Melt Channel
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Melt Channel

Tallahassee, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Tallahassee, Florida, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Electronic Indie

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"Melt Channel releases total chiptune rock album Magic Is Real"

I've always believed in magic, but it's nice to get some confirmation from an amazing group such as Melt Channel. Their latest album, Magic is Real, is a wonderful blend of live rock and chiptune programming.

The magical vibe starts softly but turns into a riot of instruments pounding away in pronouncement of the arrival of "Wizards in America."

The album continues its sonic assault of room rocking chiptune dance rock. It's damn near impossible to sit still while I listen to the album and write this review. It all hits a fever pitch by the time "Homerun Heaven" comes blaring out of my speakers. dozens of pixelated action scenarios fill my head as the song drives fearlessly forward.

As with many rock groups, Melt Channel fills the final moments of Magic is Real with the somber but uplifting "i love u." Also, considering that Melt Channel has some of the most impeccable grammar of any bandcamp page I've seen, I can't help but believe the lack of proper spelling or titling is an implicit clue to the meaning of the album's finale. Perhaps, of course, I am just being a conspiracy loving writing nerd.

Album available now for free or choose your own price over on the Melt Channel bandcamp page. - GameMusic4All


"SLADERFLUOUS: ‘MAGIC IS REAL’ BY MELT CHANNEL"

I have never in my time with Chiptunes = WIN experienced such a successful amalgamation of chiptune and live instrumentation. ‘Magic Is Real’ embraces a chiptune melody, supported by a stellar electric guitar and rockin’ drum kit, blending into a powerhouse indiepop sound that deserves your attention.

‘Magic Is Real’ is complex, yet straight-forward in its delivery of anthem after uplifting anthem. Melt Channel’s 12-track album is so concise, so thematically connected from start to finish that you will not notice when a new track begins. The entire album flows. ‘Magic Is Real’ is a musical experience that welcomes you in, invites you to stay, and plays on when you refuse to leave.

‘Magic Is Real’ feels complete, polished, refined, directed, and purposeful. No one instrument overpowers, and each are given the chance to shine, notably fantastic guitar solos (check out ‘Pool Party’) and organic drum moments (i.e. ‘Wizards In America‘ and the amazing ‘Red Light District‘) prove the sum of its parts are more than capable of standing out amongst the whole, but together, they create astonishing, refreshing music.

Thomas from Melt Channel was able to take some time to answer a few questions about the band, the album, and finding their sound! That interview continues below:

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Q: What was your creative process like during the creation of ‘Magic Is Real’? How do you as a group tackle a new song?

Thomas: I write all the songs, and they sort of come up spontaneously, with one riff or one groove setting the tone for the whole thing. When I take the songs to Ryan and Kyle, they come up with their own parts and we just sort of hammer out the final version from there!

Q: How do you build the chiptune component of your music? Do you have a favorite piece of software/equipment?

Thomas: We use a couple of different platforms for our music! A lot of our stuff is NSFs run through NES, some of them are LSDJ, and then a lot of the newer ones are Milky Tracker. I really like LSDJ a lot because of the WAV channel, but the sample versatility on Milky Tracker is really really fun.

Q: What is the origin story for Melt Channel? How did you meet? How did you find your sound together?

Thomas: Me and Ryan had been in bands together for years and years, and had been playing music with Kyle for a few months. I had several chip songs that I wanted to put together into a full album, so we recorded a bunch of them, threw them into Neon Sunsets, and became a real band!

Q: Tell me about your first live performance together, and the growth between that performance and the release of ‘Magic Is Real’.

Thomas: The first show we actually played as Melt Channel was totally different than what it is now. Some of the earlier performances had just me playing guitar, or just Kyle on drums and myself. We’ve started to play bigger shows and adding more visual elements into our shows, and we’re planning on adding a lot more, but certainly our shows are more complete than they were at the beginning.

Q: Who are your influences? Who do you love to watch perform? Who do you aspire towards?

Thomas: Well I guess the obvious influence that everyone can pick up on is Anamanaguchi! And certainly a lot of friends we have in the chiptune community influence our music. But most of the bands I would consider big influences actually come from outside of the chip scene. My favorite two bands are Fang Island and And So I Watch You From Afar, and I definitely want to try to emulate their style through a different lens. In terms of live performance, I love bands that just have fun on stage, but more than anything it’d be awesome to have even a tiny bit of the party spirit of Andrew W.K.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians looking to create music in the chiptune space, or elsewhere?

Thomas: The chip music scene is definitely a really unique one, but our experience and mine specifically has been really cool because I’ve become friends with a lot of people who I considered big inspirations before writing music. As long as you’re making something you want to be making, don’t be discouraged being far from the scene, or feeling like no one knows you. If you’re having fun with it, chances are other people are having fun with it too!

Q: What technical or creative challenges did you face while creating ‘Magic Is Real’? Was there a creative hurdle in particular that you feel proud to have overcome?

Thomas: The mixing was definitely the biggest obstacle this time. I really wanted to make sure it sounded professional, but we had no professional recording equipment or software, so I spent a lot of time focusing on the mix to obscure the fact that I recorded my guitar with a 50 dollar amp in my bedroom, haha. But I think it ended up sounding better than the sum of its parts, and the mastering job Rob Duffy did to it made it sound infinitely better than I could have ever done on my own.

Q: What do you most hope people will take away from your music?

Thomas: Every song on the album has a really specific and personal meaning to me, but I want other people to take their own meaning from the feelings they get listening to it! Really at the end of the day I hope that our music is something people can have a lot of fun listening to, and something that will bring you up when you’re down!

Q: Do you have any upcoming shows/appearances you’re looking forward to?

Thomas: Well we just played a couple of festivals, and classes are starting up for all of us, so we’re probably not doing anything big soon, but there might be a few big shows coming up towards the end of the year!

Q: Open forum. Anything you’d like to say/share with your fans?

Thomas: Thanks for listening, and we urge everyone to live by the Melt Channel motto: “Infiltrate the party, enter the circle, integrate the party, activate the circle.” - ChipWin


"Melt Channel brings nostalgia with Nintendo-powered rock anthems"

Everyone has a favorite 8-bit video game theme song. Whether it’s the opening theme to Pokemon Yellow looping on route 1, or the classic little musical cue for obtaining new items in Legend of Zelda, the 8-bit music that squawked out of Gameboys and the NES is deeply embedded in the memories of many college students. Now take those beloved little pixels and their themes and set them up like your average pop-punk outfit. Imagine Bowser on the drums while Sonic and Link harmonize guitar riffs over Luigi’s crunchy bass and one can begin to imagine the music that Tallahassee band Melt Channel creates.

Melt Channel is essentially budded from another local band called the Fuzzheads. During the summer of 2013, Thomas Wilson, Florida State University student and DJ at WVFS, began to work with programming 8-bit music using Samitracker and LSDJ. Wilson then began harmonizing guitars with the electronic sounds and eventually began adding other elements of live instrumentation.

Members of Fuzzheads, Kyle Lyon and Ryan Leopold, began creating their own additions to Wilson’s chip-tune inspired pieces. By July of 2013 the trio, along with Ryan Bell mixing down the work, created their first digital album released on Bandcamp with art by Alex Van Dorp. Since then, Melt Channel has played at a variety of local venues such as the Hopyard, Rehab and the Jetset Lounge as well as music events such as Pulsewave in New York.

Their digital album, entitled Neon Sunsets, is nothing short of an arcade rock opera. As far as chip-tune music goes, Melt Channel provides something that goes beyond the crackles and snaps that come out of a Nintendo. Where a lot of chip music aims for overt technicality that still end up sounding too similar to actual video game themes, Melt Channel throws in intensely poppy rhythms. While many get nostalgic over the Mario theme, it’s not something that can necessarily be danced too. Melt Channel makes music that will have audiences hopping up and down faster than Samus in Metroid.

The Neon Sunset album starts on a rise and never lets up. Syncopated guitar rhythms over dueling synth leads make one imagine a collaboration of Guitar Hero with Mega Man. If Capcom had heard this album in their heyday, the entire music would have been fired in favor Melt Channel and the '90s would have been a truly epic time to be a gamer. The nostalgia goes far for this kind of music, however, the arpeggiated leads present with over blasted drum fills reveals a true talent for precision.

Melt Channel hope to continue playing more big events out of town, and their live performance is not something to be missed. They usually kill their set like a Mortal Kombat Fatality, with Nintendo powered antics. The members of the band usually listen to the 8-bit elements before composing their own parts so what is achieved is an interpretation of three different musicians with their own talent.

“What I do is simply play drums to Thomas Wilson’s programming,” Lyon said. “It’s exciting because Thomas writes in really dynamic percussion parts that are also loose enough to allow for interpretation, so I get to constantly toy with fills until I get things feelin’ rad.”

Melt Channel continues to work on new material and recently released a new song on a compilation by the net label Zoom Lens. Though they have received various offers from small Florida labels, Melt Channel wishes to stay independent and pursue whatever is best for their music.

“As for the future of our band, we’re trying to get onto a couple of festivals right now,” Wilson said. “I guess my sort of dream endpoint would be getting to play at a festival like SxSW, but for now house parties and small venues are a lot of fun, and we love doing it. When we played at Pulsewave, I really felt like that cemented this band for future performances, we even caused the venue to get a noise complaint from the police!”

With the flow of music showing no signs of stopping and prospects for future shows, Melt Channel will continue to be relevant in the Tallahassee scene. The band has genuine energy and originality that is whimsical but still seriously well-produced. The Nintendo jams of Melt Channel get audiences dancing and remembering the first Pokemon they caught at the same time. This is a band for those who spent summer days with a Gameboy in their pocket. - FSU News


Discography

Neon Sunsets - 2013

  • Fever
  • Electric City USA
  • Bombing the Hill
  • Anarchy
  • Dark Skies
  • Summer Dreams
  • Giant's Causeway
  • Stargazing
  • Hype Out
  • Electric City (reprise)
  • Cosmic Monument
  • Neon Sunsets

Magic Is Real - 2014

  • Wizards in America
  • Cool UFO
  • Crush
  • Pool Party
  • Bedroom
  • A New Dream
  • Red Light District
  • Grafitti Soul 96
  • Homerun Heaven (Heartbeat)
  • Drive Alive
  • Laser Babe
  • i love u

Erasers - 2015 

  • Too Bright To Be Seen
  • Terra Australis
  • Buena Vista
  • Faraway Mountain (ft. Miracle Swill)
  • Like You (ft. Nyanners)
  • Icee Paradise
  • Island
  • Sunrise, Seabreeze
  • Lightning Bug
  • Florida Snow Day
  • Skater Into Starman
  • Solid Gold Spirit
  • Live! From Planet Earth
  • Wavelengths
  • Goodbye Sagittarius
  • We Never Got Older

Photos

Bio

Melt Channel is an electronic indie rock band from Tallahassee Florida with a heavy emphasis on retro and 8-bit melodies. Originally a rock band that played with a modified NES and Gameboy, Melt Channel has now added full electronic accompaniment to its 4-member setup. The music of Melt Channel blends a variety of genres from straight pop-punk and rock anthems, to dance and drum & bass tracks. 

Band Members