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SHADOWRUNNER | 'Breathing Fire' - An Interview

Say what you like about Shadowrunner but few Artists have made their mark in such a short space of time as he has.

Since bursting onto the scene two or so years ago this Los Angeles native has served us some hot synth treats since and shows now signs of slowing down. Stemming from a vastly experienced musical back round Christian Trumpower has flirted with styles such as Rock to Alternative and back again and started what could be described as a passion project in 'Shadowrunner' in 2020.

Indeed, it is this experience as a Musician that's served him well thus far with tracks, collabs and a Sophomore Studio Album 'The Stranger' being exceptionally well received by the purists and fair weather synth fans alike.

Shadowrunner has long since been on my radar to interview so I'm excited to bring you this today, a candid and in depth interview with the man awaits, read on.....

Thank you so much for your time today with Forged in Neon, we have wanted to interview you for a long while now so this is a pleasure….

Firstly, congratulations on the success of ‘The Stranger’ it is a fantastic Album and was very well received, are there any plans to release another this year? Do you prefer to release a full album or drop a single here and there on the lead up?

That’s very kind, thank you. I’m absolutely thrilled with how well The Stranger was received. It’s the first attempt at a deeper methodology in album writing for me. The method being the exploration of my internal struggles which are then extrapolated into a fantasy scenario. Wildly cathartic and helpful, I’m finding… and oddly addictive.

I have a very ambitious project in the same vein using this methodology that I’m currently working on, but I can’t be certain if it will be ready this year or not. I’m about 9 months into writing/recording/producing it, but there is still much, much work to be done. I think I can safely claim that it will be worth the wait as I don’t believe anyone has ever done an album the way that this one is turning out from a structural perspective.

In the meantime, some fellow Boys of Summer (namely jacket., Syst3m Glitch, and Dimi Kaye) and I decided to write some pieces just for fun and have whipped up a short 4 song EP of instrumental tracks inspired by the soundtrack of one of our favourite movies. The plan is for that project to be released one song at a time in May - June.

My honest preference in regards to releasing music would be to release an album all at once so it can be experienced and digested as a whole from day 1, but modern streaming algorithms would disagree with me. Spotify pressures artists into releasing music more frequently to keep their subscriber engagement up. I can’t say I care for this pressure, so I’ve more or less decided to ignore it and do what I feel like. That said, I still believe that releasing singles up to an album release helps generate organic interest, so you can probably expect some singles to precede the full-length I have in the works.

As a relative newcomer to the Synth scene all things considered, what was the trigger point for you in terms of wanting to pursue a career in this genre? Tell us a little about your musical background….

I’m sure this isn’t much of a shock to anyone, but I was completely taken by The Midnight’s Nocturnal and Endless Summer when I discovered them in early 2019. I was at a stage where I was bored musically, both from an artist’s standpoint as well as a fan’s. I found Tim & Tyler’s work by scouring random Spotify playlists, desperately searching for new music that would make me feel something.

I had never produced my own music before 2019, unless you count a couple of self-recorded singer-songwriter EP’s, certainly nothing of an overtly electronic nature. But I was captivated by this sound and was driven to make something inspired by it. Songwriting isn’t new to me. I’ve been writing on the guitar since I was 9 years old and have played in/written songs with a couple of good bands. But producing on this scale, let alone writing, proved itself a fierce challenge that it turns out I needed very much.

If you could change one thing in the Music Industry, what would it be? Why?

I would assemble a coalition of artists from all different walks that would absorb the powers, reach, and resources of major labels, then use those tools to spread art across the globe instead of the manufactured, sterilized, mass produced drivel that is typically shoved down the throats of the masses. This might come off as pretentious. I suppose it is.

As for the why, I don’t believe that enough people are exposed to truly thought-provoking, inspired art. They have to dig to find it. I want to be able to walk down a busy street and see or hear something from people who are pushing boundaries. I want the demand of the people to dictate what music is popular, not the other way around.

Who did you draw inspiration from within the initial stages of forming Shadowrunner, has this changed over the last 2 years or so?

I was definitely soaking up Synthwave non-stop in the advent of Shadowrunner. The Midnight and Timecop1983 were heavy favourites, followed by basically anything else I could find when I discovered the Synthwave scene. Since then, my tastes in synth have broadened a little. I’ve been particularly taken with synth artists that defy conventional definition such as Hello Meteor and Com Truise. On the synthwave side, I’ve been listening to a lot of Mitch Murder. Instead of leaning fully into synth like I have for the past couple of years, I’ve started incorporating inspiration from some of my other favourite artists such as Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, and Ólafur Arnalds to name a few. I think the result is sounding more and more like “me”.

How would you describe your music to those who have yet to listen?

This is always a tricky task to navigate for artists for some reason. I would describe it as mostly melancholic midtempo self-indulgent darkness that harnesses youthful trauma combined with the magic of a light fantasy.

What do you enjoy most about being Shadowrunner?

The writing. The creating. I haven’t written much outside of a group scenario before, so being in complete control and telling the stories I want to tell with no limits is unbelievably rewarding.

Tell us a little about your best memory of being a musician to date…

It would have to be playing in front of I-don’t-know-how-many people with my old band at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in… 2009 I think? I don’t know how many people were there. But it had to have been a few thousand. There is nothing like the energy of playing for that many people. It was otherworldly. The most fun I’ve ever had.

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

Coming up in a month or so, I have the short EP inspired by… a movie that I think anyone in this scene won’t have any trouble recognizing coming out with Syst3m Glitch, Dimi Kaye, and jacket.

Then there’s the ambitious album I mentioned earlier that I’m working on that I can’t give any details about at this time. I can tell you that it will be titled Ocean of Time and that it will come out on Mirrorgate Media, which I am very excited to be a part of.

Of your discography to date what is the one track you are most proud of and why?

I tend to think of albums as the full visions rather than the songs that comprise the whole. It doesn’t really compute for me to think of one song in that way, so as of today, I am most proud of The Stranger. It represents the best indication of what I am currently capable of and marks the birth of a story that I struggled to bring to life. Soon, that same description will belong to Ocean of Time.

In terms of your creative process, tell us something about that, how long would it take you to lay down a track for example?

The spirits of songs that travel on the winds of inspiration are very unpredictable and are sometimes difficult to grasp. Some days, I’m not the greatest vessel or conduit for an idea when it finds me and whispers in my ear. Sometimes it takes a while for me to process an idea and attach it to a concept in a way that’s cohesive and synergistic… and then sometimes all factors involved work like a well-oiled machine, almost unconsciously.

Sometimes a song takes months to write. Sometimes it takes hours. At the end of it, if the song doesn’t contain an adequate piece of myself, it doesn’t get published.

What is your favourite movie?

I could give the typical answer and say that it’s impossible to pick one, but instead I will pick the first 4 movies that come to my head. Blade Runner, Terminator 2, Bloodsport, Midsommar.

A message to your fans…

Oh hello. It’s me. Your friendly neighbourhood Shadowrunner. The fact that you exist astounds me. The fact that you connect with what I do is the second most important thing in my life next to the happiness and well-being of my son. I love you more than you can possibly know and will do everything I can to continue earning your love in return. Your appreciation for what I do is the most intimately appreciated I have ever felt by anyone. And I will never stop being infinitely grateful for this. I am a bit broken and tend to be unpredictable at times, but I have learned through experience that I cannot live without making music. There will always be something exciting to look forward to.

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