Speaking of video games, I heard you love Genesis. I was a bit of a Genesis dude myself, but mainly just because I couldn’t afford Super Nintendo. What’s your reasoning for it?
Usually chip tunes are modeled very specifically after stuff that’s meant to sound like video game music, like in Nintendo. It’s a very self-referential thing. But Sega Genesis is rad because they were actually trying to replicate a lot of pop music of the time. That’s why Streets Of Rage sounds like early ’90s house music. It sounds like Pump Vol. 1 or something [laughs]. Apparently Michael Jackson was supposed to do the score for Sonic 3, and he dropped out last minute. But as it turns out, a lot of the compositions that he wrote are still on the game, and they eventually became singles from him. The thing about the Sega Genesis soundcard is it was a lot like the Yamaha DX7—I mean, like a super cheap version of it, but it definitely sounds more like a real synth. But yeah, that’s why, even when I was a kid, I was like, “Dude, this is amazing!”
I know your dad’s also a musician. Have you ever collaborated with him on any songs, or do you have any plans to do so in the future?
I sampled him on two songs on the first record. We’ve talked about maybe doing something on the VEGA record, and we’re still trying to figure out what that will be. We both really like ELO, so we’ve always thought that could be a possible style of track to write together.
Music-wise, what’s your favorite era?
That’s a little tough, but I can say for Neon Indian in particular, I’m often inspired by the 70’s. Just for listening purposes I really like a lot of ’80s music, but by the time you get to the ’80s there’s a full on formula for how to use synths, how to program them, how to do drum machines… That’s when you start getting a really ubiquitous sound. But I liked when there were rock bands who didn’t know what a synthesizer was. The good thing about really early electronic music is that there wasn’t really a formula for it. A lot of earlier records that integrate synthesizers or drum machines will do it in these really idiosyncratic and interesting ways because there was no right way of doing it.
Lastly, you seem like a pretty smart dude. This article I read a while ago mentioned a company that asks their prospective employees this question: If you’re stuck in a blender and you’re the size of a goldfish, how do you get yourself out?
That’s a fantastic question. Accept futility and wait to be reincarnated as a man in control of the blender.
You’re hired. I would’ve just offered you your first paycheck and slammed it right on the table.
[Laughs] Patience is a virtue.
Mind, Drips by Neon Indian
Fallout by Neon Indian
For more on Neon Indian, go to neonindian.com