maandag 17 februari 2020

Interview met Mojave

Mojave is een synthwave producer uit Zuid-Afrika die vorig jaar zijn debuutalbum ¨Odyssey¨ uitbracht. Ik ben heel blij om nu ook iemand van het Afrikaanse continent te kunnen interviewen die onze oren verblijd met mooie synthwave. Tijd voor een interview.

Mojave is a synthwave producer from South Africa who released his debut album "Odyssey" last year. I am very happy to be able to interview someone from the African continent, who is delighting our ears with beautiful synthwave. Time for an interview.


Mojave, can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Mojave, a South African music producer who enjoys exploring different genres. I’ve been working on this Mojave project for almost four years now and I’m glad to say it’s made some progress over the years. The philosophy behind this project is mostly based on the Mojave Desert which is “You’ll never know what you’re going to find here”. This idea has allowed me to explore many genres and to let my fans know that they won’t solely expect synthwave from me.

Last you you debuted with the album ¨Odyssey¨ and two singles Low Resolution and NEON TERROR. How was it to work on these releases?
I had the most fun on ¨Odyssey¨! It started out with me just making sounds and playing some keys on my MIDI keyboard and that’s how the whole album was made. I’d make a sound. Play it. Quantize it, keep the mistakes in to give it character then put on a movie in the background on mute to see how it affects the feel of the scene. Low Resolution was my very first synthwave track which I made out of the blue. It was even before I was part of the community (and when my mixing was poor). I’d say this one was very fun. My little brother was in the room when I made it and he called it “very spacey”. NEON TERROR just came out of nowhere. All I can remember from making that song was that it was 4AM when I finished the skeleton of the track. It was one of those IN THE ZONE moments.

When you compare NEON TERROR and ¨Odyssey¨, there is a big difference in sound. What motivated you to make the single NEON TERROR?
After I put out Odyssey I started to get a bad case of writers block. To me every song I made that came after Odyssey sounded like a B-side and it was at that point I thought about taking a break from synthwave and put out other genres of music. Before NEON TERROR I had released three avant-garde synthwave songs on my sound cloud which were FACE HUGGER, PEACE KEEPER and PHANTASM and they received a pretty decent reception. Like all those tracks NEON TERROR started with two parts. The melodic haunting synthwave part and the chaotic bass parts. I had my spark back and it made me happy. I have to admit I was very reluctant at the time to release it because to me “IT DIDN’T SOUND LIKE SYNTHWAVE, IT SOUNDED LIKE DUDE-BRO MUSIC DURING A SCI-FI PHASE” and I was expecting a low reception but now NEON TERROR is sitting at over 900 plays on my SoundCloud. I can’t wait to see how it handles on other platforms.

What are your plans for this year?
I have an EP coming out in March this year. It’s sort of an in-between sequel to ¨Odyssey¨ based around a fictional magazine in the Odyssey universe. I’ve almost finished with my first pop album, so now I’m just looking for vocalists and I’ve got something more experimental for my hip-hop/trap fans coming near the end of the year. I also plan on working on lyrical writing and improve on my piano playing.

What equipment do you use in your studio?
I have a Sanchez 61-Key MIDI keyboard which takes up most of my workspace haha. I use Ableton live and in the box synths. My all-time favourites are Synth 1 and the PG-8X Vst with a bit of Sylenth 1 and Ableton’s Operator. I tend to lean towards Free synths and stock plugins because someday I want to have a break down video on one of my tracks and show new producers that you don’t need all these insanely priced VSTs to make good music and it’s good to be different from the herd. The NEON TERROR Bass shots were all completely made with Sylenth 1 because I knew most Bass Heavy producer’s leaned towards Serum or Massive and I guess I wanted to be a rebel. The spacey starting melody on NEON TERROR was made with a free VST called PG-8X which is based on the Roland JX-8P! Check it out.

What other musicians do inspire you?
Too many to count! Daft Punk’s ¨Discovery¨ album is what inspired me to pursue music and take it very seriously. The moment I heard that album I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Before that album my musical tastes only consisted on New-Wave and movie soundtracks. I’d say one of my many inspirations would be New Order, Tears for Fears, The Human League, Com Truise, Boards of Canda, Daft Punk and movie soundtracks (such as the Indiana Jones theme) as well as The Pointer Sisters.

How is the synthwave scene in South Africa?
I’m not sure there is one. At least not in my home town but I’m hoping to change that! South Africa is currently in a Techno/Psytrance/Tech-house and Hip-Hop boom, but I like it because while everybody else is doing that I’m in my room doing something very different and I hope that someday it’ll compete with those other scenes.

What do you like most about the ´80s?
Honestly the fashion and music. The clothes were iconic. You could recognise Marty Mcfly’s Nikeys and his red jacket a mile away, Michael Jackson’s Thriller Jacket, Yuppie fashion or that classic Madonna haircut. Miami Vice is the reason why I never took off my school blazer from the 4th-12th grade. It made me feel cool. In my opinion Goth/Emo fashion was at its best back then. It had a sort of dark New Romantic essence to it. The music on the other hand is without a doubt the pinnacle of all music. It was at a point were music was just filled with so much passion. Nothing seemed cookie cutter and it all had character. Head Over Heels by Tears For Fears, Gold by Spandau Ballet, Let’s Dance by David Bowie, 1999 by Prince. The synergy of music and fashion back then was just a way of saying “We know the world can be scary and uncertain so just put on your Walkman, put on your blazer or Zeppelin T-shirt and just forget for a while”.

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
I wanna thank every last one of you for accepting me as one of your own. Other communities seem to be in it for themselves but not the synthwave community. They’ll treat you like family there so you’re in good hands! To all my #Synthfam I say keep changing the norm and don’t be afraid to add a dash of ´80s to other genre’s and never stop putting out stuff even if it’s as weird as a cat screaming slowed down to 60bpm. You’ll never know what will happen!

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