Can you introduce yourself? *Laffe the Fox*, What does it mean?
I’m just a 90’s kid having some fun making music with a whole lot of bleeps and bloops. As a close to lifetime Sonic fan, the name was a reference to how a lot of Sonic characters would have names that end with «the Hedgehog», «the Echidna», «the Cat» and so on, and in some weird way, parts of my life has surprisingly often revolved around foxes somehow. So that’s pretty much the story behind the name. I guess it’s kinda lame, but I don’t care.
Can you explain what does *Red Eyes and Gray Skies* mean?
I thought it’d be cool if it could have more than one meaning, and that it would compliment the changing energies and different feelings I try to express. The title is intended as a referance to sleepless nights and depression, but seeing as red eyes can also come from staring endlessly at a screen, and as skies are always «gray» on a GameBoy, it’s also a referance to video games and nostalgia. — But of course, it can have a totally different meaning to someone else.
The first track of your first album is titled *Apathetic Theme*, the opening of the second one starts with *Symphony of apathy*. It’s chilling out as a philosophy?
«Apathetic Theme» was really a play on words with SMB’s «Athletic Theme». I figured I’m more the apathetic type than the athletic type, haha. I wouldn’t call apathy a very good philosophy, though, but it’s a theme I like to use that I think fits well with the vibe of some of my tunes and some of the feelings I try to express sometimes. (If apathy can be expressed.) From a more technical perspective, in addition to the titles, the melodies in those two tracks are actually kinda similar too, as I wanted the new album to have somewhat of a coherence to my previous work.
What were your original hopes when you composed this last album? Did it meet those expectations?
I was really just focusing on having fun writing it, and as long as I’m happy with it, that’s really all I can expect. Of course, I always hope other people might like it too, though. If someone other than yourself, even if it’s only one person, can actually find enjoyment in something you’ve created, then that’s just really, really awesome and gives it somewhat of an even greater meaning. As far as the reception of the album goes, though, I would say it has definitely exceeded all expectations, especially since I don’t really «expect» anything. — But yeah, I feel like I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback and so many nice comments, and I am truly grateful for it. I truly appreciate all the love and support!
How was (realized) the writing process of this second album? What are your sources of inspiration to compose these songs mixing catchy rhythms and melancholic melodies?
This whole album is more or less a collection of tracks that I’ve written whenever I feel the need to express something, I’d say. So feelings and emotions are always a driving force for my music, but inspiration from the music I listen to is also an important factor.
Concerning the current chipmusic scene, is there any artist or musical style that you like particularly? What are your musical influences outside chiptune?
Oh, there’s just so many great artists and so much great music in the chipmusic scene that I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I feel very lucky to have gotten to know some of them throughout my years of making music, though, and I think that’s one of the greatest things about the scene: You can actually interact with the very people you look up to, even ask them for tips and advice. On point, though; Rymdkraft was actually one of the first bitpop acts I started listening to, and one of the main reasons that I started making bitpop, so getting to make music with one of my absolute biggest inspirations and influences was a pretty amazing experience. I feel like I should also mention the Swedish bitpop legends, Slagsmålsklubben, who first made me rediscover chipmusic through a random skate video on YouTube. I had always loved old video game music, and I instantly fell in love with the idea of combining old 8-bit and chip sounds with other instruments and more modern sounds. I thought it was the coolest thing ever! So video game music would of course also be one of my biggest inspirations. I’ve always loved the music from the DKC games and the Sonic games in particular. Aside of chip-realted music, though, I’ve always loved punk. — Stuff like NOFX, the Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio, Anti-Flag, Strike Anywhere and so on. So I like trying to incorporate some punk-ish beats in my tunes every now and then. Oh, and I also have to mention Sundowner, a project of Chris McCaughan of the Lawrence Arms. Look up «Mouth of a Tiger» or «What Beadie Said» if you wanna hear what I think is two of the most beautiful songs ever made.
What about this cooperation with *CHICKENANDROFLS* on the EP *I Like You Better as a Monkey*? You’ve worked with *Rymdkraft* and *Super Robotic Encounter* too on your last album. How did this happen?
CHICKENANDROFLS and I would often ask each other about collaborating on different tracks, so we’ve constantly been doing collab tracks together every now and then for the last years, and we both kinda just figured «why not do a couple of more and make a split?». — So we did! One of the tracks also appeared on my very first album along with two other collaborations with Lukas Eriksson and remedmatika, respectively. I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with different people, so I wanted to maintain this wonderful tradition for «Red Eyes and Gray Skies» as well. After noticing Rymdkraft had started becoming active again, I sent him a message telling him how much I admired his work, and asked if he would like to check out my first album and tell me what he thought of it. He was super kind and gave me a lot of nice feedback. Seeing as he enjoyed the vibes I took a chance on asking him if he would do a track with me for my second album, which I was stoked out of my face to find out he would. Super Robotic Encounters and I had made a track together before and were always talking about making more music together. He’s always been super supportive towards me, also when I released the first album, so I figured my upcoming album would be the perfect occation for our next track. I’m also planning on doing a split album on BleepLove later on with the third artist I collaborated with on «Red Eyes and Gray Skies», namely Robot Orgy Massacre, who’s also a part of the BleepLove family. We actually started working on our split a long time ago and have a lot of tracks ready. Our track was actually made for the split, but I just love how it turned out after he finished his parts on it, and I just had to have it on my album as well. I asked him if he’d be okay with it, and I’m now very glad he was. I’m also very happy to have all these three amazing artists with me on this second album.
You are faithful to the Russian label *Bleeplove* since your debut.Can you talk a little about this label from your artist perspective?
It all started with them sending me an invitation to enter a submission for the BleepLove Vol. 4 compilation, and being a big fan of VRUMZSSSR, who runs the label, I of course sent them a submission, which is actually how «Apathetic Theme» came about. After the compilation was released, I was super stoked about being a part of it and would listen to it all the time. So many great artists and tracks on there! MisfitChris’s «Zommie (ft. Zommie)» is still my number 1 go-to theme for driving at night. Anyway, thanks to VRUMZSSSR.
I released my first album with BleepLove, «Party with Robots», some time after the compilation, and they’ve just been super kind to me and really supportive ever since. About the time BleepLove Vol. 5 was in the works, I also asked them if they would like to release my second album as well. I talked to Ki from BleepLove about possibly making it into a physical release, and she liked the idea. She took care of pretty much everything, while we would still have an open dialogue where she’d keep me up to date the whole time. I can’t thank her enough for all her wonderful help with «Red Eyes and Gray Skies». This album definitely wouldn’t have happened without her!
Are there any other labels that you want to work with?
Well, there are many other great labels as well, but I must admit I feel very much at home with BleepLove. However, after «Red Eyes and Gray Skies» was released, Cheapshot from Cheapbeats asked me if I wanted to do a release with them, so I’m really stoked about that too. I mean, having released albums such as Men of Mega’s «Porter», Roboctopus’s «Disco.txt», and now also Rymdkraft’s «Space Force EP», how could I say no? I love those guys! So if there’s one other label I’d love to work with as well, conveniently enough, it would definitely have to be Cheapbeats! Cheapshot seems like a great guy too, and I very much look forward to working with him for a possible next album. It’s not an exclusive contract, though, so I will still be able to release music with BleepLove.
What hardware do you use? Old consoles? VSTs?
It’s just my computer with a lot of different samples and VSTs. On my last album you can hear me playing some chords on a guitar on «Dancing with Bullets» and jerking a mini jack in the line-in on «Furry Flurry», though! Hahaha.
Have you ever had the opportunity to play live? Is it something you would like to do?
As of yet, it hasn’t been a topic. Idonno, though. I really haven’t given it much thought. I’ve never been very comfortable with crowds, (not that there’d be one, haha,) but I would at least consider it. There are a few people I’ve promised a low budget private show if they should ever come visit me, though, haha.
You are using 8bit sounds for your music and it probably means you have an history of video game player. What are your childhood consoles and games? Are you still playing video games?
Definitely! Some of my most treasured memories in this life are of my big brother and I playing video games back in the day. The Super Nintendo would have to be my favorite console as it has all my favorite games. As a little kid, I was more focused on beating Super Mario World rather than learning to walk. I grew up playing many of the classics, like Donkey Kong Country, Castlevania and Super Mario Bros. When we had played them all for a while, my brother and I would also rent games at the local library and borrow some from his friends. Super Castlevania IV was always a favorite of mine, though, and I would ask him all the time to play it with me, or even if I could just watch him play. To this day, it is still my favorite video game along with Donkey Kong Country 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, also much because of their soundtracks. I’ve always been a Nintendo fan, but I really love the Sonic games as well, especially the oldest ones ever since my parents got me the first one for Christmas one year. Now, many years after, I still revisit some of the games I’ve loved since way back every now and then. These days my friends and I are really into Smash Bros. for Wii U, though. That’s always a lot of fun. Party games like Smash Bros., Mario Kart, MarioParty and such are always a good time.
Finally, do you have a few words to say to the French/Russian public?
If you’ve read through it all; sorry for rambling. Hope you might enjoy some of my music, though! If there’s anything else you’d like to know about me or anything, you can always just look me up on Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud or whatever. I try to answer as good as I can. Also; we share the same flag colors! Pretty neat, huh?