Even though we are gamers at heart we do love our music too, especially the sweet sound of chiptune. The music of geeks. Well if you’re a fan of this genre the awesome band I Fight Dragons should be no stranger to you.
I had the great opportunity to chat to lead singer Brian Mazzaferri about how they got into this unique genre and they’re upcoming Project Atma. Of course we geeked out and talked about gaming, Zelda and little final fantasy.
Sarah: For anyone who hasn't heard your music before, tell us a little bout I Fight Dragons?
We're a rock band with chiptune - so sort of like a 4-piece rock band plus a robot.
Sarah: Chiptunes aren't exactly really common how did you get into that style of music?
We sort of stumbled into it actually, a few years back when I was first working with Bill to record some demos, I thought it would be cool if the intro to a song we were working on sounded like it was the chorus of the song but coming out of an NES. After a few hours of 'research' playing Mario 3, we mocked something up and it we were so happy that I immediately started searching around to see if there were other people making this kind of music. From there I discovered that there were tons of people making new music on old video game sounds cards, and tons of great programs to do so like Little Sound DJ, Famitracker, Nitrotracker, Nanoloop, and more.
Sarah: Did you find it hard trying to attract and hold a big listenership with such unique sound?
I guess the answer is yes, since I don't think we have all that huge a listenership I feel like as long as we're making music that excites us, hopefully other people will like it too, and that's more important than specifically fitting a pre-set mould.
Sarah: How did you come up with the name I Fight Dragons?
It came to me on a road trip to play an acoustic gig down in Champaign, IL. I was doodling on a piece of paper while I was waiting to play my set and the idea for the logo came to me, with words and a little guy holding a sword and shield. It represented a lot of things I was feeling at the time, and I think it became a real rallying point since I had the name before we really had a band.
Sarah: You have a kickstarter for Project Atma, tell us a little about that?
I've wanted to do a kickstarter for a long time, but being on a label made it impossible. As soon as we got back out on our own last fall I started thinking about how we could make our next album using kickstarter.
That said, we have all been completely floored at how well it has gone and how many people have wanted us to make it and come on board to support us - we never in our wildest fantasies thought we would raise this much.
Sarah: We noticed that the art for Project Atma is based around Final Fantasy, are you big fans of the series?
Yes! Final Fantasy 1-7 were hugely formative games for me, and the idea of Project Atma sort of comes from the Atma Weapon from FF3(6). The idea that once you defeat the boss, you use your experiences as a weapon that becomes more powerful the more experience you gain.
Sarah: Is everyone in the band gamers?
Some of us more than others - we all enjoy different types of games.
Sarah: Zelda seems to be a big theme for you guys, are you all huge fans of Zelda?
Again, some of us more than others, but especially the Zelda classics are appreciated by all.
Sarah: What’s your favorite Zelda game?
For me I'd have to say A Link To The Past. I'm a real sucker for SNES era RPG games, and in a lot of ways games like A Link To The Past and Secret of Mana (action/RPG combos) were part of what makes that era so awesome.
Sarah: You guys also had one of your music videos premier on the 3DS.. That must have been awesome! How did that come about?
It was mind blowingly cool, and a huge dream to get to work with Nintendo. They wanted to make a bunch of 3D videos to promote the Nintendo Video app, and we were lucky enough that they really liked our music. Most of the other artists that they worked with were huge radio acts.
Sarah: You play a lot of music festivals and tour a lot, would you game much on the road?
We have an Xbox 360 in our van along with a LOT of emulators on our computers, and they definitely all get a work out when we're on the road.
Sarah: What game would we find you playing the most?
For me my main game addiction is Starcraft II and a lot of the custom "arcade" games built on it. There's actually a Dota clone in there called Storm of the Imperial Sanctum that I was pretty addicted to for a long time.
Sarah: From listening to your music and looking at your album art we can tell that you love your 8 bit games. But are there any recent games you have the time to play?
As I said I play SC2, I know Bill is more of an FPS player, Team Fortress and Left 4 Dead and such. Chad usually kicks my ass at Madden, and Bill also plays a lot of GTA in the van.
Sarah: Are there any games coming out that you’re looking to pick up?
I'm really excited for Broken Age - I still fire up my SCUMM VM and play old point and click adventure games on a regular basis.
Sarah: What is next for I Fight Dragons?
Making our album! Then Disney World! OK probably not Disney World... but definitely album!!
A big thanks to Brian Mazzaferri for taking the time to talk with us! We look forward to hearing about your upcoming projects and wish you continued success! Keep up with Brian on Twitter!