BitBurner‘s signature sound, dubbed VGDM or “video game dance music,” incorporates loads of samples from classic video games that’ll really make you feel like you’re in a musical arcade. Give him a follow him on Twitter and SoundCloud to keep up with his new tracks! You can also download an 8 bit arcade sample pack from him, for free, here!
Tell us a little bit about you and your music!
My name is BitBurner, I’m from Bakersfield California, I’m 41, happily married 19 years, father of 2 girls 12 and 8. Professionally, I’m a network engineer and when I’m not working or playing Mineraft with my daughters I make music out of old classic video game sounds. I like to call it VGDM (video game dance music). I grew up in the height of the 80′s video game/arcade boom. I was a “latch key kid”, meaning I didn’t have much supervision after school. I hung out at the arcade at the mall where my mom worked in a dept store. I stayed till it closed almost everyday. There was also a huge arcade just a few blocks from my house. So with no supervision I spent a lot of time at arcades. So most my music is tied to my childhood and that nostalgic feeling I get when I hear those classic 8bit arcade sounds from some of my favorites like Galaga, Donkey Kong, and Asteroids. I like that arcade noise you know what I’m talking about? It’s music to me.
What got you started on iOS?
Last Christmas I used my work bonus to get an iPad2 and I soon discovered there were some really powerful music apps. Some I had used before on my PC like ReBirth or in real life like iElectribe or KORG iMS-20 but having it all in something I could take anywhere blew my mind. I must have spent $150 on music apps in the first week I got the iPad. I think my iPad has something like 6GB of just music apps, samples and projects on it. I even been known to delete games I really like just to make room for more music stuff haha…
What apps are you using to get those 8 bit sounds?
Well I have a couple of tricks but most of my sounds are from the ROMs of actual arcade games from the 80′s. I have an extensive MAME (Multi Arcade Machine Emulator) ROM collection of well over 7000 working games. I use a program on my PC called M1 to extract sounds as WAV’s from those ROMs. I throw those onto sample pads in NanoStudio and I’m halfway there. Another trick I use is create my own synth patches based on simple saw or square patterns and double them at different octaves (classic chiptune trick) or actually load up some old Atari 2600 bass noise samples as the sample on my custom synth patch. I also use a program on my PC called SFXR to create just about any 8 bit sound I need. I used it to make a free sample pack you can get here. I use a ton of those samples in that pack in my productions.
What would you say are your top three iOS music apps?
NanoStudio has to be at the top for sure. I use it by far the most. It’s a full production studio literally in my hands. It beats sitting at a desk at a DAW trying to be creative. I can take it with me and produce something at the park or while laying down relaxing. Some of my best tracks were done in the car on the way back from Disneyland. I don’t see me doing much without it. NanoStudio on my iPad has put me back in touch with my music with all the pun intended.
Second would be have to be TouchOSC. Before I got my Novation Launchpad I was using TouchOSC more as a full midi controller for Ableton Live stuff but it’s still great as a second controller. I can keep the Fx Screen up and then not have to worry about switching screens on the Launchpad. I’ve only released a few tracks done in Ableton as most of what I’m doing is prepping for live events coming up next year.
Third is a tossup. There are so many great apps it’s hard to choose. But if I have to choose one it would be nanoloop. It’s the closest thing to a mod tracker or LSDJ on iOS. I’m waiting for a full old school tracker like Milky to be ported but until then this will have to do. There is a pretty big learning curve along with a strange interface but it will make chiptunes. I’ve used some small elements in my productions via AudioCopy feature right into NanoStudio. But I have to say I use a lot of different apps. Especially if they support AudioCopy!
For those live gigs you’ve got planed, are you going to incorporate your iPad in at all? If so, how? Will we get to watch?
I do plan to use it live in two ways. One will be with TouchOSC to handle my effects in real time and they other will be NanoStudio to do some live creation stuff. This is where I’m trying to mesh Ableton and Nanostudio and I’m doing it by syncing midi clocks. I’m doing some cool stuff that I have wanted to do for along time but was never within my budget or grasp. I hope to go straight into a board wherever I am get a nice dat copy. I’ll have to borrow my friends as that is a piece of equipment i’m missing but you got me thinking maybe I can do it on a spare iPod :) But my overall goal/dream is to do some sort of tour to arcades all across the U.S. It might be a short tour as there are not many left. But there are some greats I would love to play like Twin Galaxies of course and Insert Coins in Las Vegas.
What’s one app or feature of iOS that you’re hoping for?
Wow that is a hard question because I was just talking about how a proper mod tracker is missing from iOS but I would have to say more VST support. There are some things I miss from the my Ableton setup like VSTs and automation. I would love to be able to do side chaining. Rumor has it Matt Borstel is working on something new (NanoStudio 2?!?) and I’m very excited about that. NanoStudio has some great potential to host these kind of features so I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
Lastly, what’s in store for BitBurner? Do you have surprises for the
I have a lot of half finished tracks, non starters, etc that I would like to finish up soon. Sometimes I start a whole new one and finish it in a day (like today with “Remember Dont Shoot Food”). So you can expect a steady flow of free CCA licensed music to download as I have plenty in the que at the moment. If you have not figured it out also I’m a big believer in free art, and being in the public domain. Pretty much all my music is CCA licensed. Also I have hooked up with some similar artists to possibly put out some sort of sampler EP of VGDM and get it out there in all the online music stores etc. Maybe donate the profits to a charity like ChildsPlay. Keep a watch on my channel!