Interview with Vampire Step-Dad/New EP, Carpenter Brut, and How to Survive on a Desert Island Using Music

Atlanta’s Vampire Step-Dad is off to a very good start in 2017. He’s got a brilliant new EP out called Love Bites and he’s got a big show coming up with Carpenter Brut and Le Matos at Terminal West. Thankfully he’s carved some time out of his busy schedule to talk with Echosynthetic.

Echosynthetic: Your new EP, Love Bites, just came out. How do you feel about the final product?

VSD: I’m really proud of it. This is the first release of mine that has a real strong theme. I generally just write whatever I’m inspired to write – let the music go where it wants – so that leaves me with a bunch of disparate songs that I have to fit together. It always surprises me people say anything I do is “cohesive”. Little do they know…

But I feel like I stretched myself on this one a bit, trying new things. The Funeral, for instance, stuck out to me as fairly unique. I do regret not naming it “The FUNeral”, though.

And the cassette itself, with the help of Sean Cusson of COMPUTRONIC, is just gorgeous. I’m keeping one for myself because I think it looks so awesome.

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Echosynthetic:  I saw you did a limited release on cassette. Why do you think cassettes are making a resurgence?

VSD: Well, I can’t speak to the general resurgence, but for within synthwave, I think it’s pretty simple. We’re all obsessed with the nostalgia trip, and cassettes are just another thing to trip over. It was only a couple years ago that I felt like physical media was dead, but now that I’m actually spending time designing things that will be held in someone’s hands, it feels like another medium to express myself through. If nothing else, it’s a memento of a time period, a physical reminder of the music, and maybe even the emotions and memories you’ve tied to that music.

Echosynthetic: What do you use in the studio?

VSD: I do everything “in the box” using Reaper. I have a guitar, but otherwise, it’s all software. I don’t have the budget or space for all the fancy hardware. My “studio” is cluttered with children’s toys…because it’s the kids’ playroom.

Echosynthetic: You don’t see the 70’s, 90’s, or 00’s inspiring an entire genre of new music. What is it about the 80’s that has given synthwave such a boom?

VSD: I think it’s just a 30 year cycle. In the 90’s you saw John Lennon style glasses and bell bottoms come back for a while. Oasis was ripping off The Beatles. In the 00’s you saw 70’s rock coming back with acts like Wolfmother, and stoner/doom metal picked up again. Now we’ve got the 80’s coming back. “What’s old is new again.” Or, for the more cynical, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” Blegh…the sun. Wretched thing, that.

Echosynthetic: What started you down the synthwave path? Who inspired you?

VSD: None other than Carpenter Brut himself. I heard his music in the background of a YouTube video (shown below), and I was hooked. I spent a week devouring his EPs (his third had just come out) before I realized there was a whole scene around this style. Once I realized that, I knew I had to put my own stamp on it.

Echosynthetic: You do a great newsletter through your site called The Vampire Step-Dad Spotlight where you focus on sharing music. Who are some artists you are listening to right now?

VSD: I can’t stop going back to Mitch Murder. His music is perfection. But everyone knows him. I also enjoy Bart Graft, Oscillian, Danger Mode, Hollywood Burns, Brandon, Indighost, Binary Oblivion, Volkor X, Hello Meteor…there’s so many good artists out there. I do the Spotlight because I’ve run into so many people that just listen to the same 3 big names, and never bother to look further. So I want to do what I can to help bring attention to those that you may have missed.

Echosynthetic: Desert island. You can only have 3 albums. What are they?

VSD: Well, the reflective surface of any CD will help creating a fire, and the CD case could be used to make knives and spear points. 3 WOULD be better than just a single CD, but the contents likely won’t make much difference. I guess I’d choose ones with long, multi-page inserts, so I could use the paper as kindling.

Echosynthetic: Guilty pleasure song you can’t stop yourself from liking?

VSD: I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. You like what you like, and there’s a reason for it, so who cares what other people think? Sometimes an artist you don’t respect puts out something that just catches your ear the right way. You gotta respect it. And if someone else wants to just you for that, well…why waste time on those people?

And that’s a wrap! I’d like to thank Vampire Step-Dad for one of the more entertaining interviews I’ve had the chance to do. He’s well worth your attention! Check out his new music, his old music, and come see him live in Atlanta on March 15th at Terminal West with Carpenter Brut and Le Matos.

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