Leading into EDC week we took the time to sit down with the LA-based “digital renegade” duo, Pixel Terror. If you haven’t caught onto them yet through their unique artwork, face-melting animated music videos, or signature video game style of music production, Pixel Terror is sure to grab your attention with their newest release “Final Boss”. The song title itself speaks volumes of the track, as the ominous guitar chords and eerie piano seemingly lead you into an epic battle in a more realistic reimagining of a ‘Boss Level’ prelude. After a hymn of strangely catchy vocal samples, you enter the combat arena and immediately experience a barrage of bass, gargantuan growls, and fiery leads reminiscent of many classic dubstep anthems with more modern execution and Pixel Terror’s repeatedly impressive clarity. You can expect to hear this at festivals and beyond this year as it is certainly as powerful and perilous as the name suggests.
How did you guys meet and create Pixel Terror?
Ahrya : Bentley hit me up on Soundcloud one day and asked if I wanted to play a show. After that, we kept in touch and started getting in the studio together. We made a bunch of remixes, which seemed to be received well online, and that is where we both began to really see how well our dynamic worked. So after a few nights of plotting, we came up with the brand and it everything started to fall into place.
Bentley: I used to be a talent booker for a bass event company in Los Angeles called Revolt, and I booked Ahrya for one of the shows. We got in the studio together after that and our first collab ended up on Mad Decent (a remix for Jackal’s ‘Animal Style’). After that we kept making tunes and eventually the idea to create Pixel Terror was conceived.
Prior to Pixel Terror what was your background with music?
Ahrya : I’ve been making music for about 7 years, producing complextro, big room and finally trap/dubstep, under about 3 different monikers. I learned primarily from an internship I completed with Hans Zimmer, YouTube videos, music articles and stalking twitter to find any of my favorite artists hints at production tips.
Bentley : I started producing in garageband when I was seventeen but really started taking it seriously when I got ableton about 4 or 5 years ago. Prior to that I was a DJ in the Los Angeles club circuit for nearly 10 years. I also played some guitar and piano growing up, but mostly learned music production through ableton tutorials.
A lot of people take notice to the artwork you are creating, where did your inspiration come from for this and who do you decide to make into a cartoon?
Bentley : We initially just wanted something that would represent our brand through a video game based aesthetic and what we liked to make. I have been drawing my entire life but never actually attempted to make anything digitally until this project. When I found out I could do them through Adobe Illustrator, it became a fun way to create a sort of exclusive community of cartoons that we could essentially use to cross promote our brand with other artists. We don’t necessarily “decide” based on any particular factor other than if we like their music or not.
If you could be any video game character who would you be and why?
Ahrya : Kirby seems like he’s living the life. He has the ability to eat anything his heart desires without being questioned. Sure he’s a pink blob, but that tradeoff is still something I’d consider. Plus flying in mid air is pretty sweet.
Bentley : If I was a video game character it’d probably be Link. Fkn love Zelda and running through the forest with a sword is pretty much what I do anyway. Plus that Ocarina is tight.
Since your brand is built around this “Pixilated” world, where do you see Pixel Terror moving in the future technology or gaming wise?
Ahrya : We believe that the world we created with Pixel Terror can be adapted into many different forms of media using the colorful video game aesthetic that our brand represents
Bentley : We immediately see very fun, very vivid live shows with a lot of animation similar to something Porter Robertson or The Gorillaz would do. Going even further, we’d love to incorporate our music into some sort of virtual reality experience somehow. That’s where we see technology heading and we definitely want to find ourselves on the forefront of innovation in that realm.
You produce in a very unique glitchy bass style, are there any artists that inspired this sound?
Bentley : Definitely classics like Glitch Mob, Pendulum, a lot of the really dope OG bass figures that did stuff like this. We’re also really inspired by Tisoki, Getter, Boombox Cartel, and Ricky Remedy when it comes to our overall aesthetic.
Ahrya : Just to add a couple more, of course Skrillex and Zomboy.
Pixel Terror has already gained recognition from some heavy hitters in the bass world, are there any other artists you are dying to work with?
Ahrya : Virtual Riot is someone I would die to work with. I bet that I could learn a wealth of music knowledge from him in only one studio session.
Bentley : There are plenty of artists we’d love to work with. Personally Adventure Club or Knife Party since our brand is similar to theirs and they both happen to be duos, so I know getting us all in the studio would be an insane experience.
“Final Boss” just dropped, what is the inspiration behind this track specifically?
Ahrya : I was cutting up some vocal samples one night and found the words ‘I’m a boss’. After tinkering and adjusting the audio, I came up with a really catchy phrase line. I showed Bentley the next morning and the catchiness of the tune made it easier for us to build around it. We were always interested in creating songs based off of different video game elements, so with a vocal hook like that, it only made sense to name it ‘Final Boss’.
With EDC coming up this weekend, do you have any speculation on what will be this years “track of the summer”?
Ahrya : I can’t predict what will exactly be the track of the summer, but I can 100% guarantee that Quavo will be featured on it.
Bentley : Probably a rebirth of Danza Kuduro. At least I hope. That or something from Dion Timmer.
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