08 / 01 / 2006
I recently did an interview for the critically acclaimed Webzine that is called, “Way of the Rodent.” You can check it out here or read it below.
I first heard about ComputeHer from my friend Mad Dave. Normally Mad Dave’s taste in music leaves a little to be desired – favouring, as he does, bearded chaps being serious in dark rooms – so I initially approached her myspace with some trepidation.
Clicking on the thumbnail with justified fear, I prepared myself to be hit with the usual ear splitting maelstrom that is experimental electronica. However, after listening through the songs a couple of times I found out that not only did I not feel like a Robot had been humping me in the ear for half an hour, but I was actually enjoying the playful and melodic beeps and whistles.
I was so compelled that I decided that at the very least I should spread the word to regular Rodent readers in the form of an interview with ComputeHer (aka Michelle). Tracking her down through the intraweb was easy, as was digitally overpowering the poor lass into answering a few questions. Huzzah!
Right, now I’ve got you pinned down – imagine, if you will, that I had just been let out of Guantanamo Bay and the only thing approaching music that I had heard for the last five years was dogs barking at my naked genitalia. How would you describe your music to me?
It’s modern music made on a Game Boy.
Interesting…what Earth Based Bands would you say have influenced your music?
I grew up listening to The Cars, Devo, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Thompson Twins, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and so on. I can’t help but be influenced by those bands. I still listen to the same bands to this day. Growing up, my entire family played Atari, Intellivision and the Commodore 64. All of the sounds are pretty much engrained in my brain. I couldn’t help but be influenced by the games and music that I played and listened to as a kid.
Hmm, I sense the joy of games flowing through – which games have influenced your music? ANSWER THRONGOR NOW!!
Well somebody needs his Ritalin! There are a ton of games that influence my music. Maniac Mansion for the NES is definitely a game that I was mostly drawn to for its music. Each character had its own soundtrack! How could you not love that? I also love the songs and sounds from Little Computer People on the Commodore 64. The sound effects for LCP are pretty cool and inspiring.
Little Computer People are no threat to the Mighty Throngor! What bands are you currently listening too?
The only threat to LCP are humans, so I wouldn’t worry about that…Lately I have been listening to Telex, Ratatat, 8 Bit Weapon, Melbot, Mutoid, Fischerspooner, Kraftwerk, The Cars, Devo, The Rapture, Yeah Yeah Yeahs… and I’m always on a lookout for new music.
Intense! How long have you been making electronic music and how did you come up with the idea of sampling a Gameboy and a C64?
I’ve been making music almost my whole life, however, I just started creating electronic music for about a year or so. I discovered the Micro Music scene a little over 2 years ago when I was on a mission to find new music. I was getting very tired of the modern music I kept hear looping on the radio and really wanted to discover something I have never heard before. So I stumbled upon a local band called, 8 Bit Weapon and decided to check out his show. His live set was awesome and I knew right away that I found a gem! He uses all kinds of consoles as instruments such as the Commodore 64, Game Boy and NES. It was my calling. Soon, I was given “Little Sound Dj” or “LSDJ” for gift and I taught myself how to compose music using a Game Boy. I do not sample any of my music. LSDJ allows me to transform my Game Boy into a music sequencer. I can create and alter all of the sounds to whatever I find fit. The Game Boy chip offers four channels with 8-bit sound and 4-bit sound for the drums and I can control the waveforms for each instrument I create.
So a bit like the Synthesiser from Masters of the Universe? Are you ever worried Nintendo may hit you with some kind of copyright order?
Haha, I guess you could say that! I’m not worried Nintendo is going to pin me down for answers regarding my music because all of my music is original. The Game Boy is my instrument. I do not sample games. It would be like Gibson getting upset that a guitarist was making original songs on a Gibson guitar.
True, very true. I sense a change of questioning is in order, what is your top five video games and why?
BurgerTime – The concept of this game is funny to me because all you do is eat and eat and eat. Kind of like what we American’s love to do anyway! Plus this music is funny and gets stuck in your head after you play it! I love playing that game on the Intellivision until my thumb is about to fall off due to cramping haha!
Little Computer People – I’d say this game was before it’s time. I love this game. This is like the original Sims! I still play this on the Commodore 64! The whole concept of watching a computer person walk around and do nothing for entertainment is so hilarious to me! We’re all Little Computer People, but we’d rather watch someone else do it!
Space Taxi – I love this game because I love the way the guy says, “Hey Taxi!” It’s also a lot of fun and passes the time.
Animal Crossing – I think this game is cute. I like how you can play it with your friends and leave each other messages. It’s a lot of fun when you have roommates that all like to play.
Test Drive – I loved this game growing up. I played this on the Amiga and I really got a kick out of the details like the flies dying on the windshield.
Games are good! What is your first gaming memory?
My earliest memory of a game is Mission Impossible for the Commodore 64. I remember my brother playing it all of the time and the guy saying “Stay a while, stay forever!”
Correct! What are you playing at the moment?
I’ve been playing Burnout Revenge for the Xbox 360.
“Mum! Can I have some Fruit Shoot?”
Also correct! Throngor may let you live…for now. More questions! What is your most treasured gaming item?
I’m so glad I’m passing this test! I hope this answer lets me live too! My favourite item I’d have to say is my original Game Boy from my childhood that my parents got me for Christmas back in the 80s.
Aces, If you could be any games character, who would you be? I imagine you’re a bit of a Mappy girl aren’t you?
I have never played Mappy so I couldn’t say that I was a Mappy girl. I’d have to choose to be a Little Computer Person because my only worry would be to be fed and properly cared for.
Bless! Time to return to change questioning thread! Have you ever been tempted to use other gaming machines? Maybe branching out into the heady world of the 16 bit? I reckon you could make a right heavy hit out of the Super Nes back catalogue alone, maybe even hit the top 10!
I use the NES, C64, Atari 2600, etc. I never sample any one else’s music. That is a common assumption people make. All of the music I make is 100% original music! I use custom software so that each console/computer can be played like a musical instrument. The consoles are more of a tool than an entertainment device when I compose my songs.
Our readers are quite geeky (speak for yourself son – Ed) could you go into further how you actually create the music? Like all the techy stuff, it sounds really interesting!
The majority of my songs are made on the original Game Boy using a cartridge called, Little Sound DJ or “LSDJ” for short. LSDJ is a sequencer and a synthesizer. It gives me 4 channels to create the sounds using the sound chip in the Game Boy. So I have 2 channels for the melodies, 1 channel for drums and 1 channel for the noise. With the noise channel I can shape the sounds into explosions or any other effect I want, which is a lot of fun. I also have a midi controllable Commodore 64 module called the Sid Station. I also have a cart for the NES that allows me to control all the sounds in the same manner via midi. For the Atari 2600, I have a synth-cart that allows me to use the two voices of the 2600 as a drum machine/bass line.
I’ve seen a clip of your live show, visually it looks pretty intense, a real epileptic’s nightmare. Is that the usual set up for your live gigs, or just a one off?
I hope nobody has an epileptic seizure at my show because I might mistake that for dancing and that wouldn’t be so good! That setup is typically my usual setup. During my next show, in a few weeks, I am going to incorporate a digital drum kit. I try to mix up my live show here and there to keep it interesting for me and everyone else. It just depends on where I am playing.
Also, are you afraid someone could trip over a cable and send a Dry Martini flying in your direction, resulting in possible electrocution?
As long as I don’t get electrocuted and hopefully it’ll fly into my direction so that I can take a sip!
Have you ever considered dressing up as an Android for one of your shows?
If someone wants to make me a costume, sure!
If you were an Android, would you consider sleeping with another android for extra credits?
I’m not the droid you’re looking for…
Give it up Throngor.
Throngor’s heart doth bleed! I hear that you have an album on the way, how’s that turning out and when do you reckon it will be available?
The album is almost finished and I’m very excited to finally release it to the public in August. It’ll be available through my website at, http://www.computeher.net You can hear preview clips now on my website!
Any chance of a free signed copy? I wouldn’t just eBay it I promise, well, at least not straight away.
Should I sign it, “To eBay, Thanks for your support? Love, Michelle”
How did you know my secret name? Yes, I’ll be expecting it in the post as soon as possible. Is there any possibility we could get you to tour the UK? That would rock! I could show you my robot dance moves and hypnotise you with my bionic hips.
Cool! Maybe I will do a cover of the Styx song, “Mr. Roboto” and we can all robot dance together! I’ve been invited to perform in London, June of 2007 – so we’ll see. That would be awesome!
Finally, where do you hope to see yourself in five years time?
I’ll be living on the moon in my futuristic outfit tuning into satellite radios. Since I’ve been pinned down this whole time answering your questions, can you get off of me now?
Hmm, alright then, but only because it’s you.
You can listen to the music and find out more about the wonderful world of ComputeHer at these following links :-