We Check Out Thriller and Talk to Scandroid About Monochrome

Friday the 13th saw Scandroid share his take on the Michael Jackson classic, Thriller. It works on two levels…the first being a well timed cover for the Halloween season. The second sees it as the last tease before Scandroid’s sophomore record, Monochrome, releases this week! The VHS distorted video, filled with smoke and dancing robots, is well matched to the futuristic yet pleasingly retro reimagining of one of the biggest singles of all time. If you weren’t excited for Monochrome before now, Thriller should have you read to take a bite (pun firmly intended) when it hits on October 27th. For now you can snag the cover over at Bandcamp for the low price of $1.00. Don’t forget that Monochrome is available for pre-order HERE, including CD and limited edition cassette (for you physical media junkies!)

Now that we’ve talked about Thriller, how about we talk to Scandroid about Monochrome, his legendary studio, and what kind of influences brought him to where he is today:

Thanks so much for talking to us! Just in case there’s someone out there who isn’t already familiar with Scandroid, what can you tell us about the project?

80s. New Wave. I lived through the 80s and although metal was what I started playing when I picked up my first instrument, New Wave was the sound I wanted to make at some point in my life. Here it is.

Your self-titled debut was an immediate hit. Were you expecting so much success right out of the gate?

I wasn’t. I generally don’t put much expectation on anything I release because you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak if you do. I just make what I want to make, put it into the world and move on. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many people understanding Scandroid and embracing the sound.

There are some great re-imaginings of Scandroid tracks on your Dreams of Tokyo remix album. What were some of your favorite takes on your music?

Hmm, that’s a tough question. I felt like all the remixers brought something special to each track so it’s hard to play favorites. The Waveshaper mix was one of the first ones in and I loved his take on “Eden.” The Dance With the Dead remix had the lyric “We’ll dream of Neo-Tokyo tonight…” which made it an obvious album opener.

You’ve teased the new album with the new “A Thousand Years” single and now “Thriller.” Can you give us any clues as to what we can expect on the full record?

“Monochrome” lives in the same world as the debut Scandroid album, but doesn’t rehash the same thing. I just had a massive amount of fun playing with my vintage hardware synthesizers and writing the songs that have been collecting in the back of my brain since the 1980’s.

I personally love vocals over my synthwave music, but there’s such a dividing line among the core fan base on this topic. What side of the fence are you on?

I think there’s a place for everything. I’m a songwriter, so I’m generally inclined to think in terms of vocals telling and helping complete a story. However I know many people want to just soak in the vibe without vocals getting in the way. I provide instrumental versions of all my albums so you get to choose what you’re in the mood for.

I would ask you what you do when you aren’t writing music, but seeing how prolific you are across multiple projects and remixes…I wonder if you actually have down time in your day. What is a normal day like for you?

I’ve never been the guy to punch a clock, put in my 8 hour day and then goes off to live his normal life. My normal day is primarily spent in my studio, which is my favorite place to be. Some days are more productive than others but I love the environment I’ve created for myself so this is where I naturally want to spend most of my time. I watch a movie here and there and sometimes even stop to eat 🙂

Your studio is the stuff of legends. How long have you been amassing it?

I guess technically since the 80s. I was a kid dreaming about making music and being in bands and whatever scraps of musical gear I could get handed down to me I used to death, and some of it still exists in my studio today. When I finally went full time into music in 1994, I would scrounge every penny I could put away and buy a piece of gear I dreamed of owning. It was a very slow process but over the years I was finally able to put together a studio that started to resemble the one I’d dreamed of for years.

While it may seem that your Scandroid project has been an overnight success story, the truth is, as an artist you’ve actually been in the business for a very long time. What kind of advice can you give new artists who are keen to try their hand at this? What are some tips you wish you’d gotten when you started out?

The best advice is to DO IT! You can belabor the process of making music by overthinking it or waiting for the perfect plugin before you can start writing. Don’t. Just start making music. I promise most of what you originally make you probably won’t like long-term, but making mistakes is what allows you to start identifying what you do and don’t like and you’ll then start honing in on your sound. YouTube is a huge asset to music making production that I never had. There was no such thing as “the internet” when I started. I didn’t go to music production school and knew almost no-one that knew how to produce. I wanted to make music so badly I just did it, even though I didn’t really know what I was doing. Now I have a much better idea of what I’m doing because I spent the time making mistakes and learning from them.

Synthwave is all about nostalgia and reinventing sounds of the past. What bands influenced you the most over the years?

So many. I soaked in artists like Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Smiths, Sisters of Mercy, Tears for Fears, Killing Joke, Kraftwerk… and the list goes on and on and on….

Any parting words before we go?

The new Scandroid album “Monochrome” is out everywhere on October 27th. I have 2 covers on this album that I can’t wait for you to hear – John Williams’ “The Force Theme” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (Released everywhere on Friday Oct, 13th!!) Hope you guys dig the album and the vibes 🙂

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