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17 sep. 2020

Interview met Miles Matrix

Miles Matrix is terug, met zijn tweede album van dit jaar. Gisteren uitgebracht en nog vers van de pers. Met ¨Silicon Valley¨ horen en voelen we zijn visie op deze hightech regio in Californië. Een album wat weer hoge ogen gaat gooien in vele eindejaarslijstjes. Tijd voor een interview!

Miles Matrix is back with his second album this year. It was released on yesterday and still fresh. With "Silicon Valley" we hear and feel his vision of this high-tech region in California. An album that will once again attract attention in many year-end lists. Time for an interview!

Miles Matrix

Miles, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I'm Miles Matrix, a 38 year old producer based in Vienna who dabbles in electronic music on the more retro side of the spectrum. Started with Synthwave, but branching out a bit now in terms of influences. But all in all pretty much retro and definitely synthwave adjacent.

Congratulations with your latest album "Silicon Valley". What was the idea behind this album?
Since the majority of my music is instrumental, working with a theme gives me a creative framework. Not only in terms of song titles or art, but also in regards to atmosphere, vibe, etc. The theme somehow just came to me. Basically, the title of the EP, "Silicon Valley", was there first, and I extrapolated the idea from there. I wanted to blend the utopian visions we connected with the valley twenty years ago with the capitalist hellscape it has become, plus the influence it has had on culture, be it work or pop culture. Obviously not every detail is reflected in the finished EP, but that's basically the thought process behind it. We start out with the founder-centric, ego driven startup mentality in the first song "I'm SEO, Bit" (a little pun based on Zuckerberg's infamous business card), create some hope with the second song "City of Business Angels" and then end with destroyed dreams in the last song, "Vaporware". The last one is my favorite song actually. One of the most reduced tunes I've created productionwise.

In June you released "French Riviera", a very chill and relaxing album. Perfect for the summer. What things did you do differently on "Silicon Valley" compared with "French Riviera"?
To be honest, they're not too different from each other. On a meta level, "Silicon Valley" is a sequel to "French Riviera". Thematically they're obviously world's apart, but the creative process was pretty much the same. I would like to think that Silicon Valley's vibe is also still quite chill, albeit thematically a bit more chilling.

Both records continue a process I started with "Androids Anonymous", something you might be able to call "method writing" or what you used to call a concept album. It works pretty well for me. It leaves enough space for creative exploration but offers a guard rail and orientation. I don't know, maybe it's helpful because I'm autistic and structures, routines are very important for me.

Also, "Silicon Valley" was the result of a challenge I set myself. I challenged myself to finish an EP in seven days. 5 tracks with one track per day, plus a day for mixing / mastering and then artwork. It took a day longer than expected because I spent more time on mastering (mixing is something that is always already part of the production process for me) but in general I finished the challenge and I'm quite happy with the result.

The biggest difference probably is that I branched out stylistically much more on "Silicon Valley". The first song is basically vaporwavish synthwave mixed with a UK Garage beat, music I listened a lot to around the millennium. The second song explores Explosions in the Sky territory, very cinematic. The third one is straight up funk, I'd say, with the last songs leaving Synthwave / Retrowave territory entirely.

You are based in Vienna. Can you tell us something about the music scene please?
To be honest, I don't hang out with many artists, but then again I don't hang out with people a lot in general. But what I can say is that Vienna has a very vibrant scene. Some of the biggest names right now are probably Bilderbuch, Mavi Phoenix, Voodoo Jürgens and Ankathie Koi plus a host of rappers who are very successful in german-language Europe. But there are many other great unknown bands to watch out for, for example Crush with their indie hit "Twist and shout" or Dramas with "Undercover Dreamers".

What other synthwave producers from Austria do we need to keep an eye on?
Well, I think Powernerd needs no introduction anymore, but if you don't know him yet, check them out. One of the best synthwave artists out there.

What are your other plans for this year?
Not sure really. Have a couple of ideas for new songs, let's see what works out. I think I'll be definitely releasing something this year.

What musicians do inspire you?
Aw man, difficult question, that can really change on a daily basis. I'm inspired by a lot of music, not always a particular musician. But artists I always return to are for example The Crystal Method. I love everything they do and they're a huge inspiration for me.

What equipment do you use in your studio?
Right now I have a setup with Native Instruments Maschine MK3. My records so far have mostly been produced in Garageband on my laptop. I am not a trained musician, I can't play the piano or anything, so I love the Maschine MK3 because it lets me jam and really streamlines my production (plus it will make it easier to translate songs to a live performance). I also use the Maschine software. I know many don't like it but I find it to be really cool.

Retro gaming is hot! Are you a gamer and what are some of your favorite games?
I think calling myself a gamer would stretch it too far, but I do like gaming. I've spent quite some time in Valorant this year, but also with indie games like Islanders. A game I'm really enjoying right now is Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun. I also create games myself sometimes. My last one was Dungeons & Deadlines for which I also produced a soundtrack.

Which book should everyone read to your opinion?
My favourite books are the ones in the Cartel series from Don Winslow. Another good book I recommend is Trust me I'm lying from Ryan Holiday and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Trust me I'm lying from Ryan Holiday

What do you like most about the ´80s?
The world was far from being perfect back then what with the Cold War, Thatcherism and of course much more inequality than today. But it was also a less complex time. Social Media can be great, and for me as an autistic it has definitely helped in many regards, but presently I think the cons outweigh the pros. So that's why I think many from my generation and older like to return there on a little nostalgia trip. The music of the ´80s is amazing, as were many of the movies. So it's basically the entertainment from that era I like best.

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
Thank you very much for all the support you've extended to me. It's really helped me grow as an artist and I enjoy being part of it.

Je kunt Miles Matrix volgen op: 

11 sep. 2020

Verborgen parels: Swayze, BVSMV en Bronster Bridge

Wekelijks worden er veel nieuwe synthwave albums uitgebracht. Het is dan ook lastig om alles in de gaten te houden. In de rubriek ¨Verborgen parels¨ laat ik je kennismaken met singles/albums die recentelijk zijn verschenen en zeker de moeite waard zijn om te beluisteren.

Verborgen parels van de synthwave muziek

The Beginning van Swayze

Wat krijg je als je Synthwave en Modern Funk met elkaar een kindje maken? Juist, dan krijg je Synth Funk. En dan noem je het kind vanaf het begin (oftewel The Beginning): Swayze. Gefeliciteerd, je hebt het beste Synth Funk album van dit jaar gevonden. Boordevol funk, soul, synths en lekker zangwerk. Hiervan blijf je dansen tot in de late uurtjes...

Escapism van BVSMV

Een nieuw huzarenstukje geleverd door Bryan Kraft van Triplicate Records. Want dat is ¨Escapism¨. Een pracht album vol met rustgevende, dromerige synthwave. Perfect om je hoofd bij te legen na een drukke dag.

Dissolve Into Sunset van Bronster Bridge

Met dit nieuwe album van de Russische synthwave producer Bronster Bridge kunnen we de laatste zonsondergang van deze zomer tegemoet rijden. Ultieme retrowave/outrun met fantastische muzikale bijdrages van onder andere MicroMatscenes. Luister daarnaast ook nog naar ¨Made In Space¨, het album wat Bronster Bridge eerder dit jaar uitbracht via Future 80's Records.

10 sep. 2020

Interview met Gyan Rosling

Debuteren op het vermaarde Burning Witches Records is niet voor iedereen weggelegd. Wel voor Conor Loughran aka Gyan Rosling, die met zijn album ´EMBRACE´ prachtige melodieuze en emotionele synthwave heeft gemaakt. Een waar genot om naar te luisteren. Bijzonder vereerd ben ik dan ook, dat ik nu naast Hunter Complex een tweede muzikant mag interviewen van dit geweldige label.

Debuting on the renowned Burning Witches Records is not for everyone. Well for Conor Loughran aka Gyan Rosling who made beautiful melodic and emotional synthwave with his album 'EMBRACE'. A true pleasure to listen to. I am therefore particularly honored to be able to interview a second musician from this great label in addition to Hunter Complex.

Gyan Rosling

Conor, can you please introduce yourself?
I’m 24 and produce synthwave music under the guise of ‘Gyan Rosling’. I’m originally from Ireland but moved to Edinburgh for work. I was always very interested in music growing up and was exposed to all genres of music at an early age by my Dad. I attended my first concert at 7, which was R.E.M. I began playing music at the age of 13 and eventually got into production at around 16, initially I made tracks trying to emulate the likes of Justice and Daft Punk. Not long after I became familiar with Ed Banger Records and then eventually Kavinsky and the Valerie Collective. The first track I made was in 2012 on FL Studio, but even then the ubiquitous Polysix bass sound was present in some tracks and very much in the realm of synthwave. My primary focus has definitely been the Gyan Rosling project but I also have a love for house and disco as well as ambient and rap. I have produced tracks in those genres and have played out a handful of times as a DJ, which I enjoy immensely.

Congratulations with your debut album ‘EMBRACE’. I think it's an amazing job that you did and I hope many people will agree with me. What can you tell us about your album?
Thank you very much! I am incredibly happy to have it finally out. The first track RESET acted as the catalyst, which was actually an old forgotten project that I started 3 years ago but after going back and reworking it I felt I could produce songs with a common theme which lead to the rest of the tracks coming together. It was the first collection of tracks I felt had an over arcing mood. The concept was an instrumental album that could act as a personal soundtrack to a late night drive or journey; while still being melodic and somewhat akin to the synthwave sound people are familiar with.

Your album is released by Burning Witches Records. How did you end up working together with this great label?
I became familiar with Burning Witches Records through listening to tracks by the excellent Deadly Avenger, with several of his releases being put out on vinyl through the label. It was the calibre of artists they have worked with as well as their passion for physical releases and professionalism that made me want to be involved. They have a very devout fan base, their vinyl subscription service is a great idea not to mention every release is incredible and unique in it’s own way. I sent a demo to them a few months ago and heard back the same day! I was very excited to hear that they were interested and wanted to work with me.

How would you describe your sound?
I make progressive and melodic retro-wave inspired electronic music. When I’m producing I imagine scoring a soundtrack to a film that doesn’t exist, maybe akin to particular scenes from the emblematic ‘Drive’, for me it encapsulates an atmosphere and aesthetic which I find most exciting within film, music and video games. Consequently, I draw from this as a primary influence, aiming to replicate some of that essence with my music.

You are based in Edinburgh. Can you tell us something about the music scene please?
The scene is rather varied with countless venues catering for everything, from jazz to techno. The Usher Hall and Summer Hall venues are gorgeous buildings, great for live music. Furthermore, Sneaky Pete’s and Mash House are superb smaller venues lending themselves to more intimate gigs. There is also a big following for house and dance music here, unfortunately not much for synthwave (just yet…).

And are there also other synthwave producers based in this city?
I am only familiar with one other artist, ALEX (who has released with New Retro Wave Records). A short while away in Glasgow I’m aware of Garth Knight and Memorex Memories, who are both excellent.

What other projects are you currently working on?
I am returning to some darker and more danceable projects that I felt didn’t suit this release, maybe more in the sphere of Lifelike or Lauer. I also have a collaborative track in the works with a vocalist and instrumentalist in Manchester. Additionally I’ll be chipping away towards album number 2!

What is the last movie that you have seen?
I have recently rewatched ¨It Follows¨, a superbly eerie and slower kind of horror film. An excellent soundtrack by Disasterpiece makes it all the more special and brooding. I’d definitely recommend it.

What do you like most about the ´80s?
I think what I like the most is how everyone has a unique nostalgia for that period, even people that didn’t experience or live through it (myself included). The optimism and advancements in technology present then seemed to be palpable. The aesthetic and sound of that time holds up today and provides excellent source material to draw from as inspiration.

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
The synthwave community is special. I am continually blown away with the level of production and support from artists and fans alike. I think it shows that aspiring producers can achieve success and that there is an audience for what we create. Evidently, synthwave can manifest itself in the forefront of entertainment, film and video-games. Within the last 10 years we’ve seen numerous instances where the zeitgeist of synth has bled into blockbuster film, advertisement and some even of the largest pop acts in the world adopting a similar sound. The superb ¨The Rise Of The Synths¨ film superbly presents what synthwave is and how it has developed. I would recommend anyone who is new or is just interested in the sound of synthwave to give it a watch.

Je kunt Gyan Rosling volgen op:

3 sep. 2020

Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. in aantocht

Het is dit jaar 35 jaar geleden dat het oorspronkelijke Super Mario Bros. werd uitgebracht in Japan. Om dit heuglijke feit te vieren brengt Nintendo op 13 november aanstaande de Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. uit.
Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros.

Wie is er niet mee opgegroeid? De Game & Watch serie van Nintendo. Je kent misschien nog wel de versies van Donkey Kong. Een enorm succes begin jaren ´80 en de definitieve doorbraak van Nintendo binnen de games-industrie.

Vandaag op deze regenachtige donderdag, brengt Nintendo toch nog wat zonneschijn aan de hemel met het uitbrengen van een nieuwe Game & Watch handheld met daarop Super Mario Bros., juist van het Nintendo Entertainment System.

Naast deze klassieker worden er ook nog twee andere games toegevoegd: Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels en Ball.

Bij Nedgame was de handheld al snel uitverkocht en is het dus wachten tot er andere winkels bijkomen die het apparaat gaan verkopen. Wees er dus snel bij, want dit is een echte collector´s item.