The Deli Philly's Featured Artist Poll Winner: SKGB
- by Alexis V.
There’s no doubt that the chiptune scene is alive and well in Philly. Don Stroud, a.k.a. SKGB
, discovered his passion for the experimental genre while looking for an alternative to traditional classical music. Stroud recently won our Featured Artist Poll so you take a gander at our recent interview with "some kid with a gameboy" below.
The Deli: How did you start making music?
Don Stroud: I started making the type of music I make now, I wanna say, back in high school - sophomore year. I had wanted to get into some really out there stuff, playing instruments and traditional classical music training wasn't doing much for me. None of it really had anything interesting going on, timbre-wise, you know? I accidentally heard about circuit bending, the concept of altering electronic circuits to create controlled malfunctions. Malfunctions that sound freakin awesome. The first thing I did was turn my crappy alarm clock into a seven tone synth. But yeah, I discovered chiptune (music made from retro videogame sound chips) shortly thereafter. I picked up a copy of LSDJ (a music programming cartridge for the gameboy) and was instantly hooked.
TD: Where did the name SKGB come from, and what does it stand for?
DS: It's really stupid, haha. SKGB stands for "some kid with a gameboy." I had needed a stage name. I took those words and tried to make them sound as "cool" as possible - I suppose.
TD: What are your biggest musical influences?
: In no particular order: Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, John Cage, Debussy, Schoenberg, Delia Derbyshire, Lee "Scratch" Perry, King Tubby, The Specials, The Selector, Skream, Benga, Mala, Kode9, Bruce Haack, Morton Subotnick, Pink Floyd, Yamantaka Eye, Marcel Duchamp, Nobuo Uematsu, Danny Elfman, John Lydon, Martin Gore, Damon Albarn, Zach Hill, Lou Reed, Psilodump, Sebastian Boaz, Cheap Dinosaurs
(if you don't know who they are, look them up right now), oh and *NSYNC. This list fluctuates.
TD: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
DS: I've been listening to a lot of Depeche Mode, Public Image Ltd, and the soundtrack to Castlevania 3 (for the NES) recently. Also whatever my Puerto Rican neighbors are blasting, for the most part it's pretty good stuff.
TD: What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
DS: I really can't remember at this point. It was probably some sort of outdoor show type thing in the park. Hmmm... I remember picking up some random first wave ska cd when I was a kid - can't remember what it was exactly now, though.
TD: What do you love about Philly?
: Philly is a city with a TON of potential. In terms of electronic music alone, you can go out at night and catch a major EDM act like Nero, or check out 8static
and hang out with the nerds, or catch an ambient drone show like something Tadoma
might do, or go to any given house party in West Philly to catch some wonderful free shows from artists with sounds like you've never heard before. Philly is filled with really wild stuff. You just gotta do a bit of adventuring to find it.
TD: What do you hate about Philly?
DS: Well, apparently Killadelphia is no longer on the top ten list of most dangerous cities in America, which is cool. What's not cool is hearing about kids with guns in South Philly shooting people in broad daylight, or hearing about the off duty officer that got shot multiple times on Berks Street over the summer. Not cool.
TD: What are your plans for the rest of 2012?
: Too many things planned and not enough time, haha. I've been working on getting a small artist collective up and running (Madwaves.net
) as well as a couple releases. I need to somehow do this stuff in between classes, work, and running me and my friend's small screen-printing company, archeTYPEpress (firstname.lastname@example.org). I'm working on a few other things as well, but I'd prefer doing to saying, if that makes sense.
TD: What was your most memorable live show?
DS: Oh man... tough question... probably Blip Festival 2008 (a chipmusic festival in NYC). I went up there with nowhere to stay (not a great idea) and next to no money (also not the best idea) and had a blast. By the end of the weekend, I was crowd surfing and moshing and just generally having an awesome time.
TD: What's your favorite thing to get at the deli?
DS: I really must say, I love ordering Food™ from the deli. That stuff is delicious, and it keeps me from starving!