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20 feb. 2020

Interview met CoolAm7

Iemand die nog maar kort geleden begonnen is met het maken van muziek is de Griekse producer CoolAm7. De soundtrack van de game ¨Fez¨ was uiteindelijk van doorslaggevend belang om ook echt te gaan beginnen. Met al meerdere EP´s op zak gaat het lekker met CoolAm7. Dus tijd voor een interview.

Someone who recently started making music is the Greek producer CoolAm7. The soundtrack of the game "Fez" was ultimately of decisive importance to actually start. With several EPs in his pocket, things are going well with CoolAm7. So time for an interview.


CoolAm7, can you please introduce yourself?
Hello everyone, I am CoolAm7, a chipmusic/synthwave ¨bedroom¨ (after working hours) producer from Greece. I am an ´80s kid who spent a lot of time (questionable) playing video games. I also like classical music, heavy metal (especially ´80s/´90s) and disco! I’m still playing video games, occasionally. I’m currently living in Poland.

How do you look back at 2019?
I’ve always wanted to compose music. 2019 is the year that it all started for me. Last year, I’ve decided to do something about this. The final push was the soundtrack from the game ¨FEZ¨ by Disasterpeace. I was blown away by the music. I watched a video on YouTube where he was describing how he created this soundtrack. So I’ve followed some online tutorials to learn some basics about production and refresh some music theory knowledge from the past.

So I did it. I composed my first piece of music and published it on Spotify: ¨Aman the Snake Is Moving¨.

I must admit that it felt lonely at first, but after joining Twitter I found a very supportive and fun community!

What are your plans for this year?
This year I would like to try and collaborate with some of these amazing people in the synthfam and chipfam communities. I believe it will be a fun experience!

It would be also awesome if my music would be featured in a videogame (if not this year maybe someday).

You create both synthwave and chiptunes music (and also combine these two into chipwave). What did you decide to choose for these styles?
I’ve always liked the synth music in the ´80s/´90s movies (best example would be Brad Fiedel’s ¨The Terminator OST¨). I wasn’t aware this is still “a thing” nowadays. After watching the movie ¨Drive¨, I’ve found about ¨Kavinsky¨ and through Spotify more related artists. At some point after watching ¨Kung Fury¨ I realised that this is indeed a ¨thing¨ and there are many artists making such music! With the help of YouTube channels and Spotify playlists I found more and more music and artists.

I was always a fan of this music, this was the music from my GameBoy childhood! Back then, I had also found the ¨demoscene¨ and the tiny executables with music! I started to look into Fast Tracker II ¨module¨ songs and learnt how this software works, although I hadn’t compose anything on my own.

So you could say, this music was always ¨in my head¨. During the last years I was influenced by artists such as Algar, 047, Malmen, Arcade High, Disasterpeace and others. I felt that there is no big gap between these two.

What equipment do you use in your studio?
I would love to have a room that would be my home studio. Maybe one day! For now I am constraint, spacewise. Everything has to fit on my desk.

I am currently using:
DAW: FL Studio
Headphones: Samson SR850
For synth: Massive from Native Instruments and Serum from Xfer Records
For chipmusic: Chipsounds from Plogue
For ¨input¨: Alesis V49 keyboard, Novation Launchpad pro and… a mouse :)

On your website I can read that you love to play (retro) games? What console and which games are your favorites?
I owned a Nintendo GameBoy, a Sega Master System and an Atari 2600 JR.

My favourite games back in the days were: Tetris, Super Mario Land, Skate Or Die, Smurfs, Sonic the Hedgehog and Jr. PC-Man.

Later, the ¨PC era¨: DOOM, Warcraft, C&C, SimCity 2000, Age of Empires, Dungeon Keeper, Diablo.

Nowadays I still have a GameBoy, but I don’t use it that much. Who knows, maybe I will use LSDj one day (too noob for that now)!

How is the synthwave- and chiptunes scene in your country?
Truth is that I didn’t know anyone from the synthwave scene in Greece until recently.

I was excited to find some Greek synthwave artists on Twitter: Dimi Kaye, Erebus, TZA, IamMANOLIS. For chiptunes, I already knew about “Videogame Orchestra [VGO]” and Chris Christodoulou.

My favourite Polish artists are LukHash, Konrad Celinski, Adrian Kwiatkowski. I am sure there are more and I will find them!

What do you like most about the ´80s?
I can tell you what I miss from the ´80s (and a bit from the ´90s):
  • The movies
  • The cartoons
  • The cassettes and the mixtape concept
  • The VHS tapes and that effect on the video and sound when the tape was getting bad
  • The floppy disks (this is NOT the save icon people) and how I had found a program to force a high density format to fit some kilobytes more and ofc lost all my data sometime later
  • The videogames
  • How the ball in the tennis game in Atari was actually square
  • My 486DX4/100 desktop with the “TURBO” button (I’ve always had the feeling it didn’t actually make any difference)
  • The rotary dial telephone
  • The dialup modem sound to connect to the internet (with amazing speeds)
  • The .XM and .MOD files
  • The “SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 T4” in the AUTOEXEC.BAT
  • The hair metal bands
  • The hair!

And finally, any last words to the synthwave/chiptunes communities?
Thank you for welcoming me. There are so many nice people here! Let’s be supportive and inclusive. Show no tolerance for hate.

Is there some space left for a special shoutout? I would like to make one for these great people:
Baddon, Kemikziel, Tioux79, A.GE, Jacob Calta, Gary Blake, Erebus, Gab Manette, Jetfire Prime, Miles Matrix, Ozzed, C Z A R I N A, Sofaspartan, Techno Mage, Dimi Kaye, Erebus, iamMANOLIS, CAT TEMPER, LukHash, Adrian Kwiatkowski, Alpha Chrome Yayo, Neon Fawkes, Kaarin Zoe Lee, the guys at Nightride FM, cerror, Kind Regime, Nathaniel Wyvern, P R I M O the A L I E N, PXZEL, Dark_Bit_ , MisterMyr, Iterations, Akseli Takanen, Joseph Tomkins, Sonic Gap, SovRin, Synth Redneck, Nuk3z, Casual Boys, Mskra, Andreas Rohdin (MrGamer), LooneyJetman, P.J.J, Endemico, MicroMatscenes, Watch Out For Snakes, The Institute 91’, Holo Ice, Tali Dennerstein.

OK, I guess I should stop now.

Thank you Sander for supporting the scene and for this opportunity!

Je kunt CoolAm7 volgen op:

17 feb. 2020

Interview met Mojave

Mojave is een synthwave producer uit Zuid-Afrika die vorig jaar zijn debuutalbum ¨Odyssey¨ uitbracht. Ik ben heel blij om nu ook iemand van het Afrikaanse continent te kunnen interviewen die onze oren verblijd met mooie synthwave. Tijd voor een interview.

Mojave is a synthwave producer from South Africa who released his debut album "Odyssey" last year. I am very happy to be able to interview someone from the African continent, who is delighting our ears with beautiful synthwave. Time for an interview.


Mojave, can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Mojave, a South African music producer who enjoys exploring different genres. I’ve been working on this Mojave project for almost four years now and I’m glad to say it’s made some progress over the years. The philosophy behind this project is mostly based on the Mojave Desert which is “You’ll never know what you’re going to find here”. This idea has allowed me to explore many genres and to let my fans know that they won’t solely expect synthwave from me.

Last you you debuted with the album ¨Odyssey¨ and two singles Low Resolution and NEON TERROR. How was it to work on these releases?
I had the most fun on ¨Odyssey¨! It started out with me just making sounds and playing some keys on my MIDI keyboard and that’s how the whole album was made. I’d make a sound. Play it. Quantize it, keep the mistakes in to give it character then put on a movie in the background on mute to see how it affects the feel of the scene. Low Resolution was my very first synthwave track which I made out of the blue. It was even before I was part of the community (and when my mixing was poor). I’d say this one was very fun. My little brother was in the room when I made it and he called it “very spacey”. NEON TERROR just came out of nowhere. All I can remember from making that song was that it was 4AM when I finished the skeleton of the track. It was one of those IN THE ZONE moments.

When you compare NEON TERROR and ¨Odyssey¨, there is a big difference in sound. What motivated you to make the single NEON TERROR?
After I put out Odyssey I started to get a bad case of writers block. To me every song I made that came after Odyssey sounded like a B-side and it was at that point I thought about taking a break from synthwave and put out other genres of music. Before NEON TERROR I had released three avant-garde synthwave songs on my sound cloud which were FACE HUGGER, PEACE KEEPER and PHANTASM and they received a pretty decent reception. Like all those tracks NEON TERROR started with two parts. The melodic haunting synthwave part and the chaotic bass parts. I had my spark back and it made me happy. I have to admit I was very reluctant at the time to release it because to me “IT DIDN’T SOUND LIKE SYNTHWAVE, IT SOUNDED LIKE DUDE-BRO MUSIC DURING A SCI-FI PHASE” and I was expecting a low reception but now NEON TERROR is sitting at over 900 plays on my SoundCloud. I can’t wait to see how it handles on other platforms.

What are your plans for this year?
I have an EP coming out in March this year. It’s sort of an in-between sequel to ¨Odyssey¨ based around a fictional magazine in the Odyssey universe. I’ve almost finished with my first pop album, so now I’m just looking for vocalists and I’ve got something more experimental for my hip-hop/trap fans coming near the end of the year. I also plan on working on lyrical writing and improve on my piano playing.

What equipment do you use in your studio?
I have a Sanchez 61-Key MIDI keyboard which takes up most of my workspace haha. I use Ableton live and in the box synths. My all-time favourites are Synth 1 and the PG-8X Vst with a bit of Sylenth 1 and Ableton’s Operator. I tend to lean towards Free synths and stock plugins because someday I want to have a break down video on one of my tracks and show new producers that you don’t need all these insanely priced VSTs to make good music and it’s good to be different from the herd. The NEON TERROR Bass shots were all completely made with Sylenth 1 because I knew most Bass Heavy producer’s leaned towards Serum or Massive and I guess I wanted to be a rebel. The spacey starting melody on NEON TERROR was made with a free VST called PG-8X which is based on the Roland JX-8P! Check it out.

What other musicians do inspire you?
Too many to count! Daft Punk’s ¨Discovery¨ album is what inspired me to pursue music and take it very seriously. The moment I heard that album I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Before that album my musical tastes only consisted on New-Wave and movie soundtracks. I’d say one of my many inspirations would be New Order, Tears for Fears, The Human League, Com Truise, Boards of Canda, Daft Punk and movie soundtracks (such as the Indiana Jones theme) as well as The Pointer Sisters.

How is the synthwave scene in South Africa?
I’m not sure there is one. At least not in my home town but I’m hoping to change that! South Africa is currently in a Techno/Psytrance/Tech-house and Hip-Hop boom, but I like it because while everybody else is doing that I’m in my room doing something very different and I hope that someday it’ll compete with those other scenes.

What do you like most about the ´80s?
Honestly the fashion and music. The clothes were iconic. You could recognise Marty Mcfly’s Nikeys and his red jacket a mile away, Michael Jackson’s Thriller Jacket, Yuppie fashion or that classic Madonna haircut. Miami Vice is the reason why I never took off my school blazer from the 4th-12th grade. It made me feel cool. In my opinion Goth/Emo fashion was at its best back then. It had a sort of dark New Romantic essence to it. The music on the other hand is without a doubt the pinnacle of all music. It was at a point were music was just filled with so much passion. Nothing seemed cookie cutter and it all had character. Head Over Heels by Tears For Fears, Gold by Spandau Ballet, Let’s Dance by David Bowie, 1999 by Prince. The synergy of music and fashion back then was just a way of saying “We know the world can be scary and uncertain so just put on your Walkman, put on your blazer or Zeppelin T-shirt and just forget for a while”.

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
I wanna thank every last one of you for accepting me as one of your own. Other communities seem to be in it for themselves but not the synthwave community. They’ll treat you like family there so you’re in good hands! To all my #Synthfam I say keep changing the norm and don’t be afraid to add a dash of ´80s to other genre’s and never stop putting out stuff even if it’s as weird as a cat screaming slowed down to 60bpm. You’ll never know what will happen!

Je kunt Mojave volgen op:

16 feb. 2020

Gratis concert van Carbon Killer en We Are Magonia in Dordrecht

Op 7 maart 2020 geven Carbon Killer en We Are Magonia een gratis concert in Door te Dordrecht. De avond wordt gepresenteerd door RED-EYED MACHINE.

Een geweldig nieuw event vindt er binnenkort plaats in Dordrecht. Na eerder Magic Sword te hebben verwelkomd, komen nu uit Frankrijk de darksynth acts Carbon Killer en We Are Magonia.

De entree is gratis dus kom in grote getale langs en steun Carbon Killer, We Are Magonia en natuurlijk de host RED-EYED MACHINE.

12 feb. 2020

Interview met Void Stare

Van zanger in een metalband tot darksynth producer. Dat is de stap die Void Stare een aantal jaren geleden heeft gemaakt. Het heeft geleid tot het prachtige debuutalbum ¨Zero One¨. Hoe hij dit heeft gedaan? Dat lees je hier in dit interview.

From singer in a metal band to darksynth producer. That is the step Void Stare made a few years ago. It led to the beautiful debut album "Zero One". How did he do this? You can read that and more here in this interview.

Void Stare

Void Stare, can you please introduce yourself?
I'm Void Stare, an Australian singer/darksynth producer. I work across several different music projects, but of most interest to your readers will be my new project Void Stare - which is a darksynth solo project that is probably best characterised by my love of Cyberpunk pop-culture, atmospheric music, and my self-taught throat singing style.

Outside of Void Stare my most well-known project is Spire, an ambient black metal band that has been kicking for over a decade now. It was through Spire that I developed my throat singing style, which is a prevalent feature there too.

I've also been in and around metal bands for over 20 years now, usually solely as a singer and vocalist, but for Void Stare I have stepped into the role of musician, producer, and engineer! It’s been an amazing ride picking up the skills needed to pull this off (and I still have a long road ahead). These skills have culminated in my debut album ¨Zero One¨, which has just dropped! If you’re into sinister darksynth, you’ll probably dig it!

How do you look back at 2019?
As a scholar of all things music theory, production, and engineering! While I’ve been in bands for much of my life, I’ve rarely taken the time to seriously approach these skills. So, most of 2018/2019 were spent using literally every spare moment I had on learning anything I could about music. I read books, watched an endless stream of YouTube videos, blogs, looking over project files of other artists (this is a good opportunity to give a big THANK YOU to all the music theory and music production content creators out there, your service is priceless), and tons and tons of playing around with Synths (I love DIVA) and anything else I could load up in the DAW. This culminated in getting the album finished right towards the end of 2019.

What are your plans for this year?
Up until now it has been connecting with the amazing Synth community out there and (with their support) getting my album heard by as many folks as possible (also a huge thank you to all the amazing artist promotion platforms out there looking after us!). That said I haven’t stopped constantly tinkering and writing new material, I already have a ton of new songs in production, and plan on releasing a second album this year.

I’m also for the first time ever are working on collaborations with other artists. It’s a real honour to have other established artists interested in working with a total newbie, and I’m really looking forward to working with and learning from others.

My dream goal for the year is to get ¨Zero One¨ released on vinyl as this is my preferred listening medium.

Talking about your debut album ¨Zero One¨, what can you tell us about this album?
Overall Zero One is the result of an absolute love of cyberpunk, and atmospheric and dark music. The album is a pretty stylistically diverse collection of darksynth songs which range from banging foot stompers, to haunting ambience. Most tracks have some form of singing on them, many with my throat singing, but a few also feature melodies or metal style screams. Conceptually the album comes from my long-standing love of sci-fi popular culture, Cyberpunk in particular. As I wrote each song, I imagined a famous passage or scene from a Cyberpunk book or movie I’m a fan of. To my mind the album is quite cinematic, though the tracks still generally fit within a traditional song-based structure.

What equipment do you use in your studio?
I wish I could list off a ton of killer ´80s and modern hardware synths, but I’m not wealthy enough for that kind of gear. Rather I work totally in the box (Ableton Live), using a midi controller to play. Primarily I use DIVA as my soft synth of choice, it’s just such a beautiful sounding synth with near endless possibilities and combinations (though it’s a total fucking CPU pig). Otherwise I make some use of Serum (who doesn’t) particularly for crunchy/neuro sounding bass patches, Kontakt for instruments like Grand Piano and Orchestral drums, a little TAL-U-NO-LX for those super classic synth sounds, and a ton of other bits and pieces which I’ve played around with. However, I’m increasingly finding myself always reaching for DIVA, there’s not much it can’t do, particularly in combination with a ton of FX on top. I’ve also just picked up Arturia’s V collection which also has a ton of mind-blowing synths.

What other musicians do inspire you?
This is a somewhat difficult question to answer, because simply put - LOTS. I spent much of my youth only listening to extreme metal. But as I’ve aged, I’ve developed a taste for pretty much any style of music. That said there are some key artists who I am in total awe of. Ulver from Norway are probably the band I’ve followed the most closely for several decades, their ability to constantly shift in style and genre and still deliver amazing music never ceases to amaze me. Chelsea Wolfe is another massive inspiration; she is another artist who can switch things up constantly yet always keep it interesting. Black metal band Ruins of Beverast is also massively inspiring. In the EDM/Synth world I’d have to say my biggest inspirations are Robot Koch, Forest Swords, Throwing Snow, Ital Tek, Perturbator (no surprises there, Kent’s fingerprints are all over my style) and Daniel Deluxe. Not to mention the 1000’s of other artists I dig across the worlds of hip-hop, metal, jazz, folk, ambient, rock etc. etc. etc...

How is the synthwave scene in Australia?
I honestly have no idea. I’m from a pretty quiet part of the country with little to no music scene of any kind let alone something as niche as synthwave. I’ve connected with a few Aussie artists over social media, so there’s clearly something going on here :-).

What do you like most about the ´80s?
Cyberpunk!!! Since I was a kid I’ve always loved and consumed anything related to Cyberpunk culture. The aesthetic, the grime, the anti-corporate and dystopian precautionary tales, AI running worlds, Cyber-orcs hacking into the matrix! I love this stuff! I dig comics like Judge Dredd, old Anime like Cybercity OEDO 808, authors like Gibson, old video games (Shadowrun on the SNES is pretty much the best game ever created imho). None of this is possible without the ´80s and it’s amazing seeing this stuff become popular again.

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
Thank you!!! Only through the support of other artists, content creators such as yourself, and dedicated fans have I been able to get this stuff out there and into people’s ears. I’ve truly been shocked by how supportive and welcoming the community has been to a total newbie like myself and only hope I can pass the kindness along to other new and established artists. Thank you all and keep doing what you’re doing!

Je kunt Void Stare volgen op: