Sometimes all it takes is the title to grab your attention. 60’s Rock George Washington from the Future is one of those titles. A mouthful? Sure, but I’ll be damned; I want to know more. With a fresh new Kickstarter and the promise of a lengthy mix-tape as a backer reward, I reached out to writer/author/musician/DJ James Easterly for more information on his upcoming science fiction-comedy epic that’s straight out of the 80’s!
We The Nerdy: Alright, I’m pretty much obligated to ask you what the hell kind of conversation you and your friend were having when you created 60’s Rock George Washington from the Future.
James Easterly: Back in 2007, my friend Andy and I made a video series by the name of Starch Trek, and it happen to be episode two when [60’s Rock George Washington from the Future] came to life. Like many of the bits we did for the series, there was no effort whatsoever put into a scene before we shot it. We just grabbed some old costumes and toys and saw where the wind took us. It happened to be a unicorn wig one of my sisters wore one Halloween that Andy was fixated on.
After he positioned himself on the balcony of my friends house, I just pressed record on my crummy camera and 60’s Rock George Washington from the Future was born. Andy said that he based the character off of the Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future, a character from Aqua Teen Hunger Force which is a show both of us love.
The character was later brought back for the remake, and that was what ended up influencing the current look.
WTN: Your Kickstarter promises a comedic/scifi story, but it doesn’t talk much about the plot of your comic book. Care to fill me in? I’d like to know what this crazy protagonist is going to get himself into.
JE: I want to leave it a bit of a mystery, but I can at least share enough so you can get the general idea.
Our main character finds his way to bar on an alien world after being pestered by his partner, Jem. Needless to say, after making light conversation with one of the patrons of the bar, he ends up getting himself into some trouble. This will only be the beginning of a long domino effect that will unravel more about the 60’s Rock George Washington and the adventures that will ensue.
What I can promise though is that readers will be treated to a plenty of gags and comic Easter eggs, as well as some special secrets for those who enjoy other forms of entertainment such as anime and hip hop.
WTN: Given that Andy helped you come up with the character, does he have any other involvement with this comic, or is it strictly your own?
JE: The comic’s conception was strictly my own, but I still like to give credit to Andy for actually portraying the character in the video form. Starch Trek was a very loose concept for a series, and I wanted to have the character live in a universe where the plot moved with a little more direction, finesse, and occasionally slip on a banana peel.
WTN: You’ve an impressive catalogue of things you’ve made—I especially love the sample music included on your Kickstarter—so I’m wondering where comic books fit in. There’s a big leap between techno music and illustrating/writing. Also, how dare you be so multitalented!
JE: It’s a blessing and a curse because you have the ability to do so much, but there is only so much time.
It happened to be the 100th or so time I listened to the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World commentary with Bryan Lee O’Malley where I fell in love with the idea of listening to mixtapes while I worked. Giving a makeshift soundtrack appealed to me, and since I tend to go the extra mile, I made the mixtapes on cassettes…
During the penciling process, I started to listen to new retro wave music, which is like Blade Runner, Miami Vice, Transformers 80s style music. Making the moniker Rexatronic, I was able to start producing music in this style to the best of my ability. 60’s Rock George Washington from the Future has, for me, been based off a lot of 80s scifi, and thematically I felt the music fit since hiring a funky orchestra would cost me a pretty penny.
Not to mention when you hear that 80s scifi style music, it screams “THE FUTURE” in bright neon lights, at least to me.
Fun fact: The song “The Neon Rider was made the morning after I consumed cold nacho dip, chips, Qdoba, and some alcohol. Feeling restless, I woke up at around 8am, busted out this song, proceeded to live in the bathroom where I got to see all my food from the night before, and then crashed in my bed.
WTN: With your background in music and the mix-tape as a Kickstarter reward, I’m wondering how music itself will factor into 60’s Rock George Washington from the Future. For example, will it be more plot-specific like in Guardians of the Galaxy or more aesthetic specific like in Kung Fury? Or, you know, none of the above since it’s a comic book.
JE: I would say it’s more aesthetic like Kung Fury, which I absolutely love. It would be too time consuming for me to come up with specific moments for readers to play music from the tape, though that may be fun to try for future issues.
If 60’s Rock George Washington from the Future could become an animated series or a live action film based on the comic, the something like Guardians of the Galaxy would be more fitting.
WTN: Speaking of that mix tape, how long do you think it will be? And while we’re at it, where can we find your other music?
JE: The plan is to have 35 to 40 minutes of music on each side of the mixtape. Side A will be a new retro-wave style, while side B will be more chiptunes / retro-game style music. So all in all, there will be a good 60 to 80 minutes of Rexatronic for everyone to enjoy.
For those who like to check out my other work, you can check out my work as DJ RX-78 where I primarily make hip hop beats. Last year I released my first album, Project V, which is a mix of anime and hip hop. You can find the EP size on Bandcamp, but the full album is only available on CD, which currently I only have 14 left.
Everything else can be found on Soundcloud, and if that gets taken down, I can always share on facebook where I post updates on other projects I’m working on.
WTN: Lastly, why the 80’s aesthetic? What do you think it is about that decade of science fiction that really gets people talking and hyped?
JE: Funny enough, I use to hate almost everything about the 80s, especially the electronic synth music. Freaked me out and gave me the creeps. Though as time went on, and granted I am a child of the 90s, there was something hypnotic about the 80s that was undeniably thrilling and fun. I personally blame the original The Transformers Movie, which as kid watching on VHS was like I was spiritually playing with the coolest toys on Earth.
The 80s was filled with all sorts of science fiction gems, both good and horrific. From Tron, Blade Runner, Terminator, Flash Gordon, Robo Cop, etc all set a very definitive tone that took the previous decades attempts to step away from the puppet space opera and blast into a whole new universe. Though it wasn’t just film, but animation as well, especially with anime series. Gundam, Robotech, Patlabor, and so many more series reinforced these ideas.
Best way I can sum it up is that the 80s was all laser beams, space ships, computers, robots, electronic keyboards, and neon lights!
If any of this sounds appealing, please do check out James Easterly’s Kickstarter page! If this doesn’t sound appealing, you really still should check out James’ Soundcloud/Bandcamp pages. His music is really, really good.