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Welcome to The Interviewer. Here you can read all of the interviews made with the members of Newgrounds. All messages must be sent to an Interviewer which can be found on the Main Page.


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Posted by TheInterviewer - 1 month ago


Interview No. 173

Interview By: @The-Great-One

Today's guest is one of Newgrounds veteran musicians. He has graced Newgrounds with tracks such as Loud Whispers, Remember the Mind, and The Journey Begins. That is just a small sample of his works on Newgrounds. I am most pleased to welcome @kelwynshade.

Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: A close friend of mine, Shawn Tanner (Afro-Ninja) and Jason Turner (ncjason77) introduced me to the site years ago. Both were familiar and active at Newgrounds, so they helped me to see just how awesome the community was.

Q: At what age did you become interested in music?

A: I was certainly interested since I was a toddler. Growing up in the age of Nintendo, hearing them 8 Bit tunes… it definitely found a way into my life.

Q: What brought you to Central Ohio Technical College?

A: Looking for a change in life. I didn’t want to just “get-by”. I wanted to gather a degree, and find my place somewhere- but where, at that time, I just didn’t know. I completed my AAS program in game development- graduated with Honors, and snagged a career path job just weeks before graduating.

Q: In the thread Share your secret? you state how you create your music...

"Honestly, I'll think about what my song represents (sad theme, kick-you-in-your-face theme) and I just think. I'll close my eyes and place one hand on my keyboard beside me and hit the keys I envision in my head.

It's worked pretty well so far. I think I've got some pretty solid melodies."

Does this still hold true today or have things changed?

A: Absolutely. Something that has always worked for me is to just ‘think’ about the subject. What’s the goal- what is the feeling I need to portray- how should the listener feel/react. I think over the years I’ve grown my arsenal of tools, better understand music theory, and use those rules to better help bring what’s in my mind to what is eventually heard.

Q: Your first song submitted to Newgrounds would be entitled Sand and Sorrows. Many of your early songs have an RPG vibe to them. What RPGs do you credit as inspiration?

A: Ah, yes. Back before I even remotely understood my DAW of choice- FL Studio. I loved and still love to this day RPG games. Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy were the first games that made me think “who made this audio? I have to know!” Those soundtracks were so inspiring that to this day I can happily turn on a track and get transported back to those golden years. Mitsuda and Uematsu changed my life through their music. They made me dream.

Q: When and how did you meet Afro-Ninja? What was the Denver Beerfest?

A: I met Shawn Tanner (Afro-Ninja) through Jason Turner (ncjason77). Who was/is a close friend and Street Fighter 3rd Strike rival. Shawn had been fairly early in his flash development days, so meeting him back then was great. We’ve since become close friends and see each other as often as we can as we live fairly close to each other.


A: KTRecords was a fun push of collaborative audio between Jason Turner and myself. It was verbally Kemp/Turner Records, then shortened, Jason and I constantly inspired each other since way back when we first started writing music. Music and Newgrounds brought Jason and I pretty close- we started off as casual acquaintances and became very close friends over the years.

What was fun is how we both pushed each other to try new tracks- branch out of our comfort zones with music. We still talk to this day about how we should start pushing tracks out again through the old KTRecords account.

Q: The Interviewer has been around a long time. Our theme song is entitled Light Orchestral Loop made by a man by the name sorohanro. This name is not unknown to you for he would collab with you to expand on one of your songs Loud Whispers into a final product. You met sorohanro while looking for a guitarist. What can you tell us about your experience working with sorohanro and why you were looking for a guitarist for this song?

A: Ah, Sorohanro… I haven’t chatted with him in many years, but back when I was a very frequent (daily) active member, we would constantly see each other’s work. Most likely even comment on our submissions often.

He was super talented, very friendly, and fun to chat with.

As for Loud Whispers- it was a track written for one of the Territory War games that I just wanted to see get a bit more love to. I knew it needed guitar, but my guitar skills back then were lacking. I posted the track asking for Newgrounds folks to send me submissions of adding some guitar on the track, and this one hit the mark for me.

Q: My absolute favorite by you has got to be The Journey Begins. You stated it was when the hero first begins their journey in the wide open world in an RPG. It seems softer than other RPGs which become bombastic when the hero enters a new world to explore. How did you come across this mood?

A: This one is a bit sad for me, haha- not because of the feel of the track, but the unknown story behind what it would have become. After I released the track, I went through a pretty significant change in my life. It kept me from being active online for a while.

I remember being away for months and months. When I finally returned with my life in a reset state, I checked Newgrounds mail to see what had been going on. I received a note from Tom Fulp (who is a great guy- I met him in Denver and we’ve messaged a bit back and forth here and there) saying to submit this song in the official Castle Crashers music thread. They wanted the track in the game, but needed me to submit it for fairness.

I was somewhat devastated.

This was tough.

But hey, to really answer your question- I just tried something new- and I think it worked out really well. I liked it a lot- to this day I think about doing a complete overhaul of that track and many others as my skill in the art has drastically improved.

Q: Who is High Society? What can you tell us about your work on Cocaine Cowboy?

A: Another friend of mine over the years (outside of Newgrounds) had a group he wrote music for. They enjoyed the work I did and wanted to collab on a few tracks. We worked on Cocaine Cowboy, Come With Us If You Want to Live, and 8-bit Wet Dream. I still talk to these guys often as we would love to get a new collab started someday.

Q: You have moved out of an apartment into a house. With an office for a music studio. How important is proper space to the creator?

A: Really, for me it isn’t crazy important I’ve found. As long as I can be in a comfortable space, writing music seems to do its thing. I used to think it mattered, but over the years I’ve learned it doesn’t really mean much. While it’s nice to have all of my tools in one place, I can easily write anywhere, come back, and update as needed.

Q: You've used some of the oldest programs imaginable for music. What are some that you have loved? What are some that you regret using? What advice do you have to give to those who are looking to become musicians?

A: Are you really trying to make me feel that old? Haha

Back in the day I used to love using Acid Pro. Heck, for a while I loved using MTV’s Music Generator back in high school. I don’t think I regret using any of them as they all led me to where I am today. When I discovered “Fruity Loops”, now known as FL Studio, I found where it all made sense. This software has grown with me and I find it hard to leave.

As for new musicians… man, there are so many options, but I would certainly say to use what works best for your digital operating system environment. If on a PC, I can’t recommend FL Studio enough. On a Mac, Pro Tools.

I will say this though, getting started with FL Studio seemed to go way smoother for those who followed my recommendation than those who went with other software.

Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of music?

A: Whatever makes your mind, body, and spirit move. Music can come from anywhere. We’re programmed to hear it, feel it and live it.

Q: You would disappear from Newgrounds in 2012, make a return in 2019, and we haven't seen you since August 2019. What happened in your life that we haven't seen you?

A: I had a change of priorities. I wanted to try new things, focus on my career. I have a family that I enjoy being with very much, and good friends like Jason and Shawn that I spend time with as often as I can. I still very much love music, but my priorities have certainly shifted to work and family.

Q: What can we expect from kelwynshade in the future?

A: Great question- more recently I’ve started a new name for my music- Full Steam Attack. I feel like Kelwynshade got me to a good place, but it was time to move on to the next phase. I find myself with a bit more time to get back into music, and I’ve started streaming as well.

kelwynshade was one of those musicians I found out about just browsing the Audio Portal one day. I absolutely fell in love with his music. I was sad to see his departure from Newgrounds and was excited that he has made his return. I am excited to see what is in store for his new name Full Steam Attack. Hopefully we will get to hear it here soon!

The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions





Posted by TheInterviewer - March 24th, 2021


Lost Episode: 8/13/2007

Interviewed By: @The-Great-One


Looking back on this one I really do kind of hate it. I had someone on who would have given a fantastic interview to talk about one of the biggest movements on Newgrounds that pissed people off and brought other flash artists together. Not as much of an impact as The Clock Crew, but The Kitty Krew certainly drew eyes toward their works. I had the leader BigFuzzyKitten and I squandered it. I would love to get a second crack at this interview, but it appears BigFuzzyKitten is inactive now.

I know some of you are going to be really pissed off at me, and I know others will be filled with glee when I say that I have interviewed the king of spamming, @BigFuzzyKitten. One of the founders of the Kitty Krew has spoken and I have interviewed him. His responses are not filled with jokes and pranks his responses are actually serious.

Q: How did the Kitty Krew start?

A: A Long Story, but it was originally just a joke forum I made and advertised with this account. Then stuff happened.

Q: Why do you always spam the portal?

A: Adrenaline Rush I guess. Also the responses are hilarious

Q: Other than flash movies, what do you usually do with your life? (Serious Response Please)

A: I have learned several coding languages and hope to work in that field. Flash is just a small hobby, and the kind of stuff I send in doesn't take long to make. I'm lazy as hell in the summer but work my ass off during the school year(I go to a good highschool, lots of homework and such).

Q: Have you tried getting a Collection Page for the Kitty Krew on Newgrounds?

A: I personally haven't done anything, but some members have asked Tom, and rumors are that if we get 5 daily 1-5s we would get one.

Q: It seems The Clock Crew also started out spamming the portal and now they make really good flashes. Will you be doing the same?

A: Who knows. Sometimes we do make a good flash, but we get bullcrap reviews like "I LOVE THIS FLASH SO MUCH I JERK TO IT ALL DAY but ur in kk so i votd zero becaus eveyone else doez"

Q: Is the Kitty Krew nothing more than just "attention whores?"

A: Its a warm loving community of perverted teenagers.

Q: Do you enjoy people cussing you out, calling you a talentless bastard, and then voting 0 for your flashes?

A: yes, and we do everything to get that, no matter how heartless or stupid

Q: Unlike movies for free BLAM points are your movies the opposite in which you give free SAVE points?

A: Almost all official KK movies pass, so I'd say yeah. We only say "free blam" to get people to vote 0 and get TOTW

Q: There are lots of people who hate you and would probably kill you in public. What do you have to say to them?

A: No they wouldn't, they just get really pissed at the movies and want us to stop. Empty threats.

Q: Some people have made threads saying you have GONE TOO FAR. Have you ever thought you had gone too far on some of your flashes?

A: nah.

You are the 2nd person to be interviewed by The-Great-One.

Please comment.


This one got its readers I won't deny that. I was proud of it back then, but my lord that endcap. You are the 2nd person to be interviewed by The-Great-One. Please comment. It's like Jeb Bush saying please clap. I was so full of myself back then it was unbearably cringe. It is nice to see where I came from, but holy shit I can understand perfectly why some people didn't care for me that much on this site back then.

The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions





Posted by TheInterviewer - March 18th, 2021


My name is @The-Great-One. I am the one who controls The Interviewer account. I write interviews as well. Here you can find each and every interview.

If you would rather read all of the interviews in a flash format, then check out the codex. However it is not always updated at the same time as the account.

The Interviewer Thread Stay up to date on latest interviews with Newgrounds members. Suggest others to be interviewed and get news on upcoming interviews.


O. The Interviewer - Behind The Scenes

OO. The Interviewer - Guest Index

1. Interview with Tom Fulp

2. Interview with EyeLovePoozy

3. Interview with ZekeySpaceyLizard

4. Interview with HappyHarry

5. Interview with TheWeebl

6. Interview with Krinkels

7. Interview with DaGrahamCraka

8. Interview with Elios

9. Interview with Luis

10. Interview with James Lee and Hania

11. Interview with The-Super-Flash-Bros

12. Interview with SardonicSamurai

13. Interview with XwaynecoltX

14. Interview with Gooch

15. Interview with Johnnyethco

16. Interview with Oney

17. Interview with JAZZA

18. Interview with Bosa

19. Interview with Cayler

20. Interview with Jack Bromhead

21. Interview with The Newgrounds Police Department

22. Interview with Tom Fulp #2

23. Interview with CirrusEpix

24. Interview with Zachary Louis

25. Interview with scottmale24

26. Interview with Kirbopher

27. Interview with The Review Request Club

28. Interview with Hania

29. Interview with Gagsy

30. Interview with HeRetiK

31. Interview with Andrew Huang

32. Interview with Bees

33. Interview with Evil-Dog

34. Interview with Megami33

35. Interview with MasterAardvark

36. Interview with TmsT

37. Interview with matt-likes-swords

38. Interview with Murray

39. Interview with Sexual-Lobster

40. Interview with The Elite Guard Barracks

41. Interview with the Audio Portal: Defining Music

42. Interview with Toast-Tony

43. Interview with GoshaDole

44. Interview with The777Demon

45. Interview with WritersBlock

46. Interview with CockGobbler

47. Interview with poxpower and Mockery

48. Interview with MasterAardvark #2

49. Interview with mirosurabu and Xerus

50. Interview with Monocrom

51. Interview with xKore

52. Interview with Murray #2

53. Interview with The Forum Regulars

54. Interview with Littleluckylink

55. Interview with PuffballsUnited

56. Interview with The-Great-One

57. Interview with The Graffiti Crew

58. Interview with Ocarina-Kid

59. Interview with Fifty-50

60. Interview with eddsworld

61. Interview with FurryNG

62. Interview with Dave Bruno

63. Interview with BoMToons

64. Interview with Manly-Chicken

65. Interview with Afro-Ninja

66. Interview with The Interviewer

67. Interview with koit

68. Interview with FatKidWitAJetPak

69. Interview with Asandir

70. Interview with Jimtopia

71. Interview with Kira Buckland

72. Interview with JAZZA #2

73. Interview with FolegAlmighty

74. Interview with Gary Brolsma

75. Interview with MiniClip

76. Interview with GiantJuicyKickballs

77. Interview with Oney #2

78. Interview with RicePirate

79. Interview with Travis

80. Interview with MOC-Productions

81. Interview with TheShadling

82. Interview with ArtistGamerGal

83. Interview with Malachy

84. Interview with Zeurel

85. Interview with SpaceWhale

86. Interview with Vonschlippe

87. Interview with DonkeysBazooka

88. Interview with Robert Hays

89. Interview with JeremyLokken

90. Interview with The Symphony of Specters

91. Interview with Tarienn

92. Interview with Sevkat

93. Interview with WaldFlieger

94. Interview with Tom Fulp #3

95. Interview with Benjamin Tibbetts

96. Interview with cast

97. Interview with Adam Witt

98. Interview with AlmightyHans

99. Interview with the Art Portal: Defining Art

100. Interview with The Vad Flaaten Brothers

101. Interview with Back-From-Purgatory

102. Interview with keepwalking

103. Interview with GoryBlizzard

104. Interview with Bosa #2

105. Interview with Egoraptor

106. Interview with Sykohyko

107. Interview with CosmicDeath

108. Interview with Wade Fulp

109. Interview with Emrox

110. Interview with Tom Fulp #4

111. Interview with PsychoGoldfish

112. Interview with Sabtastic

113. Interview with scriptwelder

114. Interview with Zombie-Pimp

115. Interview with WoodTick

116. Interview with Sarkazm

117. Interview with kisame

118. Interview with FrozenFire

119. Interview with 372

120. Interview with Nothins

121. Interview with Magical-Zorse

122. Interview with daigonite

123. Interview with Jaltoid and ObliviousEmi

124. Interview with WhiteLightning

125. Interview with BrenTheMan

126. Interview with Hikarian

127. Interview with Dean

128. Interview with scriptwelder #2

129. Interview with deathink

130. Interview with brewstew

131. Interview with Pegosho

132. Interview with ZekeySpaceyLizard #2

133. Interview with Nutcasenightmare

134. Interview with supergandhi64

135. Interview with Troisnyx

136. Interview with WooleyWorld

137. Interview with Cairos

138. Interview with The Forum Regulars #2

139. Interview with Sexual-Lobster #2

140. Interview with TheSilleGuy

141. Interview with Jacob Streilein

142. Interview with steampianist

143. Interview with SardonicSamurai #2

144. Interview with Template88

145. Interview with Adam Phillips

146. Interview with Bosa #3

147. Interview with Eggy

148. Interview with MeghanLuna

149. Interview with NCH

150. Interview with The Elite Guard Barracks #2

151. Interview with P-Bot

152. Interview with Kevin MacLeod

153. Interview with RWappin

154. Interview with FreeAsANerd

155. Interview with SenpaiLove

156. Interview with The-Great-One #2

157. Interview with Cyberdevil

158. Interview with rtil

159. Interview with Ericho

160. Interview with MistyEntertainment

161. Interview with AntonM

162. Interview with Aaron-Long

163. Interview with semicabbage

164. Interview with ForNoReason

165. Interview with Krinkels #2

166. Interview with StrawberryClock

167. Interview with A-lieN

168. Interview with JohnnyGuy

169. Interview with Jabun

170. Interview with littlbox and Karlestonchew

171. Interview with Tom Fulp #5

172. Interview with squeakytoad

173. Interview with Phonometrologist

174. Interview with kelwynshade

































































































































If you have a suggestion about someone on Newgrounds who should be interviewed then suggest it here on this page. You can send me a message as well. Please don't suggest yourself for an interview unless you really think you deserve to be interviewed... remember I still have to give readers an interesting read.

Please be sure to read, comment, and share with your friends across the Newgrounds Community.

The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions




Posted by TheInterviewer - March 17th, 2021


[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

Q: When it comes to mixing and composing at the same time you called it mastering a dark art. Why do you call it this? Do you recommend other composers try this?

A: I was actually saying “mastering” is a dark art. But I like how you worded that, because, in the beginning, learning how to compose and mix is very much like building a sandcastle with your head buried in the sand. Maybe you’re more efficient at one than another, but either way, you can’t see the waves.

Regarding “mastering,” it’s a confusing step in the process of finishing a track before release. A part of the “mastering” process is getting the levels and timbre to be uniformed with other tracks that you will be releasing alongside each other. A lot of people will “master” a single release, but I guess that really means getting the mix balanced to match whatever format you’re going to be releasing it to. I call it a dark art, because it’s not easy to get information about it. It very well might be one of those professions that can’t be merely taught. It’s hard to find a really good mastering engineer, and if you do, good luck trying to learn from them. It isn’t talked about much, perhaps, because one needs the proper tools and years of experience to learn how to listen objectively. The other aspect of this is how can you master a track when you mixed it to the best of your ability? You’re pre-mastering it while you’re mixing it. After you do your mix, I would hope you’re doing your EQing for the individual tracks as well as the whole when you bounce everything. I have said before that we wear too many hats, and it’s only by necessity that we do. We compose the thing, produce it, mix it, and then “master” it. If one can have the opportunity for someone else to record, mix, or master, the better for it even if it’s just one other person. I can only mix and master to a certain point, but I’m not going to hear those blind spots. If you’re mixing, try to get someone else to master or vice versa. And I’m speaking from the perspective that I don’t have the resources to hire someone to mix and master my work. It’s great that we have these tools now to do it all on our own, but we also have to realize that we are going to hit a plateau in the mix that having another listener in the process will be what is needed to get it to sound better. If you can have a friend that you respect and is also knowledgeable in the genre that you’re creating in, take their advice. This is yet another reason to be here.

Q: You would collaborate with a composer who is a favorite of mine. His name being @LucidShadowDreamer on the song Medley of a Shattered Mind. It seems like it started with LucidShadowDreamer being inspired by your music and you mixing the song. How did this collaboration start? Who did the mastering for the song?

A: He’s a favorite of mine as well. Listening to this piece, and the fact that he was so generous with his words, has brought me close to tears, and if you tell anyone, I will deny it completely. lol I’m not quite man enough to admit that I’m capable of crying. I only helped by offering to slap on a sample piano that I owned, and I added a little bit of reverb after he told me he wrote it. He initiated the collaboration with his generosity. I didn’t want to change anything, nor add too much. The only person that ended up mastering this track was Lucid in his playing.

Q: I first got to know your name oddly enough through writing. I was a judge for the 2020 Halloween Writing Contest. Your entry was an incredible piece entitled Witness in the Fog. Where did the inspiration for this come from?

A: The inspiration came from the competition itself.

 “I don't need time, I need a deadline.”

- Duke Ellington

And the same goes for the music competitions. It was a great way to practice writing, although, I doubt I’ll ever be as successful with conveying emotions in words as I would in music.

 “If there is no feeling, there cannot be great art.”

- Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury and Ernest Hemingway are passionate and emotive writers that I’ve enjoyed, and I very much appreciate dialogue that is real and emotional. Kevin Smith’s style is a great example of writing that really fascinates me along with C S Lewis’s fictional writing in “The Great Divorce.” And so, when I write, I’m looking to share a story that will have an emotional weight in its narration. It’s hard to tell if I ever succeed in that because, for one, words have web-images attached to them that are unique to each individual.

I probably didn’t hit all the marks in the competition because I didn’t delve into the action of the end of the world, but I merely alluded to something that happened. I wanted to focus on a specific family within the middle of the end while keeping it mysterious to how the world got there in the first place and where it was going for them.

My wife and I shared stories about nightmares we had regarding our daughter, and my daughter staring at the ceiling saying there was a “wolfman” was a true occurrence. It was one of those stories that sometimes children say the creepiest things without realizing what it is they are saying. I also thought about the Roman days and their execution festivities.

If you look at history, for many groups of people, the world did end for them. Maybe in the near future, it will end collectively, but when I think about a specific civilization, the world has ended repeatedly. I’m fascinated by what people might have thought as they see it ending just as if they were a friend that I know.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

- Ecclesiastes 1:9

Q: You have merits in both music and writing. Have you thought about writing songs with lyrics for other Newgrounds members to sing?

A: The voice is the most versatile instrument if used as such. But not more important than its counterparts.

I’m not interested in using words to speak for music. It could be that I cannot hear very clearly when someone speaks to me that I rely on the tonality of their voice for meaning. Perhaps that is the catalyst for my striving to convey meaning in sounds, and it’s really quite interesting to hear another’s interpretation when it comes to the music without words. Sometimes the message in sound alone is clear enough to be understood. It’s really emotional to connect with another without even having to speak; to allow the listener to take the music in to decipher what is being said as opposed to being merely told what it is about. Would a song like Driver’s License or Nothing Compares to You have the same emotional impact if people didn’t hear the words? Would you know it to have the love & loss theme by the notes themselves? I highly doubt it, because the chords are used a dozen times elsewhere with different meanings.

In the documentary 24 Preludes for a Fugue, Arvo Pärt shared a story when he asked a janitor “How should a composer write his music?” “I think he has to love each single sound.” Arvo Pärt proceeds to say in the documentary that “this is how a composer must understand music… but to reach that understanding… that’s probably a secret which requires much work.” And so, I’m learning to strip down music to find it’s essence. That often requires me to remain in silence between each sound while I’m writing, so please don’t talk over it.

Q: When it comes to advice you made a thread referencing how to feel as miserable as an artist. What lessons do you think artists can learn from this? Is there anything you would personally add?

A: What may be true for you is true for others. Even in your insecurities and failings, I’ve been there. I probably never left, but I’ve learned to accept and be content with them. Others have seemed to get a good laugh from reading it. I first saw this on the desk of a photographer friend of mine that I used to work with. I found comfort in reading it, because it felt like Keri Smith put this list together for me specifically.

I would add to the list, “listen to some cringy sounding music, and read the comments that people leave with high praise.” It always makes me think, do I sound like that? It’s a discouraging idea to think that your own view on your work is askew from reality. No one wants to think that their babies are ugly. When you’re laboring in art, a kind of oxytocin seems to happen which prevents us from viewing what others would call imperfections.

Q: A question I have been asking every musician I interview is what is the definition of music? You talk a lot about music theory though. What is music theory? Through that can a hard definition of music be attained?

A: Music theory is about analyzing music. It won’t tell you why you should compose. Asking a music theorist for a concrete definition of music would be like asking a biologist for the meaning of life. If you get a definition beyond what is observable, it will come from the scientist’s worldview influenced by their understanding of math, philosophy, history, and art within the context of what they know in their particular field of study.

As composer, the theory of music may help me understand what it is I’m saying. When I hear music that moves me in a certain way, it can be helpful to analyze it so I know how to speak the same language. Theory will help remove the borders and restrictions that have been imposed on musicians because one will no longer be tethered to what they only know.

A universal definition of music that we always read about has something to do with emotion being a part of it. Many young composers focus on their music to convey emotions, and you can read this in their very own biographies and mission statements.

Understandably, for music that does not feel might as well be considered music for the dead. If music reverberates but no one feels it, did it ever sound? Or did the person that heard and yet felt nothing ever lived? Upon reading Oliver Sack’s book Musicophilia, I’ve learned that there are those that hear music and cannot feel anything due to physiological ailments. Surely music still exists whether someone has felt it, right? Does music exist outside of us, or does music only begin when it is felt from within?

For me to answer properly, I first have to share a personal story to describe how I understand it.

On a trip to Germany in my early twenties, I visited a local art gallery in Hanau along with a girlfriend and her uncle. Inside the gallery featured many different artworks by the same artist who also happened to be present. The gallery was quaint, and we went at a time where there were no other visitors. Why I remember this visit so vividly was caused from the events that followed when we came across an untitled, abstract painting hung on a wall. Underneath it was a notebook perched open along with a pen, and in the notebook were suggested names that were offered and written from people that came before. It was a request the artist had made for the viewer to come up with their own title. The canvas had gray and black paint smeared on like a fog. It wasn’t anything uniquely interesting in the work itself except when given an opportunity to name it, we studied intently to figure what the true name should be. After staring at it for several minutes, and as we deliberated among ourselves of what it should be called, we penned our opinions in the notebook of what name we thought worthy to be associated with this work. When a talented artist asks us to title their piece, there was a sense of honor and due diligence in maintaining the integrity of what this abstract painting should be called for future viewers. Did the artist paint this canvas being filled with sudden inspiration that she did not have time to think of its meaning? Perhaps, I thought, if I were capable enough to interpret it accurately, I would be the one chosen by the artist. Such an occurrence would therefore validate my perceptions as a young artist filled with insightful wisdom worthy enough to contribute towards society. It was without a doubt in my mind that this piece was about “Change,” and therefore it must be called as such. The dark clouds seemed to stretch and pull across the canvas as it awaited for something to clear the light beneath it. My girlfriend’s uncle disagreed. We asked the artist to come settle the debate of who had the better name. She began to explain that it was an experiment. She asked what we thought it should be called. The uncle said, “Solid.” The artist was most intrigued by his response. She proceeded to explain that the abstract painting when combined with this voluntary participation acts as a revealing of truth, and the naming of it becomes like a hook to fish from our subconscious state. My answer was “Change” and it jolted me. I was embarrassed. Could it really be a reflection of what was going on from within? I had not yet realized until many years later that change was truly what was happening. I was a young kid then, and in an immature relationship about to embark on a spiritual journey to discover what it is I wanted to see in the world. I wanted the World to change. As a boy becoming a man, the climate, economy, the politics, and society all peered down on me with the weight of responsibility. The futility and optimism of any young dreamer would have had that life could change for the better even if it meant that I needed to be the one that did was brewing from within. It was buried so deep that I had not been able to see it. It took an abstract painting to work as a mirror and another soul to explain what I was still blind to see. The artwork itself means nothing just as a reflection serves only a means to what the eye wants to see. From deep within, our identity and our experiences affect us in murky waters, whereas art gives it buoyancy to the forefront of our minds. When we begin to see it, others too will share it.

It is in the context of our subconsciousness provided by personal experiences that shape our interpretation of a musical work. Cultures of different backgrounds will interpret sounds to have varied meanings and emotions. Music that sounds dissonant may seem horrifying for some, perhaps, because one has not been acquainted enough to listen to these sounds. Many may hear something chaotic and inject violence, because fear is often attributed from the unknown. It comes by familiarity that listeners start to hear meaning and perceive what lies in the depths. Many musicians and composers will say that music is a language of emotions.

Philip Glass describes music as an eloquent form of speech, and that writing becomes more about listening. In the documentary, Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts, he shared an analogy when asked about his process to interpret music, “is that it is like an underground river that’s always there. And like an underground river, you don’t know where it comes from and you don’t know where it is going. The only difference is whether you’re listening to it or not.”

This way, music has eternally sounded before eardrums have even existed to interpret its reverberations. But it is our ears that tells us what it is hearing. It is the composer's struggle to make sure what is being heard is accurate. And if you were fortunate enough to be there to catch a sip of this water, make sure you share it by building a well for others to draw from.

In a world already filled with chaos caused from the lies of forsaken speech, it is important that this truth does not dissipate through your hands of conceit. Be in tune and in good measure. Just like the canvas that holds a multitude of names, music is truth revealed in you. 

Q: You have described your music as not great - average music - okay sounding songs. Why do you view your music this way? Could you elaborate?

A: I wish I could remember the context to why I said that. Although I don’t disagree with it entirely, I can only elaborate on it as if this was my first time saying it.

I’m afraid if I view it any other way, my motives will become corrupt. We’re looking for honest music. I’m looking to create for music’s sake; not for money’s sake. I don’t market myself, nor do I care to sell myself to you as a person, hence I struggle with job interviews. When my wife and I were dating, I unintentionally gave her a difficult time getting to know me because I never cared to talk about myself. I thought she was far more interesting, so who cares what I think? I also didn’t want to tell her in the beginning what my aspirations were nor that I even wrote music. I wanted to see if she could like me as a boring individual. In social settings, I don’t care to speak, and I dislike small talk. In fact, most people when meeting me for the first time don’t like me. Not because I’m a jerk, but rather I don’t try to put anything out there to like. It’s how I filter out people in my life by seeing who really wants to be around without expecting something in return. The same applies to the music I release. It’s there for anyone to enjoy. I’m not going to pretend it’s better than what it is. It’s not about the whole package with me. The music should speak for itself. Moreover, I understand that the music will not be liked by everyone. If it means something to you that’s because we are speaking the same language. 

Q: My favorite song by you is one you dedicated to all of the musicians here on Newgrounds. You would call it Enter Newground. It was a last minute song for Pico Day. What was the process behind this song? Any Newgrounds musicians you would like to thank personally here for your journey?

A: An example of,

"First thought, best thought."

- Allen Ginsberg 

It started with the piano while I was walking by it. While standing at the piano, the rhythm came to me at that moment, and I was just having fun with it. Then I thought it would be a fun skeleton to work with as I added more layers and instruments. Because it was not conceived under pressure, nor for any therapeutic reasons, I didn’t worry myself on whether the notes or sounds that came after carried any cohesion to the meaning that I wanted to convey. In fact, a purpose wasn’t attributed until it was almost entirely done. It was really a fun and easy piece to write, and it appears that when the writing comes freely, it is more easily accessible by others. I still have yet to figure out when I’m struggling with music, if that is me tainting the purity of it, or perhaps that to delve into the secrets of music requires much work. As a result, the music is heard and felt by few.  

The first musician at Newgrounds that I have to thank is @ZLEAP. He scouted my work when I only uploaded a couple pieces. Through him, I was able to get to know @Anchorwind: two people I greatly respect that release great sounds. There are more that have been supportive as well, and, more importantly, I consider all of them as friends: @LucidShadowDreamer, @Zoonotist, @Troisnyx, @Jordi, @Lich, @johnfn, @SoundChris, @OmegaP, @Jakey-San, and @Everratic

Q: What can we expect from Phonometrologist in the future?

A: To fail. I may end up disappointing a few people unintentionally along the way. And I don’t say this as a means to self-deprecate. To fail reminds me I am human, and the experience of failing is what we all share.

Moreover, there are studies that show when we share our goals with others, we are less likely to achieve them for numerous reasons. I am writing, and I shall continue to do so for the rest of my life. Whether you will always be there to listen, we cannot expect.

I have not heard talk of music like this in quite a while. The last person who spoke about music in such a way was a user by the name of @InvisibleObserver. It is incredible to read the words of one of Newgrounds best composers on the site. To see and hear how he weaves his music together is absolutely brilliant. Truly a hidden gem of the Newgrounds community for quite a while now.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions





Posted by TheInterviewer - March 17th, 2021


Interview No. 173

Interview By: @The-Great-One

Today's guest is a composer unlike any other on the site. His musical prowess stems from a study of music within a platitude of forms. From artistic, mathematical, and spiritual. He has been a regular competitor in the Newgrounds Audio Deathmatches, being the winner of the 2020 Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch. I am most pleased and humbled to welcome, @Phonometrologist.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: One of the few, best things about going to college to study any type of Art is networking with like-minded individuals.

With all sorts of varying backgrounds that colleagues will have, knowledge and resources open up to you that you wouldn’t have been acquainted with otherwise. I studied music in a traditional sense, but there was one individual I met that came from the EDM scene and had their own setup from home. That’s when I first heard about what a DAW was. I remember sitting in his mini-studio as he played EastWest Hollywood Strings and I was blown away by how awesome it sounded. My only experience up to that point with string samples were from the music notation software Sibelius. It was during this visit, that he was demonstrating what someone can produce on a computer by showing me a couple tracks on Newgrounds. Apocalypse 2012 by Peter Satera & An Epic in ⅞ by Benjamin S. Young were the two pieces that he showed me, and it sounded amazing at that time on his studio monitors. I still do enjoy these tracks and it goes to show that there are a lot of hidden gems lurking around in Newgrounds. Albeit the production quality or style of the tracks may sound dated, you really just have to hear them as time pieces within a certain period of our internet history. We don’t necessarily think about how classic video games sound corny or unrealistic if it moves you, and I view Newgrounds music from the past in a similar fashion. It shouldn’t take away one’s enjoyment of these pieces.

From there, I lurked around the Audio Forums quite a bit to see what everyone was about before I had the courage to create a profile to share my own creations.

That was the “how” part of the question, but as to the “why,” I needed to learn and grow. I initially thought joining Newgrounds would help me become a better producer in terms of learning how to mix sample libraries since there are a lot of eager people here to share their knowledge and ideas. What I didn’t anticipate was getting a sense of comradery among my peers. The friends I developed here really allow me to feel at home. Perhaps that is partly due to the fact that I was raised to be a better composer on Newgrounds. And this is why I’ll always come home no matter where I go. 

Q: When did you become interested in music?

A: I’m going to take your question to mean when I became interested in music to the point of wanting to write it and share it. Because to simply be interested in listening to music has to be something we as a species are born with. I know one person in my life that doesn’t care for music, because there’s nothing practical for him to do with music. So I know that it is possible that there are people that aren’t interested in music, but I find that so alien to me to try to understand that.

“Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.”

- Keith Richards 

I tend to quote a lot of people, because there are so many interesting ideas that we can learn from through others. There are so many mistakes that can be made, and there is so much knowledge to learn that it would be far better to not waste our time in discovering them through mere personal experiences.

I became interested in writing music for others when at first I was a teenager wanting to learn a few pieces on piano. The music that spoke to me on a deep, personal level was a reflection from within so that when I would play for another on the rare occasion, it was a means of connecting with them. In the beginning, I piggybacked using the language of another until I started to become a little more competent in using my own words to express meaning. Beethoven, Chopin, and Debussey were the ones that first showed me how to speak. I never expected to be here writing as much music as I do now. It first started from wanting to learn Für Elise, because I was hearing it played by another. It moved me at the time, and I was confident enough to be able to learn it on my own based on my lessons from the past. I figured I would learn a couple pieces for my own enjoyment, and it grew from there inadvertently. It wasn’t until I was listening to Pink Floyd and Radiohead on my headphones that I really wanted to find a way to share with others that feeling that these bands shared with me. The music was my medication to pain. And when you are given help, I think naturally one just wants to do the same for another. 

Q: What age did you start playing piano? Was it your grandmother's piano that you learned with?

A: I did not learn from my grandmother’s piano. My older sister was given a piano by my parents as she was excelling in her piano abilities. My parents had me taking piano lessons at the age of 6 when I didn’t want to. I was never a kid that could sit still even though I grew out of that as a teen when I would just lay in bed for hours listening to music. It wasn’t until later that I started desiring to play the piano, and I became thankful for that foundation I received from earlier in my life. Eventually I surpassed my sister’s ability, and I was given my grandmother’s piano when they moved away. I am privileged to have a family that valued music. But then again, I am privileged to have family despite our problems. I’m often reminded of those that do not and the decisions that are made by others that affect us for the rest of our lives.

Q: At what age did you lose a quarter of your hearing? Has it affected not only your compositions, but your music listening?

A: I don’t recall ever losing a part of my hearing. As long as I can remember, I didn’t have the greatest ears, and it doesn’t affect me in a sense of loss, because I don’t know what it is like to have better ones. I like to make others laugh when I meet them by telling them I rode the short bus. It was due to my lack of hearing that also affected how I spoke. I don’t think it really ever affects how I compose, but it does make it harder to learn from others. It definitely makes it harder to mix and produce. I had to learn to add higher frequencies in my music, and I’m often surprised that people hear things in my music that I cannot hear clearly. I would add noises and instruments to my music and I thought I would mix them so quietly that no one would figure it out. I would mix the sounds to the point where I would not be able to identify what it was exactly that I was hearing. I prefer to do this because I don’t want a nice, clean sound. When I play the piano, I’ve grown to appreciate the noises that accompany me. I never developed a relationship with music in a dead room.

Q: When and how did you discover Philip Glass? How has he affected your music?

A: It was through Napster back in the early 2000s, and I was in my preteen years. I stumbled upon his piano theme that he did for the movie Candyman–Ah man, that was difficult to remember and I haven’t really thought about Napster in years. Strange times.

Since then I slowly discovered more about who Philip Glass was and the music that he wrote ranging from his Einstein on the Beach to his piano Etudes.

… I was about to get into a long technical discussion about the additive process, polyrhythms, and his chord choices, and then I realized I wish I could just sit down with someone and talk about why the music of Philip Glass means so much to me. Ultimately I sometimes think it’s better if someone discovers it for themselves.

His music and words have taught me to think about music and to listen when I don’t initially understand it. This is perhaps more important than any technical point regarding his music. So I’m not looking to be him. When I hear someone trying to mimic him, they often miss just a single element of the entire body that makes Philip Glass’s work his own, and it really just falls apart for me. Sometimes it's a musical zeitgeist, but it’s also the total mind of the composer that their music exists in. Our experiences, disposition, beliefs, and a lack thereof are necessary for the output of art. To mimic the art as someone else ultimately becomes shallow and mere exercise. 

Q: What can you tell us about the album The Blue Notebooks? Specifically the track The Haunted Ocean 1?

A: In college, a girl that I liked handed me a copy of The Blue Notebooks. As soon I put it on in my car, I was in love… with the music that is. The mix, timbre, and melancholic notes struck me as if I was revisiting an old childhood friend. That’s how I’ve become acquainted with the music of Max Richter. What’s interesting about this particular album is that it has grown to be his most popular work, yet at that time he had to sell his house after recording it due to a lack of sales. His story, along with Philip Glass holding a day job till his early 40s, should encourage artists out there not to be dismayed, and don’t hope for popularity. What’s popular doesn’t always hold value, and what’s valuable isn’t always popular.

“The Haunted Ocean 1” came 4 years later for a soundtrack on a film I’ve never seen. I don’t care to see it either, because I’m afraid it’s going to affect how I hear this soundtrack. I’d rather consider my own images to go along with these sounds. Sometimes when music plays, you don’t care to analyze it, because by doing so one may sacrifice allure for understanding. For those that haven’t heard it before, if I were to try to explain it in words, then I would be doing the very thing that music tells me not to do. 

Q: Your first song on Newgrounds is entitled Edward Scissorhands- Finale. You stated that you wanted to fill out your repertoire for wedding songs. You wrote the entire song down by ear and rushed the mixing. We will certainly get to your knowledge of mixing, my question though is this. If you spent the time listening to the song by ear and writing it down note for note, why rush the mixing? I imagine this is a grueling process for a song.

A: And I really don’t like listening to it because of the mixing. It was rushed because I didn’t know anything about mixing, and I was recording a collection of pieces to show others what they could hear at their weddings. It was a season where many of my friends and acquaintances were getting married, and they kept coming to me to play for them. I haven’t done a wedding gig in a long while, but for a time I thought that maybe I should pursue performing. I slowly realized that I don’t care to play furniture music. I like what Danny Elfman composes and that is why I spent the time learning the piece, and I didn’t want to pay someone else to transcribe the piece for me if I could do it myself. I also couldn’t find a transcription that I liked. If anyone wants the sheet music, I’ll be happy to share it.

Q: You are the winner of the 2020 Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch. This however was not the first Deathmatch you entered. The first being in 2014 when you made it to 16th place. Your audition song was Hope. What made you want to enter the Deathmatch? Why did you choose Hope for your entry?

A: Because who doesn’t want to play Deathmatch? I grew up playing Unreal Tournament and I love tournament brackets. It's just so much fun, until you lose and realize that respawn takes about a year. After participating in my first deathmatch, I’ve learned to accept criticism and to view myself more accurately. It’s great to check yourself by not becoming overly conceited, and it can force you to rethink why we should create art in the first place. So much baggage will cling onto us throughout our journey that will just hold us down from continuing. For example, the desire to prove to the world that we have something valuable to offer, and when it fails to meet our expectations, we get depressed. The discipline is to create art the same way we did when we first fell in love with it. Eventually we grow up and see our own imperfections that we lose the innocence of creating. My daughter loves to draw, and she doesn’t think twice about scribbling and making odd shaped faces. How sad it will be when she comes to the point in her life where she hesitates to draw that line for thinking it isn’t good enough. Unfortunately, that flame dies when we compare ourselves to others, and when we allow them to extinguish it.

The audition piece was chosen because I knew how strong the competition was. I really wanted to be a part of it. It was an earnest piece to reflect the sentiments I had in regards to the human experience. The hope comes in when you realize that while you may have started on this journey alone, you will eventually find others striving alongside you. 

Q: The 2020 Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch would see you as the winner. Your audition piece I believe was Twin Helix. You have gone through the process of building this song. This being one composed on your grandmother's piano. You though dedicated this song to your son. What is the story behind the dedication?

A: When my daughter was born, I wrote a lullaby for her, and so when my son was born, I knew I had to write another. Now that I finished his, I hope to record the one I dedicated to my daughter later this year. It’s ironic that I finished his first, but that was only the case because I wanted to submit this as the demo to 8Dio’s Solo Violin library.

I remember thinking at the time how surreal it is to be a parent, and how helpless we are when it comes to how any of us come to exist. So many things could go wrong as we are being formed in the womb, e.g., miscarriage, abortion, and a range of birth defects. I think about that as a parent in the hopes that I will meet the child and that they will be alright. And so when it came to creating this piece, I really tried to allow the music to form on its own without forcing it. To believe that all I had to do is be ready to discover what was being formed naturally; to accept that I am helpless in making anything better. 

Q: The piece that took you to the final round of the Deathmatch would be God's Sovereignty. It is a personal piece for you. A guidance through solitude - reflections of your faith. Although the song helps fill in the blanks, perhaps you could elaborate more on this meditation that brought the melody from within, to us here today.

A: My thoughts could go in many different directions that I really don’t know what I’m about to say will be satisfactory. The structure follows the golden ratio, and I see the form as an analogy to one’s life.

Some pieces are more analytical than others. This one involved more emotional writing, and it’s really simple. Yet, it is so satisfying to play, because I don’t have to struggle or think when I do. Throughout my days, I seek the stories of people that have suffered to remind me that my life isn’t the reality for so many. Peace is hard to grasp externally and that much harder from within our minds. One of the ways I give back is to learn from those that suffer, and to think of them often so they aren’t forgotten. It’s the least I can do to hear their story, and be grateful to share their wisdom to my children and others. Eventually it becomes too much, and when emotions seep from my soul, I use this piece as an outlet. The simple chord progression and rhythm helps guide my thoughts to think through this without having to think about what my fingers are doing.

When I’m alone with my piano, I will play this as a piece to meditate and worship. Forget any religious connotations you may have with the word worship. It comes from your identity. I admit that I am weak, and no better than a pig. What kind of music could a creature such as myself possibly write? I understand the futility in approaching music to create something true and meaningful, so letting go of the idea that I can control my circumstances, and how another might interpret the sounds that I produce, frees me to receive instead of expecting that I have anything of worth to give. “A Dream Within A Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe shares an image of losing more through tightening our fists, and when our hands are closed, we are not open to receive. I see this as a principal in life as well as in music. The melody for this particular piece came from listening and being in a frame of mind to receive it.

If I were to share too much about how I view the meaning of this piece in detail, I’m afraid I would be limiting the listener’s own participation. 

Q: The song that would win you the Deathmatch was entitled Vessel Full of Dreams. The poem in the description is beautifully written and matches the song in its entirety. You have gone into detail on how the song was composed in past descriptions of songs and even on the forums. I could not find any details on this song though. Would you kindly share the process behind it?

A: The how is easier to explain than the why.

I was tinkering around on the piano for several days and I kept the melodic writing simple. It felt like a ticking clock. I added microphones closer to the strings than I did previously on tracks, and I kept it slow so I can capture more of the reverberation and noises of the mechanics between notes. The whole contour of the piano part starts from high to low, and the chord progression reflects the same motion. I kept having this image in my mind of an old man or woman at the end of their life reflecting back on the memories of their youth. After recording the piano part, I was about to add a section in the middle with a more elaborate arrangement. It would have had a kick, and it might have sounded more like EDM. My wife told me to get rid of that, and she was right. I surely would have ruined it if I had not listened to her. It would’ve been out of character for me to get a little crazy when I had kept it intimate throughout the competition thus far. So when I scratched that section, I decided to suspend the music through string trills and pads. I just didn’t think it was enough, because typically I have to wrestle with the notes to come on the page. It started with the piano part beginning at 1:05, I added the middle section, and then I added the bookends of the piece. It felt more like speed painting, and I was doubting whether it was convincing enough. 

Q: You have competed in the 2014, 2015, and 2017 Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch. How did it feel competing in the 2020 Deathmatch? What were your thoughts when you won it?

A: I also got destroyed in the 2019 competition as well. So you can imagine that this year turned out unexpectedly for me. I was sure it was going to be AlbeGian when I heard his track. The irony is that I almost didn’t join, but decided at the last minute in the hopes that I would be paired against LD-W for an atonal round of music forcing the judges to have to choose one noise against another. When that didn’t happen, I didn’t strive to win like in the past competitions when I would throw in the kitchen sink. I put in every effort, but I wasn’t worried so much about how to please others as I did in the past.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t win. I’ve learned to enjoy losing that I sometimes forget how to win properly. I have to tell myself that it’s just a fun competition, and it doesn’t mean I have accomplished anything. I have to tell myself that winning doesn’t mean anything except that there are some people that enjoy what I wrote. A lot of it is luck and being consistent in this competition.

But with all that being said it doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for the judges collective decisions. I am more grateful for their willingness to serve this community in their contributions which have cost them a lot of their time.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]



Posted by TheInterviewer - March 3rd, 2021


Interview No. 172

Interview By: @The-Great-One

Today's guest is no stranger to the veteran members of Newgrounds. From his series The Spirit of Halloween and ANAKIN. His collaboration works have brought together some of the best Newgrounds creators on the site. His skills an comedic writing and timing are unprecedented. I am pleased to welcome, @squeakytoad.

Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: I had to learn remotely growing up in Thailand due to my parents’ work, so I didn’t have too many opportunities to learn the latest tools and software in art and computer classes. I saw a Flash animation course in Bangkok and hopped on the bus at age 13 to learn this magical software. There I saw the kids watching animations, mostly stick-figure fights, on Newgrounds. Having loved parody whether Mel Brooks or early Zucker brothers, I was a huge fan of all the irreverent parodies on NG making more relevant jokes than mainstream cartoons. I wanted in on the fun and started submitting in 2005. I stuck around because of the great network of artists.

Q: At what age did you become interested in animation?

A: Can’t remember a time when I wasn’t. From a really young age, I’d fast-forward the credits on the VHS tapes to excitedly watch the “making of” featurette behind my favorite animated movies. I burned through sketchbooks drawing comics. I was never an exceptional artist, but I had at least enough talent to convey my ideas in illustrations.

Then my dad got a scanner in the late 90s and showed me how to digitize my drawings, which we could drop frame-by-frame into an old video editor to make the choppiest frame-by-frame animations. Then I discovered Macromedia Flash.

Q: We've had many voice actors here ranging from FatKidWitAJetPakGiantJuicyKickballs, and Rina-chan to name a few. When and how did you become interested in voice acting?

A: Oh hey, Rina-chan was the very first VA I worked with - she played Padme in my first flash animation, a Star Wars parody. She’s incredibly talented and was great to work with. 

I started voice acting because it was the simplest route to making my animated stories come to life. As you can tell from my early Worms cartoon, I was no Xiao Xiao or Krinkels with their ability to make wildly entertaining action animations. I had to make comedic content if I wanted to entertain, and it was easiest to convey the humor in my head if I did the voice myself usually. Though I later discovered an amazing voice acting community on Newgrounds that helped me bring other ideas to life.

Q: Looking at your earlier works, there is a usage of music by Andrew Huang. When and how did you come to learn about Andrew?

A: Touchtone Genius! The same day I submitted my first Flash video, Touchtone Genius graced the portal. I probably watched it ten times. Andrew was like the internet Weird Al, and I downloaded a hundred songs from his site that week (which, in the days of 56k modems, ties up your internet for 12 straight hours). I quickly got to animating The Glass Toaster and later used a spoken piece by Andrew in Webcam Confessions.

Q: When Almighty Hanseddsworld, and RWappin were here we talked about Shorts To Wear Pants To. A collaboration to create shorts using songs by Andrew Huang from Songs To Wear Pants To. You were the organizer for this collab. Why did you want to make a collaboration with Andrew's music? Were people allowed to choose the song they wanted to animate? What was it like to work with these other animators?

A: That’s the first time I’d organized an animated collab, having done an art forum collab, and I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I had a folder full of Andrew’s songs that I wanted to see brought to life with animation, so I asked other people who liked his content if they’d be interested in collaborating. The guys you mentioned above I invited, but we also opened it up to anyone on the Newgrounds animation forum. That wasn’t the norm then - most collabs were invite-only - but I see over the last decade, there are plenty of taking-all-comers collabs (which is awesome, cause they’re a great way to practice and build a network). Everyone picked their own songs too.

Q: When and how did you become associated with the Pass-my-Flash 1 collab? Any chances of this project being resurrected or would the reanimated collabs be a spiritual successor to it?

A: If @Luis ever asked, I’d do another in a heartbeat. Luis had been organizing the NG Sketchbook Tour, which I’d participated in, and he put out the call to those participants to do a hand-off sketchbook animation collab (where you transition from the previous animator’s last frame and the next guy picks up where you left) with a limited timeframe to respond (which kicks your butt into gear when you’ve been procrastinating on animating). I think the Sketch Collab is the obvious spiritual successor, though I’d love to see the hand-off idea return.

Q: You also participated in an art collab called NG: The Zoo. How did you become a part of this collab?

A: I organized that one. When Tom opened the Art Forum in 2006, there wasn’t yet an Art Portal (2009) for people to feature their completed works. So folks started figuring out creative ways to thematically assemble their art to music (I think beginning with the Red Line collab?). I first participated in the “People Are Strange” collab (removed due to copyrighted music) and went on to organize the NG: Food Chain and NG: The Zoo.

Q: What advice would you have to give to those looking to join a collab? What advice do you have to give to those looking to start a collab?

A: Hm, I don’t even know anymore. It’s a whole new internet. Folks have moved from BBS and AOL Instant Messenger to Discord and Twitter. I guess I’d say, whether animated or art collabs, these are big undertakings, and it takes more than one person’s passion to make them happen. I was on board with a handful of other collabs that never materialized because the lone leader pushing it got burnt out. Successful collabs often start with two or more friends hashing out an idea and getting excited about it, which means more than one person putting in the work to make it happen.

Q: A favorite short series by you is entitled The Spirit of Halloween. Where did the idea for this series come from?

A: I loved a range of holiday specials growing up, from the sincerity of Charlie Brown to the irreverence of South Park. Halloween was probably Newgrounds’ biggest holiday back in the day, and I wanted to create a series with a world and original characters that existed entirely in an ongoing holiday special (yeah, I realize this is territory that The Nightmare Before Christmas and a number of other movies and shows have already covered).

Q: Something I noticed in The Spirit of Halloween 1 is that the character at 2:18 pumping gas looks remarkably similar to the character in The Touchtone Genius. Is this merely a coincidence? Is that a separate account by you?

A: Funny you ask since the Touchtone Genius was uploaded the same day I started submitting animations to Newgrounds. I did not make that little masterpiece, but I like featuring characters from internet series and videos I enjoy in the backgrounds of my cartoons, especially the Spirit of Halloween saga. I figure if I’m going to have to draw background characters, I’ll enjoy making them more and the audience might get a kick out of recognizing them when they’re notable characters from web animation. I took it to the next level in Spirit of Halloween 2 by asking @the-swain to voice his Blockhead characters (one of my all-time favorite Newgrounds series) and in Spirit of Halloween 3 invited Mike and Andy Parks to revise their classic College University characters for a cameo.

Q: There would be a long gap between The Spirit of Halloween 2 and 3. Why such a long period of time between them? What was going on at this time?

A: At the beginning of 2007, I returned from Thailand to the US to finish high school and prepare for college. That was really the beginning of my extended hiatus (the content I submitted in 2008-2009 was mostly finished before and just needed some final touches). Through college, I had a lot on my plate, including part-time jobs to pay tuition and board. I finally opened up the old Macromedia Flash (which had become Adobe Animate) again in 2013, when I settled in a new city with my first full-time job.

Q: When and how did the ANAKIN series come into existence? Will there be more chapters coming out?

A: I was a huge Star Wars fan as a kid, and the prequels released during my formative years. They’re universal - I could enjoy them with Thai and American friends.

I made that shoddy first Star Wars parody back in 2005 and every rewatching since then have jotted down other bits I could’ve made out of scenes, with the potential only expanding when the collection came into Disney. I figured I’d revisit the idea for nostalgia’s sake recently, especially with extra time on my hands during COVID, and framed it as an unnecessary origin story for Anakin.

After I finish up this next episode that will cover the end of Phantom Menace, I think I’ll take a break to work on other shorts for a while. There are some fellow Star Wars fans who love it and faithfully watch each chapter I’ve released, but overall the series just hasn’t picked up much momentum. I’m hoping the right viewers find it and enjoy it, which would be some great encouragement to keep it going.

Q: Two of the funniest movies I've seen on Newgrounds have to be Green Knight and Orange Knight. It started off as Castle Crashers meet Monty Python. Can you detail that process more? How did it come from the mind, to the voice, to animation? Will we see Red Knight, Blue Knight, Pink Knight, and Purple Knight?

A: That’s very nice of you to say, thank you. When I was growing up, a lot of what we watched were old videos that came to us one way or another (no English TV or video store until I was about 15), often through ex-pat family friends from Europe. So I grew up with a broad range of comedy, especially stuff from the 70s-90s, including Monty Python’s Flying Circus and, of course, the Holy Grail.

When we got Castle Crashers for XBox360 over a holiday break in 2008, my brother and I played it for hours, narrating our actions with hacky British accents, borrowing a lot of Monty Python bits. I jotted down an idea for an animation that I returned to after college, which was Green Knight. I didn’t expect it to become so popular on both NG and YouTube. Recently I logged into a Castle Crashers Discord looking for tips while doing a run-through of the latest version from Steam, and I was ecstatic to learn people still had fond memories of Green Knight after all these years. I started jotting down ideas again and got to Orange Knight pretty quickly.

I have a few more ideas in mind but will try to keep it fresh instead of going back to the banter reminiscent of Holy Grail.

Q: You have spoken on bringing people to Newgrounds by being a Newgrounds Ambassador. You go into great detail on how creators and members can bring people to the site. Do you think this needs to be updated with the current climate of the Internet? How can we use this to further Newgrounds presence on the Internet?

A: A lot of folks don’t know what NG has to offer now. They haven’t seen the quality and range of content here nor know about the expanded features and functionality.

We could all be more social media savvy in sharing content to the right audiences. @TomFulp spends what little free time he has helping people on Twitter and Reddit find old content they’re searching for on Newgrounds.

We could talk about it more. Talking with friends of mine who have a gaming podcast, I brought up NG’s role in the wave of nostalgia for side-scrolling platformers. They both remembered the site but hadn’t visited in ages.

We’re seeing a lot more art students submit their class projects or thesis films. Would encourage people in the arts to continue to remind their networks what a great place NG is to get feedback on their shorts.

I took a hiatus right when a lot of big artists migrated their audiences from NG to other platforms, and I’d love to hear them all credit NG and keep it in their content plans. Tom was dishing out $50-100k of money that could’ve gone to his bank account each year in monthly and contest prizes. And NG gave anyone even slightly funny or artistic thousands - if not hundreds of thousands to millions - of views that could be leveraged to sell merchandise or support all the crowdfunding these guys did. It’s a shame some artists aren’t grateful for that, especially now that Tom and co are working to make NG much more creator-friendly than other platforms.

Now’s the time to link to as much NG content as possible so folks get the chance to see how it’s evolved to be better than ever.

Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of animation?

A: It’s a good question since NG stuck to being the home of animated content specifically, even when other sites started making bank as broad video hosts. Teenage me, with a weird chip on his shoulder, really tried to play gatekeeper sometimes on what was and wasn’t animation. Some of my favorite content now comes from creators like @JamesLee who experiment with different media and techniques.

Animation is bending or reframing reality or creating entirely new realities with whatever materials best convey the feeling or best tell the story you’ve got in your head.

Q: What can we expect from squeakytoad in the future?

A: Hm, I don’t know. I’m not exactly the most consistent animator. I’ll have a few more shorts out in the coming months (maybe more Castle Crashers content?), I’d like to keep the Anakin series going as the audience grows, and I’m in the early stages of an original series about my dog.

squeakytoad was an animator who always caught my eye here on the site. He was always doing something Newgrounds related. Whether bringing people to the site, collaboration, or just doing his own thing. His love for Newgrounds and the craft cannot and should not go unnoticed. If we all bring others together here on Newgrounds and promote the site not only within, but abroad, it would be incredible!

The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions





Posted by TheInterviewer - October 21st, 2020


Interview No. 171

Interview By: @The-Great-One

Today's guest has been with us four times previously. He was the first interview done with The Interviewer. Today he is here to shed light on where Newgrounds is compared to where it was. From the 25th Anniversary, to the death of Flash, and the ambitions he has for Newgrounds in the future. I am most pleased to welcome back the Founder and CEO of Newgrounds, @TomFulp

Q: 25 Years. Most sites tend to fall into obscurity after that period of time. Newgrounds though hasn't. Through the dot com bubble rise and burst. Through YouTube becoming a dominating force and failing. Newgrounds has stood the test of time. How does it feel that this site has lasted this long? Did you ever envision its longevity.

A: I think Newgrounds has lasted this long because it’s an idea; it comes from an appreciation for what the web gave us and a desire to live up to that potential. Newgrounds came from a place of celebrating an open platform for creativity, vs coming from a business plan.

Q: Flash is going to become discontinued by the end of the year. You and Mike have been working on things such as the Newgrounds Player and Ruffle. What more can you tell us about these projects?

A: Newgrounds Player was created as a way to run Flash content after Flash has been removed from browsers, while Ruffle is the ideal long-term plan to continue running Flash content in browsers, without Flash. Mike created Ruffle because he knew the Flash runtime couldn’t be depended on forever, even outside of the browser. Created with the Rust programming language, Ruffle is open source and has attracted a lot of smart people who are helping to move it forward. Currently Ruffle can run a lot of the animated content on NG as well as a good number of AS2 games, such as Alien Hominid.

Anyone can help with the development of Ruffle and you can directly sponsor Ruffle on GitHub. Newgrounds has been a diamond sponsor from the start and I’m a big cheerleader for Ruffle, while smarter people work on the actual development, solving difficult problems.

Q: What is your position on the Mobile presence of Newgrounds going forward? Will Newgrounds be able to run on Smart TVs and consoles that have mouse and keyboard support?

A: I would love to have Newgrounds on Smart TVs, at least as an app to watch animation. So many of these things come down to resources and needing money to fund the development of individual projects. The same goes with a mobile app; it would be very expensive to do it properly and there’s no guarantee it would succeed, no guarantee it would even be accepted by the app stores. I’m a big fan of the open web and I like to give people a reason to bypass the app stores.

Q: One thing you used to do that I miss were the Newgrounds Broadcasts. Where you would browse the portals for content and talk to the members of the site. Why did you stop doing these broadcasts? With the advent of Twitch will we see a possible return of them?

A: The broadcasts stopped when we shut down our streaming server, as part of a hardware downsizing to reduce rackspace expenses. We were working towards giving artists a streaming platform and the timing would have been great, but instead downsizing, planning for the death of Flash and adapting the site for mobile became the priority. NG wasn’t hosted in the cloud back then, we managed physical servers in downtown Philly until 2016.

Q: There were nominees for the 2013 Tank Awards, no voting or winners were chosen. I know the trophies were not cheap to make and that was one of the reasons it stopped. Will we see a return for these awards, at least in text form like the Daily Awards?

A: Like everything in the 2012-2013 era, there wasn’t money to make more trophies, at $500 apiece. We’ve had several false starts in the years since and still would like to get the trophies going again. We’re currently working on a trophy system overhaul that will let us award digital tank trophies, at which point we might assemble a panel of judges and retroactively award 2013-present, even if we don’t have physical trophies to hand out.

Q: We have spoken about the Writing Portal / Literature Portal on multiple occasions. You mentioned Medium.com as an example of what the Lit Portal would need to be. Will there ever be a Lit Portal on the site or are writers to be forever delegated to the Writing Forum and News Posts?

A: A Writing Portal is still on the wishlist. It’s hard to say when, given how many items we have on the list for the existing portals. I’d like to be a lot happier with the state of the other portals before we consider adding a new one.

Q: With Flash being discontinued, it will be easy for people to get their hands on Flash software for free. With Swivel being able to convert Flash to different formats and Ruffle coming out to emulate Flash, is there still a reason for new animators, developers, and programmers to pick up Flash for their creations?

A: It will be interesting to see if Ruffle inspires people to revisit Flash, as a sort of demo scene if nothing else. It’s hard to recommend Flash to newcomers because it’s essentially dead software that will no longer improve. It would be nice to see something new come along that matches the features of Flash, with an eye towards the future.

Q: We have had creators leave the site for bigger things. Newgrounds is a great platform for people to make a start, hone their skills, and then move on. You have stated in the past that you are happy Newgrounds was able to do that, but at the same time you wished they would stay. If they still refence Newgrounds as their building block why does it matter if they leave? Why would you want them to stay?

A: I think the expectation was that people would move from Newgrounds to something different from the web, for example film and television, or a game studio. When someone becomes popular on Newgrounds and then moves to YouTube, it feels like a lateral move. It shouldn’t be necessary, but YouTube offers the potential for more audience and money as you grow. Newgrounds would ideally be competitive with YouTube, which is the big challenge. 

In the case of people simply growing up and becoming busy with life, I’d love to see them pop in once in a while to make a post or write a review. There’s always a new generation of artists coming up on the site but it’s great to see old faces in the crowd, even if they aren’t uploading stuff anymore.

Q: When we last spoke we talked about Randy Solem's passing and the uncertainty. You want Newgrounds to outlive you. Is there a plan in place when you're gone? Who will run the site without you here?

A: I have various ideas for what might happen but nothing is set in stone and much will change in the years ahead. There are people perfectly capable of keeping NG going without me around, though. Hopefully NG will be economically sustainable before I die, so it doesn’t have to be sold off or shut down.

Q: You have toyed around with the idea of a live action portal. You have stated it as an invite only basis at first. Why is this? What content would be allowed and not allowed with such a portal?

A: If Newgrounds had a live action portal, the goal would be to host independent short films. What we would want to avoid is vlogs, Let’s Plays and whatever someone decides to record on their phone any given day. It’s not just a matter of the vibe of the site; we literally couldn’t host the thousands of hours of content people would upload every day if the barrier to entry was too low.

Q: With the Supporter Upgrade, Newgrounds has attained many supporters. There are perks for supporters no doubt. Are there any new ideas for perks for supporters?

A: We float around different ideas but I prefer our limited development resources go towards features that benefit everyone. I want people to love NG so much that $3 a month feels like a no-brainer just to keep it going.

Q: Where do you see Internet as a form of entertainment and work within the next five years?

A: The introduction of mobile disrupted the traditional desktop user experience, however mobile interfaces aren’t evolving so quickly nowadays and COVID is bringing a lot of students back to laptops and desktops, when otherwise they may have never left their tablets. The next disruptive device will likely be Apple’s AR glasses and I could see needing to adjust our layout and interface for an AR experience in the future. If the glasses are “insanely great” as Steve Jobs would say, a lot of us may stop straining our necks to look down at phones. Maybe the future will be a fight between the desktop and glasses, vs desktop and phones / tablets?

With Newgrounds, we have years of work on the to-do list. The same way we had to shelve a lot of ideas in 2012 to focus on post-Flash and mobile, our plans will continue to evolve based on the changing environment. Our goal is to be more iterative with the site from now on, vs finding ourselves in a situation like the 2012 redesign, where we spent four years developing something that already felt outdated by the time it finally launched.

Q: What can we expect from Tom Fulp in the future?

A: Nightmare Cops! And of course I’ll be here on Newgrounds every day, doing Newgrounds things.

Tom has always been a brilliant man. Someone who started something a long time ago and with the demand only growing more and more wanted to share it with everybody. Find a way to give back as much as he can to the talent and creativity. Newgrounds is a place where you can gain some fame for sure, but mostly it is a place to grow and expand on your skillset. For me, it was a place where I was accepted and a place where I found out who I was. I imagine it is the same or at least similar to a lot of other people I've interviewed in the past. Tom is always doing something for Newgrounds in one way shape or form. I know Newgrounds loves Tom and everything he does.

The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions





Posted by TheInterviewer - October 20th, 2020


Lost Episode: 8/12/2007

Interviewed By: @The-Great-One


This was the first one. The one that started it all. It is as cringe inducing as you can imagine. Which if you look back to Interview No. 1 with Tom Fulp on The Interviewer page, they are not too different in terms of quality. Everybody has a starting point though. It even brought up one of the more cringeworthy moments of my past here on Newgrounds with this bullshit.

Ladies and gentlemen this is the interview in which I conducted with Alvin-Earthworm through the system of a PM Message. These questions were truthfully asked by myself and the replies are directly from @Alvin-Earthworm himself. If you do not believe me then you can PM him yourself.

Alvin-Earthworm is a grand sprite movie animator winning many awards for his series Super Mario Bros. Z. By working hard during the day and doing Super Mario Bros. Z as a side hobby he has become more successful than ever. This is the interview in which I conducted with him.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Super Mario Bros. Z Series?

A: Well, first and foremost I am very surprised at it's success here on Newgrounds, as well as the huge fanbase it has recieved over the course of the six episodes so far. I hope the fans will stay tuned 'til it's conclusion.

Q: Can we expect another big surprise from the Super Mario Bros. Z Series like in Episode 6?

A: There will be plenty of surprises in store. Naturally I'm gonna keep them to myself. Don't wanna spoil it for you. ;3

Q: When You Finish the Super Mario Bros. Z Series will you get permission from Nintendo and Sega and make a DVD?

A: I seriously doubt it. There is a chance I will have to pay licensing fees if I do consider it, but I'm not exactly made of money.

Q: Do you remember theSPA? Your comments on there were beneficial first, until the sprite haters entered. Do you have anything you wish to tell the sprite haters?

A: There is a lot of things I'd like to tell them, but I'll limit it to one. If you don't like it, Don't watch it

Q: How long does it usually take you to make a sprite movie, not including your daily life chores?

A: With the time and motivation, it would take about a fortnight. But sadly, both are very rare for me.

Q: What inspired you to make Super Mario Bros. Z?

A: I was inspired by other sprite animations here on newgrounds, so I decided to give it a try for the heck of it.

Q: You were once featured in a collab called Beat up Sandbag which won a Daily 2nd Place. What can you tell us about your work on this collab?

A: Nothing much really, I enjoyed working on it and it was a nice diversion from working on SMBZ.

Q: Are you a fan of any other flash artists on Newgrounds?

A: Quite a few. Kirbopher15, Randy Solem, Daniel Sun and LGDVegetto to name my favourites.

Q: After your success on one collab are you willing to make another one?

A: Depends on my time and motivation really. I have a very busy day job that leaves me too tired to even bother working on SMBZ let alone a collab.

Q: Is there anything you wish to tell us about any upcoming works in the near future?

A: All I have planned at the moment is finishing the first saga of SMBZ. If it's still popular by that time, I'll consider working on the SMBZ feature length movie that lies between the other sagas.

This is Interview #1. I have interviewed Alvin-Earthworm. If you would like me to interview somebody else then please inform me by PM System.


This interview wasn't anything spectacular. It was posted on my main page which I felt people didn't care about. Now they do for some reason or another instead of my project pages. It was popular, because Super Mario Bros. Z was on fire on the site. It wasn't really a proper interview, just a fanboy asking fanboy questions. It was though the first.

The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions




Posted by TheInterviewer - October 13th, 2020


Interview No. 170

Interview By: @The-Great-One

Today is a special day for The Interviewer. Two interviews on the same day. These do have significance though to be connected. They are both underrated talents who have just started to become blips on the radar of Newgrounds. Not only that, they are also contest winners! Today's guests are the winner of the 2020 Art-Inspired Music Contest and the winner of the 2020 Music-Inspired Art Contest. I am pleased to welcome @littlbox and @Karlestonchew.

In this second part we will be talking with @Karlestonchew.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: If I had to guess it would be around 2010, though at the time I only really knew Newgrounds as another site for flash games. It took me probably until around 2013 to connect the dots and realize that all my favorite animators I’d watch on YouTube were from Newgrounds. That all being said I didn’t create an account until 2015 and posted art very occasionally. I mostly just lurked and watched animations. Back then I was mostly posting art to DeviantArt and Reddit. About a year ago though I became way more active here, and Newgrounds was (and still is) my number one place to post my art. I realized just how much more I liked Newgrounds in comparison. DeviantArt is a little too “cliquey” in my opinion and reddit is just huge and of course anonymous, so it’s hard to meet other artists and collaborate or grow any sort of following. Most importantly though, Newgrounds feels like a community that’s main objective is to promote and create quality content, while the others are just companies trying to make a buck.

Q: At what age did you become interested in drawing?

A: Like most kids I loved to doodle and create my own comic books, but I don’t think I really focused on improving and putting more thought into it until I was probably 14 or 15. I got myself a Huion 610p drawing tablet, since it was the best bang for your buck tablet at the time, and used that thing all the way until a couple months ago when I upgraded to one with a screen. If they still make them I’d still recommend them as a starting tablet.

Q: When rtil was here we talked about charcoal drawing. It is an artform that I love. My favorite piece by you is Charcoal life drawing. What can you tell us about working with charcoal and how this piece came together?

A: This piece was actually an assignment for a college drawing class I was in and was drawn from a live model. We spent the first class with the model and then were sent off to finish it based off a picture. My apartment was right next door to the art studio, and we had 24 hour access to the building so I spent a couple late nights figuring it out. We did a lot of work in that class with charcoal, so I got decently acquainted with it. I’d say if you’ve never used charcoal before and you’re used to drawing in pencil, charcoal is pretty easy. It erases right off (within reason) and unlike a regular pencil can get super black so you can create very strong moments of contrast with one tool. That being said, it’s messing, which is certainly one of the reasons I haven’t revisited it since that class. You also have to be pretty careful with it since it smudges easily unless you use fixatives. I gave that piece to someone as a gift and had to apply the fixative indoors since it was winter, and my apartment smelled like spray paint for a week.

Q: One piece I was drawn to was Streetwear Girl Painting/Study. You said you were using streetwear subreddits to practice drawing clothes. Why do you recommend this for those looking to draw clothes and outfits?

A: Yeah, I have two main points about that. One, I think that the outfits you’ll find on there are a lot more interesting than say just some dude with a t-shirt and jeans. Sure, you could draw/paint “t-shirt guy” and come out of it gaining the same knowledge of how clothes mold and form to the body, but would you want to hang that on your wall? What people on these subreddits are trying to do is create something new and unique yet fashionable, so just like a piece of art it’s nice to look at. It’s distinct enough that you could draw some of these people and have a pretty interesting character in the end. Which brings me to my second point, studying unique fashion (like streetwear) is great practice for character design. I definitely wouldn’t call myself a character designer, I mean I’d love to be, I’m just not there yet, but I would say probably at least half of a good character design is the costume the artist puts them in.

Q: You started experimenting with pixel art for Pixel Day 2020 with Pixel Subway. Why did Pixel Day inspire you to give this art form a shot?

A: This one’s got a pretty short and simple answer. I had wanted to try pixel art for quite some time, and I mean when’s a better time to give it a shot than for a day themed around it?

Q: Looking at your works, your line work and color is incredible. It seems you transition these skills into your pixel art seamlessly. Is the transition that easy or is there something different about it?

A: I would say that I think for me pixel art makes some things a lot easier while other things harder. When it comes to landscapes and colors, it’s easier. Landscapes with normal digital painting are pretty tricky for me. There’s just so much I want to include, and I have to really measure and plan things out in my head. On pixel art that process is made much easier since I’m so limited. And then colors are made easier since when I put together a palette beforehand I know what I can expect later on, with painting you can blend together thousands of unique shades of colors just from two base colors (I guess technically infinite with traditional paints). What’s harder with pixel art for me are living things. When I draw a person or tree, I prefer a level of detail that often isn’t there in pixel art. In my most recent pixel drawing Tire Change I spent most of the time just figuring out the trees in the background.

Q: Your take on abstract art entitled Delicious meal! is as enticing as it is disgusting. How would you define abstract art? Could you use this piece as an example?

A: In the context of a painting, abstract art to me is about trying to convey whatever feeling/mood a realism piece is while doing in a non-objective way. Meaning you can’t recognize anything in it as something you might see in your everyday life. Using this piece as an example, you can look at it and be frightened and a little grossed out (which is what I was trying to do to viewers) without recognizing something as a body part, blood, or something else. Although, I admit I cheated a little by adding those teeth in the top middle there. It’s difficult to define and I think that’s the point, which is also why it’s so controversial. And I totally understand the controversy but trying it out myself made me appreciate some abstract artists a bit more and gave me a way to rationalize why I might like or dislike an abstract piece. This all of course ignoring those billionaire art auctions where finger paintings are sold for boatloads, that’s a whole other rabbit hole.

Q: Havel the Rock Pixel Portrait is another wonderful piece of pixel art. It seems inspiration struck when you were past bed at a reasonable hour. When did the inspiration strike and what made you want to keep going until it was done. What advice do you have to give to other artists who get struck with inspiration out of nowhere? How can they cope with it?

A: This one was something I decided to do when I was feeling a little bored of another painting I was working on. It was meant to be a doodle to help me relax before I went to sleep, but I ended up spending a lot more time on it. I knew that if I didn’t finish it that night, I probably wouldn’t revisit it, so I just kept going through. The advice I’d give is if inspiration strikes and you have your tablet or sketchbook available, draw it right then and there, it’s worth it in the end. I’ve tried writing my ideas for drawings down for future me to draw and it never works, I just can’t see it the same way. Don’t let sleep stop you, caffeine does wonders.

Q: You entered the 2020 Music Inspired Art Contest and came out in 1st Place. What drew you to this contest? How did you come across the song Outside? What about the song made you bring us Quiet Crossing? Why pixel art for this piece?

A: The biggest reason I wanted to do this contest is that I saw it was run/judged by some of my favorite artists on Newgrounds. Sevi and Miroko I admit had been recent discoveries, but I have been following Sabtastic’s art since I was in high school, a lot of my first digital art had been demon girls inspired by her drawings. Getting judged by some artists in the community I really respected was enough convincing for me. For the music I had been listening to the album EPIC by PICE (Andersson187 on Newgrounds) which is just an amazing collection of chiptunes. I thought this would fit great with my recent pixel art kick so I put two and two together. I was undecided between two of the songs on the album, Outside and Another Time, but as I got closer to finishing the piece I thought Outside just fit better. Both songs are very relaxing, and I wanted to match that. Then to find inspiration I went on google street view in Tokyo saving snippets I liked to use as reference.

Q: With different pieces of your pixel art there is some animation to them. Have you ever thought about making a movie or a game?

A: Yes! I’d really like to do something like gatekid3 and Andyl4nd do here on Newgrounds. Their pixel art animations are great and are leading me to discover a whole genre of animation I feel like I’ve only seen used to tell stories in video games, but not in stand-alone movies. As for a game, I have some coding experience and have made a couple pretty basic games a while back in Java and C++, though I’d probably use this opportunity to learn something a little simpler and more made for making games since there’s so many great tools out there now. I have some ideas, so both are quite possible.

Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of art?

A: Ah, this question took me a bit to think over, and I was almost tempted to give you a textbook definition but I’ll interpret this as “what art means to me”. Art for me is balance. I’m an engineer by trade which is quite different from creating art. Both allow me to be creative but in different ways. I love my job, but art gets my brain working in a different way and keeps me sane. I think everyone finds something like that whether it’s music, writing, so on, but for me it’s art.

Q: What can we expect from KarlestonChew in the future?

A: Well, it’s October so you can expect something spooky coming this month. Also, I’m playing a very small part in an awesome collab recreating Neil Cicierega’s The ultimate showdown that will be out in December (link: https://twitter.com/CollabShowdown). And for the far future maybe that movie or game we talked about.

Karlestonchew brings life to pixel art like I haven't seen in quite a long time. His interpretation of the song Outside into Quiet Crossing just matches so beautifully. If only we could have seen the picture form in his mind while the song played. Thankfully he was gracious enough to share it with us. Mark my words, I expect him to be a game changer on this site within the coming years.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions





Posted by TheInterviewer - October 13th, 2020


Interview No. 170

Interview By: @The-Great-One

Today is a special day for The Interviewer. Two interviews on the same day. These do have significance though to be connected. They are both underrated talents who have just started to become blips on the radar of Newgrounds. Not only that, they are also contest winners! Today's guests are the winner of the 2020 Art-Inspired Music Contest and the winner of the 2020 Music-Inspired Art Contest. I am pleased to welcome @littlbox and @Karlestonchew.

In this first part we will be talking with @littlbox.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: I first found out NG existed back when I was 12. I was a huge fan of Robert Benfer at the time (aka @Knox - creator of Klay World), and learned he had gotten his start on the site. When I learned that it wasn't dead, I decided to open an account. I didn't know jack squash about animation, so I tried making some hybrid stick figure animations under the name @plasticapple. They didn't really go anywhere, and I got bored.

I opened up a new account in October 2016 under @littlbox. I uploaded a few animations and collab'd a bit with one guy (@Prinkles if you're still out there, love ya man), but then went dormant again.

Finally, at the beginning of 2018, I decided to really take creating online more seriously, and started using littlbox as a start-off platform. I must've made "Lip Heads" around this time, and just had fun experimenting with different stuff.

Over time, I was able to meet new people on Newgrounds, and a lot of them I would now consider close friends. So I have a lot to thank this site for.

Q: You started playing music at the age of 6 on the piano. What drew you to the piano? How did that spur your music education? How long have you been playing piano?

A: My sister took piano lessons when we were both younger, so I would always hear the piano. Finally, I was able to pick out "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" by myself one day, and I must've been so proud that my parents decided to put me on lessons as well.

For a long time, I was going down the road most kids go down when they take piano lessons as a kid, wherein they're in it for a bit, then as they get older they lose interest and move onto something else. But for whatever reason my parents kept me in lessons, and I'm glad they did, because once I turned 14 I hit my second wind. My high school held guitar lessons, and once I learned chords, a lightbulb went off in my brain. Suddenly the eight years of mindless practices on the keyboard made total sense.

By no means would I consider myself a good piano player, but I'm decent enough to pick out what it is I'm looking for at the moment I need it. My biggest inspiration on the instrument would have to be Ben Folds - he's exactly the white geeky piano rocking hero I needed in my teens, and I still respect his abilities to this day. Plus Ben Folds Five is one of the greatest bands of the 90s. Fight me.

But yeah, I've been playing the piano for 14 years now. God, that's a long time.

Q: I am from the state of South Carolina and know of Safe Harbor. I thank you for contributing towards it with the proceeds of your album Name Your Price that you made during a Senior project in high school. Could you tell us more about this project and album? What made you decide to donate to Safe Harbor?

A: Hey! Fellow South Carolinian!

But yes, the first album I made was a senior project called Prototype. I was really into bands like Grandaddy and Guided By Voices at the time, and I was able to play around in that "indie rock" realm. Making that album was so much fun - I was able to spend class time at home just writing and producing songs. And I took it real seriously too. It's amazing how early in the morning you'll wake up to work on a project.

The project had to benefit the community in some way, so I decided to donate all the proceeds I made from copies of the album to Safe Harbor, a non-profit set up to shelter and aid victims of domestic abuse. I thought their mission was very cool (and needed - South Carolina is one of the top states for domestic violence cases), and in the end I think I was able to donate around $60 or $70 from the album sales to the cause.

Q: In the past I have spoken with HaniaCaylerJazzaCyberdevilMistyEntertainment, and the aforementioned JohnnyGuy. They are all singers. You join them with your voice. When and how did you start singing?

A: I started singing because I had to. Getting other vocalists never even crossed my mind.

One of my biggest mentors and friends, Shelby Bryant (fantastic and talented individual, seriously. I maintain an NG account for him to showcase this man's awesome music, you have to check it out - @ShelbyBryant), helped me experiment with my voice, and encouraged me to try different styles and whatnot. I wouldn't consider myself very good technically speaking, but I've definitely progressed, and now I'm at least able to have fun with it.

Plus, it gives me a good excuse to scream. xD

Q: Who is Chicken Dave and what is Chicken Dance?

A: Dave was a guy I knew in high school. He was strange - sometimes he would just start acting like a chicken in class randomly. Sometimes for a few seconds, other times for minutes. One class that's all he did. He learned that I recorded music, and he wanted me to produce an album for him. It all took place in a one-night session in his bedroom. It was exhausting; he would make up the songs on the spot, and keep changing things as we went along.

Sometime after the album MUNKY TITZ came out, he stopped coming to school. I heard he got arrested for squirting shampoo in a cop's face.

Q: Why is Swiss Army Man the greatest film soundtrack? What inspirations do you take from it for your music?

A: Swiss Army Man was one of those game-changing movies for me. It was basically the right movie at the right time, and the soundtrack blew me away. It's almost entirely acapella, and gives a very American feel, with the main theme blending with "Cotton Eye Joe" and "Jurassic Park" to uniquely reflect the journey the main character goes through in retrospecting and introspecting. It's a movie that stands on its own, and it's still my go-to when someone asks for my favorite movie. I think the main inspiration from the film and soundtrack is that you don't have to be restrained by what everyone else is doing. You can take from it all and make it your own. 

Q: Your first submission to the Audio Portal would be entitled Project 9. Looking back on your first piece, how do you feel you have grown as a creator from then to now?

A: I went through a brief phase where I thought I wanted to be a chiptune artist. I was too lazy to learn Famitracker, so I downloaded some Nintendo soundfonts and used this theme I had laying around for a long time as the groundwork for the track.

It's always been hard for me to see progression in my own stuff, but I would have to guess that I'm no longer tied, or trying to tie, to any one genre. I just write songs, and I steal from whatever I think will sound good with it.

Q: Right after Project 9 we move to a piece that I quite like called Playing Numbers. You stated it was based off of a theme that you didn't do anything with. What was the theme for? What made you want to turn it into something for Pixel Day?

A: Haha Yeah I was doing a lot of that around this time - finding old stuff and making it new. The theme I had written inspired by this girl I had a crush on at the time. It's one of the few times I've written something directly inspired by somebody, and as such it holds an interesting place in my heart. I think I was just happening to work on it around Pixel Day, so I gave it my best to contend for it.

Q: What is Flow Down Stream?

A: FDS was this sort of recurring collab hosted by a couple of people. Each video had a certain theme, and everyone involved made a short clip with that theme in mind. The result was very surreal and stream-of-consciousness. I was really into that sort of thing, so I sent off "Lip Heads", and they invited me into their Discord server.

It was a lot of fun. Met some really cool and talented people along the way, not least of whom was @GoodL, who became the main curator behind the project. Unfortunately the project fell apart in the beginning of 2019, and it's been dormant ever since.

Q: When JohnnyGuy was here we talked about The Newgrounds Podcast. You were part of the precursor to this podcast called A Couple of Crickets. When and how did you become a part of A Couple of Crickets. Why and how was the transition to The Newgrounds Podcast made?

A: In late 2018, I DM'd GoodL asking if he wanted to do a podcast. We had done a couple of tracks together, but not much else as far as collaborating went. We chatted a bit though, and we were both going through a phase where we felt we needed to put out content consistently. So I figured a weekly podcast was the easiest and probably most fun way to accomplish that. He came up with the name A Couple of Crickets - only later did we realize (and heavily exploit) that it's acronym was ACOCk.

When we began the show in January 2019 we had no idea what we were doing. We were essentially meeting each other every week. As we continued on, we figured out our audio personalities, we started going in a very NG-oriented direction, and talked with a bunch of cool people along the way. It was insanely fun to do.

Around Christmas we began to lose steam. I think we both just got tired and wanted to do other things. So we ended in January with an interview with @TomFulp. What a way to go out, right?

Oh yeah - around this time there was some other Newgrounds podcast hosted by @willKMR called GroundsPatrol. Our podcasts would fight to the death a lot, and this got both parties a bit of attention. The biggest difference between our two podcasts was the structure. Whereas ACOCk was very loose and conversation-based, GP was very on the ball and well-structured.

GP ended in late 2019, and around this time we started talking about making a new podcast with the best of both worlds. The idea excited us all, and after ACOCk ended, we got to work on what became the Newgrounds Podcast.

Around this time I became much busier with other things - I was holding down a job at a grocery store and working on a documentary, and podcasting became less and less of a priority. So, I stepped down from being a permanent host, rather joining in on crew conversations and the occasional episode.

Now that I'm in school, I'm not really involved with NGP anymore. The door's open for whenever I want to come back, but I'm fine with just listening in with everyone else.

Q: You competed in the Art-Inspired Music Contest and took home 1st Place. We talked with JohnnyGuy about the creation of the contest. What drew you to compete in it this year? You stated that you found your piece as the first thing you saw in the Art Portal. What about Disgusting on The Insides made you create a song of the same name? What can you tell us about the lyrics and how you built the story around the image?

A: It still dumbfounds me.

I had originally "competed" in AIM 2019, but my track was too short to be considered for competition. Important lesson, kids: Sometimes it's best to read the rules before doing something.

As for the @MrCarlKarlson's piece, it stood out because, apart from it not having a girl or boobs as the main subject, I have a soft spot for robot pieces. And something about a robot throwing up what appeared to be green goop just got me excited.

I don't think I've ever written an actual song based on an image or artwork, but it was incredible how quickly it all came together. It tells the story of a self-loathing alcoholic robot who begs forgiveness from someone whom he's betrayed over a weirdly jazzy backing track.

One more time, thank you to @Troisnyx, @vocaloutburst, @Seth, and @Random-storykeeper for hosting AIM this year. There were a lot of amazing submissions, and I'm glad something about mine stuck with you.

Q: There are two songs that I would like to know about. The first is a bizarre song that I find disturbing and hilarious. christopher columbus the bisexual time traveling robot. I love this and I don't know why. How the fuck did this come into existence?

A: How does anything come into existence in this beautiful, beautiful world?

Over the course of a month, my friend @Dogl and I decided to make a punk album under the name George Washington Carver (@GWCtheband), the famous peanut scientist whose gonads have been a question of scientific curiosity. That song in particular I had actually improvised in a room with friends about two years prior, and decided to pop it's head back up during this project.

Q: The other song I want to discuss is my absolute favorite out of your works entitled B i r t h. It does have traces of your original track Project 9. It is a beautiful piece that I listened to over and over while working. What can you tell us about this piece?

A: This was one of the "demos" of that theme, and was something I had put together in a day with some recordings of my backyard and minimal instrumentation to give it an ambient vibe. I'm really glad you enjoy it. :)

Q: I'm gonna switch gears because although we've focused more on your music attributes, you've stated in the past that you are a filmmaker and you have series on YouTube. What can you tell us about your animation and sketch works?

A: I definitely consider myself a filmmaker first and foremost, although I realize that my film and video work hasn't been as consistent an output as my music. I have/had a recurring series based on my original "Lip Heads" short that I may/may not return to later on down the road. Animation is a fantastic field, and I have enormous respect for people who choose that road, but it's definitely not a main focus of mine. Other than that, I do the occasional short film, sketch, and music video, not to mention I try to get away with as much live-action on Newgrounds as I can.

Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of music?

A: Music's, like, whatever man.

I'm not sure how to answer this - it's such an odd question. We are living in a time where there is so much intermingling of audio and creativity on the internet. SO much. So when I listen through audio tracks, and something very very weird pops up, my immediate thought isn't even "is this music?", but rather "is it cool?"

So if I had to give a more specific definition, music's whatever is cool, at least to me.

On an unrelated note - "Is This Music?" by Teenage Fanclub is one of my favorite tracks ever. I'm going to make a movie just so I can have that song roll over the credits.

Q: What can we expect from littlbox in the future?

A: A lot...just not for a while.

I'm currently in film school right now, and it's the first time in a very long time where my main priority isn't what I'm going to publish online. As a result, I'm taking the time to play around with ideas, to find what purpose drives me, to hang out with cool people irl (albeit in masks).

Of course, the biggest thing I'm working on right now is Your Friend Logan, a documentary on the brilliant and late Logan Whitehurst. We've had to delay production to next summer due to COVID, but I'm still excited for this project, and I can't wait until we hit the road and start interviewing people.

So basically, I'm taking a time out to be Conner for a while. But when littlbox does come back, you better be ready. :)

littlbox is a musician I had not heard about until this contest began. HIs music pulled me in pretty quickly though. Shortly after I concluded this interview, littlbox begun being invited onto different podcasts to talk more about competing in the Art-Inspired Music Contest, his music experience, and just himself in general. I just absolutely love hearing him talk about music. He could have his own music class honestly.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

The Interviewer is a part of Dohn's Desk Productions