Why not blow out all the stops this weekend. In fact, why don’t we listen to the new Computronic a day early. We’ve got an exclusive stream of the new album thanks to TimeSlave Recordings. Prepare yourselves…you aren’t going to believe how good it is. I mean it. I feel fairly well invested in this record because I’ve heard it from the developmental stages and as the story pieces were added…let me tell you, this truly is a special record. Go ahead and get it started below so you can listen as you read!
Even The Score is an original soundtrack score that tells the story of Rick Donald, a local arcade legend that is challenged by a newcomer to town, Tommy Scores. You might be wondering why you’ve never heard of this film. The answer is simple…it’s one of the best 80’s films never made. You’re going to find that it doesn’t remotely matter that the score is for a fictional film…Computronic does such fantastic job creating a visual with his music you’re going to feel like you’re there. There’s a full story arc being told here with a full cast of characters that you fall in love with over the course of the record. This isn’t easy to do with an album, but Computronic has proven to be a master craftsman at storytelling, and Even The Score is one of the best stories ever introduced in synthwave. As someone who grew up in a time when the high score at the arcade truly meant something, this story really resonated with me!
Fresh New Video from our friends over at Neon Nights!
To say this is a contender for one of the best albums of the year is an understatement, and I mean it’s on a short, short list. Computronic has truly outdone himself on Even The Score and I cannot wait to hear more. This is the kind of release that makes me excited about what I do. It’s a fully fleshed out entity that stands on its own regardless of musical style or genre it may be pigeonholed into. In other words…this is a must buy. Get your own copy at Bandcamp right now! What are you waiting on?!? Before I go I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the pitch perfect mastering by The G. Great job!
Now that I’ve gotten your attention, let’s talk to Computronic about the album!
Welcome! Thanks for agreeing to talk to us. What can you tell us about Computronic that we might not know already?
Well I’m a 45 year old Canadian. I’m addicted to Miami Vice (actually watching it while I write this). I tried producing dance music for a while under the name Stigwood but I felt like my heart wasn’t in it. Plus, every time I thought I was making something “cool” my wife would walk in the room and say “Oh that’s pretty.”. That made me realize that I need to be writing music that’s a bit more emotionally expressive. I have 11 tattoos although 2 are cover ups. I’ve read all of these answers over at least 5 times now.
You’ve just finished work on a new record! How do you feel now that Even the Score is ready to release?
It’s a weird mix of feelings to be honest. I’ve been working on this album for a year and a half so not having something to stress over leaves a bit of a void. The characters in the story all have faces (in my mind) and, in a way, I feel like they’re real. I’m saying goodbye to these people so that I can start telling stories about new characters which is leaving me feeling slightly guilty. On the other hand I’m pretty proud of this album. I’ve always loved music. I tend to feel it on an emotional level so to be able to create my own music (that doesn’t suck) is a great feeling. About 2 years ago I said “I wonder if I could actually make an album that people would want to listen to?” so that’s pretty damn cool.
What can you tell us about the story thread in the album?
I grew up on 80s movies and still watch them all the time so a soundtrack sounded like a fun idea. Clearly it wasn’t anything new. There are tons of soundtracks out there but most of them fall on the darker side of cinema. Aliens, cops and corporations. That style of soundtrack usually calls for more of an Outrun / Darkwave sound and if you remember my initial comment, every time I try to be cool it ends up sounding pretty so that type of story wasn’t going to work. Plus, my fondest memories of movies were more comedies and “slice of life” stuff so I figured I should stick with what I know best. I wanted to create something around a story inspired by movies like Karate Kid, The Wizard, Caddyshack, Better Off dead. Things that dealt with (almost) real life situations. So the idea is that this guy Rick is one of the popular kids. He’s a High School Senior that works at the local arcade so he’s also become the best player in town. One day he meets a new girl in town, Sam, and falls for her (hard). The very night he gets her to go out on a date with him a new guy shows up at the arcade and beats Rick pretty badly on one of Rick’s favourite games, in front of Sam and everyone else. Rick later learns that this guy is the reigning champion of a huge video game tournament called Megacade so Rick enters the competition to win back his pride (Even The Score…get it?). I would tell you more but then I would be ruining the story 😉
It’s got all the tropes of a typical 80s teen movie but that’s what I love about it.
What were your biggest influences while you were writing the record?
Musically I kept thinking back to songs like “Bit by Bit (Theme from Fletch)” by Stephanie Mills and “Secret of My Success” by Night Ranger. I even reached out to Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger to see if he could sing on one of the tracks. I haven’t heard back anything yet but I haven’t given up hope 😉
How did you record? What is your set up?
I use Ableton Live and way too many plugins. Hardware wise I just use a Push 2. I’m not a trained musician so the Push really helps because you can select a key and it’ll only let you play the notes in that key. I would just use Adobe Audition and an Apex440 mic to record the dialogue. My speakers are simple M-Audio DX4. They get the job done.
What were some of your favorite bands as you were growing up?
I mean, where do you start? I had Metallica, Thompson Twins, Quiet Riot and Mr Mister posters up on the same wall. I bought anything Genesis (and then Phil Collins) came out with. Honeymoon Suite, Bryan Adams and the Spoons were some great Canadian bands that I was pretty loyal to as well. I could fill an entire page with my “favorites” so I’ll stop at that.
On the flip side, who are some of today’s acts that you really enjoy?
I actually don’t listen to that many current acts at the moment. Mostly because I didn’t want to be influenced (or intimidated) while working on the album. Having said that there are some that stick out for me like Electric Youth, Ladyhawke, Vampire Step-Dad, Timecop1983, Sunglasses Kid. I love happy synth/pop music so I’m always drawn to those type of artists.
What has it been like working with TimeSlave Recordings?
So far so good. I was hesitant about joining a label at first. It’s a gamble because you really have no idea how the album is going to do so when you’re looking at splitting the profits you really need to figure out what it is you’re looking for. Some people hate the idea of a label “taking half your money” but considering the fact that (TimeSlave) pays for all the physical media up front (out of their half) I was happy. I’ve got a pretty busy life outside of the music stuff so having someone handle all of that, and help promote it was well worth it. There’s also a great community feel to the label. All the artists and owners are in a Slack group and we chat all the time so there’s definitely support. There was a point where two of the artists were going to be on one of the Synthwave online radio channels so we all logged on in the chat room to support them and “represent”.
What’s on the horizon for Computronic?
Well I already have the next 2 albums roughly figured out so I’ll be getting started on the second one very shortly. Knowing how long it takes me to finish things I can’t really waste any time. Especially because I like to spend time developing the story before writing the music.
Anyone you’d like to thank or shout out before we go?
My wife pointed out that I hadn’t put her name anywhere in the credits on the album artwork so I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MY WIFE.
A huge thanks to Tyler and Christina who played Rick and Sam. They were friends of mine who volunteered a lot of their time to record the dialogue with the only compensation being a copy of the album on vinyl if the label ever releases one (hint hint).
There are people who I’ve thanked in the album credits so I won’t double up on that (you know who you are) but I have to thank Tony Bullard who was my sounding board through most of this. I think he started dreading the words “What do you think?”.
I will say though that the biggest thanks goes to Timecop1983. The first Synthwave track I tried to make as COMPUTRONIC was more of an Outrun track called If Only (it’s still on my Soundcloud page actually). I loved Timecop’s music so I sent it to him through Soundcloud with a message saying something like “You have no idea who I am but I love your music and hoped I could get your opinion on this”. He answered me back pretty quickly and said that he liked it but, more importantly, offered me the best advice I’ve ever gotten which was “Just make sure your chorus sounds like a chorus.”. Simple words but they were perfect. It reminded me that each part of a track is important and needs an equal amount of attention. So every time I start working on the chorus of a new track I say to myself “Does the chorus sound like a chorus yet?”.