'PSYK' Tendencies - An Interview
Updated: Jun 14, 2020
Synthronicity: For those immersed in the Synth Scene you would have no doubt happened upon PSYK. A self confessed 'Synthwave Enthusiast' he's been circuit orientated bringing us his truth through music ever since his epic debut release back in 2018 with 'Gaijin' which takes you on a sonic synth journey through space scapes. Other than his excellent music very little is known about PSYK the man, so I thought I'd reach out to him, so glad I did. Read on...
Tell us a little about you, where you’re from and how you got started in Music?
- Well, My name is PSYK and I was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawai’i but have lived all over the west coast since 2010. I now reside in Portland, Oregon which is where I found my love for Synthwave. I started writing raps and slam poetry at the age of 16 but got into the production side of things when I was 18. I used to make lo-fi and dark hip-hop beats until 2015 where I found Com Truise and The Chromatics. I was in shock after hearing them for the first time as I had never heard anything like it at the time. Ever since listening to Com Truise and the Chromatics I took a dive into creating “Synthwave” or 80’s inspired
electronic music and continue to dabble in the different sub-genres.
How has your sound developed over the years? & has the current market been of any influence in that?
- With all these new and different styles coming to light it makes it easier to feel more comfortable experimenting with new styles while trying to maintain my original PSYK sounds. I have a hard time staying in one lane as far as genre goes. My sound is constantly developing and with each project I try to encapsulate a different sub-genre of 80's inspired electronic music. The market is definitely more open due to the mass amount of new styles coming, and I think its very beneficial to artist that want to grow there sound and experiment more.
How would you describe the music you make?
- It really depends on what project I am working on. My first E.P “Neon Demon” was more of a cinematic dark-synth project, and my latest release “Requiem” was more of a chill synth style piece that still holds cinematic features but held a completely different sound then my Neon Demon E.P. More then anything I like to think my music is simply 80’s inspired electronic music.
How has your 2020 been? With the Gig situation how have you managed to stay reasonably sane?
- Man I was really looking forward to 2020 and had massive plans all around, but due to the COVID-19 situation a lot if those plans have come to a halt, especially playing gigs. I’ve been doing my best to stay on a structured schedule with making music and planning out the latter half of 2020. Staying busy is definitely key.
Who are your influences in music today? Who did you listen to when you were growing up?
- My influences for music is always at a constant change. My major influences lately have been Flume, ALEX, Groundislava, Crystal Castles, Lucy in Disguise, and Danger. When I was growing up I listened to a lot of different types of music anywhere from Hawaiian music like Three Plus, and Sudden Rush, to Tears for Fears, Pepper, Van Halen, Danzig, Brand New, and Fat Freddy’s Drop. Oh also Between the Buried and Me. I listened to a lot of “hardcore” and “emo” music when I was a teenager.
Is there anything new you’re working on currently that you’d like to share a little bit about?
- Most certainly. I’m currently working a few different projects, one of them is a top secret collab project that is more Darlsynth and Trapwave based. I have another side project that is heavy melodic darksynth and is also a collab project with a good friend of mine. That one will hopefully see the light of day soon. Other than that I will be releasing an small E.P at the end of May called “Akatsuki Rewired” It will feature a new original track with a guest appearance from Axeshredder87, and will have remixes from...
If you couldn’t make the great music you are making today what would you be doing?
- I’d probably be either be a consoler or a armature MMA fighter. I studied Psychology for 5 years in my college carrier and Psychology has always been something that has fascinated me. Same goes for MMA, I’ve been doing martial arts since I was 18 starting in Tae Kwon Doe and moving into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Boxing. I still train but typically only do boxing and kick boxing now to stay in decent shape.
Who would you like to play you in a movie of your life?
- Ha Ha that’s a good question. Honestly I’ve been watching a lot of Shia Labouf movies and interviews, love that cat. I’d probably want him to play me in a movie about my life. I feel he’d understand my life better than most, and could pull of all the crazy personality traits I’ve exhibited throughout my life.
Do you have a day job? How do you balance this with the passion for creating the great music that you do?
- Sort of. I own and run my company Synth City LLC. It’s a promotional/event/label dedicated to 80’s inspired electronic musicians. We mostly host shows here in the pacific northwest, particularly in Portland and Seattle. So most of my time goes to working with artist we host for events we throw threw out the year. The biggest one we do annually is NEON ROSE FEST.
Who is your celebrity crush?
- My celebrity crush? It’s definitely changed over the years. When I was 20 I was obsessed with The X-Files so I had a huge crush on Scully or Gillian Anderson rather. Now I tend to lean more towards Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman.
What’s next for you as an artist?
- I’ll be releasing a lot more singles of different styles, expect to hear some heavy dark stuff but also some really mellow chill synth stuff too. I plan on continuing to learn more about sound design and working new techniques into my style. I’ll be releasing A LOT more this year so stay woke! haha
If you could collaborate with anyone else on the scene who would it be and why?
- That’s a question I’ve thought a lot about. It’s really hard for me to choose because I have so many artist I look up to and want to work with eventually. I think the one that stands out the most though is ALEX. I would love to make a banger with him one day when its right. I don’t think I’m where I need to be musically yet to really live up to that type of collab.
Favourite Movie and why?
- Another hard question....hmmmmm...I don’t know if I can choose just one, so I’ll give you my top 5: Seven Pounds, Mortal Kombat, Dawn of the Dead (2004 remake), The Nines, and Weird Science. I love all of those for completely different reasons. Movies that can make me feel things that I typically don’t on a daily basis or make challenge my mind to think outside the box are the type of movies I can watch over and over.
Who or what got you into the Synth scene initially?
- I kind of mentioned it before but I suppose my first introduction to the Synth scene was the soundtrack from the movie Drive. Obviously Kavinsky but more so The Chromatics. Drive is a modern Cult Classic of course but even at that time I wasn’t aware there was a Synth or Outrun scene until a girl I used to date showed me Com Truise. After digging around the internet trying to find more music of the sorts I found other artists such as Tonebox, Droid Bishop, and Lucy in Disguise. Since my discovery of such artists I made it a point to become involved in the scene as much as I could. It’s crazy to think about actually because I’ve
had the pleasure of performing on the same bill as Tonebox, Lucy in Disguise, and Droid Bishop. They are people I’ve not only been able to work with but also people I consider my friends.
What type of Hardware/Software to you use, do you have a preference?
- I tend to stick with software, I used to use a dozen different plugins but now I tend to mostly use Serum, Diva, and my favourite the Phonec 2. Serum is probably the king of all but the Phonec 2 just has some really intriguing features like the bend nobs that give it a real vintage Com Truise sound. I use it for most of my chill synth sounds but tend to use Serum and Diva for the darker heavier synth tracks.
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