Spotlight Interview With Synesthema
The new full length release from Synesthema is a neon lit outlander in the night sky.
Crossing 80's vintage alt synth-wave with a new school approach is seldom accomplished properly. Artists like Carpenter Brut, or Kavinsky corner the genre but in the dark alleys of the internet you can find that black door. The one you open and go down the stairs into a brilliant and bright arcade. Sounds and sights of your youth materialize and you feel at home.
The record, dubbed Starlust, is exactly this but more. Pushing things into a future synth pop era, Synesthema takes their our route into the land of cyberpunk space pop with this decade bridging opus of a record.
Lush and colorful songs blaze on full force with all the fun you can possibly have delving into a driving, high energy synth album.
An awe inspiring accomplishment, Starlust is all you need to travel to distant lands through space and time.
We had to sit with these guys and talk about this record. Here's what happened.
RAG: Okay guys, let's start with the Starlust album. This was a real synthwave, electro-pop trip! I loved every single track. Where did this come from?
Thank you so much! As my debut album, Starlust is a love letter to science fiction and the freedom, playfulness and energy of progressive trance music. As an upcoming artist - mainly autodidact when it comes to music production - Starlust was a personal research to develop Synesthema’s signature. I took what elements I love most in the music I listen to: EDM dance beats, catchy bass lines, wide synthesizers with melodious chord progressions and progressive song structures, and make my own blend out of it and have a blast. Starlust was also a way to prove myself as a musical artist and plant a seed in the music world from where to grow from. I feel Starlust is kind of like my roots now, and it gave me an incredible amount of knowledge, experience, and confidence.
RAG: How long have you been doing this? How did this all start for you?
I’ve been dabbling in music since I was a small kid, making mixtapes from radio dj live sets with a cassette recorder, then having 15 years of -mostly- classical piano training. I began playing with electronic music production about 7 years ago, but very inconsistently and without much confidence. Then last year, feeling this huge impulse to really get into music after finishing my masters in visual arts, I decided to dedicate time and effort to get into music making, so that’s when Synesthema came to be! The majority of the album was written within that time frame, and the arrival of the pandemic accelerated the process, as I found myself without my usual dayjobs for a while, and music was my escape from the anxiety and a way of discovering what brings me joy in life.
RAG: What artists influenced you guys?
Definitely Ilan Bluestone (and his recent collab project, Elysian), Above & Beyond, Andrew Bayer, Vintage & Morelli, Gabriel & Dresden. I have to give a special shout out to my home-city Montreal based Beat Market, which are a HUGE inspiration. I feel very close to their music and their aesthetic. I also have a special mention for Deadmau5. There’s something about his music that always pumps me up, because he has released so many tracks, sometimes different edits, works in progress, and there is a sense of freedom in what he does, you can feel that he does it just because he loves it, and people respond very well to that. It inspires me, when I get doubtful, to just have fun and trust my instinct.
RAG: What next for you as an artist? Anything in the works even now?
Oh yes, there’s a lot coming up, this is the beginning for Synesthema! The only way from here is up. Since my release I have learned so much more about music production. I am already working on my next singles, which I am already so so excited to share. The creation of the Starlust album really boosted my confidence and tought me so much about music creating and how to promote it, and I can already see how my music writing and mixing are improving. I can’t wait to share my newest tracks, I think they are definitely a more polished and stronger version of Synesthema. I’m also looking forward to collaborating with vocalists and add this layer to future creations. But for now, let’s enjoy Starlust!
RAG: Did you used to play live shows before? Do you think you'll be planning gigs when the time comes?
I have never played live yet! I gotta be honest, I find it intimidating, but I definitely would love to try it out, once I get a minimum of interesting hardware for that. I think what excites me the most is finding ways to create a live, interesting experience with this music that is created in such a controlled, inorganic environment. That’s why I like to go to electronic artist’s concerts, not just for the music but for seeing how they animate their music in a live context.
RAG: What does someone like you do when you're not working on music?
I’m always involved in shenanigans, perhaps too much! I’m also a trained artist, I paint (mostly), and I am involved in two art collectives here in Montreal, the NU.E.S performative collective, in which I’m starting to explore musical composition in a more experimental way, using lots of our own audio material, and I’m also part of this new collective “Les Cârosses” with my painter friends. And outside of that, when I’m not working on my various day jobs to pay the rent, I’m learning new tricks and trying to improve myself. The lockdowns actually help me to focus on my art projects, so I’m taking this as an opportunity for growth.
RAG: What kind of advice would you give other aspiring artists out there just trying to get heard?
As I am only starting, I wouldn’t give prescriptions on what to do and what not to do, as I am trying it out and living it right now. But what I can say with confidence are two things: don’t wait indefinitely to release something. Go for it. You will learn so much more when you’re actually pushing yourself to get out there and meet deadlines. Anyway, you will need to grow your fanbase, and that takes times, and maybe multiple releases. Especially if you don’t have the money to spend for a publicist, or a solid marketing campaign, building an audience organically takes time and nurturing. So you’re better off starting right now than wait until you feel that you have mastered your art, because when your perfect piece is done, there might be no one there to listen to your amazing creation. The second thing I would advise, considering producing a release is costly, is to not hesitate to ask for help around you! Make a crowdfund campaign and share it first with your friends and family. People who know you will be your first supporters.
RAG: What sort of non-musical things influence you to write?
This is a hard question, my music creative process stems from my deep love of music. I think it’s the artform that I respond the strongest towards, so it is extremely powerful for my inspiration. But for sure any artform in a science fiction aesthetic plays a part in what feeds the Synesthema universe. On a deeper level though, the complexities of human emotions, its contradictions, its pleasures and hurts are what push me towards the melodious aspects of trance.
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of your music?
I only have GRATITUDE to express for all the support I’m having. Each gesture, each streaming, every purchase and “like” counts and means a lot to me. I feel more empowered than ever, thanks to you, and I can’t wait to share with you new tracks and experiences! THANK YOU!!