As soon as I first heard the song Flashback, I knew that Night Raptor was destined for big things (you can read my initial impressions HERE). In the meantime it has become one of the most popular debut singles in quite some time, creating quite a clamor around the synthwave universe. Now we stand on the cusp of the much anticipated debut EP, a limited edition cassette release through TimeSlave Recordings, and a shirt available for sale through Square Wave Clothing. Sounds like things are taking off!
In case you’ve been living under a rock OR you’re new the site or synthwave in general, I guess I should really start at the beginning. Back in February I got an message on Twitter from Night Raptor thanking me for following him and suggested I check out his new song, Flashback. I told him that I would, and what I heard blew me away. There’s so much promise in that track. You can hear that you’re on the edge of discovering something that’s just out of sight….and then it’s over. It left me wanting more…so much more. You couldn’t ask for a better teaser for an upcoming release.
Now that we are right on edge of the March 31st release date of the EP, the promise of Flashback is coming to fruition. It also turns out that there’s quite a story behind these tracks. If you’re not already signed up for his newletter, head over to www.nightraptormusic.com right now and get signed up. I’m not going to steal any of his thunder by sharing the story here, but if you love space operas and science fiction you’re going to love what he’s got on offer! I can tell you that after listening to these songs, it has absolutely been worth the wait.
If you’re anything like me, a collector of things I love, then you’re going to be excited about the limited edition cassettes of the release through TimeSlave Recordings. The UK label continues to impress with the artists they are collaborating with and shows they’ve got their finger on the synthwave pulse. Combine that with a brilliant shirt design through Square Wave Clothing and you’ve got a a full on attack on my wallet! Good thing it’s pay week! Support the artists you love and the outlets that are helping to make it happen by following the links. Those cassettes are going to sell out (I promise you this) and I can personally attest to the quality of Square Wave’s shirts (and no, this isn’t a paid plug, haha).
What better way to build the suspense a day before the big release than by hosting an interview with Night Raptor?!? Even though he’s been busy fighting his laptop and getting ready for the big day, he kindly granted Echosynthetic an interview and was very generous with his time. Check back tomorrow for a full review of the EP! In the meantime, I introduce Night Raptor:
Echosynthetic: Who is Night Raptor?
Night Raptor: Night Raptor is searching for something. He is extremely motivated and inspired by the universe around him. You interpret what he sees, his thoughts and dreams, and his will to keep going. He strives for discovery and yearns for adventure and these soundscapes are a way of sharing his journey.
Other than that, I am just a husband and a father that is working towards becoming a teacher. I make ends meet working as an educator at a coffee shop and make music on my free time.
Echosynthetic: You’ve built quite a buzz for yourself right out of the gate. Why do you think Night Raptor was such an immediate success?
Night Raptor: I am still wondering that myself. I think “Flashback” is just a different sound from the Synthwave that has been coming out recently. It is rather ambient and cinematic. I did not think this track would gather so much attention as quickly as it did. I was just intending it to be an intro for the EP, a rather long intro, but an intro none the less. I was thinking more along the lines of an overture before the movie starts, like they used to do in theaters (the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey comes to mind).
Echosynthetic: Your sound is super polished? How long have you been writing music?
Night Raptor: I have been playing/making music since the age of 11. I remember my cousin teaching me how to play Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” on her guitar and instantly loving the instrument and the idea of making music. There were a few bands between then and now, but I never played any instruments in them. I was brought into those bands as a vocalist.
After my parents bought me my own guitar I taught myself as much as I could through tabs and YouTube. Then I wondered if I could play guitar and sing at the same time. So, I practiced covers of the Beatles and Coldplay (those were the “play guitar and sing” friendly songs I knew at the time). I had no idea if I was doing this whole music thing right so I built up the courage and decided to call the girl I liked at the time (6th grade) and asked her to listen. I performed Coldplay’s “Rush of Blood to the Head” over my Nokia cell phone to the girl. After the anxiety inducing show I asked, “Well, what do you think?”. There was silence, then a family’s worth of laughter! She said she told her parents and older brother to come listen as well! I could feel the blood rush to my face. Her parents said I was great, but I was too embarrassed to accept any compliments. I stumbled over my thoughts and just said “Thank you, bye bye now” and hung up. At least they said I was great.
From then own I sang and played guitar publicly with a somewhat confidence in my abilities. There have been a couple of bands between then and now, including an almost 8-year commitment to one. But all I did was sing in them and absorb whatever musical knowledge/ experience from my bandmates I could. I did not start producing music on my own until 2012. That is when I bought an M Audio midi controller that came with Ableton Lite. This is around the same time I found Synthwave and have been enthralled by it ever since. It captivated me. It was this new-found motivation and inspiration to create music. Something that was lost was awoken in me once more. It was a very nostalgic feeling, one that I think many people can relate to. Made up of those soundtracks you would construct in your head as you played with your toys or pretended to go on adventures with your friends when you were a kid. That was the emotion unlocked and I just had to let it out and make this nostalgic feeling a tangible thing that people can listen to.
Echosynthetic: What is your setup?
Night Raptor: So I have still been using Ableton. I have the full version now and that is just a preference thing. I know how to bend Ableton to my will and I am always learning about the DAW every day. Every DAW has its potential, you must seek it out and just learn its secrets.
I recently got a Novation Launchkey 49 as an upgrade to my Akai MPK mini. The launchkey’s integration with Live was important to me.
In terms of VST’s, I primarily use U- He Diva and the TAL-U-NO LX, with sides of Korg Polysix/Monoploy and OP-X. Sometimes I add some Arturia Collection to taste ( mainly the Prophet and Jupiter 8 virtual instruments).
Echosynthetic: Your new EP is here! How do you feel about it?
Night Raptor: Relief. There have been many sleepless nights and long days working on this EP. Whatever free time I had from work, school and just family life I devoted to this release. But man, was it a hell of a fun journey getting to this point! Overall I think it’s a step in the right direction and I am happy with how it has turned out. I am just so excited for the future and what it holds. I am also glad to finally be a part of such a beautiful community after following it in the shadows for so long.
Echosynthetic: How did you manage to snag Stilz for a remix?
Night Raptor: We started talking on SoundCloud and he just offered to remix a song for me! I was completely surprised and flattered that someone like Stilz would want to do ANYTHING for me. So yeah, it kind of just happened. He is a real cool dude and his music is awesome. I am very thankful and appreciative of his support and his offer to do a remix!
Echosynthetic: You’ve got a great newsletter…Tell people what they get if they’re part of your mailing list.
Night Raptor: You get to hear from me every week or so! Right now, I am telling the story/ concept behind the EP and what imagery I see while making the music. It has been a lot of fun writing it and I am glad the reception has been positive. There is more awesome content planned in the future including more stories, news and updates! (maybe sprinkle in more contests)
Echosynthetic: Who does your killer artwork?
Night Raptor: My dear amazing friend Folgar. I forced him to be my artist. He was too good to let slip through my fingers! No, but really, he is amazing and I am thankful for having him onboard and making the art for Night Raptor. It just would not be the same without him. His art has inspired me since day one. If anyone wants to get in contact with him for commissions, just send me a message and I will make sure he gets it. I am the mediator between human and Folgar!
Echosynthetic: Who are some artists you’re listening to these days?
Night Raptor: Right now I am listening to the new Lazerhawk album “Dreamrider”, Gunship, good old Vampire Step-Dad and his “Love Bites” album, “Graduation” by Sunglasses Kid, and Robert Parker’s “Awakening”. I usually just listen to Spotify Synthwave and 80’s playlist when I just want to let the music go on forever. Oh, I forgot to add The System and Wham to the list of music I have been listening to. I listen to 80’s music at work until my co-workers can’t stand it any longer. Customers seem to love it though!
Echosynthetic: You’re lost in space…what do you do?
Night Raptor: Not scream. No one can hear you scream up there.
I would hopefully be lost on purpose, always moving on to the next adventure. A bounty hunter always on the lookout for a quick payout, doing odd- jobs and sometimes being that hero space pirates love to hate and folks look up to…while also discovering new worlds, new beings, new sounds, and new food. What would a pizza taste like if it were made in the Andromeda galaxy?
You know, stuff like that.