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25 jul. 2021

Interview met ELYXIR

ELYXIR staat aan de vooravond van haar debuut single. Een spannende dag als je het mij vraagt, maar ik kan haar geruststellen. Het nummer Mother Mania is geweldig en zal vele mensen bekoren over de hele wereld. Neem dat maar van mij aan. Dames en heren, ik presenteer u vanuit het verre Australië deze powervrouw met als artiestennaam ELYXIR!

ELYXIR is on the eve of her debut single. An exciting day if you ask me, but I can reassure her. The song Mother Mania is great and will charm many people all over the world. Take that from me. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you from faraway Australia this power woman with the stage name ELYXIR!

ELYXIR

ELYXIR, can you please introduce yourself?
Hey there! I'm ELYXIR, and I am a fresh new Retrowave artist from Melbourne Australia on the scene. So far, I've experienced nothing but love from the synthwave and retrowave communities, it's been absolutely magical connecting with passionate music lovers like yourself!

On July 28th you will release your debut original single called Mother Mania (produced by Neilio from the UK). I cannot say enough how much I love this powerful track. What was the idea behind this song?
Neilio actually connected with me through a mutual producer a number of months ago, asking if I would be interested in collaborating on a track that he thought my voice would sit well on. I asked him to send it over and see if I vibed with it, and I instantly connected with the track (even in its bare bones structure of the time) from the first listen. For me, I spent many days listening to the track and playing around with the melody, particularly in my car which is where a lot of my melodic magic happens. I often just put the recorder on and play the song over and over and sing various melodies or lyrics, and then something will just click for me and I'll scream into my recorder "that that's the idea, that the direction" and then away I go! For this one, I had all the melody first, it came very strongly to me. I really wanted to make sure I had the lyrics right for the main chorus hook, so I played around with a lot of ideas. When I landed on "mo-mother, mo-mother mania" I knew I had it, and so I sat and pondered about why that popped into my brain. The more I dug, the more I realised that I really felt frustrated that in today's society so many of the so-called "institutions" (cough social media cough) and people around us who put out a perception that they love, care and support us, are often the ones to fail us and hurt us most. I loved how the term "mother mania" represented a bit of a contradiction that aligned with this concept- the nurturing, caring, loving "mother" and the chaotic, destructive "mania". Once I had cemented this idea in my brain, the rest of the lyrics flew out of me in about 15 minutes! I sent it over to Neilio to check that he vibed with it, and he was so happy with every part of it, which was such a relief for me because I was really cemented on the concept and the topline. The rest is history!

How was it to work with Neilio on Mother Mania?
It's been an absolute joy working with Neilio. He's an immensely gifted guitarist and composer. He takes things in different directions than I normally would, which makes us a really good team. For example, how the key changes at the end of the song then reverts back into the original key without feeling like a second key change is just genius to me, and I would never have come up with that. He has great communication skills, and we've become really good friends over the course of the collaboration. There will be a lot more in store for the 2 of us- we are already working on new music together, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Red Manor Records will release your new track. Can we expect a physical release?
I can't spare too many details, but what I can tell you is that the track has been picked up for one of their compilation releases, so fans will have to stay tuned until I can officially announce all the details of when are where!

ELYXIR

Can you share some of your plans for this year with us?
I'm very busy writing and collaborating with a vast range of producers in the synthwave/retrowave scene, so that will most likely mean a new release every 6-8 weeks for me well into the new year, which I'm sure will make my fans very happy! I'm also in the process of building the world for my debut album- I have a dream of releasing a 9 track album for physical release on Vinyl, CD and Cassettes. How I am going to go about doing that, I'm not 100% sure yet, but I am doing a lot of world building and inspiration, pulling song ideas and concepts together. I'll also spend the rest of the year building my presence within social media and the synthwave community through lots of conversations, supporting other artist releases, and maybe will do a live show in Melbourne at some point as well!

When was your first encounter with synthwave music?
I've been a massive fan of synthwave from the ´80s since I was a child. ´80s music is just so amazing in its construction, and I also find a lot of ´80s synthwave music to be bombastic and flamboyant in style, and that is so reflective of who I am as a person. So when I discovered a number of years ago that there was a genre of modern music that emulated and took inspiration from ´80s music, I was overjoyed and really excited. I've been so busy over the last 5 years toplining for various music industries all over the world, that it didn't leave much room for me to just enjoy new music as a listener rather than a creator, as I was always songwriting and recording like mad. Now that I've found more balance in my life over this past year, it's given me more time to really enjoy music as a listener, and I've found myself gravitating back to the ´80s and to the modern synthwave scene.


Who are your influences?
I have plenty of different influences for different reasons. I'm influenced by (and a huge admirer of) the current veteran crop of synthwave and retrowave female artists, such as Roxi Drive, Jessie Frye, PRIZM, Primo, Dana Jean Phoenix, Megan McDuffee, etc. These girls are doing amazing stuff, I wish it got more recognition in the scene as it is a really heavily male dominated music culture, but I feel like the waves are growing for the ladies. In terms of my music itself, and the way I write, I'm definitely influenced by some ´80s classic songwriters, such as Elton John, Billie Joel, Bryan Adams, Bonnie Tyler, Belinda Carlisle, Stevie Nicks, The Eurythmics, etc. Lady Gaga oddly is also a huge influence of mine, mainly for how dramatic and creative she gets with her melodies and lyrics! So it's a wide and varied list!

In my interviews I always ask the artist/producer if they can describe the synthwave scene in their country or city. So for you ;-), what are your thoughts on the synthwave scene in Australia?
I actually don't know a whole lot about the scene in Australia to be perfectly honest. The Australian music scene and industry is a really strange culture. I've been working behind the scenes for so long in the music industry overseas, that I've not really done a whole lot in Australia. It's one of those things where it feels like it's hardest to break out in your own country so you go where the opportunities lie, and for me that's been overseas! What I do know is that there is a handful of great synthwave groups and acts spread out across Australia that I've started connecting with, and some really cool live show tours that come through yearly, also there seems to be a lot of synthwave fans in Australia who love to listen to synthwave, and a huge vinyl community! I'm hoping that over time I can really source and connect with the community here, it will just take a bit of time to really find them! If you're reading this and you're from Australia, please connect with me and come and say hi!

What is your favorite movie of the ´80s and why?
Hands down, Back To The Future. No question. That movie is one of my favourite movies, period. It is incredible, the soundtrack is insanely good. It's comedic, clever, emotional, the whole works. Absolutely love it, and always will!

And finally any last words to the synthwave community?
I just want to say that I am so excited to get to know you all, and feel so welcomed into the community. It's been such a joy so far, talking to people, collaborating with other artists, connecting over all sorts of things, from synthwave music, to pizza, to sharing pics of our pets. It really brings warmth and goodness into my soul, and I hope to continue to grow with the community, and I hope that they enjoy my music and find meaning and purpose within it- whether it's having a boogie, or connecting emotionally to a lyric. This is just the very beginning for me, and I'm so excited to be here.

Je kunt ELYXIR volgen op:

16 jun. 2021

Recensie: Kitty Hate Machine van Cat Temper

Bij elk nieuw album wat de Amerikaanse producer Cat Temper uitbrengt, verkent hij nieuwe dimensies binnen de elektronische muziek. Het is niet alleen synthwave wat je hoort, maar meer een bonte verzameling van electro, chiptune, techno, synthwave en knarsende gitaren. Zo ook op zijn recentelijk verschenen album ¨Kitty Hate Machine¨, met (je raadt het al) een knipoog naar verschillende nummers van Nine Inch Nails.

Kitty Hate Machine van Cat Temper

Op Kitty Hate Machine heeft Mike Langlie aka Cat Temper zijn apparaten weer flink laten zweten. Het resultaat zijn acht interessante nummers, vol complexe structuren en donkere melodieën. Net als bij de muziek van industrial legendes Nine Inch Nails, is dit een album om je bij uit te leven. Bij de eerste tonen van The Meoward Spiral word je op een reis meegenomen op de rug van een furieuze kattenmachine, die met niets en niemand rekening houdt. Grommende leads en scherpe synths verwennen je oren een klein half uur lang. 

Favoriete nummers voor mij persoonlijk op dit album zijn: The Meoward Spiral, Pet You Like An Animal en Purest Feline.

Conclusie

De muziek van Cat Temper volg ik al enige jaren met grote interresse. Telkens wanneer Cat Temper een nieuw muzikaal concept uitbrengt, weet je dat het de grenzen van het synthwave genre weer flink gaat verleggen. Cat Temper is een muzikaal genie, die alles kan. Met ¨Kitty Hate Machine¨ verkent hij de donkere kant met een een kneiterhard elektronisch album. Welke richting hij de volgende keer opgaat is nog een raadsel, maar het kan zo maar een lief knuffelend poesje worden waar je hart meteen van gaat smelten.


30 mei 2021

Recensie: The Outlands (negative one) van Reed Reimer

Vorig jaar brachten Reed Reimer en Benjamin Emory Larson CodeBurst: A Cyberpunk Soundtrack uit. Een heel gaaf visueel en muzikaal project voorzien van een spannend sci-fi verhaal en bijbehorende soundtrack. Afgelopen vrijdag verscheen er een nieuw album van Reed Reimer met als titel The Outlands: negative one. Het is de soundtrack van een niet bestaande side-scrolling RPG game.

The Outlands (negative one) van Reed Reimer

The Outlands vertelt het verhaal van een jonge vrouw (Sorca) die ontdekt dat haar familie haar hele leven een geheim voor haar heeft verborgen. Nu ze weet dat er iets anders is, staat ze op het punt een avontuur te beginnen, met groot gevaar, om de ware aard van het familiegeheim te onthullen. The Outlands: negative one vertegenwoordigt de soundtrack voor fase 1 van het spel. In een land van kou en water staat Sorca voor uitdagingen en vijanden die haar ofwel zullen doden, ofwel haar zullen helpen groeien in haar macht.

Op de soundtrack staan elf nummers die bestaan uit verschillende stijlen; van ambient tot chiptune tot synthwave en metal. De diversiteit is dus groot en dat maakt dit een interessant album. Maar je hebt wel een aardige verbeelding nodig om de water-wereld aan de muziek te kunnen koppelen. En dat betekent er dus rustig voor gaan zitten, je ogen sluiten en je het level voorstellen waarin Sorca zich bevindt.


Lukt dit, dan onderga je een bijzondere trip. The Outlands: negative one is de eerste soundtrack van een in totaal 5-delige serie die naast water verder bestaat uit de elementen vuur, lucht, aarde en geest.

Conclusie

The Outlands: negative one is wederom een interessante soundtrack van Reed Reimer naast het vorig jaar verschenen CodeBurst: A Cyberpunk Soundtrack. Een album vol verschillende stijlen die je meenemen in de (eerste) wereld van Sorca. Het zal misschien niet meteen heel toegankelijk klinken, maar als je het de tijd geeft en de wil om je in te leven in de game, zul je een mooie tijd beleven. Vier nieuwe releases staan nog op de planning en ik ben benieuwd hoe Reed Reimer deze delen muzikaal gaat invullen. Liefhebbers van indie-games en indie-soundtracks zullen The Outlands: negative one zeker waarderen. Geef het dus een kans!

23 mei 2021

Interview met Daytona Dreaming

Daytona Dreaming is een van oorsprong Deense synthwave producer, die al jaren in Dubai woont. Vanuit deze plaats maakt Daytona Dreaming nieuwe muziek en draagt hij zijn steentje bij aan de lokale synthwave scène. Zijn nieuwste single Electric Voyager is recentelijk uitgekomen op het Italiaanse label RetroReverbRecords. Tijd voor een kennismaking, tijd voor een interview!

Daytona Dreaming is originally a Danish synthwave producer, who lives in Dubai for many years. From this place Daytona Dreaming makes new music and contributes to the local synthwave scene. His latest single Electric Voyager has recently been released on the Italian label RetroReverbRecords. So time for an introduction, time for an interview!

Daytona Dreaming

Daytona Dreaming can you please introduce yourself?
Hi there! I am synthwave artist based in Dubai. I am originally from Copenhagen, Denmark but have lived in Dubai for about 8 years now. I started making electronic music back in the ´80s as a teenager on an Amiga 500 and the Atari ST, and I had a couple synths as well, the most fancy one being the ESQ1. It wasn’t any good though and it was too hard to make anything that sounded nearly as good as what is possible today. But my enthusiasm for synths and electronic music has stayed with me and I have been involved in music production on and off since then. The synth music that I grew up with has always had a special place in my heart, and a couple of years back I decided I wanted to start creating that music again, and become part of the synthwave scene. Before I joined the RRR team, I was part of a synthwave collective here in Dubai called Trespasser Audio. There is not much left of it, but we managed to support each other and promote each other for quite a while.

Your latest track “Electric Voyager” released this month on RetroReverbRecords. What was the idea behind the track?
The intro part and the A piece had been lying around for a while, when I finally decided to try to make a complete track of it. For some reason that part reminded me of old NASA-USSR space flight documentaries and I decided I would use that as an inspiration. From that came the sort of more ‘triumphant’ sounding B piece. The track was originally called Endless Voyager, but while recording it, my Roland JX-3P started sending electric current through the casing to the point where it was quite painful. So I renamed the track ‘Electric Voyager’ and added the sound effects in the breakdown to resemble electricity.


Can you share some of your plans for this year for us?
Right now I am working on an EP which will lead to a full album later in the year. The EP is based around a concept where ‘Mona Daytona’ (the foxy lady on the Electric Voyager cover) will be the main character. I am also trying to incorporate some more ‘orchestral’ or ‘cinematic’ elements into my music without losing the ‘synthwave’ focus.

When was your first encounter with synthwave music?
If you ignore the ´80s synth music I grew up with, it would probably be while watching Drive around the time it came out. Nicolas belonged to a group of now famous Danish producers who made some really interesting movies, and I used to watch them all. The music immediately resonated with me, having been a big fan of synth music since my childhood.

Who are your influences?
There are quite a few. I grew up in a very musical family, and particularly my dad is very passionate about music. So I grew up as a kid in the mid-70s hearing early Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd, the first Jean-Michel Jarre albums and a lot of other experimental stuff that came out at that time. For some reason the sound of synths resonated with me very deeply, and by the time I entered my teens the whole synth-pop explosion happened…I feel very fortunate!. I got into all the stuff with Depeche Mode probably being my biggest inspiration. These guys were really ground-breaking back then and at the forefront of electronic music. But also some of the harder industrial acts such as Front 242, Frontline Assembly, Nitzer EBB has meant a lot to me. Gary Numan and some of Vince Clarke’s stuff was great as well.

You live in Dubai. How is the synthwave scene in this city?
What Synthwave Scene?...if there is one, I haven’t found it yet. That’s a bit of a joke by the way. Of course there are people here that are into the scene, but there is no real community around it. The main electronic scene here is more focused on House, EDM and Lounge/Chill stuff, which is why I am trying to be a bit of an Ambassador for the genre. We got everything here to make the scene thrive, including a pretty ‘futuristic’ looking backdrop, fancy cars and a vibrating club scene. I would love to set up a synthwave event here but I guess we need to get to the other side of the pandemic first.

Dubai (picture by Daytona Dreaming)

If you can mention one artist/producer to make a track together, who would that be?
Wow...that is a hard question. I already mentioned a few acts that had a big impact on me so they would be obvious candidates but also very unlikely. I would love to work with a vocalist or a couple of vocalists from within the genre, as I got an ever increasing number of tracks that I think would sound great with vocals.

When you start on a track, how do you usually start?
It depends. I do not have a set way of making a track, and try on purpose not to follow too much of a formula so as to not repeat myself. But what usually happens is that when I have a musical idea or chord sequence, I tend to quite quickly work out what part that should belong to in track, and from there I map out the entire track structure in my DAW. I got sort of 4 basic song templates that I apply depending on the musical ideas I got and each has a couple of ‘operational rules’ associated with them. For example, If I got a really great sounding intro, I will use that again in the break down. If I use the same chord structure throughout the track, I will try to introduce some variation such as a solo part or mid-8 with another chord structure after the breakdown. If I follow a more a traditional A/B pop-structure, I will probably add some form of interlude rather than a breakdown. Most importantly, I am always looking for contrasts between my sections and I always attempt to do things a bit differently from the last time.


What is your favourite movie of the ´80s and why?
Well, I have always been a huge Star Wars fan, so the first trilogy would probably be at the top. I would love to make an album that sounds, like those movies looked. Don’t know if that makes sense. Of course Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s fire and a lot of the ‘brat pack’ movies have quite a nostalgic value to me as well.

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
Now and again you hear people say that synthwave is dead. I think that’s a load of tosh. I think the scene is a lot more exciting today than it was a couple of years ago, and there are so many sub-genres emerging, and a lot vocal-led music as well that is really great. I think the enthusiasm and the energy of the fans is deeply inspiring, and it places a responsibility on us artists to keep pushing the genre forward so it can stay relevant and vibrant. I think the biggest challenge is to find a balance between being inspired by the past and then creating something new and original.

Je kunt Daytona Dreaming volgen op: