One of the biggest releases to kick off the year was January’s Starcrash by Stilz on Lazerdiscs Records. It’s a futuristic magnum opus of grand scale, featuring some of the best synthwave on the market. It should come as no surprise that his newest album is so polished and put together…Stilz is no stranger to the music scene. The Calgary native worked as a radio DJ in the late 90’s and produced hip hop artists for years. His skills and talent for blending sounds lent themselves well to his solo work, as Stilz has become a name to know in the synthwave industry.
On the heels of the successful release of Starcrash, Stilz took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Echosynthetic.
Echosynthetic: For someone who might be hearing Stilz for the first time, how would you describe yourself?
Stilz: As Stilz…. my music is drenched in sci-fi nostalgia. Retro inspired synth music. I don’t label myself as a synthwave musician but I do make music in that genre at times. Spacesynth is a little more fitting.
Echosynthetic: Your latest album, Starcrash, has been very well received in the synthwave community. What was the writing process like?
Stilz: The writing process took a lot out of me some days but, it was always fun. I tend to watch a lot of sci-fi movies during this process. Also playing around with vsts and hardware to get the right sound. Bouncing ideas off another musician also helps. Thanks to The Encounter for lending me his ear.
Echosynthetic: Stilz has a super polished sound. What do you use in the studio?
Stilz: I primarily use FL Studio 11 and Reaper (to record live instruments)
I also use a combination of hardware and vsts.
For drums: I use the Roland TR8, DSK Drumz 2 and VLinn
Synths: Roland JU-06, Roland HS80, Arturia minibrute, Korg Polysix (vst), Synth1, PG8X, TAL-U-NO-LX v2, SQ8L, Blue2
Echosynthetic: Where do you draw inspiration from?
Stilz: Inspiration is all around me really. From movies to real life but I do rely on my imagination to take me somewhere else. Other music and musicians also inspire me.
Echosynthetic: What music are you currently listening to?
Stilz: I listen to anything that catches my ear. Soundtracks/scores are a big thing for me. The one I have on loop always is Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Christopher Drake.
Echosynthetic: What does the future hold for Stilz?
Stilz: Always looking towards the future and building on the success I’ve had lately but of course keep making the music the way I have been. Also hopefully build on getting a proper studio.
Echosynthetic: What got you involved in music?
Stilz: Early in my career, I was a scratch musician. From there I expanded to making hip hop music with an electronic kind of sound. I fell into making electronic music after hearing Lorn – Wrong Place. I’ve been a fan of his for a while and when I heard that track, I knew it was music I wanted to make.
Echosynthetic: How important is your online presence?
Stilz: Having an online presence is vital during these times. Connecting with fans and other musicians helps everyone work together as a community.
Echosynthetic: How do you balance life and music?
Stilz: It’s tough to balance when my real life is always busy. Working full time, I don’t get as much time as I want to create music. Perhaps one day I can make music a full time job.
Echosynthetic: What advice would you give someone just starting out in the business?
Stilz: I’ve seen a recent trend amongst newcomers, they tend to make themselves known on twitter or Facebook before having a solid foundation of music behind them. Self promotion is vital but it’s not everything.
Also, be yourself. You’re not Carpenter Brut and try not to be.
Thank you so much to Stilz for his time and for the great music. Be sure to follow him on social media (Twitter / Facebook)for all the official updates and be sure to check out his label mates on Lazerdiscs Records.