ACE BUCHANNON - 'Buns of Steel' | An Interview
What could we possibly say about the galactic presence of Ace Buchannon on the Synth scene that hasn’t already been said? Well, as it turns out quite a lot actually…..
He’s come a long way from his first Album release ‘Magenta Nights’ released in July 2018 which seems like a lifetime ago now all things considered. The Helsinki based Producer continues to serve us absolute gems and is not afraid to twist things up to engage his audience even further. From all accounts he’s an essential component on Team Synthwave pushing the genre ever forward with his dynamism and innate grasp of those pure Retro Futuristic sounds.
The brainchild of Vesa Tamminen, project Ace has seen exponential growth over the last few years and his evolution is clear to see in such tracks that have become a staple on any discerning Synthwave playlist like ‘Come Alive’ featuring the incredible vocal talent of Anna Moore to the more darker, futuristic stylings of ‘Mizukage Prototype’ and of course the stellar Cyberpunk single that is ‘Dreamer Archetype’.
With an image sharper than a two edged sword and larger than life production chops, Forged couldn’t wait to interview this charismatic lynch-pin of the Finnish Synth invasion…read on!
Thank you very much for sharing your time with Forged in Neon today and Congratulations on your new single ‘Dreamer Archetype’. Its certainly different to a lot of your discography to date to a degree, taking a more cyberpunk turn how do you think it has been received so far?
Hi, Ashley! You were the first to interview me back when I was still just a synth nugget and, well I still am, to a degree :)
Surprisingly the track Dreamer Archetype became my second most popular track in the month of January. It even got close to Buns of Steel. I still dream that one day I’ll make a track that is more popular than that one haha. I was happy with Dreamer Archetype but the reception was even better than I could imagine.
Why the change in musical direction?
The next album will be darker, a more futuristic cyberpunk-styled album, but the tracks will have my signature melodic touch. I just can't help it. I did play the original table-top Cyberpunk RPG as a kid with my brother, cousin and friends, so the theme and aesthetics are close to me. Even though my first two albums weren't dark the retro futuristic themes, artificial intelligence etc. have been there along with some romantic '80s vibes. It was time for me to create a darker, grittier and more mechanic sounding album at this moment.
It's not really a permanent change of direction for the project as I already have a bunch of smoother tracks done for another release. Some will have vocals. One of them has saxophone on it, played by the same guy Ilia Skibinsky who played sax on Come Alive (feat. Anna Moore). Speaking of Anna Moore, we're planning to work together on a track as well.
You’ve been on the scene pretty much for the last 4 years or so creatively speaking how do you think your sound has developed over time?
There's the very first version of my first Ace Buchannon track 'Mano A Mano' still on the NewRetroWave YouTube channel. It's a good reference point to hear how my production has developed. The mix and master are horrible. Fortunately the version I have on my first album has gone through tons of new mixes and a professional mastering.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
It's just the feeling that I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. It's what I'm good at. My day job pays the bills but I live for the music projects.
Tell us a little about the Ace Buchannon journey, how did you get started?
I just got into the genre around 2014 by listening to stuff like Lazerhawk, Mitch Murder, Phaserland, Morgan Willis and such. I started to think that not only do I love this music but I might have something to give to the genre, so I made 'Mano A Mano', sent it to NRW YouTube channel and saw that some people liked the music a lot and my next track was Buns of Steel. That kind of blew up and here we are.
Musically, starting the project was easy because I make the music that I like to hear myself. It can be light, smooth or dark but it has to have the elements and details that I like in music.
What do you believe to be the most cherished memory of your career to date?
It has to be the gig at Helsinki Synth Festival at the end of 2019. A few months before covid. It was just perfect. I had enough experience in the form of around 8 gigs to enjoy performing to the fullest and the venue was packed. Not because of me haha but there were artists like NINA, Robert Parker, Millennium Falck, Levinsky, Glowline, Runaway Droid, Kizunaut, VVOV. It was just a perfect night and if I ended my career in music right now, I would be content because of it. I'm not planning to stop however :)
What would you say is the best advice you have ever been given as a musician?
There are so many but one would be "Do not compare yourself to others." There will always be artists a thousand times smaller and a billion times bigger.
You’ve had some absolute smash hits in collaborations over the passed while to include ‘Come Alive’ feat Anna Moore and another fantastic track with Gryff ‘Never Surrender’ any more collabs on your horizon?
Yes :) I will work with Anna Moore again and a few brilliant ladies and gentlemen of synth this year. Announced later.
Who are you currently listening to?
I've been listening to a lot of metal recently. The nerdy kind such as Symphony X. The latest album by Judas Priest was one of their best too. It's great to hear how dudes pushing 70 can still make some kick-ass metal. I mean, listen to the song "Firepower."
Is there a future in Synthwave music in your opinion?
Yes, but the future is not in being a purist to one way or another. No one wants to hear the same '80s troupes year after year. Synthwave is a genre which is malleable and has many possible directions where it can go. Cyberpunk music is definitely connected to Synthwave and it's growing.
The melodic and sonic elements of our favourite decade can be used in many different ways, but the years of "check how '80s this track is dude lol" are behind us. That was Synthwave 1.0. And don't get me wrong, I still enjoy a good, traditional outrun album if it's well-made and it has original ideas in melody, lyrics, harmony. I mean, heavy metal is over half a century old genre and we still get great, inspiring new metal albums.
If there was one thing you’d change in the Music Industry what would it be? Why?
Things are not perfect, they never will be, but now is a perfect time for a solitary indie musician to get her music out there without a label. Making money is difficult so that shouldn't be your main reason to get in.
What do you hope your listeners take away from the music you create?
I hope that the honesty shines through that I'm making the music that I like and I try to evoke an emotion in the listener. If a track doesn't have an impact on me, I won't release it. I will not make filler tracks.
What is a day off for Ace like? Or is there such a thing?
I'm a nerd so I play table-top and PC games. I do take care of my fitness though. Tennis, running, gym (outside at the moment), swimming in the sea.
Can you tell us anything about current or future projects in the pipeline?
A few vinyl releases this spring. Then the new Cyberpunk album, which will be out before summer hopefully and then a more traditional type of album later in the autumn.
2021 is about not giving a shit what anyone thinks of me or of what I do (except the listeners of course). I will do what I enjoy and what I'm good at. I will also be more focused, structured as I have been so far.
A message to your fans….
A Huge Thank You. You guys keep me going and whenever I see a young lad or lass coming up with a guitar or vocal cover of my song I get really emotional. That feels unbelievable to me as I was that kid playing someone else's songs and I never could've imagined that one day my music would be worth making covers of.
Those also fall into the category of having an impact with my music.
I want my music to have an effect on the listener, for the better.
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