This L.A Synthwave/Cyberpunk Duo 'Future Holotape' have been plying their wave trade for about 8 years now and quite literally from the 'Outset'.
Their unique style combines the future and the past seamlessly creating sounds that will transport you to realms never seen but somehow familiar. The duo comprising of Ernest Mancia and Julie Chang are a couple who over time have refined their brand of banging Synth with Cyberpunk elements and as such have captured a myriad of fans across the Retrowave spectrum.
Having toured the south west United States and released three studio albums: Analog Renegades,, Terra District 1, and Dreaming of Connections to great acclaim is it only a matter of time before we see this talented duo in Europe? well...we can dream!
Followed their career from across the Atlantic for some time now so I was super excited they took time out to chat with Forged, its a great one..take a look!
Firstly, thank you so much for sharing your time with Forged in Neon today and congratulations on that fab remix of quite possibly one of my favourite 80’s tracks ‘Lucky Star’. Your last full album was the brilliant ‘Dreaming of Connections’ in 2019 is there another album in the works for 2021 perhaps?
E: Hey thanks for having us! Well at the moment we’ve been working on putting a story together for the album. This is something we constantly do with every record, it gives us a better view of where to go with the songs. Plus it’s also heaps of fun to just chat and talk about what could possibly happen in the stories. Not a lot of people know that Terra District one and dreaming of connections connect. Hopefully down the line we actually write a book explaining everything. We don’t have any deadlines just yet but definitely going to have new music coming out for 2021! Super happy that you’re enjoying the new Madonna remix. It’s actually one of Julie‘s favourite tracks!
I hear you two lovebirds are engaged, such wonderful news, I’m delighted for you both. I’d imagine Future Holotape is stronger for the bond you both share. How did you meet?
J: We actually met 2010, Ernest is playing a show with his punk rock band and I was helping out a friend for the night. It was super weird since we showed up at his house and we were moving his gear. All I remember is him shaking my hand and thinking it was super awkward lol.
E: I personally try to be very polite most times especially when I’m first meeting somebody, but I was actually super nervous when I had met her because I thought she was so pretty Lol. It’s pretty interesting because when we first met we just clicked it was like nonstop talking and the fact that we grew a bond as musicians as well made it all the better!
How did Project Holotape first come about?
E: Originally I had a project with a friend of mine named Alvaro called Abeyance. We wrote music for about a year and a half and he ended up leaving to North Carolina. In between that I had met Julie, but I didn’t know that she would be such an amazing musician. I started teaching her keyboard when I realize she was a natural and had an ear for melodies. We later continue the songs that we had wrote under the name outlast the reset.
Everybody ended up leaving that project and me and Julie were the only ones that stayed behind and actually got super into synthesizers. It’s kind of funny because Julie was the only keyboard player and I was so obsessed with her getting her gear that I kind of fell into the hole as well LOL. Around 2012 we started releasing music on SoundCloud which was an EP that we released recently under the name Outset. But it’s funny because some of the tracks from Analog Renegades were actually out on SoundCloud as well.
How would you describe the music you both create?
J: Honestly just kind of like electronic music LOL. When we first started the word Synthwave didn’t even exist. Everyone was just kind of writing electronic music that had a retro touch to it. There were a lot of titles that jumped around from Retrowave to Synthwave, but we’d always say the same thing. “ it’s like Synthpop darkwave?” Honestly we never really focused on a Synthwave sound, we just kind of doodle on our keyboards until we find melodies we like.
For us Future Holotape is just us hanging out bonding with each other, never thought people would be into it.
Who have been your musical inspirations growing up? I’d imagine that has changed over time?
J: For me it hasn’t really changed too much to be honest. Most of my huge inspirations are 80s artists when it comes down to more modern artists I would definitely say Crystal Castles and Erasure. I feel like I’ve had small bonds with great musicians and some of the people we get to meet on the road always inspire us. I feel like seeing people push harder for their music makes us want to work harder as well.
E: I'm all over the place LOL. I originally grew up listening to a lot of break music like lighter shade of brown and Kid n’ play But then I went from that to hip-hop, I got into metal, then when I was in middle school in the early 2000s I got super into punk rock, then I was in a ska band for a long while LOL. Of course I had my indie music days which led into electronic music. That leading into Synthwave was kind of interesting. Most of the musicians sounded a lot more electro based, artists like Renegade, Futurecop!, Mille, Lifelike. To me it fit into my taste of electronic music. But there’s always great electronic music coming out everyday!
Possibly both putting you on the spot here but what is the one stand out track in your entire discography that you are most proud of?
J: We love every single song we put out and all the collaborations we’ve done with people but… After a very long discussion we landed on 'Indoctrinated' LOL. It was one track that we decided to just feel out and not focus so much on how we compose it by parts and sections. We took a lot of time working on the lyrics. It’s also one of the tracks that revolves not only around political views but has a strong message towards people telling them to not believe everything that they hear, and act as if you’re dead on the inside. Don’t believe something is bad until you go and try it out for yourself. You might find out you love it!
If there was one aspect you’d change about the music industry what would it be? Why?
J: Musicians getting paid more for the plays that they get on Spotify lol. We personally talk about this a lot but we feel like the the music labels crashing was kind of a good thing. Now you see musicians push hard for their own music and they really make a name for themselves and they keep more profit and aren’t being used. It almost looks like the amount of work you put in is what you get. But there are aspects that could be better like getting paid more for your plays.
A lot of the people that we’ve befriended self-master their music and put a lot of time into their craft. That in itself is a beauty of being a musician, a lot of musicians try to find other people to put out their work but you realize that with the little work that you would put in it’s almost the same amount that someone else would do.
E: It’s really scary when it comes down to you booking yourself somewhere far away and being somewhere you don’t know but when you really love your craft and you’re there and you’re playing a show and realize that a some people care it’s amazing. When we first toured outside of LA we had actually gone to Arizona and some amazing people put an amazing event together. We were actually extremely nervous because we jumped in the car and just drove off and didn’t know anybody. In the end it was definitely a one in a lifetime experience that we’re gonna take and remember till the end of time.
What do you hope your listeners take away from the music you create?
E: We just hope that they enjoy it and maybe marks a special time in their life. When we first started writing music we just wanted people to enjoy it and dance.
What is the one guilty pleasure you both cannot live without?
E: Thai food! Lol I feel like we both have the same guilty pleasure of playing Pokémon together. we used to spend hours just walking around, drinking coffee, playing Pokémon and finding other people that play and just making friends and hang out. It’s kind of crazy that it’s been five years of us doing that LOL.
What’s a day off for Future Holotape like?
E: I feel like it’s changed a lot throughout the years but currently it’s just a lot of driving around, getting drive-through Starbucks, and going to the park where there’s no one really lol since the pandemic we’ve been hermits. A lot of synth noodling to be honest!
You’ve done a few live shows now, do you aspire to do anymore in 2021?
J: We really hope so! We had planned a whole tour and I pretty much went up in the air.
Will we finally see you in Europe per chance?
E: We really do hope so! The tour that Julie had mentioned was actually all in Europe. We are definitely planning on going to France, Hungarian, Russia, and Amsterdam. Should probably start trying to figure out some thing in Ireland!
What do you think of the current landscape of the Synthwave Genre in comparison to when you first started out back in 2014?
E: It has definitely evolved. Like I had said earlier about it being a lot more electronic-based it has changed and has a more traditional sound. Definitely love both but I think that when we first started listening to Synthwave the fact that there was no traditional sound for it made the spectrum go all over the place. Also they set a lot of moments in our life when we first started working on music and dating. I think we will always hold early Synthwave close to our hearts but we also hope to make a lot of new memories with the new synth artists that are to come!
What do you believe to be the most cherished memory of your career to date?
J: That’s a tough one. I feel like almost every single tour we’ve done we hold really close to our hearts. We always meet amazing people and have an amazing time. We’re always getting lost in finding new things because we never know when we’re going to get the chance to be there again. But if we had to pick one I think it would be playing in Portland Oregon. We not only had an amazing show and got to hang out with some great people. We also got completely lost and it was for Ernest‘s birthday. We were just jumping around, googling amazing places like their Japanese Garden, and the Zoo. Not to mention, everywhere we went they made amazing drinks! Lol
Who are you currently listening to?
E: oh man my music taste currently is completely weird LOL I’ve been listening to a lot of lo fi and also a lot of really chillwave artists such as Home, and Survive. But have also been favoring Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, most times when I’m working I want to be in a peaceful space and that does it for me.
J: It really comes down to two different genres. A lot of 80s and a lot of early grunge LOL. I’ll go from Yas to Soundgarden right back to Madonna lol.
Can you tell us about any current or future projects you have in store?
J: We were trying to work on putting a music video together but it’s been a little tough financially so we’re going to get really crafty and see what we can do! Also definitely going to start looking into working on making more merchandise. But definitely stay tune for more music video work!
A message for your fans?
Thank you guys so much for all the support you’ve given us. We cannot thank you enough for just enjoying our music. We hope we get to meet all of you guys at some point in time after all this blows over. Just know that Future Holotape would not be what it is without you guys!
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