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There are a growing number of people taking an interest in what are lovingly called chiptunes, which is a form of retro-sounding 8-bit style music that you might have heard in an old computer or console game back in the ’80’s or ’90’s.
Home computers such as Commodore and Amiga, and even old Atari, NES, and Sega gaming platforms were, back in the day, prime sources of cool old school compositions that were as catchy to some people as the latest radio hit – sometimes even more so.
There was also a phenomenon known as the demoscene that was a source of chiptunes as well as stunning visuals, with the impact still being felt today as it keeps going strong.
These days there are even artists like Chipzel who perform using a Gameboy, which is an interesting twist on the chiptune genre.
These days, chiptunes are considered a sub-genre of electronic music, but, in many ways, they technically pre-date that genre, since old video games were popular well before techno became a true genre of music.
Here is an example of a chiptune for you to check out if you haven’t heard one…
The interest in chiptunes is not just coming from the listeners who are discovering the genre every day, and who enjoy listening to such tracks either for nostalgia’s sake, or simply because they gravitate to the old school digital sounds that chiptunes have. Nay, dear reader, more and more chiptune creators are adopting the genre as their own, as the songs are fun to make, and can be a challenge to compose.
One maker of such tunes is Omar Zin, aka Ozey, who is currently 23 years of age and hails from Morocco (North west Africa). He is a professional music producer who specializes in hip hop and trap beats, as well as EDM music and .. yes, chiptunes!
We found this mug shot of him to share with you.
Chiptunes are an interesting topic to learn about as a style of music, since they are both retro and contemporary at once, straddling several generations of listeners and composers now.
Omar, in particular, stays busy on Fiver doing chiptune-style compositions for his various clients, with both originals and remixes, digging deep into the nuances of the genre.
Hence, we wanted to ask Omar a few questions about chiptunes, so see what kind of inside info he has.
Here is our interview with Omar Zin, we hope you like it!
Q: What is your definition of a chiptune?
A chiptune is a type of music that uses basic types of sound waves (square, triangle, sine…) as instruments to compose melodies and 8-bit designed or sampled drums for the beat.
Q: How did you get interested in chiptunes?
I’ve always been a fan or Chiptune, from the Mario days, Popeye, Dandy, Ali Baba…
And i always get goosebumps when i hear some song from these days that samples some Chiptune or uses 8-bit effects on a modern song. And i wanted to have that skill for myself, and do something new with it.
Q: What age were you when you made your first one?
Generally, I have been producing music for 4 years now, and making chiptunes for about a year now.
Q: Cool. What software did you use to make your first chiptune?
During all this time, I’ve been using FL Studio. For the past year, I’ve been using FL Studio 12 for the Chiptunes and for producing generally.
Q: How did you learn FL Studio? Did you teach yourself, or did Youtube teach you? 🙂
I got lucky to have met a great person who is an audio engineer. I learned pretty much everything from him i will be always thankful for him. I do use Youtube also from time to another.
Q: Do you make original chiptunes, or only remixes?
Yes i do both. On my gig page, you’ll find 3 samples that present the 3 types of services i offer.
The first is called « Basic », where i make a Chiptune with a simple composition.
The second called « Advanced », where i produce a Chiptune with a more complex composition.
They both are my original compositions and the third service is for the remakes.
Q: Do you make chiptunes for yourself, or mainly commissions for others? What is your preference?
Yes i do Chiptunes when i get a request to do so. About my preference. I don’t really have a specific style to follow, I just like my sound to be clear and musically correct.
Q: Tell me, beyond some DAW like FL Studio, what do you need to make a proper chiptune? Have you tried any other DAW’s?
Many producers underrate FL Studio and prefer other DAW as Logic, Pro Tools or Ableton.
You can do anything you wanna do in Pro tools in FL Studio too, you have the same tools (Compressors, EQs…). The same effects(like Reverb, Delay, distortion….) you get high quality VST for both (instruments, synthesizers, drums)
So it’s all about the method of work and the good ear to make good music with a good audio quality.
That’s why i’ve been using FL Studio all this time.
Q: What VST’s make for a good chiptune in your opinion?
You can use any synthesizer to design the good 8bit sound, especially subtractive synthesizer.
Again, It’s all about the method of work.
For me, i use a VST named « 3x osc » and the famous « Sytrus » from time to time.
Q: So how many VST’s will you use in one chiptune?
I can use one, duplicate it many time, design the sounds i will use on each copy, and add the beats of course.
Q: Do you require the stems to do a remix or remaking a non-chiptune song?
Having the stem is way better, to focus on the details or to be free to mess around with the song tools. If it’s not available, i just deal with the mixed song.
So i can do both.
Q: So you just use your ear to hear the song details when you have no stems?
For remakes, that’s what i always do. I hear the song well, several times, detect all the instruments it has, transcribe all the instruments, drums and vocals, put the same melodies and beat. Mix and master the whole thing.
Q: I see. Wrapping up here, do you have any favourite chiptune artists from today?
Actually, i haven’t really known any Chiptune artist by name, i’ve just learned how to make the 8-bit sound work with my way of making music.
But ofc, big shout out and big love to all the artists who made the music of the 80’s games that made our childhood.
Q: Do you like more an upbeat tune, or rather a slow depressing one? 🙂
I like em both actually! My purpose is making music that will give the listener the feeling that i wanted him to have.
Q: One more thing.. where can people hear your music?
On my Soundcloud channel, here:
And you can contact me in Fiverr by visiting my profile: