in Creativity, Motivation, Music, Philosophy, Psychology

A Love Letter To Synthwave – Memories Of A Time & Place That Never Really Was

“Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.” – Doug Larson

Back in September of ‘08 I was messing around with a music program called Logic.

I had this idea to do 80’s synth music. So I started researching typical drum machines and what synths were most commonly used.

After a while I had the basic drumloop down and made this Jan Hammer pastische.

I made a couple of other songs and a few inspired by video games for the Sega Mega Drive (that’s the Sega Genesis to some of you).

However, my main focus was the rock band I was in at the particular time.

This? This was just to let off some steam.forward to early 2012 when I was into music production.

A demo of what the 80’s homage could sound like.

Fast forward to early 2012 when I was into music production. I’d just seen the movie “Drive” and thought the music by Kavinsky was awesome!

Me and another producer were listening to Madeon’s new track “Icarus” and I made a search for similar artists. I found this scene called “synthwave” with artists like Miami Nights 1984 and Mitch Murder.

What the hell?

These guys sounded just like I’d imagined that stuff back in ‘08 would’ve ended up sounding like, albeit with a lot of polishing.

I was hooked. Yet, I never made any of it myself. I was so focused on writing “hits” that I just kept an eye on the scene and enjoyed the music.

Fast forward again to early 2014 and I see this Kickstarter campaign for a movie called “Kung Fury”.

You’ve gotta be shitting me. An 80’s action movie from, like, now? This is awesome!

All of these things made me feel this intense nostalgia. They reminded me of my childhood. Sneaking into my sister’s room and raiding her LP stash, playing video games, watching VHS tapes of 80’s action movies.

But I was curious, was I just imagining the coolness of it all?

I’m lucky enough to have relatives and slightly older friends who grew up and lived through the 80’s. So, I asked them.

Everyone told the same basic story, it wasn’t as much fun as I thought. There was the teenage angst, the horrible fashion, the slow and awful technology, etc.

What I was nostalgic about was the white washed story I didn’t get to experience myself. About fabricated memories of a time and place that never was.

Nobody wanted to go back there, and after hearing what it was really like, neither did I.

Synthwave - DeLoreanWhat I imagined the 80’s looked like.

I’m so grateful for the fact that I get to live in a time where I can consume all the good things from that time and not have to deal with all the crap that went along with it.

I get to experience all the cool things that come along and get to talk to people who create new music inspired by the old but that’ve gone through the filters of fresh eyes.

If you want to learn more and get into the groove, here’s an awesome podcast called “Beyond Synth” to get you started:

I’d love to get some recommendations. What are some of your favorite synthwave acts?

Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!

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