Interview with Synthesis
Hello and welcome to Spacesound Records. We would like to shed some light on the individuals who make the music we all love. What better way than hearing it from the artists themselves.
Robert, Welcome to Spacesound!
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what do you do?
Professionally I work in the photography field as a lab technician as well as photographer for a photographic firm. Photography apart from music is my second passion. In my spare time I take my camera and off I go, I also like making music as well as cycling.
2. How did you get involved in music and do you have a music background?
I don't have any formal music training, even in primary school I wasn't the best in music. I have always had an interest in music and liked listening to it from an early age. On many occasions while listening to various recordings I began to formalize my own ideas for my own compositions in my head. It wasn't till I bought my first PC that the road for composing was made open to me. I learnt everything on my own in the early stages using very straight forward programs like Music Maker and E-Jay, I then moved to Fruity Loops which allowed me to expand on my own ideas.
3. Besides spacesynth what other hobbies do you have?
As I mentioned earlier my second hobby is photography particularly landscape photography. For this reason I like to get out of town and see if I can take any spectacular scenic shots.
4. What other music interests you?
Apart from Spacesynth I enjoy film music particularly Hans Zimmer's compositions. I also like Rock, Pop, Trance, Eurodance and Italo. My favourite artists are Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler, Mike Oldfield, Jan Hammer, Roxette, ATB, Paul Van Dyke as well as many others which we would need a lot more space for.
5 .Do you compose any other music besides spacesynth, if yes, what might that be?
Apart from spacesynth I also compose Trance material as this is one of my favourite genres that I listen to. It's the changes in melody with those energetic arpeggios and those lower pads that do it for me.
6. How did you find spacesynth or when did you first come in contact with this genre of music?
I found Spacesynth in the early 90's; with luck I managed to get my hands on a Laserdance cassette "Changing Times", I immediately took a liking to it. The tracks had something that I'd never heard before and I didn't know what this music was called. It wasn't long after this that I bought my first CD player and the first two CD's were Laserdance - "Technological Mind" and Koto - "From the Dawn of Time". From then on I decided to search for more music in this style and soon found the albums of Hypnosis, Ciber People, Proxyon. This is how this genre became number one for me.
7. What draws you to spacesynth and why do you like this music?
The thing that draws me to Spacesynth is the melody which gives the energy and the atmosphere, off course there has to be a solid foundation with that characteristic bass and those famous synth sounds.
8. Is there anything that you dislike about this genre?
No, there's nothing in this genre that I don't like.
9. Are there any group or artist(s) that have influenced you?
The answers pretty straight forward Laserdance and Koto, firstly Michiel Van Der Kuy and Marco Rochowski the two stalwarts of the genre.
10. I guess this question follows on from the next but do you have a favorite artist and why?
As I mentioned previously Michel Van der Kuy who I rate for his characteristic style, arrangement and melody. Also Marco Rochowski who in his wonderful way was able to capture the essence and atmosphere of the 80's, his beautiful capture of instrument sounds and create those fabulous melodies.
11. Do you have a favorite spacesynth album and why?
My favourite Albums are LD - "Changing Times", "Technological Mind", "Around The Planet", Koto - "From the Dawn of Time". On these albums there's not a track that I don't like. I love returning to these albums. Many consider Technological Mind as a boring album with many similar songs, that may be a fact but I like these sort of albums that have tracks that are similar sounding and in style. I consider Changing Times as the best LD album, particularly the songs The Challenge, The Great Wall and Escape from the Forbidden City these are the pinnacle of Spacesynth.:-)
12. Would you be interested in working in a duet or with other artists if yes who would that be?
At the moment I am working with my good friend Mark Chmielewski on the project Virtual Device. This project is in classical Spacesynth style.
13. Do you like Italo Disco?
Yes, I really like Italo Disco, particularly acts such as Ken Laszlo, Savage and Radiorama.
14. A few Spacesynth artists have come from the Demo scene, were you ever part of that, if yes what was your artistic name and do you think there is any advantage to Demo artists?
I never was part of this scene. I learnt about Demo only recently ;)
15. Let's move to composing. How do you start with a new track? Do you, start by trying to compose a new melody or do you play around with chords and then try and fit a melody into that or is there perhaps another way?
With this it varies, but I think the first thing that happens is the chord arrangement, then the melody, the pads, percussion and in the end the effects. Sometimes I start with a melody but that's only when I have something playing in my head.
16. Recently there has been some debate about the importance of melody in spacesynth. Do you have any opinion or thoughts on this?
In my opinion Spacesynth is based mainly on melody and this is the essence of this music. As it is known this is an instrumental genre therefore vocals are absent, as a result the importance of the melody becomes paramount.
17. Spacesynth currently has many different styles for example Protonic Storm is very futuristic and pushing boundaries on the other hand Marco Rochowski epitomizes the Golden era with his classical interpretation. Where do you think you fit?
I think that I fit somewhere near Marco Rochowski. I really like the old spacesynth with all its classical production, sound and its links to the 80's. I try and produce music to this style.
18. This question is a sort of follow on. Where do you think the genre is heading? Some people have said that we should move on from the LD influence and embrace influences from other genres i.e. different drums, bass and not have to rely on melody. Others have argued that the melody is the essence of spacesynth and overhauling it would kill the uniqueness of the style and thus create just another electronic sub genre. Any thoughts?
Personally I can confirm that the melody is the essence of Spacesynth. If we move away from these traditional elements and diametrically change the choice of instruments, sounds and arrangements then we can really destroy this genre. We will create a new subgenre or it will be part of an emerging subgenre. Spacesynth differs from other electronic music in its characteristics, sounds and melody. I wouldn't want to say that experimenting is not allowed or I'm against that, I myself like experimenting with sounds and melodies etc however it is important to lay true to the genre so that when one listens to it they make recognize it as spacesynth and not Trance, House or something else.
19. Any thoughts on how we could improve the genre (musically and gaining more mass appeal)?
In order to improve Spacesynth on the commercial market we would need to improve marketing. (Lately this has improved particularly on the Net) The larger radio stations could make a place for spacesynth thus reaching a vast audience.
20. What sort of gear do you use?
The equipment that I use for computer PC more specifically: Athlon X2 6000+, 4GB RAM, HDD 1TB, Sound Card Audiotrac Prodigy HD2, with regards to software that's FL Studio with synthesizers and VST effects.
21. At times debate has centered on Software synths vs. hardware, do you have a preference if yes why?
I believe in 100% programming synths so VST is a lot more comfortable for me than working with synth hardware. With regards to the sound of VST to hardware then it's hard to replicate the old analogue sound on software but in today's times, computers seem to allow for reasonable results, the sounds replicated are minimally different from hardware.
22. What's your favorite TV show?
I don't have a favourite TV show, I spend more time in front of a monitor than the TV.
23. Anything you would like to say to the fans of the Spacesynth Genre?
I would like to thank the fans for keeping spacesynth alive and that it can continue to evolve, I particularly want to thank Spacemaniak an eternal fan.
Now for something light hearted. Just give the answer to one you prefer or “Neither” if they aren’t applicable. (No explanations required!!)
1. Tea or Coffee? Tea and Coffee
2. Market or Shopping Mall? Market
3. Demo or Italo? Italo
4. TV or Sport? A little bit of sport
5. Books or Cinema? Cinema
6. Resort or Camping? Camping
7. Summer or Winter? Summer
8. Cat or Dog? Ferret
9. Beer, wine or Spirits? Beer
10. Blonde or Brunette? Brunette
11. Sweet or savoury? Savoury
Once again thank you for allowing us your time in answering these questions, it is very much appreciated! We hope this gives the spacesynth community a little better insight into you as an artist.
Space Sound Records Team.