Another artist has taken route down the Synthwave neon highway. He paints a future/retro musical landscape of 80s nostalgia with a modern twist blending rich saturated synthesizer tones. Set your phasers on stun and take a trip along the never ending green grid road as we discuss his music world…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in Rochester Michigan, and now I live in the Metro Detroit area.
What role do you play in the Synthwave scene?
If I were to give myself a roll, it would be to help offer some kind of a alternate route on the Synthwave Neon highway. I have these past experiences with Prog, Funk and jazz that I think help fuse a different shade of the musical genre, without venturing too far out. I tend to make songs a little more complex or layered, but groove and hook is also important to me as well. I want to be that extra avenue to explore on a romantic or lonely Saturday night.
Describe your tracks to our readers:
It’s a training montage that your 18 year old self always wanted. I draw from a lot of sounds that were popular in the 80s, but I use them in tandem with modern mixing technology. It’s part Nostalgic, part Neon Sex and Part feel good fun. Romance and sexuality tend to be a common theme, also fantasy, old school computers and space travel. Those are just the instrumental songs. I also like to make pure synthpop songs like “Hot Stunner.” I worked on that track with the vocalist Nikki from the UK, and I think that it is one of my most popular tracks.
How did you start producing your own original tracks?
In the early 90s, my dad had a Mac classic, as well as band in a Box and we used to explore with Midi and recording guitars. He was a classical guitar player, and I was exposed at an early age to music. Later in life I was in and out of bands and we would crudely record when we could. It wasn’t until I moved into my house in 2009, that I was able to start making my personal recordings start to sound good. After a few years of getting further into it, I discovered how to make 80s drum sounds, and more importantly found my first Synthwave artists. Mitch Murder, Tesla Boy and Sellorekt LA Dreams.
Who are your inspirations?
Laszlo Bencker, Mitch Murder, Rush, YES, Herbie Hancock, Prince, Phil Collins, Depeche Mode, The Rippingtons and Pat Metheny to name a few. I also really like Pengus’s work.
What programs could you recommend for new Synthwave producers?
Addictive drums is a great tool to start making kits, and thinking like a drummer to lay down beats. Also you can’t go wring with the Korg Legacy series. I use Reaper as my DAW, and I am very comfortable with this program. It’s all about what feels comfortable to the artist. The most important thing is to go and DO IT! It’s not always about the tools you have, but how you use them.
What city has the strongest Synthwave scene?
In the US – my guess is LA, San Francisco or New York. There are a bunch of places in Europe that are putting on big shows. It’s such a global internet based scene and I’m happy to watch it start to grow in real time from city to city. I get weekly plays from Kazakhstan, it just goes to show you the reach!
Photo credit Geoffrey Smith
You performed at San Francisco’s Synthwave event Turbo Drive, how was that experience?
It was really a fantastic experience, Devon was very helpful getting me out from Detroit. We had a great crowd and the sound system and lighting kicked ass. It was my first time in the City, and I had a blast. I met up with FM-84 as well, and we kicked it for a day around the city. I am so grateful that venues like DNA Lounge are offering theses types of resources. I hope to be apart of Turbo Drive again soon.
Photo credit Geoffrey Smith
Tell us something personal about yourself:
I’m always trying to learn new instruments and I love to eat sushi. I have a pet dog and 2 cats, and I am also a descendant from Rollo the Viking Warrior. I started playing guitar at age 8, and my feet never sweat. – it’s true
What is your ultimate goal?
To keep making the music that I love and get more into publishing, video games, movies etc. I would like to do all of this without losing an ounce of my creative integrity. I hope to stay true to myself. Another goal is to care less what other people think. You would be surprised how much that hinders me sometimes. Eventually I want to quit my day job, and make music full time.
What’s in your iPod?
All sorts of Jive Turkey music! Lots of Synthwave, Jazz, Soundtrack stuff. It’s also filled with little bits that I record and sample test in my car. The car test really does work.
I plan on dropping a new EP sometime this summer with more vocals. I want it to sound like bits of Powerglove mixed with Naked eyes. I’m going to have a few guest artists on it as well. I might even be singing. We shall find out soon enough. I will also be shooting a music video around Detroit for one of the new tracks. I’m pumped on that. I’m also going to have a track in the upcoming HBO show Vice principals. I am super stoked for that as well.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
Your Magazine seems like a wonderful access point for the darker side of creative culture. I think it’s important to cherish beauty, love, and tranquility in all it’s forms – light and Dark. The spectrum of what moves us runs deeps.