A lot of people think (T-T)b is just an emoticon. Look at your keyboard and think again. If you’re keeping up with the scene here in Boston, you should know about the three piece chiptune bitpunk who’ve made the name their own.
(T-T)b is comprised of Joey and Nick Dussault, Jake Cardinal, and their trusty Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or other Nintendo consoles are essential for those beautiful beeps and boops. “Just keep an open mind about it,” said Joey Dussault, (T-T)b’s vocalist-guitarist, said when asked advice as an introduction to chiptune. “A lot of people think chiptune is a genre, but it’s really just another platform for making music. Whether you like ska or emo or hip hop or whatever, there are artists out there who are using this tool to make those kinds of music. There’s a lot of gimmicky stuff out there, and that’s cool too, but there’s also serious chiptune music being made if you’re willing to seek it out.”
In the final few weeks of 2016, (T-T)b released their latest EP, Slimy Quagmire. This latest release seems to be a departure from the earlier works of the group and a catapult forward into territories unheard of within the chiptune scene. Whereas listing Math the Band and Anamanaguchi (from whom the band got their name) was a primary influence for their earlier releases, Slimy Quagmire shows the group’s interest into other genres. “Lately we’ve been trying to draw more from mid-’90s power pop bands like That Dog and The Rentals,” says Dussault. “I love Weezer’s guitar tones so I’m always trying to tap into that. LVL UP and Charly Bliss are big contemporary influences.”
The deep lyrical content of the latest release shows the band drawing from their newer contemporary influences on songs like “Better” and “Knucklehead”. When asked about what went differently in the production of Slimy Quagmire compared to their previous work, Joey spoke of how he would originally write chiptune parts and build the live instruments around that. With Slimy Quagmire, that was reversed. The band was writing the song structures first and then peppering in the chiptune after the songs had some initial direction. “I think we just wanted to write songs that would hold up beyond the initial novelty of the Nintendo,” says Dussault. “And we wanted it to sound more organic, so we cut it all live with only a couple of overdubs.”
While (T-T)b is appealing to us here in Boston, they also have a cult following in the chiptune scene. The group traveled to Magfest 2017, a large convention held at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, to play with The Protomen, Danimal Cannon, Bit Brigade, and other incredible acts. The chiptune scene is a lot different than the local scene here in Boston. In fact, Dussault says it’s a totally different scene. “Chiptune is such a small community and people are spread pretty thin across the states, so cons have a really great energy. But I came up in punk bands, so bars and house shows feel a lot more natural.”
As (T-T)b continues to shred around our bars and basements, we’ll hopefully be able to see them on some larger festival bills again as the group keeps gaining some steam across the globe. Be sure to check them out at Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain on February 24th with Sun Young and Department of Everything.
SUN YOUNG, DEPARTMENT OF EVERYTHING, (T-T)b, ROGOZO, WITCHPANIC. FRI 2.24. MIDWAY CAFE, 3496 WASHINGTON ST., JAMAICA PLAIN. 8:30PM/18+/$7. MIDWAYCAFE.COM