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25 mrt. 2020

Interview met The Subtheory

The Subtheory is een synth-gebaseerd project van componist, schrijver, DJ en producer Andy Hill. Met al een lange carrière in de muziek-industrie heeft deze gigant recentelijk een prachtig nieuw synthwave album geproduceerd met de titel ¨Ventura Blvd¨. Ik vind het een eer om Andy, die naast muzikant ook de berg Kilimanjaro heeft beklommen, te mogen interviewen.

The Subtheory is a synth-based project by composer, writer, DJ and producer Andy Hill. With a long career in the music industry, this giant has recently produced a beautiful new synthwave album titled "Ventura Blvd". I am honored to be able to interview Andy, who has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in addition to being a musician.

The Subtheory

Andy, can you please introduce yourself?
No problem Sander, and thanks for the opportunity to speak with you, I’m an electronic musician and DJ and have been making music for the last 20 years or so. I’ve made music as an artist in my own right and for others as well as writing for movies and TV.

For someone like you with a long background in electronic music, you are now exploring the world of synthwave. What did you decide to choose for synthwave?
I’ve long been obsessed with synths and synth music from a young age, I grew up watching TV in the 80s with their awesome theme music (Airwolf, Street Hawk, Automan, etc) and this had such an impact on me that nearly every style of music I’ve made since has been influenced in some way by that. I wasn’t aware of the synthwave scene at the time but I was unknowingly making it around 2012. I listened to a lot of what was called French house at the time and came across Kavinsky and really dug his sound, not realising how that crossed genres into synthwave.

Your new album ¨Ventura Blvd¨ is an amazing album which everybody should check out. Can you tell us your vision on this album?
Thank you, I really appreciate that. It’s really a journey through the underbelly of Los Angeles (I split my time between there and the UK) not the LA of palm trees and Ferraris. This is the night time economy full of street corners and their cast of characters, danger and adventure lurking in equal measure.


Was it difficult to produce this album comparing to your previous work?
It was a lot of fun to make, I always view every EP or album as the score to an imaginary movie. Once I pull the concept together, ideas tend to flow quite quickly as the story unfolds. Production wise, I was trying out lots of new ways of working with this which means it’s as much a learning experience as a creative one. Once I’ve written the rough demos of the tracks, I tend to take them into a full studio to mix on outboard equipment which gives me that separation to view it objectively.

For starting producers in electronic music, what advice can you give them?
Don’t be afraid to try new ideas, look to different genres rather than get stuck on the same formulas or conventions, also plug ins are fun but it’s too easy to grab the latest and greatest synth or effect and it can stifle creativity. Instead maybe choose a smaller amount and really push what they can do, you’ll be amazed at how a little constraint can open up your creativity.

Now ¨Ventura Blvd¨ is released, what are your further plans for this year?
I’ve already got most of the follow up EP demoed and am in the planning stages for an album later in the year. Obviously this is written at the time where the world doesn’t quite know what’s happening with Covid19, so this is subject to change but that’s the plan for the moment.

With your experience, I am really interested in your vision on how synthwave will evolve further. What is your opinion?
I think with any genre to blossom and not stagnate, it needs to evolve which throws up challenges between those traditionalist or purists who want to freeze frame a time period (moreso in a slightly nostalgic genre to start with) and those who want to push it forward. You can already see synthwave influencing the mainstream (The Weeknd and Lady Gaga’s new singles for instance) so it’s an exciting time for the scene. I think the key is to acknowledge both the purists and the evolutionists positions and not allow either to fragment what is a very close community.


What do you like most about the ´80s?
I love the aesthetic, the newness of everything and those damn synth basslines!!

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
You’re all amazing, keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy the fact you listen to the single greatest musical genre there is!! :-)

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