Synthwave is an interesting beast. As far as the history of music goes it’s still in its infancy, but it has also managed to become one of the most varied and interesting of genres in its relatively short lifespan. The synthwave umbrella covers a wide range off sounds, ranging from neon soaked sunsets to exploring the dark alleys after midnight. The reason I bring this up is because with our look at Death & Glory, the new album from Lazerpunk, we’re diving deep into the work of one of the best purveyors of the darkside. More than that, he was also kind enough to talk to us about the album, his unique sound, and more!
First things first, set any expectations of what you think darksynth music should sound like and check the at the door. Lazerpunk doesn’t follow those rules and as such has created an experience that is equal parts mind blowing (especially for someone who listens to at least a dozen submissions a day) and black as midnight on a moonless night. From plunging bass lines to dynamic hooks that never quit, Death & Glory is delivering the goods wrapped up in a package that should read: “Warning: Music Demands Body Movement”.
As I delved into this Lazerpunk masterpiece I kept finding myself trying to put a finger on the roots of the music I was listening to. The surface influences are there but they’re not even worth mentioning. What he’s managed to do is create something that is wholly new and fresh, leaving influences in the rearview mirror. Add in collaborations with Quixotic and Daniel Deluxe and you’ve got a true must own darksynth record. Did I mention it’s free of charge over at Bandcamp? It goes without saying that if you can, you should be throwing money at Lazerpunk for this amazing record. However, if you can’t afford to do that, his only request is that you share, share, share!
Thanks so much for talking to us! Can you tell our readers a little bit about Lazerpunk and how you got started?
I was always interested in arts, but never liked the idea of being an artist. I just hated those people who labeled themselves as “artists” even though they barely did any art, but were posing as one every minute of the day. You know the type. Usually rich kids from nice neighbourhoods who go to some prestigious art school who focus on giving off the vibe of an artist with the way they dress and speak and look down on everyone who is not a part of their tribe. In short: they are posers. Empty and fake people who dress weird because their personality is so bland that the only way for them to stand out is to wear ridiculous clothes. All that made this subculture and the idea of being an “artist” very repulsive to me, so it took a lot of time for me to finally realize that I don’t have to be like this. I can just be who I am and make music the way I want, and I don’t need to dress or act a certain way, and I definitely don’t need to be accepted into this group of art-school posers.
I mean I just love music and I love to write songs and it is a good way for me to express things I cannot express otherwise. It is also better to channel my anger and other negative feelings into music than to let it out in other ways. So despite most musicians who are so scared of competition and keep crying that there are already too many musicians out there, I say if you feel like this is your thing, then do it. Come join the fun. Nowadays really anyone can do it. The internet is full of tutorials, groups, forums and everything. It’s really not difficult to get started. But really standing out and “making it” in the music business is a whole other thing. This is actually one of the most competitive fields, where everyone wants to to be a star, yet pretty much the top 1% takes all the fame and cash and the rest will starve to death with 10 followers on soundcloud.
You’ve got a new record that just dropped! How do you feel about Death & Glory?
I can say I feel good about it. It is definitely going better than I expected, but I’m not letting it get in my head. I’m still not even close to what I want to achieve, but this album is a huge step forward. And it’s good to see that there are lots of people who really feel my music. They not just click a like or something, they do way more than that. I see these guys talking about my music on all kinds of forums, sharing it, spreading it, playing it at clubs, all the good stuff. And I really appreciate it. I’m still independent, still doing it without a label so anything good that is happening to this project I can thank it to the people who support me and myself. There are no big-money businessmen in the picture, just honest and passionate guys and girls. And I feel fucking good about it. That’s the way I like it.
Your music is a hybrid of so many different things…I’ve never heard anything like it! How would you describe the Lazerpunk sound to a new listener?
Young and angry guy with no musical background wants to make dark synthwave music but cannot stick to rules or genres.
What is your writing process like?
I pick a Perturbator song and try to copy it completely, but I suck, so eventually I’ll end up with something different. But honestly I don’t know. I’m not a pro, I can’t just sit down and decide that I’ll write a good song and do it. But when I’m inspired or in the mood everything goes smoothly. For example right before I started writing EGO DEATH I got beat up and got my nose broken. When I got home I was still raging inside and I thought it would be interesting to start writing a song in that emotional state. I was sitting there in the middle of the night tweaking the bass while the blood from my nose was dripping onto my synths. Yeah I know it sounds like some scene from a movie and probably that’s why it inspired me so much that I wrote like half of the song during that one night. I just love stuff like this.
What is your recording setup?
Rather not say. Everything on or around my desk is either 10+ years old, or some beat up second-hand stuff I could get for cheap. Or both. The only thing I’m satisfied with is my studio monitors. They are two Mackie MR5 mk3s and they sound nice so finally I hear what I’m doing. But I still have a 4:3 TFT monitor, I bought my mouse back in elementary school from a classmate and my computer has no video card in it because that’s not needed for music production. All in all, it’s a mess, but at least I’ll have some cool before-after photos once I make it.
What have you been listening to lately?
During the last year I did not listen to any synth music at all because I didn’t want anyone from the scene to influence me and this album. Now that I think about it I didnt really listen to electronic music either. Honestly I listened mostly to this new wave of soundcloud rap with names like Suicide Boys, xxxtentacion, Bones, Yung Lean and all the rest. And some witch house, but that genre is really special for me. I can only listen to that in very special mood with very special people. And I was in a really bad mood last year and any music that wasn’t dumb, angry or totally empty really brought me down. So it’s hurt to say but when someone put on Droid Bishop for example – who writes the most beautiful synth music on the planet – I told him to stop that and I put on Lil Pump instead. Sadly I’m not joking, this really happened.
I don’t know man, I really feel music and it can really mess with my head. Sad or beautiful music can really bring me down so much I feel like as if I was coming down from molly. And I can’t really deal with that. I’m pretty numb at this point but good music can still fuck with my head. That’s my weak spot, that’s my kryptonite, so if anyone ever wants to beat me up just put on V______ from R___ S____ and I will collapse and cry on the floor like a child.
When you aren’t writing music what do you do for fun?
I walk up to cute couples and tell them that one day it will end and they will hate each other and death is inevitable. Okay not really, but I had a friend who did that. Well it depends. I had someone really close to me who I made music with, we used to hang out a lot, just getting wrecked and talk about everything, nightdriving, you know. Good stuff. But that is gone, so now I’m trying to keep myself busy with music. But once the weather will get better it’s going to be fine. I put together my motorbike and I’ll hit the road again. That’s pretty much the only thing I enjoy besides music. Everything else sucks.
Any parting words?
Don’t do drugs and cut the lows below 40Hz at least.