GS 1.0 interview: pop/rock/chiptune music inspired by fantasy, anime and gaming

GS 1.0 interview: pop/rock/chiptune music inspired by fantasy, anime and gaming

0 comments 📅10 November 2017, 18:29

Band member Tre on the chiptune band born from a mutual love of games and anime…

“Nerds! Anime and Gaming covers band!” That was the online music advert that drew the members who make up GS 1.0 together for the first time.

“We formed in 2014 and it was pure luck that everyone who responded had a different instrument,” Tre (AKA Robert Morris) tells MyM. “After meeting for the first time, we thought we’d set some pieces and have a practice. We used to be a five-piece but as most bands go, we had drama from a member and ended up losing two – which was for the best, as we’re happiest as a three-piece.”

Tre handles vocals and lead guitar, alongside band members Kat (Katy Gallichan) on vocals and rhythm guitar and Kotomi (Shirli Ainsworth) on vocals, keys, chiptune and DJ/triggers.

The band name can be written as GS 1.0 || Genjutsu No Sekai || 幻術の世界 and stands for two things: Great Sword; and Genjutsu Sekai (‘no’ in Japanese being a connective and omitted), which translates as “World of Illusion”. Being heavily influenced by video games, the ‘1.0’ stands for the first/base model number, as is often seen in gaming or computing.

What kind of music does GS 1.0 play?
Our style of music is probably best described as pop/rock/chiptune. We write a lot of music inspired by fantasy themes and often directly about anime and gaming. We also cover a lot of existing music from these genres, but in our own style.

Who are your favourite acts or who do you take inspiration from?
Our tastes can be quite different as individuals. But collectively, there are definitely a few bands and artists that we share because they helped inspire our sound. Sekai No Owari are one – we admire their self-made background and how they can sound quite different from song to song, yet keep that Sekai No Owari sound that you know is them. As you can tell from our music, we love incorporating chiptune too, so lots of chiptune artists are influences, like Anamanaguchi, 8bit bEtty and Shirobon. Also, Kotomi won’t let me answer this question without mentioning Owl City! We all enjoy his music and there are definitely some influences in our music from those dreamy electronic sounds.

How would you describe the band’s look, and does that take inspiration from anything?
Originally, we wanted the band to be quite gaming-based in our appearance, like more fantasy style clothing that represented different characters, but at the same time, modernised into a more ‘real’ style. So our theme is probably more like fantasy-rock if that’s a thing! Our band colours have always been black, white and red.

Do you guys cosplay and what’s your favourite outfit if you do?
We haven’t cosplayed properly in a while; whenever we’re at conventions, we’re playing them, so we don’t have time or room in the car to bring cosplays! We do love it though. Back when we had time to go to cons together between gigs, we did a few good ones, including a group Vocaloid cosplay. My favourite cosplay is Itachi Uchiha from Naruto, as I love Itachi. Kat’s fave is Maka from Soul Eater and the bright green contact lenses really make that one! Kotomi has a few, but enjoys crossplaying as Gaara from Naruto the most – it adds to the cosplay experience to take on the role of someone of the opposite sex, rather than genderbending the character. Especially when you’re Gaara and you stay in character all day and refuse to smile in photos!

Do you have a favourite video game or is that too hard a question for a chiptune band to answer?
That’s a killer question! It’s too hard to whittle it down to one definitive game, but there are games and franchises that have had huge impacts on all three of us. Pokémon goes without saying! We all love the early Crash Bandicoot games too, they were a huge part of all of our childhoods. We also love MMORPGs – Blade & Soul is a great one we’re currently playing. In fact, we wrote a song about it, so you can tell that we love it! We’re into a lot of different types of games though, so our collection’s pretty diverse.

Do you have a favourite video game soundtrack?
Game soundtracks have been so important in our lives, and subsequently in our music. The Final Fantasy series has had brilliant music. The Game Boy itself has been a huge influence since we use its technology in the chiptune side of our music – we don’t emulate or try to recreate, it’s all the original hardware. So really, all of those iconic, four-track chiptune soundtracks of every game we played in our youth has contributed to our sound too. It’s awesome how far you can go with the limited capabilities of the technology of that time, and how you can use it in a modern context. And you know, who can forget that iconic Sims build-mode music? Truly the soundtrack of a generation!

Have you performed in Japan or is that still an ambition?
We’ve never performed in Japan, but naturally, it’s a huge ambition of ours and has been from the start. We like the idea of being a band that brings a taste of Japan to the West, but at the same time, it’s a nice idea to be able to go over there and be like ‘check out how we do it!’ As I type this, Kotomi is preparing to go to Japan next week and she’s threatening to forcibly hand out GS 1.0 cards to everyone she meets until we get an invite!

What can we expect from you guys at Doki Doki?
Doki Doki is pretty much our favourite convention – it’s got a great community vibe, there’s always something great to see or do, and they’re nice people who look after you! The first time we appeared there, we performed an acoustic set, but this time we’re in full force with our electric set. There’ll be loads of covers and originals, big singalong moments and hopefully a great show where everyone can enjoy it regardless of their tastes in fantasy and fiction. We’ll be selling our Naruto-themed album there too, and we’ll be performing some songs from our brand new unreleased album that have never been aired properly before, so watch out for that!

GS 1.0 will be performing at Doki Doki in the Sugden Sports Centre in Manchester tomorrow. Visit the GS 1.0 Facebook page for more information about the band. 

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