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LET EM RIOT - 'Something Real' | An Interview

Today I'm super excited to bring you a favourite of mine 'LET EM RIOT'

The brainchild of Alan Oakes, this California based force of musical nature has been around since this micro-genre 'Synthwave' was even a thing. His music is most certainly retro-future escapism at it's very best and has established himself as prominent act on the scene since 2009.

An ‘80s baby, Oakes’ earliest influences came from pop culture of the decade. Movie soundtracks were especially important in those formative years, with artists like Cyndi Lauper capturing his imagination from the reels of VHS tapes. Along with other pop acts of the era like Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode, movie soundtracks remain prominent influences on the music of Let Em Riot also.

A man after my own Glam rock heart he's on record as saying that he had an early love for Mötley Crüe which also marked a pivotal point in Oakes’ music interests, and rock and punk became increasingly influential as he grew into adolescence. Immersing himself in skate culture, he discovered punk bands that were integral to skate videos of the era, and those artists left a lasting impression on his creative direction.

Let Em Riot drops a stunning new Album today 'Jetty' and what better way to celebrate all things Riot than to interview the man behind the music. - Let's get into it!


Hey, thank you so much for spending some time with Forged in Neon today, huge fan of your music so I’m glad we get a chance to chat. New release coming on the 12th March ‘Jetty’ how excited are you to get that out into the world? It’s a collection of instrumentals, right?

I’m stoked. I felt it was a good time to explore some new ideas and see where they lead me. It’s a little bit of a departure from what someone would expect from a Let Em Riot release but I think that’s cool. I enjoy trying things that are outside of my comfort zone musically. It’s an adventure and I love being able to share the journey with everyone.

The new release seems to have come as a result of the current lockdown situation, but stocked full of vibe rich, sunny sounds, was it hard to come up with such positivity in instrumental form given the fact that life seems to have halted for everyone?

I found myself spending a lot of time this past year reflecting and music played a big role in that process. I listened to a lot of records that reminded me of my days growing up here in Southern California surfing and skating. I think that just came through on the record.

I have to say that I have always been intrigued with your stage did that come about?

I’d like to say that the name has some profound meaning behind it but the truth is it’s a quote taken from one of my favorite movies: High Fidelity. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

I think you’re on record somewhere saying that Mötley Crüe and bands like it where a huge key to unlocking your love for music, tell us a little more about that? What was it about the band that got you fired up?

I was about 9 years old when I turned on MTV and saw Motley Crue for the first time. The Dr.

Feelgood video came on and I was blown away. The look, the sound, it was all larger than life. I had no idea that music could look and sound so huge! Mick Mars’ guitar sound is insane and Tommy Lee’s drums are absolutely massive on that record. I mean, does get any more epic than “Kickstart My Heart”?

Who are you inspired by currently?

I’ve been listening to bands like The Verve and Interpol lately. They’re kinda my go-tos when I need chill out. Also, Johnny Marr - I love The Smiths and Johnny Marr is one of my favorite guitarists.

On your career to date what would you say is the once cherished memory you have of it?

It’s difficult to single one out. Really though, it’s the places I’ve been able to travel to and the

amazing people I’ve met along the way.

You’ve been on the scene since about 2013 give or take, you’ve seen the evolution of Synthwave to a degree, how do you feel your own sound has developed over time?

I released the first Let Em Riot single in the summer of 2009. For the first few years I really wasn’t sure what is was that I was trying to accomplish. I guess every musician searches for their unique voice. I like to think that my sound over the years has been the result of that ongoing search.

What is the one track in your entire discography that’s a stand out in your opinion?

That’s a difficult one. I could point out certain aspects of each song that I like. I could also point out it’s flaws. With some songs, the fact that I was even able to finish it makes it a stand out accomplishment, LOL.

Can you tell us a little about any current and future projects you have in the pipeline?

I have the instrumental release, Jetty, coming out in March. I’m also currently writing the next album.

Does Synthwave have a future?

Absolutely! I always tell people to look at how much Punk has evolved over the decades. With all the sub genres that have come and gone, going from underground to mainstream and back underground. It never truly goes away. Punk is Punk - it’s a state of mind. I think the same for Synthwave.

What do you enjoy most about being a musician?

Playing live. I love being a live musician - traveling and meeting new people. The love for music is constant no matter where you go.

What would you say was the biggest problem you encountered whilst on your journey in music?

The music business.

What is your favourite song to perform?

I play live with a guitar so any song that leans more guitar is fun to perform. Songs like “Say” and “Something Real” come to mind.

The one movie you’d watch over and over again?

Lost in Translation

A message for your fans?

Thank you! No really, you make the journey worth while. My only wish is that we all get to see each other soon.


Please consider supporting incredible Artists like Let Em Riot - YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

New Album just dropped 'Jetty' - Link below via Bandcamp

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