifically has a very strong focus on theory).

Collegian: You composed the soundtrack to the “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” video game. Could you see the band composing an entire film in the future?

Silas: If the right film came along and we felt good about it, we’d take on a project like that.

Collegian: How hard was it to hack the NES system and Game Boy you have based your sound on, and have their been any crazy stories concerning its use?

Silas: It wasn’t that hard, James is just sort of an electrical genius and worked it out. There are helpful people all over the internet that will help you with this kind of thing.

Collegian: Your new live shows come with a dazzling light display wired into your tunes and glitchy visuals. Who developed that and how does it electrify the normal concert-going experience?

Silas: James developed the light setup, he’s been working at it for a while but after our Kickstarter took off he was finally about to make the dream a reality.

Collegian: What’s your favorite thing to eat on the road?

Silas: Our favorite food on tour really depends where we are! If we’re in the South then we’re stopping for BBQ, if we’re in California then it’s Mexican food, if we’re in France then it’s Croque Monsieur. No point in having one favorite food all over the place.

Collegian: You guys are touring with rapper Kitty Pryde  for a leg of the tour. Have you guys made a couple 8-bit rap songs together?

Silas: We haven’t had a chance to sit down and work on anything yet, but we have plenty of long drives to do some tracking. We’d love to get something down with her.

Collegian: What are your current favorite games to play, and which next-gen console will you be lining up to buy?

Silas: Whatever console “Grand Theft Auto V” is on; that’s what we’ll be playing.

Collegian: Who runs your hilarious twitter account?

Silas: What twitter account? Did someone make a bot of us?

Collegian: What’s playing in your headphones regularly besides Weezer’s “Pinkerton?”

Silas: We all have pretty eclectic tastes, which are constantly changing. We’ve been playing a lot of Chuck Mangione/Enya mashups in the van, it really helps the time pass.

Collegian: What new techniques or inspiration led to “Endless Fantasy’s” creation, and what sets it apart in your eyes from “Dawn Metropolis?”

Silas: I know this sounds funny when talking about a 22-song record, but “Endless Fantasy” is much more focused thematically than “Dawn Metropolis.” It’s our first real full-length, and we took more time to bring it closer to the vision we had for an Anamanaguchi record. There’s a full synaesthetic experience to be had with “Endless Fantasy,” between the record and the live show and everything else we’re developing surrounding the record, we wanted it to be a full experience in a way that “Dawn Metropolis” couldn’t have been.

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