10 Good Questions with Disasterpeace

Posted: July 18, 2012 by Jonny in The Rocking Chair Blog

1) Who is Disasterpeace? Where are you based?

Disasterpeace is Rich Vreeland, and that’s me. I’m based in Berkeley, California. Just moved out here from Boston about a year ago.

2) How did you come up with the name Disasterpeace?

I like wordplay. It was a double play on masterpiece. Switching it to disasterpiece, and then respelling piece as peace. Peace and disaster are kind of at odds as ideas, and I like that.

3) You have so many diverse influences from Prog Rock, to Classical and Electronica. How did you come to the Chiptune medium?

Convenience. It didn’t take long for me to enjoy it (no time, actually), but the initial draw was that it made realizing musical ideas much easier for me. Beforehand I was trying to realize full band-style productions, and its hard when you have limited chops and limited equipment. Working with a digital sound significantly lowered my overhead. As I wrote more in that style though, I truly began to appreciate all the nuances and strengths associated with it. Chiptune is great because it puts more of the focus on the musical content, and less on getting caught in performance ability and production (though production is still important)

4) You have done solo work and work on video games is there one you enjoy more than the other?

I enjoy both. I’ve been doing a ton of video games work lately though, and I think I’d like to take some time to focus on a solo project sometime soon, finances willing. Maybe a kickstarter would do the trick. [:)]

5) When you compose your albums, do you always have a story in mind or does that develop with the music?

It depends, I’ve definitely done both. When I was writing Atebite and the Warring Nations, I always had this idea of a high-fantasy battle, something of a Tolkien ilk. Level really had no concept, except that I felt like the songs fit together. When you write for video games, there usually is a story in mind, and it’s some combination of what the game actually is or wants to be, and what your idea about it is.

6) What are your favorite 8-bit video games?

Nintendo and Game Boy were the only 8-bit systems I had. Growing up, Tecmo Super Bowl was easily my favorite NES game. I played that non-stop.

7) What is a Disasterpeace live show like?

It has definitely evolved over time. Lately, it’s been me on guitar and my friend Roger Hicks who plays drums. I put together the entire set beforehand, and its a recording without drums. Then I automate a bunch of guitar effects, so that they change on the fly and I don’t have to worry about stomping down on pedals.

8) Do you find that composing Chiptunes is confining or does the specificity of the medium free you to develop new techniques?

The chiptune medium is confining but it’s almost always been a good thing for me. It forces you to come up with solutions to musical problems that you might not otherwise use. Since I’ve started using Famitracker (NES tracker), it’s become even more apparent, because you’re restricted to 5 voices total. You end up writing lots of interesting musical patterns to fill those spaces, and create the illusion that there are more parts than you have voices to use.

9) Do you play any other instruments?

Guitar and Piano are the main ones.

10) What is the goal for the next year?

My goal is to finish up all my current projects, and hopefully to focus on some solo material. I’m also playing some shows this year so looking forward to those and making better preparations than I have in the past.

For more information: http://disasterpeace.com/

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