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Jamatar tells Jen about making music with his Gameboy.

Electronic enigma J▲M▲T▲R announces only Melbourne headline show for 2016 and reveals new single ‘Interstellar’ In just a few months since inception, electronic enigma JAMATAR has performed sold out shows in London, penned a UK record deal, and has been announced on this year’s NYE on the Hill festival. Continuing to build on this momentum, JAMATAR has now announced his only Melbourne headline show for 2016 and has also revealed a new Tycho-esque sounding single titled ‘Interstellar.’

JAMATAR will perform at the Workers Club in Fitzroy on Thursday the 10th November with support from Oolluu and cTrix. Tickets on-sale now here . Wielding ambient-come-pounding electro beats combined with an impressive visual show,

JAMATAR’s live performance is already amounting a fast reputation for one hell of a partyand his Melbourne headline show is sure to be no-exception.

Hi, I was keen to interview to find out more about your unique way of making music. I expect to hear loads more about you real soon!

How would you describe yourself to our readers?

I’m an indie musician from Melbourne, but most first and foremost, I am a gigantic nerd. Ever since I was a kid, my big brother would give me crap for incessantly listening to video game music… I used to plug headphones into my Gameboy and go to the sound test menus just so I could listen to the soundtracks! It’s kind of what I grew up with and I’m glad, as an adult, I’ve come to realise there is a really big community of people that love and adore game music from the 80s and 90s. I’ve played in bands all my life but this is my first foray into electro stuff.

Is there a story behind why you choose to make Interseller with a game boy? I mean it is just so quirky! I love it!

I used to be the lead vocalist and guitarist in an indie band. After that I knew I wanted to try something new. I decided I wanted to make something electro but I hadn’t really found my sound. My friend bought me a James Blake album and I’d been getting really into the idea of starting a band without the traditional elements. I was searching through some online forums one night and found a schematic for a device that allowed you to convert MIDI into Gameboy signals. With the help of a friend, we built it and I tried it on a track I was working on, just taking the lead lines and running them through the Gameboy instead of a synth. It was one of those moments when I just had to call my girlfriend over and was like ‘listen to this, this is insane’. I didn’t think it would sound any good. Turns out it sounded INCREDIBLE! It was all history from there, now I write everything around the Gameboy sound!

This is your first single of your EP “Journey’s” is actually out today, how have you been feeling in the lead up to releasing your music?

It’s been mostly terrifying, because I didn’t really start this project for anything but fun. It was just a thing I started to fill my need write scifi sounding game music. After I released the first EP, Spacesounds, it kind of blew up from there. For the first time, I’m showing it to friends, telling them to come to shows, and there I am standing on stage with a guitar and a Gameboy Color and it’s a bit hard to think people will just accept that but I’ve had nothing but love and positivity! I think the most terrifying moment was when it got played on Triple J Home and Hosed, it’s like amazing band, great band, well known band, oh here’s a thing I wrote on my Gameboy Color, back to incredible indie band… I’m so glad it was well received! And happy! It makes me so happy that my Gameboy was on Triple J! I couldn’t stop smiling.

Are all the other songs made from Gameboy music?

All of the songs I make now are built around the Gameboy. Technically speaking about 50-70% of the sounds on the EP are being pumped out live through the Gameboy Color. I’m also playing guitar live as well. It was super important to have the Gameboy on stage, running live so I can tweak the sound as it runs. That part I’m always excited about. Nothing like running a Gameboy Color through 2000W of stage amplification!

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Just had a look at your facebook page, and the post of the review if the Gameboy that got melted by a lamp was so funny yet tinged in sadness of the loss of a Gameboy! Make sure you look after yours!

That was Zan Rowe! Super sad, those old plastic screens were pretty fragile, mine got super
scratched up and I ended up pulling off the screen cover and throwing it out. Gameboys have had such resurgence in recent times that there are lots of people making replacement parts now! Mine has been upgraded to a non-scratch glass screen with a backlight. I used to do a lot of DIY electronics, so I modify all my Gameboys myself.

 

 

 

 

At your EP launch can fans purchase some merch? I can imagine some pretty cool tshirts.

I’ll have some limited edition Jamatar t-shirts that are quite spiffy! I’m also finding out if I can do a run of super limited vinyl as well, so if we’re lucky, there will be records for sale!

Did you design the cover yourself? I like the use of colours. Also your facebook profile pic is awesome!

I’m pretty lucky to know some very talented people! My girlfriend, Alice Carroll, is a professional illustrator and has been drawing up all of my artwork. We also worked together to make an animated film clip to go with Interstellar which should come out around the launch! We were going for a kind of 50s space theme, we looked at lots of old retro scifi artwork for inspiration. The photo was taken by my good friend Giulia McGauran who I’ve worked with before on film shoots. She’s got a great eye for that stuff and takes amazing photos for musicians!

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What can punters expect from your shows? I hear that at Hills Are Alive Festival your set was pretty cool.

I spent a long time on the EP and the songs. However, I’m quite sure that I’ve spent even more time on the live visual show that is going to be synced to the set! It’s all 100% hand created visuals to go with the video game-esque vibe. There’s only one word that describes the set: FUN. You get to jump up and down to Gameboy music!! What more can you want! It’s pedal to the metal, heart in your throat electro jumping. I’ve never had more fun on stage! I’ll definitely be jumping!

What is next for Jamatar? 

The next big show for me will be NYE on the Hill, which is an amazing NYE festival down in Gippsland. It’s super fun and has a great vibe, I can’t wait to hang out there and party. So many great bands are playing there too, it’ll be an honor to be among them. Into the new year, I’ll be announcing some new shows! I’m also hoping to get overseas as well. Japan will be in the sights! What better place to play Gameboy music!

Thanks for your time. Keep on playing your Gameboy!

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