Super excited for today on The Pulse interview series we interview the space traveller himself, STARFARER!
Miguel [Starfarer] is a father, husband, musician first and foremost but somehow he finds the time to give back to the community in extra-ordinary ways with his Synth & Brews Podcast in addition and the now legendary Synth Valley Production Stream fests which have fast become a staple to watch as a fan and be a innate part of as an Artist, it's almost become a right of passage and one so many covet.
Anyone lucky enough to see this Artist live will no doubt be blown away by the spectacular theatrics, Helmet and uniform he wears as part of his Starfarer character. In fact it's his spectacular stagecraft that sees him travel the length of the USA touring as he does to deliver his unique sound to the masses.
Hailing from the Sunshine State he grew up immersed in the sounds of music from the bluesy high notes of Creedence Clear Revival to later on his journey seduced by the sounds of Heavy Metal he was gifted a guitar and the rest as they say his history and also embedded in this interview, I'm thrilled to bring you this so....let's explore the Starfarer Universe together!
Thank you so much for your time today with Forged in Neon, we have wanted to interview you for a long time now so this is great!
Firstly, congratulations on the success of your fantastic recent single ‘Anomaly’. You have been greatly consistent with releases thus far, how is 2022 going for you?
2022 has been great so far! After releasing my previous album The Dark, I took a bit of a break. Firstly because I tend to do that after releasing an album. I usually pick up my guitar and write metal songs. I am not one of those electronic artists that constantly produces music. I tend to write in cycles. Sometimes I'm in an electronic music writing cycle, sometimes I'm in a metal production cycle and sometimes I'm in a performing live gigs cycle. Currently I am starting to get back into the writing electronic music cycle.
The other reason why I took a break was because I moved to a different state in February. So that took a lot of time and work with planning the move, making the move and settling in. But I am all settled in now and I am ready to start writing some tracks and hitting the stage again!
Tell us the trigger point for you in terms of wanting to pursue a career in this genre? Tell us a little about your musical back round….
The trigger point was when I moved away from my home town in Monterey Bay to San Jose. Prior to moving, I had performed in a number of metal bands, playing guitar. Once I moved away, I couldn't find a decent metal band to join so I went solo. I started writing my own metal tracks. I already had a lot of experience writing my own tracks because I had been doing that since middle school. But at this point it was the first time I actually wanted to completely produce, record, mix/master a track and actually release it officially.
During this time I started expanding my bedroom studio. I bought some monitors and a midi keyboard and started dabbling in electronic music. During this time I also discovered Chill-step and that's what really inspired me to write my own electronic tracks. My first electronic track was a chill-step song. From there, I discovered a game on reddit called "Game of Bands" which is a game in which 3 people produce a song together, one writes lyrics, one does the vocals and the other writes the music. For one of the rounds the theme was "80s music" and I had the role of writing the music. At this time I had also discovered Synthwave music so that's when I wrote my first track which was Assimilator that is featured on my first album. I had a lot of fun writing this kind of music that I decided to officially start a project under this genre.
If you could change one thing in the Music Industry, what would it be? Why?
I don't know much about the music industry... but from what I have experienced, I would definitely want artist to be paid more for their streams. Also, not that I have experienced this, but there are a lot of venues who make local artists sell their own tickets and what not. I would definitely change that. Venues should support local artists more!
Who did you draw inspiration from within the initial stages of forming STARFARER, has this changed over the intervening years?
In the initial stages I drew a lot of inspiration from 80s movies soundtracks, Sci-Fi movies, and video games. This has changed a lot over the years. I always draw inspiration from a lot of different outlets and my taste in music continues to grow and evolve, same with my music production. My writing comes in cycles as well. Sometimes I want to write chill spacey stuff and other times I want to write dark spacey tracks. Writing different styles of tracks has always been a goal of mine. I think it is important to have a broad range of tracks. For me it's mainly to perform live. I feel like with my arsenal, I could play a chillwave type of show or I could play a darksynth show any time.
How would you describe your music to those who have yet to listen?
Spacey synth music. That's it.
What do you enjoy most about being STARFARER?
What I enjoy most is performing live for sure. There's nothing quite like performing in front of a huge crowd cheering you on and enjoying your music. I also really enjoy meeting fans and new people at shows. I have made a lot of friends this way in the scene.
Tell us a little about your best memory of being a musician to date
One of the most memorable moments was when I opened for The Crystal Method and right after I performed, a bunch of people came to my merch table and my wife and I were looked at each other like woah what's going on and we were scrambling to take all the orders from the people!
Can you tell us a little about any current or future projects in the pipeline? Gigs?
I am currently in the process of working on the concept for the next album. I don't have much to share right now but my single is a bit of a hint and it will be along the same vein as The Dark. I do have some gigs coming up! One is May 7th at HQ in Denver and the other one is May 23 which I will opening for my homies Street Cleaner, Moris Blak and Watch Out For Snakes on their Annihilation Tour stop in Colorado.
Of your discography to date what is the one track you are most proud of and why?
I think To the Stars is probably the track I am most proud of. It has gotten the most amount of streams and a lot of people like it. I also feel that is one of my best melodic productions which also includes Scott's (Elevate the Sky) amazing guitar work!
Although we here in Forged have yet to get the full STARFARER live experience I have to say from watching live streams and fan videos your stage craft is amazing, was it a conscious decision to add another dimension to STARFARER in a sense to give your fans that tangible aesthetic experience?
Yep! From the start I knew I wanted to write spacey stuff and seeing all the other synthwace acts and electronic DJs that wore helmets, I knew I could wear a space helmet if I had ever decided to perform live. In the beginning I wasn't sure if I wanted to perform live. I didn't think it would be entertaining enough for me to just be playing leads on a keyboard over backing tracks. But after going to my first big Synthwave show (The Midnight/FM 84) I was really inspired and decided that I did want to perform live that's when I started building a space helmet and space suit. I wanted to add another dimension of entertainment to my live performance. Something that would be memorable. I wanted people to be like "Hey that's the space suit guy!"
In terms of your creative process, tell us something about that, how long would it take you to lay down a track for example?
If I focus on one track, like a single, it can take me 1 or 2 weeks. But I prefer to write albums and when I make an album it takes me an average of 6 months and that's jumping back and forth in between 10 tracks, so it's hard to say.
What is your favourite movie?
I would say that my all time favourite movie is Terminator 2. But Interstellar is also high up there.
A message to your fans...
Just thanks for all the continued support! The tremendous support I have received is what has driven me to continue to make music and perform live.
Do please consider supporting STARFARER via the links below | YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE