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The Search for Geek: Press Start 2 Play

Debs: We’re back with another edition of  The Search for Geek! Today, we’re talking to Jake and Robyn of Press Start 2 Play! We’re not entirely sure how they escaped Errol’s notice given that they’re in Toronto like us, but as soon as Errol heard of them, he invited them out to do a gig with us!
Errol: If you are a geek band. I will find you. Beware. Look! I embedded their album below this picture so you can listen as you read! Huzzah!


Press Start 2 Play
Press Start 2 Play

Basic Stats

Name: Press Start 2 Play
Members/Instruments: Jake (guitar), Robyn (vocals, guitar), Taylin (bass), Karan (drums)
Location: Toronto, ON
Year Formed: 2011
Genre: Pop-punk
Favourite Fandom: Anything game related 🙂

What are your geek origin stories?

Robyn: My dad owned a classic Nintendo system and I always watched him play when I was really young. As a child, you learn to do what your parents do, so I guess I picked that up. 😛

Jake: In 2006 I started a wizard rock (Harry Potter) band, with my sister, called The Nifflers. It was the perfect introduction to songwriting and performing. All the fans were very supportive and I was able to do two things I love at once. Those two things being celebrating Harry Potter with awesome friends and jumping and yelling on stage for excited people.

How did all of you meet?

Robyn: I met Jake at Art School, and Taylin and Karan through Jake. We used to write songs at the back of our summer job office.

Jake: I met Taylin (bassist) at a Yule Ball in 2007, in Oakville. Then Robyn (vocals/guitar) and I were in a concept art program together. Karan (drums) was only brought on this past year through Taylin.

Most of your songs center around video games. How did that decision come about?

Robyn: I think music is a great way of expressing emotion and experiences, and boy, do we have a lot of emotional video game experiences.

Jake: While at our first studio jobs, Robyn proposed the idea of having a video game band after showing me some other people doing it. The Nifflers and wizard rock was starting to slow down, so I was looking for a new musical outlet.

Tell us about your songwriting process. Do the four of you write together?

Robyn: We usually like to call dibs on different games because some of us are so passionate about a particular game or story. Then, we run off and write individually, and come together to pitch our ideas in a jam.

You released your first EP in September! We’d love to hear more about it.

Press Start 2 Play EPRobyn: Although we’ve written several songs since producing those on the EP, the EP songs are the original “summer job” ones and I think have a lot of heart in them. Christian did a great job mixing and mastering, so although it is our first album, I think it’ll always be one of the strongest.

Jake: That EP was a long time coming. We started recording it near the end of summer 2011, but a hand full of roadblocks would keep the tracks from being finished. We originally recorded a song for the game “Left for Dead,” but that was cut roughly a year in. Robyn and I then wrote our song about Team Fortress 2 called, “Pocket Me,” and put that in.

All the recording and mastering was done by my buddy Christian. I met him in 2006 when he started his own wizard rock band called Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls. When you hear him you will understand why I would put my trust in him to help make this EP sounds awesome. All his music is amazing.

Do you have a favourite song on the EP?

Robyn: I really like “8-Bit Memory”. I think it’s because it’s a bit sad, relatable, and has some clever use of words. It’s not just about a game. It’s about coming out of a heartbreak and trying to feel strong and independent, yet showing weakness because you can’t get over someone.

Jake: “8-Bit Memory” is my favourite as well. Some word use gets clever, playing it on guitar is fun, and the pre-chorus/chorus always gets me energized.

Press Start 2 Play

Along with a ton of local shows in Toronto, you’ve also played at conventions including Otakukon in Montreal. Tell us about your most memorable gig!

Robyn: Hahah, I’d say Otakukon was the most memorable. Every gig is equally fun, but it’s the adventure of Montreal that I’ll never forget. Sharing a small hotel, eating together, taking the bus together… it’s just fun travelling with friends.

Jake: Otakuthon was also my favourite but for different reasons hahaha. First off, the stage we played on was incredible. The size of it really allowed me to run around and feel like a hot shot rock star. I hope we get to play that again. Secondly, I came a day later than the others so I had to book a hotel room all for myself. The awesome part was that they ended up giving me a suite for no extra cost. Party on Montreal!

At our geeky book swap, the two of you performed as an acoustic duo. You’ve also got an acoustic version of “Portal To My Heart” up on YouTube. Are there any plans to do more acoustic recording?

Robyn: I’m not sure but I really hope so! I really like the sound our songs have when acoustic. Performing at the book swap just confirmed for me that we need to do more acoustic shows, hahah.

Jake: We actually had plans to do an all Pokemon acoustic EP. I even have some album art tests for that sitting on my computer. I think it’s something we could have done in the near future for sure!

All right, we’ve got to ask. Favourite video game?

Robyn: I can’t answer that! I’d say I have favorite games for each genre. Favorite competitive game would be a tie between League of Legends and Team Fortress 2.

Jake: Guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………… I really like the Zelda games, and Katamari has been my go to for the past year. Jet Set Radio Future also has a special place in my heart. When I really think about it though I have to say Tony Hawks Underground. The controls for that game are so second nature that playing it now is very zen and calming.

Finally, are there any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?

Robyn: We have a lot of new songs coming out. You guys heard our first performance of our unreleased Portal 2 song, and League of Legends, Bioshock 2, and many more will come. 🙂

Jake: The nearest projects will most likely be videos and hopefully that acoustic Pokemon EP now that it was mentioned. The songs are there, we just need to record them 😉

Press Start 2 Play (or PS2P for short) is the birth-child of music and video games. PS2P consists of Jake (guitarist), Robyn (vocalist), Taylin (bassist) and Karan (drummer). The party of four hope to make their way across the world, meet new characters, and complete quests with the help of other like-minded people.

You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Their self-titled EP is available on BandcampiTunes and a whole host of other places!

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