Scandroid, the modern Synthwave project from Detroit based artist/producer Klayton, best known for his multi-genre project Celldweller, is Klayton’s love letter to the 80s.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
New York, born and bred. Moved to Detroit a few years ago.
How are you getting along in Detroit?
I’m not sure. I never leave the studio so I often forget where I live anyway.
How does it feel to be a strong artist in the Synthwave scene?
I never really get hung up on accomplishments or titles. I’m both honored and flattered when other people make them for me for sure, but Scandroid is a musical concept I’ve wanted to pursue since the 80s and now I’m reaping some rewards for finally cashing in the rain check I gave myself back then.
Let’s go back in time, how did you start working on and producing your own original tracks and at what moment did your really start to do this as a career?
From the second I played my first instrument (not including the Trombone in 2nd grade) I started writing. I was not at all inclined to want to play music other people made. I wanted to figure out how to get the sounds I was hearing in my head out onto my 4-track cassette recorder. The project where I finally made the leap to full-time music was a 1-off album I did called “Argyle Park.” I figured I could stay alive for about 3-4 months and then would have to find another day job. I hustled – HARD and made it work. I starved for a very long time, but I was the happiest hungry guy you’d ever meet because I was doing what I wanted to do, full time.
You make Retrofuturistic music inspired by the 80’s. Can you tell us who your inspirations are?
Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Heather Locklear – you know, the regulars. I played in metal bands in the 80s because I didn’t need much gear and I knew how to approach the style. I pretty much was listening to Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Smiths etc. and THAT was the music that I was more inspired by. I just did not know at that time how to approach writing and I had very little gear and no money to buy any. I could finally afford my first synthesizer a few weeks ago, so now I’m going full on new wave!
As a professional gear junkie what Instruments, Plugins, Programs could you recommend for new producers?
Instruments – what inspires YOU? That’s the instrument you should start with. IF you aren’t passionate about what instrument you’re playing, your career probably is going to have a short lifespan. Plugins and programs – there are so many. I had almost no gear when I started and I maximized it beyond it’s intended capabilities. Today, I think the opposite problem exists – there are too many options. I would recommend getting a solid Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and start by using only the built in plugins. Get to know them inside and out, and then branch out or you’ll be sidelined by too much information and choice. Suggested DAWs would be FL Studio (Windows and coming soon for Mac) Cubase or Ableton Live.
Congrats on all your sold out shows in the United States. How do you think the connection between your music and fans became so strong?
The internet. It has enabled me to directly interact with my fan base, who I am very grateful for. I let them know that on occasion as well and they certainly reciprocate.
You’ve traveled to many places, where do you think has the strongest Synthwave scene?
Hard to say, but I can tell you I’m seeing the most activity in big cities in the US. That’s a great sign because the next logical progression is it starts trickling down to the smaller cities and becomes a movement.
San Francisco has a popular Synthwave event called Turbo Drive at the DNA Lounge. Artists such as Carpenter Brut, Perturbator, Gost and Dance With The Dead have graced their stage. Any plans to perform there this summer?
Not this summer, but I’m actually warming up to the idea of doing a full on Scandroid tour early 2018. This is literally the first time I’ve even admitted this publicly.
Tell us something personal about yourself you’d like to share with your fans:
I like Italian food. Oh crap, I think they already know that.
What’s in your iPod?
Right this second, the brand new Goldie single “Prism” going on it’s 30th play in-a-row. New Culprate, HEALTH, Infected Mushroom, Lazerhawk.
What future plans are you working on for 2017?
I just wrapped up work on the score of Transformers: The Last Knight. I’m working on brand new Scandroid album, slated for later this year. I also did a cover of the “The Force Theme” from Star Wars (as Scandroid) and it is available everywhere and the new Scandroid Single “Rendezvous” is out. The new Celldweller album “Offworld” is coming this summer as well.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?