Hyper Foofie makes a case for chiptune as a way of life
Jeffrey Fernandez a.k.a. Hyper Foofie is a maker of happy computer beeps, boops, and beats from Costa Rica. His love for chiptune-style music brings us back to the days of retro video game music without eschewing the modern touch of contemporary electronic dance music. We were rather intrigued by his love for chiptune music and decided to investigate his persona. This interview will give you the low-down on the music scene in San Jose, Jeff’s favorite music-making software and hardware, and other peeks into the man’s producer world.
How did you get started making electronic music?
It all started back in Sweden in 2016. I watched a group called Dunderpatrullen in Skelefteå live when I was on vacations, where we became close friends and had a good time. We stayed at the same hotel and got to share a lot of cool stuff and experiences. When I returned back to my home country, I said to myself “ooo shit, there’s nothing like this in here, it would be fun to play bleeps and bloops.” I immediately downloaded the trial version of Reason 8 from Propellerhead (the DAW), and decided to give it a go. It was pretty neat and great to work with.
You seem to have a hyper love for chiptunes! What do you think makes it sound more awesome than not-chiptune music?
Music comes in all forms and sounds, not necessarily one is more awesome than the other haha. I believe I love chiptune mostly because of my nostalgia for video games and special fx from certain games I played on my childhood (Mostly Game Boy / SNES / N64 / Early PC Games). Sometimes people around me ask me weather if I’m listening to music or playing a game at work haha.
The fact you realise you can mix this with electronic music to jam at a club or while you’re on the way was mind-blowing for me.
Tell us about the local scene in San Jose!
There’s lots of music talent going on, specially weekends on clubs and bars, as well as DJs and produces from San José to the rest of the world. I can mention inspiring professionals such as Funka, Marcelo Berges, Disto and my good friend Nillo, which have their own style to share in the dance floor, same for DJs like Esteban Howell, Bearhug, DNCFLR, Faceblind, Logo! and Prisma Deer. These last two are great professionals and close friends to me. We help each other to push forward and get more noticed within the music industry in San Hosé and Costa Rica in general, unfortunately some genres like glitch, ambient are still a new concept for some people, and maybe not still accessible to some places to perform, which is really unfortunate.
What are your music-making software and hardware favorites?
As for software, Reason for producing and Rekordbox for mixing. Reason is just to fun to produce with the tons of rack extensions and sounds you can make. It’s even better with the 9.5 update and the VST extensions and synths you can now add. As for hardware favourites, my trusty Yamaha MA-150 keyboard (this was my brother’s when he was 7) my Game Boy Color are more than enough to do some 8-bit bloops live. I also love Teenage Engineering and its PO-20 Arcade pocket operator to play this kind of stuff. I usually have Reason open whole doing a live performance to play some digital synths with my Akai Mini Mk2, which is a compact, BEAUTIFUL AND SEXY piece of equipment.
Expressing yourself through music seems to be very important to you. How do you get to the point of feeling like you are truly expessing yourself, rather than “toying around” with instruments and computers?
The moment I start to produce sounds and melodies that remind me of my childhood or any game whose soundtrack or fx have been around my mind since are they key ingredients to make that magic happen. Once that has been cleared, like 80% of the work is resolved.
You seem to love old-school video game music. How has it influenced your productions?
Most of them are bangers! They’re catchy, easy to remember or hum, and actually I´ve heard they’re useful for concentrating while doing work or studies, as their objective is to immerse the player to the video game world. Video game music is also really attached to tell a story as you go far in whatever game you’re playing, as if you’re on a kick ass GOTTA-GOFAST stage or the underwater level everyone hates. Beep Boop.
How does the GameBoy Color fare as a musical instrument?
I love this question, and the reason is because it’s amazing what people can discover with music and technology these days, especially with devices no one ever thought they could do music to start with. The GameBoy is a portable game console, but thanks to the power of arduino (arduinoboy by the amazing CatSkull) and a MIDI keyboard, you can turn this little sucker to a functional analog synth. There are other setups in order to use your GameBoy as an instrument (LSDJ, arpeggiator and such), saint Youtube will guide your way 😀
When will senpai notice you? And if senpai keeps not noticing you, why don’t you become senpai???
S-senpai, notice me, or I will become senpai, definitely becoming BEST animu aferwards! The thing about senpai (or having someone to aspire) is always a good thing, like another reason to do that extra mile and deliver good material. Not saying to become obsessed with senpai, other than that, impress yourself, then impress whoever you want. Who knows, maybe senpai will notice you someday!
How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
It’s been great! Drooble is an interesting platform with lots of people around the globe to share your stuff and get advice from, but I have to say that exposure is the best thing you could ever get from here. I truly recommend this site to anyone who’s starting a musical career and want to grow as a professional and learn about music in general.