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11 sep. 2019

Interview met Siamese Youth

Mark Gritsenko en Christoph ´Hadl´ Hassel vormen samen het Berlijnse synthwave duo Siamese Youth. Afgelopen vrijdag verscheen hun debuutalbum Electric Dreams op het gerenommeerde NewRetroWave Records. De heren zijn klaar om de wereld te veroveren met hun aanstekelijke, dromerige synthpop geluid. En terecht, want dit album is briljant. Het is mij een waar genoegen dat ik Siamese Youth heb mogen interviewen. Lees en geniet van dit interview en ga daarna meteen naar de Siamese Youth bandcamp pagina om Electric Dreams aan je collectie toe te voegen.

Mark Gritsenko and Christoph 'Hadl' Hassel together form the Berlin synthwave duo Siamese Youth. Last Friday their debut album Electric Dreams was released on the renowned NewRetroWave Records. The gentlemen are ready to conquer the world with their catchy, dreamy synth pop sound. And rightly so, because this album is brilliant. It is a pleasure for me to be able to interview Siamese Youth. Read and enjoy this interview and then immediately go to the Siamese Youth bandcamp page to add Electric Dreams to your collection.

Siamese Youth

Hi guys, congratulations with your debut album Electric Dreams. It is a wonderful album with very catchy and melodic synthwave songs. How was it to work on this album?
Thank you very much! It was quite a journey! We started writing almost 2 years ago and in the beginning it was a bit slow as we were just experimenting and didn’t really know what direction we’re going for. It was more of an exercise for us to try to write songs together. Then the last year we surprisingly won a remix competition by Futurecop! and NewRetroWave and that’s when we decided to take it seriously and come up with a proper body of work. We initially planned an EP release, but then NRW offered us a record deal for a full length album, so we continued writing until there were enough strong songs for an LP. It took a while, but we can 200% say it was the most fun record to make for both of us in years, we were just riding a wave of inspiration and nurturing this chemistry between both of us as songwriters. We hope you can feel this energy listening to the album.


How did you meet before working together on making music?
We must admit our meeting story is too boring even to our standards - it was through Facebook. But when we met in real life and talked, we had such similar backgrounds personally and musically that it’s a true magic and huge luck we found each other. It was almost 5 years ago. It started with occasional, rare collaborations, then for a short time Hadl became a member of Mark’s previous band and only about 2 years ago we tried to write songs together, we loved it and the result is “Electric Dreams”.

Talking about the lyrics of the songs on your album. Where did you get the inspiration from?
Well, this album kind of wrote itself out. Lyrically it’s really just a cry from the heart. It’s super personal and vulnerable. Actually it’s so personal we hope certain people don’t find out that we’re singing about them, hehe...But the thing is, right before forming Siamese Youth, both of us separately were in a dark place emotionally and pretty lost. And we both felt a huge need to pour it all out and try to find some light at the end of the tunnel. That’s why our lyrics are fairly melancholic, but there’s always hope to it.

What activities will you guys do to promote the new album?
We have just released a lyric visualizer for “Coco” made by Kidmograph, who is a fantastic visual artist and he came up with a spectacular vision for the song. We’re developing ideas for an official music video as well. Maybe we’re too old school, but we still believe playing shows is the best promotion. It’s just this special, indescribable connection you get with the band when you see it live. And because we both come from a rock background and have toured quite a lot with our previous bands, that’s what we want to do with Siamese Youth as well. Our goal is to take this record on the road and play at as many places and reach as many people as possible.


What do you think about the current state of synthwave and where do you think it will be going?
Well, obviously synthwave has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years and even partly made it to mainstream with stuff like Stranger Things, the last Muse record and so on. There are upsides and downsides to that and we can feel them both. Musically it’s becoming more and more diverse and to us it’s always a great thing. But we just hate it when synthwave is presented in a generic and artificial way, just for the sake of catching the trend. You really have to love and live the genre, man. But we feel like synthwave will always be there, just evolving and taking new shapes, hopefully keeping its essence, which we believe is still the case to this day. And we’re ourselves curious where it’ll go and excited to be a part of it.

What is your favorite movie of the ´80s and why?
Mark: Oh, there’s too many, but if I absolutely have to pick one it’s “Batman”. This movie and a follow up “Batman Returns” (which is even more brilliant) touched something in me when I was a child and in a way it influenced me for the rest of my life. I believe it was my introduction to the whole gothic aesthetic, which I’m a huge fan of to this day. Probably it also led me to becoming a lifetime post-punk and new wave fan, which is a major part of my artistic identity.

Hadl: Oh yes, that is a really tough one...If I had to choose, I'd maybe say “Back To The Future“. That movie had a deep impact on me. I just thought that Marty McFly was so cool with his skateboard and playing guitar. Ha! I am sure this film was one of the reasons why I started to do both as well! And I just loved the whole look of it – from the clothes, through all gimmicks to the DeLorean for sure. The future in the second part of it was set in 2015. Well, we still don't have perfectly working hoverboards, but maybe it was a signal for the rise of synthwave!

Siamese Youth

And finally any last words to the (Dutch) synthwave community?
Thank you for inviting us for an interview, it was a pleasure! We want to say hello to the Dutch synthwave community and we hope you enjoy our record. We’d love to come with a live show and meet you guys in person. And stay retro!

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