JETFIRE PRIME - 'The Greatest Journey' | An Interview
Hailing from Liverpool in the UK the land of Kim Cattrall, The Beatles and the invention of the world first football net we have another fantastic Synth Producer and Soundtrack composer by the name of 'Jetfire Prime'.
Jetfire began as an interesting side project to a band he was in and still currently involved with called 'Novice Mathematic' as a Singer & Guitarist. The bands increased propensity for Synths had him mapping out the tracks to ensure their inclusion and whilst he'd be the first to say that he doesn't feel as proficient on them as he'd like the defence would like to include Exhibit A: I wish I was a Carpenter' - A Tribute to the Legendary John Carpenter as evidence of his more than adequate proficiency your Honour!
His journey as Jetfire Prime started nearly 3 years ago with the aforementioned track and steadily grew from there with his debut Album 'The End of the Beginning' released in October 2019 to great acclaim. His new track interestingly titled '252RB81' was released just 2 days ago and already gaining traction with some radio play and streams.
He's been on the Forged radar for awhile so I was delighted to get a chance to catch up with him. It's Prime Time..let's get into it!
Thank you very much for sharing your time with Forged in Neon today and congratulations on your success to date. All told how had 2020 been for you?
Thanks so much. Apart from the obvious nightmare of Covid19, 2020 was pretty amazing for me in a musical sense. During the first lockdown I was lucky enough to keep my job but my hours were reduced for a while so I was able to really focus on making music and it was by far the most productive time of my life.
I really threw myself into writing and managed to record and release my Summerzeer EP, the single Where There’s Hope and the I Still Function EP. I also managed to record another 3 albums that I haven’t quite finished yet and towards the end of the year released my fake
horror soundtrack album They Live to Feed, the single Mainframe (a collaboration with stux.io) and Happy Merry Synthmas Volume 3 which included a collaboration with the super talented Lavallette.
I was also asked to write tracks for the Music for a Confinement compilation, Grim Nights’
Hoverpunks Unite EP and a song for the It’s Christmas Time VI compilation. I also started working on a few remixes but I think they’re secret at the moment so can’t mention any names. I really enjoyed the challenge of working on other people’s stuff though and learnt a lot from the process. Also my track 'Moon lite' was picked to be used on the soundtrack for the game Neon Sword by Pea Head games so that was pretty exciting.
Basically 2020 gave me a taste of what it could be like to really focus on music and allowed me to spend time every day doing what I love to do the most.
Tell us a little about your musical back-round and your road to Synthwave? Who where your
influences in discovering the genre?
To be totally honest, Jetfire Prime is my side project. For many years my main musical outlet was singing and playing guitar in the band Novice Mathematic. I’ve always tinkered with synth music alongside that though and over the last few years have been able to allocate a lot more time to Jetfire Prime and things have steadily grown from there. I was lucky enough to grow up in the 80s so my musical background is steeped in music from the classic TV programmes and films of the time.
I guess a lot of people say this but I don’t think that there’s ever been a decade that had such a definitive look and sound as the 80s so my love of music grew from cartoons such as Battle of the Planets, M.A.S.K, Transformers and programmes such as Knight Rider, The A Team, Street Hawk and Manimal etc. I’ve always had a big love of orchestral soundtracks as well and I’ll never tire of listening to the music from the films of my childhood such as Star Wars, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark etc. Hands down though my favourite soundtrack of all time is Vince Dicola’s score for Transformers the Movie. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve listened to that album since buying it on cassette back in 1986. It’s a masterpiece and I would say that the seeds for my love of Synthwave were sewn there. Also Jan Hammer’s Crockett’s Theme and Harold Faltermeyer’s theme to Fletch are two of my favourite songs ever and pretty much influence every piece of music that I make.
With regards to actually discovering Synthwave itself Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack blew my mind and was the first album I purchased on iTunes I think. I couldn’t wait so bought it on the bus on the way home from seeing the film in the cinema.
Like a lot of people I loved the soundtrack to Drive but my real journey into the genre started when I heard Dynatron’s Cosmo Black on the trailer for the film Cold in July back in 2014. As soon as I heard it I had to know what it was and that was when I first heard the term Synthwave. I looked for artists on bandcamp and stumbled across Waveshaper, listened to the opening few seconds of his track Cyborg Telekinetics off the Retro Future album and I was hooked.
You’ve been on the grid for 3 or so years, creatively speaking do you think your sound has developed to where you need it to be or are you still evolving as an Artist?
I don’t think I’m anywhere near finished evolving yet. I’m always hungry to branch out and try
different things musically but also try to keep it distinctive so that people can hopefully say that it still sounds like me. My debut album The End of the Beginning was Spacewave, Summerzeer was more like straight up Synthwave, I Still Function was quite funky and They Live to Feed was a horror soundtrack so I guess I’m always trying something different and I think I’ll always be like that.
I’ve always struggled with the thought that my music isn’t really Synthwave enough and that someone will call me out on that one day. There’s so many artists such as Micromat Scenes, Jupiter-8 and L’Avenue etc who do it so well and I’m trying to learn from people like that. I need to get much better at the craft because I’m a pretty terrible keyboard player and have no idea what I’m doing production wise. I’m completely self taught as both a musician and a producer so spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get the sounds in my head out and into a recording and I think that’s where the next stage of my development needs to happen.
What do you enjoy most about being a Musician?
I love the freedom of being creative. Making music is a release for me. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and if I don’t get a bit of time to myself every so often to make music then I can feel a sense of frustration bubbling up inside and if I don’t release it then it really eats away at me. As soon as I get some ideas down it completely evaporates and normality is restored.
Who are you currently listening to?
Oooh loads. My absolute go to playlist that I pretty much listen to everyday is the Greed is Good - An Officewave Odyssey one. It’s packed full of tracks from artists like Michael Weber, Mitch Murder, Bart Graft and loads more. Apart from that I’ve had Gemesis the new EP from Gemwave, Into the Night by L’avenue, The Blood Machines OST by Carpenter Brut, Forgotten Moon by Death by Neon and Astro Wars by S A Z E R on repeat. The Blood Machines soundtrack is just amazing.
The single Man in the Shadow from YATTE and DUETT is also pretty much the best song I’ve heard in months and gets played all of the time.
If there was one thing you’d change in the Music Industry what would it be? Why?
Without a doubt it would be payment to musicians from streaming sites. I love the fact that music is so immediate now and that we have millions of songs at our finger tips. That side of streaming is amazing but the amount of money that smaller independent musicians receive is shocking. In fact it’s disgraceful. I think some kind of balance has to found otherwise musicians might stop taking any risks in the future and creativity will be lost. Hopefully people will always fight to make the music that they want to make but they deserve to be rewarded fairly for that and at the moment I think the industry is in a terrible state.
What do you hope your listeners take away from the music you create?
Hopefully a sense of fun. I’m really serious about my music but I try not to take it too seriously if that makes sense? My songs (especially the titles) are often little nods to films or tv e.g the tracks Play it Again RAM or Go Fletch. The I Still Function EP title is a quote from Megatron in Transformers the Movie. For days I toyed around with calling it I Still Funktion but bottled it at the last minute and changed it. I’m currently working on a Businesswave / Officewave album called Risqué Business. Also I hope that they take an element of the cinematic from the songs. My main aim for the future is to write scores for TV, games, films etc and I always try to have soundtrack elements in my tracks.
What is a day off for JFP like? Or is there such a thing? How do you balance creating music and time with the family?
I’m an early riser and often try to fit in a small amount of recording time before heading to work during the week. A perfect (non lockdown) day off would probably go something like this: Wake early and do some music, have a long lazy breakfast with my wife, take our dogs for a walk to one of the local beaches (Liverpool has some great beaches), find a pub and have a some food and a few pints before heading to the cinema in the evening.
Can you tell us anything about current or future projects in the pipeline?
Yeah, I’ve got loads in the pipeline. I’ve worked on a few remixes and as mentioned before I’ve recorded a Businesswave album and I’m really pleased with it. It still needs mixing but I love the songs on there. I’ve asked Matteo from MicroMatscenes to play a solo on one of the tracks and he’s agreed so I need to get that over to him. I’ve also recorded a Spacewave album called The Sister Planet that’s set in the same story universe as my debut album The End of the Beginning and I’ve got another album called The Sleeping City that’s pretty much recorded. I’m really excited about this one because it’s been a real labour of love for me and is very different to anything that I’ve released so far, Currently there’s about fourteen tracks on it and only two of them have drums on them.
Also I’ve recently been working on a collab fake horror soundtrack album with Matt Jantzen (Death by Neon) and that’s been great fun. We met online through a mutual love of film soundtracks and each other’s music, I put the collab idea to him and we pretty much got started on it straight away.
What would you say is the most cherished moment of your career to date?
I would say that finally releasing my debut album The End of the Beginning back in October 2019 was my proudest moment so far. That album took me around two years to make and even though I’d released a few tracks before that I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing or where I wanted things to head but when I released the album it all suddenly fell into place and the response to it has been amazing. I’m still a very small fish in the Synthwave pond but I think that the album helped put me on the map and led to me meeting a lot of very cool artists that have shown a great deal of support and friendship since that time.
Probably putting you on the spot but what’s the one track in your discography that your most proud of?
This is really, really tough but I think I would have to say Ping Pong off the Summerzeer EP. As mentioned before I’ve always felt a bit insecure about whether my music is Synthwave and would be accepted by people. Ping Pong was actually written whilst I was still recording The End of the Beginning and only took me a few hours to write from start to finish. I knew it wasn’t suitable for the album but at the same time it really excited me because I really felt that it was a song that really embraced the more traditional Synthwave sound and paved the way going forward for me to write music in a variety of styles.
A message to your fans….
A huge, huge thank you to everyone that’s listened, shared, purchased or reviewed anything of mine so far. I’ve been making music in various forms for thirty years and this is by far the most success that I’ve ever known. I’m both extremely humbled and at the same time monumentally excited by the fact that my music seems to have found an audience. I’m really excited for what the future holds musically and I hope people enjoy the ride from here on out.
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