Exclusive Interview: Jumpman talk Zelda, Converge and Pizza!

Watford Nintendocore duo Jumpman aka Eliot Foster on Lead vocals and guitar Tom Cole on guitar and synths, who like to blend hardcore punk, tech-metal and 8-bit chiptune synths recently dropped a creative double feature by the name of “Shame“. If you like fast and abrasive riffs with rapid fire metronomic artillery shell drum machine activities alongside a heart of Nintendo melody then read on as we talk to them about how they go about their work!

How did Jumpman come into being? It was something we talked about while we were in college. We had played together before in some other projects, but Jumpman was the first thing we really took seriously. I told Tom about a Nintendocore project I was working on a few years before we met, inspired by bands like HORSE The Band and early Rolo Tomassi, and the idea of music that combines our passion for metal and hardcore with our passion for retro videogames seemed perfect! Shortly after we had started writing the “Enclosed Instruction Book” EP and were jamming to Lavender Town from the Pokemon Blue soundtrack. We were kind of surprised how well the first EP turned out and decided to take the band a bit more seriously and see where we could go with it.

As a duo with a reliance on a laptop for the programmed element of your sound, have you ever considered getting in extra members and having live drums and bass or do you feel like the drum machine aspect is a core part of your sound? When we formed, we decided to use a laptop as a last resort; we struggled to put a full band together, but we had a load of material that we were desperate to play live, so since then we’ve just been putting up with it. Although I don’t think we’ll ever completely phase out using samples and some sequencing, we are hoping to put a full band together and have been taking to steps to become less reliant on the laptop; Tom now plays a lot of the synth lines on guitar live, using effects to make it sound like an 8-bit synth.

Being a “Nintendocore” band, what are your videogame soundtrack inspirations for making music? And of course, do you own a Nintendo console? Definitely the 8-bit Castlevania and Mega Man games. It’s impressive how epic and metal sounding they are despite hardware limitations. Not to mention the metal influenced classic Doom soundtrack.  And of course the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time soundtrack is amazing. And yes, we own several Nintendo consoles, from old to new!

Outside of the video game World, who are your Metal (or other music) inspirations? We both have a pretty broad range of influences that we bring to Jumpman. Tom’s influences are mainly classic thrash and death metal bands like Metallica and Death, as well as more modern and technical bands like Between the Buried and Me and Obscura. Personally, my influences lean more towards punk and hardcore, particularly the more experimental side of hardcore, bands like At The Drive-In and Converge. I think that mix of punk attitude and experimentation with metal technicality, (maybe with some influence from electronic and industrial music) is what makes up the core of our sound. But we’ve never been too concerned about sounding like other bands; the freeing thing about labelled a Nintendocore band is that it allows us to make basically any kind of music we like, as long as that 8-bit element is there.

If you could have a guest appear on one of your tunes, who would you pick and why? That’s a tough one! We’d be happy to collaborate with pretty much anyone. In terms of a dream collaboration, I’d love to work with someone like Aphex Twin, someone who has a completely different approach to creating music. But like I said, we’re open to working with anyone, so if anyone has some interesting ideas, send us a message!

How does the writing dynamic work between you as a duo? Do you ever disagree on how something should sound? Our writing process has changed quite a lot since we formed. When we were writing the first two EPs, we would write songs individually; I’d write a couple of tracks, and Tom would write a couple of tracks. Since then the process has become a lot more collaborative, and our songs have gotten a lot better as a result. We rarely ever disagree on anything, we tend to be open to each other’s ideas. I’ll often come up with something brutal or abrasive and dissonant, and Tom is great at writing melodic or technical riffs, and we try to strike a healthy balance of both. 

Our favourite food is Pizza. Hands down, Pizza plus beer and Metal makes us happy. What’s your go to post-show snack of choice?Pizza is a great choice! It’s hard to say, I guess anything that’s vegetarian and goes well with a pint! haha

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