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12 mrt. 2019

Interview met North Innsbruck

Vanuit het koude Minnesota komen warme dromerige cinematische synthwave klanken onze kant op met de muziek van North Innsbruck uit Minneapolis. Een kleine maand geleden schreef ik een blog over North Innsbruck en zijn album van de week: JaenDoeh Soundtrack, Vol 1. Via Instagram kwamen we met elkaar in contact en heb ik Chris, de producer achter North Innsbruck, gevraagd of hij mee wilde doen aan een interview. De vragen en antwoorden lees je hieronder en ik ben Chris ontzettend dankbaar voor dit interview. 2019 belooft een prachtig jaar te worden voor North Innsbruck!

From cold Minnesota, warm dreamy cinematic synthwave sounds come our way with the music of North Innsbruck from Minneapolis. A month ago I wrote a blog about North Innsbruck and his album of the week: JaenDoeh Soundtrack, Vol 1. Via Instagram we got in touch with each other and I asked Chris, the producer behind North Innsbruck, if he wanted to participate to an interview. I am very grateful to Chris for this opportunity and his enthousiasm to work on the interview. 2019 promises to be a wonderful year for North Innsbruck!


Chris, an American with the name of an Austrian town in his artist name is for me an interesting combination. How did you come up with the name North Innsbruck?
North Innsbruck is the name of my neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Many of the streets here share names with places in Europe including but not limited to Matterhorn, Trollhaugen, Bern & the Black Forest. After working through an extensive list of potential band names there was a realization that the best name reflected the familiarity of home complimented by the intrigue of somewhere faraway.

Your latest album JaenDoeh Soundtrack, Vol 1 is an amazing piece of work. Can you tell us something about the concept for this album?
Thank you so much for the compliment! The catalyst was ignited in December 2018 when I received a message from the creative minds behind the JaenDoeh series. JaenDoeh is a growing body of work existing within a cyberpunk universe. It consists of neon-laced photography supported by plotlines threaded into character driven background stories. After reviewing their work, it was clear JaenDoeh was the type of collaborative project I hoped to find. What started as a conversation seeking permission to use a pair of songs grew into a full album concept. Throughout JaenDoeh Soundtrack, Vol. 1 listeners will recognize the influence Jerry Goldsmith’s Logan’s Run had on many of the character tracks including Light of Hope and Stasis. In addition, symphonic tracks Haptics and Ghosts of Cydonia are rooted in contemporary synthwave while reflecting a clear influence from the work of Vangelis. Being able to compose and release this album was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to explore a wide variety sonic resources.



Can we expect a successor (Vol. 2) in the (near) future?
There is a very good chance JaenDoeh Vol. 2 is going to happen. I have a a few other projects I’ve committed to at the moment but am always looking to the future. When Vol. 2 does happen expect announcements regarding collaboration tracks with some familiar synthwave names.

When did you start producing synthwave music and who were your inspirations?
Although I’ve been writing and recording music since I was a quite young, I didn’t start producing synthwave until early 2018. Prior to producing synthwave I spent months researching and learning about the equipment and instruments needed to make a project like North Innsbruck work. After much preparation I began publicly releasing music in September making North Innsbruck a reality. I will never regret the time I took to strategize and learn intimate details about specific synthesizers and software to assist in developing the unique sound I desired. The sound I was seeking was buried in my earliest memories beginning somewhere around 1983-84. The soundtracks of the sci-fi and horror movies of that era have left a lasting impression. My earliest exposure to electronic music was most likely the work of Wendy Carlos from Disney’s Tron soundtrack. Years later as a teenager I became enamored with the soundtrack to Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered Wendy and Walter Carlos had a connection. Over the years I’ve enjoyed and obsessed over many other cinematic influences including John Carpenter, Harry Manfredini & Goblin. I always find myself returning to these composers and their catalogs of work when I’m in need of inspiration or comfort.

Can you tell us something about your studio? Which hardware/software do you use to produce synthwave music?
All of the synthesizers in my studio are capable of MIDI operation and driven by Ableton Live 10. The hardware in my studio is under constant evolution but I am happy to call out a few of my primary synthesizers that build the core of my sound. The majority of the bass you hear in my music is produced by the Moog Subsequent 37. The sounds produced by a Moog are incomparable. From warm buzzing tones to sharp sparking sawtooth soundwaves this instrument offers the versatility and reliability I need. I also have a few primary synthesizers that share the responsibilities of Lead and Arpeggio. The Roland Juno-106 has been key in songwriting for me. The chorus effect it offers takes me back to some of my earliest memories of music. I also have a deep appreciation for the Korg DW8000. The variety of tones and sounds produced by this instrument make it an easy and reliable go to especially with its rich history in 80’s electronic music. Finally, for this interview I wanted to call out the Alesis ION. I’ve found it to be one of the most underrated synthesizers available. The ION stands apart from other analog modeling synthesizers in that it offers filter models of the ARP 2600 and Roland Jupiter 8. There a number of other synthesizers that appear in my music but the ones I mentioned above are the heart of the sound.

And what advice can you give to novice producers who would like to make synthwave music?
There are so many opportunities within synthwave today. Create, collaborate and experiment with each other. We have access to information and communication platforms that no one before us has had. Learn to use those tools to the best of your ability. Music will always evolve and our movement to integrate modern technology is the kind of action that changes the course of history. Use this common understanding to your advantage, we are the future of music. Learn from each other, be good conduits of information and get to know your resources.

Your corporation with Magnavolt gave us this beautiful track, Yumi 5, earlier this year. How was it like working with an artist from another country (Sweden)?
Everyone needs to know Magnavolt is one of the hardest working people in synthwave. I’ve collaborated with ambitions musicians many times but I’ve never experienced the kind of dedication and sacrifice to art or music that Magnavolt displays on a daily basis. I believe his natural drive and focus is a key component in making long distance songwriting and production possible. Being able to work with someone so talented, intelligent and forward thinking is truly a gift. Through success and failure, we’ve learned to be creative and to navigate barriers in novel ways. We’re discovering that through partnership we can support each other and accomplish goals that were previously unattainable.



Can you give us a sneak preview for your further plans in 2019?
It’s a year of big goals and tremendous ambition. As mentioned, I’m collaborating with synthwave artist Magnavolt. We’re been working on and planning a collaborative album for tentative future release. We’ve pulled together a dream line-up of international musicians and artists that are all contributing in unique ways. Collaborators include Millenium Falck, GillianNova, Paavo, Revery and Adam from the band Le Cassette. The album artwork for Artificial has been commissioned through artist MizuCat and is an excellent reflection of the messaging and story developing behind Artificial. There’s also been talk of composing and recording a second volume of songs and character tracks for the JaenDoeh series. I am expecting to announce new musical collaborations to appear in Vol. 2 sometime this summer. By Mid/Late-Summer I’ll be shifting resources to focus to another creative endeavor. I’ll be working with author Brian Weimer on soundtrack development for his novel series Nexus. I’m currently reading the first book of the storyline to get a feel for its spirit and cadence. Intimate knowledge of a story and its characters dramatically affect my approach to creative processes and composition. I have a few other projects in early stages of discussion that I wish I were able to speak to, but these topics will have to wait for future interviews.

And finally any last words to the Dutch synthwave community?
It’s an honor to be interviewed as a guest on Synthwavefan.nl and thank you everyone for taking time out of your busy day to read about North Innsbruck. The Netherlands has an incredible synthwave scene and I’m looking forward to becoming a part of it. I’m excited to meet more of you both online and when out performing in person. As you know I have plans for many musical and artistic collaborations and am excited to share these adventures with you. I sincerely hope that you’ll reach out and connect with @NorthInnsbruck on Instagram and Twitter, I would love to hear from you! For more music you can find North Innsbruck on many services including Spotify, SoundCloud and Bandcamp. There’s something special about this project and I’m hoping you feel it too. Thank you so much for the support!

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