The natural way of the cultural wave: we generally experience that musical and cultural trends shift from an outstanding position within public opinion to near utter rejection, refusal and ridicule, through an ever-shortening period of time. However, if that period of time is extended, to often several decades, we can witness a renovation, a new heightened recognition – the rebirth of the wave. Through today’s global reach, powered by the internet, cultural waves and fascinations can resurface and manifest themselves, with an even much bigger fan impact than the original source.
The film is a travel in time towards the roots of a worldwide grass-root music scene known as Synthwave, an irresistible blend of modern electronic composition with 80s pop culture’s nostalgia, that over the last two years has transformed from a whisper on selected internet hubs, to an ever-growing scene, expanding rapidly as we speak. Accounting millions of plays on social media, devoted fans are legion, but nobody in the mass media knows about them.
Thousands of synthwave composers around the world are living out double-lives. Away from their normal everyday life they spend another half-life behind a faceless musical avatar, creating and uploading their own renditions of 80’s-styled film scores, sharing them with the world – surging the wave. They belong to an endless army of watchers for the master’s legacy: the sound that Edgar Froese, Giorgio Moroder and John Carpenter created in the late 70s.
A time travel into the universe of creating sounds. A love letter to human fascination and the collective memories of an universe that never existed.
Electric Youth, is a synth-pop duo from Toronto. Their initial breakthrough came in 2011 when their song “A Real Hero” by College and Electric Youth, was prominently featured in the movie Drive. Involved firsthand from just about the beginning of the Valerie Collective in 2007 and that first wave of artists, and with a more traditional pop approach in their music. They’re situated in a very unique position between the underground and comercial success of this genre.
College, is the alter-ego of french musicien David Grellier, one of the most recognised artists in the genre that knew worldwide comercial sucess when his song “A Real Hero”, in collaboration with another synthwave artista: Electic Youth, was used in the soundtrack of the film Drive, bringing the Synthwave sound to a mainstream audience. He’s the founder of Vallerie Collective, leading in the 2000s a post french-touch sound characterised by a “retro-futurist”, “romantic blend of 1980s inspired electro”.
MIAMI NIGHTS 1984
Miami Nights 1984, is the alter-ego of Michael Glover, the creator of the Outrun genre, that later came to be known as Synthwave. His “Turbulence” álbum was a huge success in the scene. He’s leading the forefront of the scene and he founded along Lazerhawk (another originator of the scene) the first Synthwave label: Rosso Corsa records. One of his tracks was used in a scene from an HBO Tv show called East Bound & Down, You don’t enter into this music genre without listening to him.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur based synthwave duo Stellar Dreams comprising of Iqwan Ridzuwan (Jake) and Khairil Shah are self-taught bedroom-producers that shifted from electro techno to hardstyle and house, to the rich world of Synthy strings, Indie Pop and Electronica music; eventually developing their fascination and mutual affinity towards the Synthwave music scene.
DANCE WITH THE DEAD
Dance with the dead, is a duo formed by Justin and Tony, and a solid rising star. They are musicians coming from different metal bands turned into synths, and are at the top of their game with a huge level of recognition within the scene and a massive following in social networks. They are the perfect combination of 70s sci-fi score, 80s Carpenter horror score, heavy metal solo and a spice of Gaga.
Power Glove (Australia), is a duo from Melbourne. They are best known for producing the soundtrack to the 80s influenced retro-futuristic video game Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. The soundtrack was met with critical acclaim. The duo’s music gained widespread attention with the track Hunters featured in the 2011 Canadian independent film Hobo with a Shot gun and the track Vengeance in the 2012 film The ABCs of Death.
Nightcrawler (Spain), is the alter-ego of George Gold, the only spanish synthwave producer to date. Graphic designer during the day, 80’s dystopian beat producer by night. Acclaimed worldwide within the scene, he’s unknown in his own country while his album “Metropolis” (released as a fake film score) is one of the most popular on bandcamp and has gone sold-out.
Composer and producer from Potenza. His first instrument was the acoustic spoon drums when he was 6 years-old. He learned playing “In the air tonight” on a straw chair until it broke. After playing guitars in some rock and metal bands, he decided to play alone nostalgic 80s electronic music. In its own words: “My life is focused on Italo Disco and pasta”.
New York, USA.
Com Truise, is the stage name of Seth Haley, a synthwave musician from New York. The name is a spoonerism of Tom Cruise. Anadmitted synth obsessive, Com Truise is the maker of an experimental and bottom heavy style he calls “mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk”. He is one of the most sucessfull synthwave artists, with a huge fanbase and social network reach.
The Midnight is a marriage between Tyler Lyle, a songwriter from the Deep South and Tim McEwan, a producer from Denmark who both live in Los Angeles. In its own words: “There is a Japanese term: Mono no aware. It means basically, the sad beauty of seeing time pass – the aching awareness of impermanence. These are the days that we will return to one day in the future only in memories. How do we capture them? This project is our attempt to put time under glass.”
From Nantes, west coast of France, comes a guy that calls himself Maethelvin. Fascinated by digital sound, he provides a perfect sound-track for car-chasing and TV shows from the 80’s, falling somewhere between forgotten Italo-disco melodies, and Jan Hammer’s soundtracks. As a DJ, Maethelvin is providing well-powered DJ sets, from italo-disco to future-disco, reviewing 20 years of creation in electronic music, with a strong dancefloor feeling.
Producer from Sydney, who makes 80’s synthesizer music with a modern fidelity. Starting out at the beginning of the second wave of dreamwave artists (the scene that had just come off MySpace) Jordan quickly rose through the ranks, showing himself as a producer with enhanced musicality and a knack for retro flair without the constructions of genre.
“Analog child. 80’s Revival enthusiast”. Alias of Pittsburgh based producer Nick Morey, focusing on music inspired and created by vintage analog synthesizers. After discovering FM Attack, MN 84’, Tesla Boy, and Mitch Murder, he fell immediately in love with the sound and purchased his first synth to experiment with his own sounds, quickly developing a synth collection, writing music and starting its own independent journey into the recreation of nostalgic tunes.
“File Under 80’s”. Self taught producer who never took any lessons, he started uploading tracks on Myspace in 2008, being one of the pioneers along Miami Nights 1984, Lazerhawk and Mitch Murder. Through many evolutions of synthwave sound, he’s always stayed relevant and totally 80s. He hides behind his avatar and there’s some mystique in its character: “I never felt the need to show myself. Stallone is far more interesting than me and its a cliché but I let the music and 80s image do the work”.
British electronic duo formed by Manzur Iqbal and Peter Carrol. They met at University. Even though Manzur was an outcast and Peter was part of the popular crowd, their love of 80s/90s memorabilia brought them together and became best friends. After graduating from university, with no previous knowledge of electronic production, Iqbal spent all of his time re-creating the sound of his childhood and eventually joined forces with Peter to form Futurecop!.
Kristine is a multi-instrumentalist musician, producer, songwriter & singer from Athens, Greece. Having established herself on the frontline of the new retro movement, her music captures genuinely the feeling of the best pop/rock summer hits of the 80s. It’s pure and honest pop hooks bathed in 80s nostalgia, that could cross over into mainstream.
“Synthesized electronic space music inspired by 80’s atmosphere.” Jeppe Hasseriis is a metalhead gone synthwave. The whole world of Dynatron is one big science fiction setting and its music is the soundtrack you’ll hear if you were space travelling and exploring foreign planets.
“Early Synth Music | Dark Ages”. Not much is known about his early life. In 1980, in the ruins of a deserted monastery, a nun’s testimony was discovered. This anonymous scripture reveals that Darkest was a ritual composer of the Middle Ages who became a knight, then a crusader and mysteriously disappeared. According to this manuscript, visionary monks and nuns kept Darkest’s identity hidden from the religious community.
Lazerhawk is Garrett Hays, a founding member of Rosso Corsa and one of the most famous synthwave producers. He started releasing music geared towards the synthwave genre in myspace, in the late 2000s. His outrun electro is robot pop mixed with dark synths and the occasional lyric, a reminiscence of everything that was good in the 80s: Synthesizer jams with gargantuan leads, hard toms, spaced-out melody and the pains of being pure at heart.
Robin Ogden is a composer, producer and sound designer – utterly and completely obsessed with audio – that operates from his studio in the ever inspiring South West of England. HIs work is grounded in a life long love affair with sound, whether produced from wonky 80’s rack synthesizers, contact microphones or strange and wonderful hand made instruments.
Carpenter Brut draws its influences from 80s TV shows and B-movies loaded with synthesizers. The mysterious and discreet man behind the pentagon evokes a metalhead background, a crush for Dario Argento and a force-fed religious education, an encounter between Justice beats and the universe of John Carpenter. His music can be found on the successful video games “Hotline Miami 2 : Wrong Number” and “The Crew”.
“Dreamy/Romantic synthwave made with a combination of vintage and modern gear.” Before Timecop1983 – Jordy Leenaerts alias – was one of the most highly respected synthwavers out there, he was a kid on vacation in France who snagged a copy of the music-making program Scream Tracker from a friend, and dove head-first into the bizarre and rewarding world of module tracking, and electronic music in general.
Sonically cradling you with deep and honest 80′s emotions, Swedish producer Johan Bengtsson’s alter ego Mich Murder creates addictive retro synth masterpieces. As the story goes, Mich is an overworked Wall Street I.T. from the 80′s who dreams at night other realities for himself. This is the soundtrack to his dreams. Whether you’re going for a late night run in the summer heat or speeding down city streets, Mich has provided the perfect soundtrack to meet your needs.
Swedish electronic composer inspired by artists like Jean Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk and Daft Punk as well as 80s movie music. His music is Retro Futuristic oriented and composed with a variety of hardware synthesizers, such as ARP 2600, Roland Jupiter-4 and Korg MS-20. In its own words: “I am heavily influenced by 80’s movie soundtracks, the sounds from movies like The Terminator, Blade Runner and Scarface. Mix this and 8-bit video games and Amiga/Atari stuff and this is pretty much what I grew up on.”
This enigmatic and legendary composer is pointed out by everybody involved in the scene as the originator of the synthwave sound back in the 2000s. He used to post his compositions in youtube getting a lot of attention, and became a turning point and an entrance to a lot of composers into the scene. A few years ago he retired from the scene, asking everybody to remove his tracks and videos. He’s a real mystery.
Britain-based, Gunship is Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway, and Alex Gingell. Coming from a rock background, they had to learn from scratch. It’s in theur well-crafted songs, their collaborations, their remix partners, and their stunning visual art that they have solidified with a forceful finesse the next step in rock-oriented synthwave.