Stars of Synthfam - Martin Larbey “The World is yours!” - Tony Montana
Synthronicity: You bet your life that if this guy swans into your event, gig or show that the gravitas of the show itself increases exponentially. There’s very little Martin doesn’t know about the Genre and indeed the Artists within it, some becoming close friends as a result. ‘Larbs’ as he’s affectionately known amongst the masses also operates by stealth as ‘Patrick Fakeman’ , A blog that believes in taking care of itself with a balanced diet of synth and a rigorous interview routine. I caught up with the guy before he returned some video tapes for a quick chat. Read on…
Tell us a little bit about you & what first got you into the Synthwave scene?
Well I hate to be too stereotypical about it but it was the guy Kavinsky and that pesky Drive movie. I’m a big movie soundtrack fan and so the second the title sequence began I was shamming the hell out of it and have been bouncing around in the biggest rabbit hole ever since!
Explain the premise behind Patrick Fakeman
Fakeman started as a humble blog of just my thoughts and views on the scene, what makes it what it is and the people in it... As time went by I was getting submissions and review requests so I took the time to develop the site a little more and expand the scope of what I was doing. It certainly has its heart bedded in synth music, but it has expanded
to guest blogs (Sunglasses Kid did a great blog alll about the 80s classic ‘Road House’) and I’ve also dived into the work of some of the 80s best synth composers. I see it more as a looking glass into those classic artists that we all love, as well as a
commentary on the synth, synth pop and vapor scene that we currently find ourselves in. I’m not too scared to be a little controversial with it! The world and the scene needs a good critique from time to time!
Name your top 3 Synthwave Artists and why?
Jeez! What a question... OK, well I won’t lie... I enjoy some of my old school artists. Some of their previous and ongoing work is always bathed in quality. Number one for me would be Le Cassette - I know they have only had one full album and it was quite some time ago however Adam and Jo have such an authenticity to their sounds. ‘Left to Our Own Devices’ is the quintessential Synthwave album, in my view. Its tracks are varied and are bold in their structure. Their sound is authentic and always quality. They have dropped a few new tracks over the last couple of years and I can only hope we see more from them. Adam is a great guy too!
Second would be Mr. Ollie Wride. I think we can all agree that the man elevates above the ’synthwave’ scene into something far wider reaching. How he works with FM-84 and Michael Oakley is second to none and the man can write a top line! I thought his debut album was a masterclass in song writing and how style of collaboration has brought some of the best tracks of this year, if not many previous years.
Finally, I would go with the man Mr. Sunglasses Kid. Ed’s music is everything we loved about the 80s and 90s. It’s fun, poppy and there are very few other artists like him. I’m lucky enough to call him my friend and he has a great insight into music and movies and really shines though in his work.
If you could change one thing about the scene what would it be and why?
The assumption that just because you have FL Studio and have patched a track together, that you deserve all the success. I think as a fan, a critic and a commentator, I have experienced people who want to make a stamp on this very saturated scene and its tough! There are so many great artists however the cream really does rise to the top. Often I find I am sent very few tracks that excite me but there are some great new artists out there who are doing some very unique and interesting work that is pushing the scene forward. But that isn’t easy and I think that people have to keep mastering their art, refining their sound and it will hit the right audience. Very few people can expect admiration off the back of their first EP.
The best gig you’ve been to EVER?
Outside of the scene, I would say Kate Bush at the Hammersmith Apollo or Phil Collins when he did his last tour.
Both are artists that I adore and have had a real influence on my musical tastes. In term of a gig within the scene I am torn between my first ever Synthwave gig (Retro Future Fest 1) where I met so many online friends in real life for the first time and Outland at the Clapham Grand where the production value and artist list was just amazing. Both nights were very dear to me.
What is your favourite 80s film?
SCARFACE! Its always at hand and it has simply the best mix of action, tight script, great acting, amazing wardrobe, fantastic cinematography and the best OST ever!
Martin's alter ego 'Patrick Fakeman' and his blog can be found here: https://www.pfsynth.com/ - bookmark it for all things synth
Listen to his last radio interview on