This band whilst only being relative newbies on the scene having carved a spot for themselves on the Neon Grid in 2019 have fostered such a unique sound that caught my eye (and ear) just after the release of their Arcade Nights E.P in July of that same year.
Hailing from the West Coast U.S.A their polished production qualities and sound is straight out of the 80's playbook drawing on inspiration from everything of that era to include Arcade Games and Anime! From Star Conquest taken from their First E.P Arcade Nights to their new release 'Galactic Realms' you can certainly hear the growth and expansion of sound which is addictive to hear! I got a chance to steal one half of the dynamic Duo away for just a little bit to chat about all things NR87..here's my chat with Stephen..take a look...
Tell us a little about you, where you’re from and how you got started in Music?
Originally I’m from Burbank, California. My father was heavily involved in the music business before I was even born. Growing up I’ve always been surrounded by music one way or another, I remember no matter where we moved we always had a small recording studio in the house or I’d have to help out some way with the indie record label he owned. Being raised constantly around music really helped me to appreciate the amount of work that goes into the craft whether it’s songwriting or just the promotion of a band. I have a lot of respect for those bands that do it all. In early 2000 I relocated to the Pacific Northwest and started djing trance and happy hardcore at local raves, started my own indie label/promo company called Support Hardcore we put on some amazing shows and released a few tracks before I ended up settling to my professional career, getting married, and packing that part of my life away, and I still continued to produce non-synthwave music for other artists under my old DJ name White_Raven, but right now Night Rider 87 is my main musical focus!
Is there anything new you’re working on currently that you’d like to share a little bit about?
We just released our new single “Galactic Realms” on June 12th 2020 we are excited for the love and praise it has already received! On the heels of that release we have a couple other singles in the works that we expect to be releasing over the next few months, along with that we are working on a new album expected to be released towards the end of 2020 possibly early 2021. We also have a few very exciting collaborations we can’t announce just yet, but exciting things in the works with some other very talented artists. Hopefully Summer time we can make the announcements on those!
If you couldn’t make the great music you are making today what would you be doing?
Definitely building and fabbing race cars! Building cars has always been a passion of mine and I’ve been doing it for fun for a long time. Currently I’ve got a couple fun project cars i’m working on including a 1987 Toyota Corolla (AE86) and a 1989 Toyota Camry (AllTrac/3sgte) not really your typical sports cars but definitely fun cars once they are built up! The last track car I had before those, was a 87 Toyota Cressida, they are by far my favorite cars! Here is a pic from my last event before Covid stuck! Photo by https://www.tnewportphoto.com/
Who would you like to play you in a movie of your life?
I feel like i have such an off the wall personality that no one but myself would be able to capture my essence, although if you asked my wife she’d probably say Kit Harington (Jon Snow). Ha-ha
What’s next for you as an artist?
Just continuing to push forward with branding and music, I feel like we are still establishing a name for ourselves in the scene, but even with where we are at now, we continue to be presented with a ton of amazing opportunities to work with other artists and companies in the scene. We would really love to thank Chaz from SynthCityPDX as he has been such an instrumental part in promoting us and putting on the Neon Rose Fest! We are definitely excited to play it again and grow close together with SynthCityPDX!
PSYK - Chaz Contreras - https://thegaijinpsyk.bandcamp.com/
If you could collaborate with anyone else on the scene who would it be and why?
Nina, the Synthwave Queen for sure! We have some tracks that we’ve written that have her musical style written all over it, we need a powerful singer like her to really bring the tracks to life. So who knows maybe soon we can make something happen on that level?! Give us a call sometime Nina! 😉
Favourite Movie and why?
I have too many favorite movies to list but some that are at the top of my list would be Contact, Interstellar, and Primer. I love science fiction movies that are heavily on the science side or really makes you think about the subject matter and has plenty of re-watch value. I think I had to watch Primer 3 or 4 times before I could get the timeline somewhat sorted out in my head! Ha-ha! If you haven't seen any of these movies I highly suggest you stop what you are doing and watch them immediately!
Who or what got you into the Synth scene initially?
I don't remember exactly how I stumbled across Synthwave but I do remember the first track that caught my attention in the genre, Lazerhawk - So Far Away. That track completely blew my mind, I’d never heard anything like that before. Shortly thereafter I discovered Droid Bishop’s song Nightland , it was all over from there, I was hooked. From there I dove head first into the Synthwave/outrun culture, myself being a child of the 80's it had these strangely nostalgic vibes that I didn't really understand till later. Those songs heavily influenced my decision to start producing Synthwave, it was something I felt very connected to.
How do you feel about the popularity of the Synth Genre as a whole and the new Generation of Producers who keep evolving?
I absolutely love it! The scene is growing so big and there are a lot of talented artists and producers that are jumping in this scene as it gains in popularity, which I think some people might find as becoming over-saturated but I find it to be a great expansion for the scene, now we have more and more people talking about it! The inundation of so many artists in the scene really forces all of us into becoming better artistically and to really develop a unique sound and vision otherwise we risk getting lost in the noise, helps separate the chaff from the wheat so to speak. I look forward to the Synthwave scene growth and where it goes next!
What type of Hardware/Software do you use, do you have a preference?
We actually use a combination of hardware and software, Ableton being our DAW of choice. As for VSTs I really enjoy using Massive and Sylenth1 for soft synths but there have been so many great VSTs released recently that emulate the classic 80s synths, it has been great to experiment with those as well. We do have a couple of hardware setups, one for in the studio only and another for live shows/recording. Our in-studio setup mostly consists of vintage outboard effects gear, including some 80’s Roland delay and reverb units, along with the standard compressors, equalizers, etc. Live stuff has some Korg Volca’s, Pocket Operators, a Roland JP-08, and best yet an authentic Sega Genesis with a modified sound cartridge and midi controller inputs! That thing is great! I honestly love both hardware and software for producing, they both have benefits and drawbacks but I say really it’s all about having fun with the music so do whatever with whatever you’re comfortable or have available! No right or wrong answer here!
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