BETAMAXX - 'Lost in a Dreamworld' | An Interview
For almost 10 years BETAMAXX has been one of the stalwarts of Retro 80's Synth revival. A music project of Pittsburgh native Nick Morey, the formation of 'BETAMAXX' back in 2012 was a game changer, later that same year he released the first LP 'Lost Formats' to great acclaim and has never looked back, well as much as you can do being one of Synthwave Music's Pioneers.
The name BETAMAXX to the retro astute amongst you is of course drawn from the 80's Sony Movie Player which was released to the Market to rival VHS. Betamaxx’s sound is inspired and created with a use of analog and digital hardware synths from the 80’s and today fused together to create a maelstrom of retro future sounds akin to the likes of his influences to include the legend John Carpenter.
Of course one of the seminal moments of his career would have to be featuring on the 'Kung Fury' soundtrack which has become a genre favourite.
Now gearing up to drop an exciting concept Album which will be somewhat different, embracing the Lo-Fi sound, we cant wait to hear what he does with it.
Forged chats to Nick about all things BETAMAXX and what we can expect into the future ths is a great one..let's get into it!
Thank you so much for chatting with Forged today, been a fan for quite awhile and had the pleasure of seeing you live in London back in July 2019, Congratulations of course on all your success to date, how has the last year been for you all things considered?
It was a pleasure to meet you as well, and thank you very much! 2020 was definitely a weird year for me, because I was gearing up for another tour which I was very stoked about, but unfortunately due to the pandemic, that had to be cancelled. I've had some fun doing some remixes and a couple of singles, but there's nothing quite like being on stage, touring, and meeting people - something I miss dearly.
Of course, your career as Betamaxx started about 9 or so years ago, how do you feel your sound has developed over time?
The best way I can answer that is the fact that over time I've developed new production skills by learning more about sound dynamics, as well as experimenting with new synthesizers. I've acquired a UAD Apollo X6 audio interface that jives well with my hardware synths and I've been using a lot of their amazing vintage plugins to enrich my sound. There's an infinite amount of things you can learn about audio production. After all these years I'm still learning new techniques that keep me interested.
What do you enjoy about being a Musician?
Artistic expression mostly. It's a great medium for me to be creative, I enjoy the process. I also enjoy touring. That has been a big boost for me with Betamaxx, because I only somewhat recently started playing live and can't wait for the opportunity to get on stage again.
It would be remiss of me not to mention your brief (thankfully) retirement from the scene back in 2015 which seems like a fever dream now all things considered, can you chat a little about why you took that decision to retire? Have you regretted changing your mind since?
You're not the first to have asked about this. 2015 was more or less a shit show for my personal life, and I was going through a lot of things that I'm glad are in my rearview now. I quickly realized, without making music I felt empty. I'll more or less always make music in one way or another. Betamaxx had a captive audience with loyal fans and I would have been a shame to let that go. It's something that I don't regret, but I'm glad I changed my mind about.
You’re very highly regarded as a ‘Pioneer’ in the Synthwave scene, does having tag sit well with you? Do you feel somewhat under pressure to be consistent in terms of releasing music because of it?
Well, yes and no. While I'm very happy that I got into this type of music early on, I don't like being pigeonholed into any specific genre. My stylings can range anywhere from chill ambient / cinematic to hot disco hype. I don't feel pressure to be consistent, I feel that being an artist is about growth and experimentation. I think stepping outside your comfort zone is important.
You wrote and recorded a film score for the short film, An Indie Horror called ‘The Remnant’ and also of course appeared on the phenomenally successful ‘Kung Fury’ where these something you enjoyed doing? Would you like to get more into scoring perhaps?
Yes, absolutely. Film and TV scoring is a big long term goal for me, as is for many many musicians from the Synthwave scene and beyond. It's very satisfying lucrative work if you are so blessed as an artist to be considered or commissioned for. I look forward to more of these opportunities in the future.
You're signed now to Starfield Music, a Label whose head is none other than Synthwave Titan FM Attack, what have they been like to work with?
Well, Shawn (FM Attack) and I have grown to be great friends over the years since we first met and performed together in 2018. Him and I are tight, which is kind of wild to me because I've always admired his music and styling even before Betamaxx existed. He was and still is a major influence for me. The Starfield family, although small, has some great releases, and top quality vinyls. I look forward to releasing more with them in the near future.
In your entire discography what track are you most proud of? Why?
It's really hard to just pick one track, but if I had to, I'd probably say "Never Sleep Again" featuring Vandal Moon. I liked the track so much that I commissioned a production company (DYNMC Creative) to produce a music video for this song. This was easily one of the best and most fun experiences of my life, starting from the drawing board, to the premier of the video - the whole thing was an absolute blast to put together. My brief time in Los Angeles shooting that video will be forever ingrained in my mind.
Can you tell us about anything we can look forward to in current or future projects you have in the pipeline?
I'm working on a new full length record, but it's not the type of music you'd expect from me. My next release is a conceptual Lo-fi ambient album called "Sarajevo" based on the 1984 Olympic games in Bosnia. I'm shooting for a spring release on this album, and I'm beyond stoked for it. The album artwork is incredible and the music, I feel, is some of my best and most heartfelt work to date.
What has been the most cherished memory of your Betamaxx career to date?
It's a toss-up between the music video shoot for "Never Sleep Again" and my time in London performing at Retro Future Fest. Both happened in 2019, which was an incredible year for me that I was very blessed to have experienced. I hope to return to Europe again as soon as it's possible.
The Team behind the video to include Elevate the Sky, Future Holotape, Glitbiter, Holly from Parallels et al - DYNMC Creative
A message to your fans……
A big thanks to each and every one of you. If it weren't for you, this project wouldn't exist. It's one of my greatest pleasures being on the road and meeting new fans, friends and fellow musicians. I've made some of the best friends in my life through music which I am very very grateful for. Here's to you guys and I hope to see you all again soon.
Please support BETAMAXX where possible | YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!