Starving GOGO – Matador
This post is also available in: Italiano
Starving GOGO is back with his new album Matador!
In Cremona (Italy), there is a crazy and almost legendary musician, I dare say quite as much as a Jack Sparrow, which from many years has been producing psychedelic journeys with his beloved Game Boy and other musical instruments.
We know that music, as creativity has no limits; the sounds and the concepts, the machines as the instruments and the emotions, going channeled altogether.
Starving GOGO takes that Nanoloop bull by the horns and lead us in his most simple but at the same time experimental dimension.
Hello GOGO! Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you for those who don’t already know you.
Hello, I’m Starving GOGO, Flavio Bissolati. Born in 1991, basically I used to be a singer and over the years I’ve evolved into multi-instrumentalist musician, electronic music composer, sound designer, theatre co-teacher.
The Starving GOGO project has started in 2004, since then I published a trilogy of concept albums, a couple of EP’s, a videogame soundtrack (Virexian), some collabs and I also took part to many chiptune/micromusic compilations.
Compared to your previous works, this time you have been focused on using Nanoloop and other digital instruments, spacing a lot of sounds and different moods, how was Matador conceived and shaped?
After releasing my last album “Ozymandias”, I felt I had to close a chapter in the evolutive story of my project. I strongly needed a change, a turning point for the style and the gear as well.
Working on Matador it’s been simple and direct, I opted for this instead of concepts and some intellectuals backsides, only pure electronic music.
I’ve already used Nanoloop Mono, composing “When I was a kid I thought adults knew what they were doing” the second track of my last album; I was surprised, the feedbacks were so positive.
During the first five years of my project, I’ve worked a lot on using Famitracker’s compositive possibilities at it’s best and the sound impact of LSDJ, pushing on the explosive charachteristics of both softwares. I probably underestimated Nanoloop expressive potential besides its minimalistic approach, so I decided to go deeper within a compositive method in a quite unexplored world of sounds.
Which is the track that represent you the most or the one you like the most?
Every track of this release stands as a single entity and is also one with the others at the same time, so I really can’t tell. What I can surely say is which tracks were more challenging and exciting to work on, such as “Cagodrago” a very experimental one with a touch of noise, in which I ruined Nanoloop mono click channel. Another one is “A dark planet of awesome size, but lit by no sun” the last and the longest track on the EP. ( also the longest one I ever made).
In this work, and also in other tracks of your, I can not notice the use of: samples, scratches, vocoder and other musical skills and techniques.
Such a thing denotes your eclecticism, so one questione arise : what are your biggest influences?
In one word: everything. It comes natural to draw something from quite all of the sensory experiences I live daily, and I really enjoy it.I constantly get inspired and influenced by listening to music itself, watching movies,playing videogames, reading stuff, even studying graphical arts.
For example, I recently felt the desire to compose music that might resemble Junji Ito’s manga.
In electronic music and obviously in chiptune too, one of the most important aspect is the visual, especially during live shows but first and mainly to give an identity to your own product, most of all the artwork of your own album; once again you decided to entrust the task to Ester Mozzanica (IG @ester_mo ). Why have you decided to work again with her and how the Matador concept was born?
Well, besides being my partner in my everyday life, she’s like a second member of the Starving GOGO project .
Most of the time she’s the first person with whom I discuss about the general direction of my works, test the efficiency of my Ideas and concepts; she’s also direct witness of the whole production process and the first person to listen to the tracks passing through all the phases form the first draft straight to the mastered version. My wonderful geometric logo and Artwork of each release is made by her,
I think she’s an amazing artist and I blindly trust her, she’s one of the only people who can feel me perfectly as an artist.
I know, I may seem biased but I care to say that my judgement is totally objective and devoided from any emotional involvement.
About the artworks concepts, I always prefer to give her as much freedom as possible, in this way she can express herself at 100%. Having no Ideas and clues for Matador I gave her cart blanche, I wanted to be surprised.
The creative process it’s been hard but extremely satisfying, it’s probably my favorite cover ever.
Having said that, there are some other artists I’d like to collaborate with, like: Turbogamma, M7kenji, Raquel Meyers, Bolcoantes and many others; even if I think that Ester will always be my first choice.
You have many years of actvity behind you, so that you’ve been invited at one of the most important international Chiptune Festival (Square Sound Tokyo) where your brother <DIR> RICHTER and Kenobit wer also present. Tell us about this experience since you’re one of the few that represented Italy in such a big event.
It’s been an amazing experience. The year before I had the honor to perform at the legendary Cafe la Siesta in Kyoto, and it already seemed incredible, but I’d never expected to perform in the capital, sharing the stage with Defense Mechanism and Breezesquad and many other sacred monsters as YMCK and chibi-tech, it felt like a dream.
There was such a variety of interesting artists performing on each of the four nights, the audience was very warm and receptive and the organization impeccable as well.
The best thing from an event like this is that it gives youthe possibility to meet and know other artists;
watching their performances and share ideas, thoughts and tips, learning and be inspiring to each others.
Of course you can do all of this without being there, but the emotion of living such an experience it can’t be compared to any telematic interation.
I really hope that after the COVID ,and above all despite the demise of Cheapbeats, the Square Sound Festival will be back stronger and better than before.
From your perspective how the Italian scene has evolved since you started?
I remember that when I started producing micromusic a lot of new talents started to came up,
it was the beginning of the so called “new italian chiptune wave”.
I shared my growth path with IDecade, Itspandaonair, Meru, 0r4, Frash and my brother <DIR> RICHTER; I remember that for all those years I felt like we were growing up all together as one organism.
I believe that each and every one of us has been strongly influenced by the others just like in a team.
I realize that I’ve been a bit absent and distant from the scene in these last few years,
but I noticed that we had quite much of new comers, joining the community and have started playing with our beloved little instruments.
Obviously it’s a positive thing, but if you don’t mind me saying so, I didn’t see the same passion and will of being part of the game and trying to make something artistic as a valid and solid project; just only in a few of them.
Anyway I’m happy that there’s interest, but I’d like more music, above all, more fresh new music that separates a bit from that ” old school” way of making chiptune That I believe has lost some of its appeal.
How do you think this whole COVID situation has affected your music production and your daily living? And what about the music scene?
I tried to make the most out of the first months of 2020’s lockdown.
I’ve finished working on Matador in March, in April I produced the lo-fi EP “くまeverlasting”
Even if it’s been a year full of emotional stress, I dedicated all of my time on the experimentation of new sounds and improving other aspects of my music.
However, I still feel like its not enough. In a world of constant publications of contents and releases, I very much suffer the pressure and I feel crushed by a sense of obligation to creation; but without getting the expected results and constantly having the sensation of being in a dead end.
All of these things have grown in 2020, and I’m trying my best to keep em quite.
Talking about the scene, in the last year we assisted to some big changes, starting from the shutdown of Chiptunes = WIN and the departures of Cheapbeats, that is something that hit me directly since it was the label with which I released my album “Ozymandias”, and that I thought it would’ve been in charge for Matador.
A lot of controversies and issues came up that I didn’t even think existed in such a scene that I alway considered so welcoming and free of dynamics that are sadly common to mainstream environments.
From the ashes of those realities, differents movements have been born, especially focusing on the inclusiveness, worthy of having brought numerous new artists to emerge and express themselves..
Speaking of the Italian side, wich has always focused on events and concerts to promote itself,
we are definetely in a standstill situation because of this pandemic. Micromusic Italy organized The Sunday Jams, an excellent operation showing that there are plenty of quality artists, showing that there’s an audience hungry of performances and fresh new releases.
I truly hope we will come back to a more stable situation, back to what we most excel: amaze and enchant an unaware crowd with our machines.
Since you use various instruments and programs including trackers, wich are your favorites?
I have a genuine love relationship with my gear, it’s like an extension of my limbs. I use different setups for any different needs, particularly in this last year I started using more devices together to suit my new expressive necessities.
The Game Boy is obviously my go-to and I’m getting more and more joy from using Nanoloop;
I think that my experimentation with this magical software will go on , hand in hand for a long time.
With the passing of the time, my idyll with LSDJ has started to fade, but I’m still looking for some other creative ways to use it more as an instrument than a composition platform;
as you can see in my videos where I’m using it combined to the amazing tubeless talkbox Electrospit ESX-1 to emulate that classic “Daft Punk effect”.
I’m using FamiTracker less and less however many times it’s been really usefull for the sound design,
afterall it’s been my first effetive chiptune love and I hope i’ll never leave it.
If I have to speak about some other “real” instruments from my gear, there is the OP-1 from Teenage Engineering, a big source of inspiration I can no longer live without it, due to his extreme versatility both in terms of sound and performance.
A little over a year ago I started practice Scratching, and I’m trying as much as possible to implement it in my works,not only as a rythmic element, but also as a sound design one.
Even if there are many other solutions both analogic and digital that piqued my interest, I opted for using a PT01 Scratch by Numark.
I discovered that the turntablism scene it’s more huge than the Micromusic one.
Finally it’s necessary to mention Reaper, the DAW I use for all of my works.
You know this is an underground environment and style, what do you think would expand this culture and its music?
For better or worse, the Micromusic will never be mainstream. Offspring of underground distinctly punk philosophies, it’s kind of condemned to not enjoy the visibility of the most popular genres. Spite of this, the historical period wich we are living in, could be a fertile ground to gain new and unsuspected audience.
Throughout 2020 many streaming events were held and some of them had a discret success.
Unfortunately if there’s something I’m really bad at, it’s my organizaztional communication and marketing skills, so I really have no Idea ho to attract people.
Somehow, each one of us can do something, like supporting and sharing our colleagues work of the artists as much as possible, but the truth is that the good work and the support alone are not enough.
We must also deal with a socety that is constantly bombardeed with contents, so to get people’s curiosity and attention keeps getting harder and harder.
Are there any artists you’d like to collaborate with?
My wildest dream would be a collaboration with Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz)who I believe is one of the best composing minds ever.
I’d also like to make a beat for Little Simz, amazing skilled young british rapper!. or even just make a few tiny little noises for Justin Vernon (Bon Iver).
Strangely I can’t think to anyone into Chiptune/Micromusic, even if there are a lot of artist I really respect.
It has always been a bit difficult to me, understanding the logistic in a collaboration like that working at 4 hands on LSDJ, even if one time I worked along with our amazing “Itspandaonair”,on a cover of “Car Radio”( Twenty One Pilots)
Speaking about well esablished and active collaborations I surely have to mention Shiroi Noizu, a japanese music trio run by my brother, and Sexy Young Producers, experimental music duo born by a close contact with Il Pharaone (guitar player, rapper and electronic music producer/composer).
Link to Starving GOGO on BandCamp: