Glitch Black has new music out with his new full length LP, Hybercube. It’s a fine tuned, well produced, and creative piece of synthwave that’s worthy attention. Glitch Black does things in his music that’s unique…a distorted note here, a glitched out section of music (pun intended), a nervous tic when you least expect it…almost like the Matrix getting reset. It keeps you on your toes and makes Hypercube a very ambitious record. There’s a lot going on here and you can tell that Glitch Black is no rookie on the scene. This is the work of a synthwave vet and it proves he’s got the chops to hang with the best of the best.
Hypercube has been on repeat since I got it last week and I know I’m not alone in saying it’s great. It has it’s roots in a futuristic, almost exploratory sound, but there are moments where things shift and you’re no longer on course. There’s a dark edge around these tracks, giving the impression that being off course is leading to dangerous, unexplored territory. I can’t explain how far down the rabbit hole this album goes, but it’s deep. There’s a nostalgic aura to the record but this isn’t your daddy’s synthwave. Glitch Black has pushed far past that with Hypercube and is treading his own way. Seriously…nobody is making music like this. If you’re tired of the same old sound, I’ve got the record for you right here. This is synthwave album of the year material.
More than releasing new music, Glitch Black took the time to talk to Echosynthetic about the album, influences, and what it’s like to create music. It’s by far one of the best interviews we’ve done and I’d like to give him an extra special thanks for answering all my questions. Be sure to check out Hypercube on Bandcamp and check out the rest of his amazing catalog before leaving today!
Echosynthetic: Who is Glitch Black?
Glitch Black: According to the cheesy artist profile on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, the story behind Glitch Black goes something like this: “From interdimensional hyperspace comes an apparition who tore itself from the frayed fabric of the universe. Clearly this being doesn’t belong in this world. He is Glitch Black. And he makes music to keep this dimension from falling apart.” But in reality Glitch Black has simply become an identity for me to both make music as well as create animations and other visuals. I post all my animations to Tumblr and some to Instagram. (glitchblackmusic.tumblr.com and www.instagram.com/glitch_black)
Echosynthetic: What drove you toward this style of music?
Glitch Black: I have a fairly generic backstory that sounds like lots of other synthwavers out there. I played Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Hotline Miami and liked the music in those games enough to find out about the artists behind them. I had already begun messing around with chiptune music in FL Studio, so it was easy at that point for me to start experimenting with the more synthesizer-heavy synthwave sounds like I heard in those games. After making a few synthwave tracks for fun, I realized this was the way to go and have been continuing to experiment in the genre ever since.
Echosynthetic: Speaking of style, yours is very unique. What is the method behind the madness?
Glitch Black: This is actually harder to answer than it seems. I think many artists create in whatever style comes naturally to them, so it’s hard to describe why my process is different since it’s the only way I’ve considered. I know that I like writing really intense songs, and ones with darker elements to give things a more sinister mood, but then I’ll also write songs with a lot of energy that are borderline dance-able. My goal most of the time is to produce songs that are fun to listen to, but still have a dark character to them. The best example of this fusion has got to be the song from my third album, called Cenobite Party Bus. It’s upbeat, fun, yet it has samples from the Hellraiser movies… I guess it’s kind of weird, haha.
Echosynthetic: What’s your production setup?
Glitch Black: I’m entirely software-based at the moment. My DAW of choice is FL Studio, mainly because I’m really comfortable using it and I can work so quickly in it. I’ve collected a variety of third-party VSTs and these allow me to make just about any classic synthesizer sound I could ever want. It’s especially amazing what you can do with the VSTs that are released for free, such as Synth1, SQ8L, TAL U-NO, and Dexed. In addition to emulating synthesizers, I have various libraries of drum samples, retro video game sound effects, cinematic sound samples, and all sorts of cool explosion-y sounds.
Echosynthetic: What is your songwriting process?
Glitch Black: Each song I’ve written starts with me booting up FL Studio and just messing around until something clicks. I’ll simply load up a preset sound from a random VST and start tweaking it and playing on the keyboard until I find something that’s working. Then I layer that down on my timeline and keep going until a whole song is there. In a single sitting I might just produce 10-30 seconds that I like and come back to it months later to finish it out. Other times I’ll come close to writing the entire song all at once, so the process varies a lot. After a song is mostly written, I’ll tweak it for a long time until I’m fully satisfied with it. This polishing phase is the least fun and can be quite monotonous, listening and re-listening to work out all the kinks.
Echosynthetic: You’ve been on the scene for a while. How has synthwave changed since you started?
Glitch Black: I’ve seen older artists slow down and newer artists start from next to nothing and make names for themselves. I’ve seen various online synthwave review sites come and go. And I’ve seen a fair share of drama unfold within the synthwave community in the past few years, whereas when I started it just seemed like everyone was having a good time. I also think that the darker side of synthwave has become more popular with artists like Perturbator, Carpenter Brut, and GosT touring all around the world now. It’s also been cool to see the 80s aesthetic start to catch on with “normal” people thanks to the successes of Stranger Things and Kung Fury.
Echosynthetic: Hypercube is out. How do you feel about the end result?
Glitch Black: I feel pretty good about it. I usually don’t listen to my own stuff after releasing it, but I really don’t mind re-listening to the songs on this release. (Not yet, anyway.) And I’ve gotten a good amount of positive feedback from fans, so that’s always cool to hear too. Mostly I’m just glad that it’s out and I’m done with it. After working on an album for so long, by the time it finally releases I usually don’t want to ever listen to it again.
Echosynthetic: Who are some other bands you enjoy?
Glitch Black: Within the synthwave scene, I enjoy such artists as Vulta, Hubrid, Surgeryhead, Daniel Deluxe, Volkor X, Mega Drive, Electric Dragon, Dance with the Dead, and lots of others. I even went out of my way in 2015 to catch a show in Helsinki for Perturbator, Dan Terminus, and GosT so I guess I like them too, haha. Outside of synthwave, I have a range of tastes including Radiohead, Duran Duran, Oingo Boingo, Disasterpeace, Green Day, The Offspring, Jean Michel Jarre, Pink Floyd, Funkadelic, The Police, and I even have a large collection of original chiptune keygen music. I’ve always been really big on movie soundtracks too, especially ones by Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Ennio Morricone, John Williams, Thomas Newman, Cliff Martinez, and Vangelis.
Echosynthetic: When you aren’t making music, what is a day in the life of Glitch Black like?
Glitch Black: I currently have a full-time job where I produce, direct, shoot, and edit television commercials. I also work heavily in motion graphics, which can be a lot of fun. Once I get home after work is when the Glitch Black magic happens, haha. Aside from work, I enjoy the outdoors – whether it be biking, running, hiking, or camping.
Echosynthetic: You’re stuck on a deserted island and you’ve only got one movie to keep you company. What is it?
Glitch Black: I really should answer this with something snarky like Cast Away so I would know what to do to get off the island. But snarkiness aside, I would have to go with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Clint Eastwood’s character is just a badass and I’ll never get tired watching him in his best role ever. The story, music, and acting make it one of the best movies ever.
Echosynthetic: Biggest inspiration? Doesn’t have to be music related.
Glitch Black: I really like sci-fi drawings, animations, and concept art. From the classic work of Moebius and Syd Mead to current artists like Beeple and Ash Thorp. I also like to read, with some of my favorite books being the classic cyberpunk novels Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and almost anything by Philip K. Dick.
Echosynthetic: What does the future hold for Glitch Black?
Glitch Black: As things stand now, the future holds even more music and more retro-inspired animations! Eventually I’d like to animate a full music video to go with one of my songs, but that would take a lot of work for sure.