TimeSlave Recordings have been such an amazing label to work with as a writer and I was very excited to interview co-founder Kid Neon for one of my featured Synthwave Sunday posts. We talk about new music, label news, FutureSounds Volume 2, and so much more. I’d like to also mention that Kid Neon FINALLY has a Twitter account so be sure to give him a follow over at: @KidNeonTSR! Alright! Let’s do this!
For someone reading about you for the first time, who is Kid Neon?
I’m a synthwave producer first and foremost, but I also play lead guitar in a band called November Veil. I write and produce neo-80s music with a modern twist. I am 22 years old from London. I’m also the co-founder of TimeSlave Recordings and Enzo’s brother.
You’ve got new music set to release. What can you tell us about it?
I’m working on my first album which will be coming out later in the summer – I can’t wait to drop it. Darker Days is an 11 track album which I feel really captures where I am as an artist. I’ve remastered a few of my earlier tracks and I’m much happier with how they are sounding, but there’s also a sense of progression with a number of brand new tracks I’ve been working on since FS1.
The first single – Bubble Yum is already available on the ‘Taste of the Future’ EP, and I have just dropped a new single – The Road – on the ‘Tokyo Nights’ compilation so there are some tasters out there.
Speaking of Bubble Yum being included on the new FutureSounds Volume 2 compilation…what’s it like to be part of such a great collection of artists?
Ever since we formed as a label, TSR’s main goal has always been to push fantastic music by some of the best in the genre…. I think our first offering (FS1) really showed off what we were about. But you’re right, there is a real feel of a collective about the label and we work very closely together – giving feedback, sharing ideas and pulling the weight on promotion. People can see that camaraderie and that’s why we are totally overloaded with people wanting to join us.
That’s one of the reasons we’ve started the ‘Fear the Future’ series. We can’t immediately work with everyone, but we can help to promote some of the best talent out there. It’s a great album with some of the best tracks we’ve been sent – as well as one or two guest artists. We’re getting around 50 submissions a month at the moment!
As for FS2… It’s always such an exciting project to work on, and we can’t wait to drop it. We’re especially excited for this one as we’re also dropping vinyl for the first time along with our usual cassettes. As always it’s for a great cause, this time it is for CALMzone (campaign against living miserably) which is a charity that helps prevent young men from committing suicide. It is a huge issue. and the charity does some great work getting men who feel depressed to open up and talk about stuff. I thing I know it’s hard to do, especially as a young man myself.
Your music manages to be nostalgic and accessible while also sounding fresh and modern. How do you strike that kind of balance?
I would say that a lot of it is down to the music I listen to and the software and sounds that I use. I try and draw inspiration from all kinds of music not just the 80s, however I’m still a sucker for super reverbed snare drums and nothing beats a classic Phil Collins drum fill!
Being a huge fan of metal also has a big influence on the melodies and sounds I create… especially some of my darker tunes of which you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future! With such a metal background you would think I would be driven more towards making darksynth and darkwave tunes, but I love the contrast. It sounds cheesy but the two genres are almost my yin and yang. In terms of production I like to think of my songs as having a modern standard in terms of sound design and mastering which I think also helps to give them a slightly more modern edge.
What can you tell us about being part of TimeSlave Recordings?
Being part of TimeSlave recordings is a privilege. We are taking it from the floorboards up. My brother (Enzo Van Baelen) has been the main driving force behind the whole thing and he really works tirelessly. It is great having an opportunity to create and run something with my bro.
It’s crazy how it’s come together though. We’re based all over the world we still have great fun working alongside each other. I’m real proud to wear the emblem on my tracks and I think our logo is starting to be seen as a mark of quality throughout the scene.
What do you do when you aren’t writing music?
When I’m not writing music I am usually still playing and practising the guitar or drums. Music is my favourite pastime and it’s also my day job as I’m a music teacher during the week.
also play in two metal/hardcore bands, the more established of which is called November Veil, and we’ve been around since about 2010. We’re currently working on a new EP so if you’re interested go find us on Facebook (Facebook.com/Novemberveil).
When I wind down I love playing video games or going to the gym. I’m also a tattoo fanatic and spend lots of my days under the needle. Finally, I’m a huge Spurs fan and the three of us as brothers try and get to watch Tottenham play whenever we can.
Where do you see synthwave headed as a genre?
All I can see Synthwave doing is growing. It’s crazy that such a niche genre has gained so much popularity. It seems to be everywhere, even on TV adverts! I was looking at the lineup for the Reading Festival here in the UK and I saw Carpenter Brut was playing one of the bigger stages.I think everyone loves a bit of nostalgia and Synthwave is a great way of having a throwback to a wilder time without sounding too dated. It’s all up from here in my opinion!
In your opinion, what is the best way to get your music heard in this market?
As with any genre these days there is a danger of over-saturation, so my only advice is to keep putting out quality tracks. Don’t rush out mediocre material when a bit more time can have much better results.
Also, know your platforms: Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube seem to be pretty good for getting clicks. But they’re all different so you need to think strategically. It’s important to have something visual and eye-catching, but then I’m still not on Twitter so who am I kidding??? (Editor’s Note: He has since remedied this, as you saw earlier!)
What’s on the horizon for Kid Neon?
A Twitter account first! But at the moment it’s hard to say, as everything is moving so quickly. After I’ve released this album I’ll definitely be starting the production on album number two, and I’ve already got tonnes of new material. Other than that I’ll be focusing on work with TimeSlaves and enjoying a (hopefully) hot British summer.
I’m going to be working with Enzo on a side project involving a lathe and the cutting of vinyl. Watch this space people.
Anyone you’d like thank or shout out?
First I’d like to give a shoutout to all the people on the label, especially Enzo for his work ethic – he’s an obsessive! Also big shout to Cybertronix – another old friend who’s been involved in setting up TSR.
Super exciting times ahead guys!
Can I also say hello to my wonderful partner Kiera who has to put up with me staying up all night producing, hearing the same loops and sounds on repeat for hours and hours and never complains about it at all. Thank you for always pushing me to be the best I can be!
Also a big thanks to my mum without who I’d never have taken up music in the first place, thank you for always pushing me to practise when I was little! Lastly a massive thanks to you Mr Echosynthetic for having me on!