Far and away the most successful act to emerge from the chiptune movement, Anamanaguchi have scored video games, performed on national late-night television, and charted in the Billboard 200. Combining the setup of a traditional four-piece rock band with the digitized sounds of a hacked 1985 Nintendo game system, the group make energetic, neon-splashed electro-punk equally influenced by Weezer and the Beach Boys as well as J-pop and old-skool NES games. Formed in 2004, the band became famous for its unorthodox music-making methods, based on writing melodies on the Nerdtracker II program, layering conventional instruments over the top, and feeding them through an NES while performing live. Initially releasing their music through netlabel 8bitpeoples as well as their own website, the band received significant mainstream exposure when they composed the music for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game in 2010. The group continued to perform elaborate concerts and release ambitious studio albums Endless Fantasy (2013) and [USA] (2019), in addition to further video game work.
The group consists of Peter Berkman, bassist James DeVito, guitarist Ary Warnaar, and drummer Luke Silas. After extensively touring in the U.S. and U.K. and the release of their debut album, Dawn Metropolis, free through their website in 2009, they got their big break a year later when they were approached by Ubisoft to record the soundtrack for their video game adaptation of the Michael Cera movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, while their music has also been used in the Wii title Bit.Trip Runner and multi-console versions of Rock Band.
Before the recording of their next album, the group launched a Kickstarter campaign that ended up raising five times what they asked for, allowing the band to launch an extensive tour with a custom-built stage and light show. Endless Fantasy was released in spring of 2013 on their own dream.hax label, and it topped the Heatseekers chart. The band performed the album's title track on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The next year, they released "Pop It," a J-pop-inspired single featuring vocals by a female singer known as Meesh. The catchy track was featured in commercials for Target's fall style collection. In early 2016, while preparing their next album, Anamanaguchi surprised fans by releasing a video game called Capsule Silence XXIV, including 30 new pieces of music from the band. It was followed later that year by the single "Miku," which featured an appearance by Japanese virtual pop star Hatsune Miku. After headlining two virtual music festivals conducted entirely in Minecraft, Anamanaguchi released their long-promised third studio album, [USA], in 2019, this time through Polyvinyl Records.
© Jon O'Brien /TiVo