TimeCop1983 - 'Let's talk' | An Interview
Updated: Aug 17
Say what you will about the Synth Scene, it's tropes and the seemingly endless stream of new artists and music propagated daily across various social spectrums but the foundation if you will are those Artists who have shone a torch to light the path for others to follow.
One such Artist and most certainly one of the more successful to date is none other than Timecop1983. Known the world over for the dream like qualities he brings to every track he creates he's also possibly one of the hardest working Artists circum-navigating the globe to play to his fans the world over. I've had the undoubted fortune to see TimeCop1983 play in various event spaces throughout the world and what resonated with me is how much he loves what he does and how proud he is that his music delivers so much joy to his followers.
TimeCop1983 is a muscial project of Jordy Leenaerts who is a Dutch electronic musician from Eindhoven. His debut album, Childhood Memories, was released in 2014 and in that productive year 'Journeys' soon followed. Other seminal works 'Reflections' and 'Night Drive' where released in 2015 and 2018 respectively. Owing to a ground swell of love for Synthwave which in affect is a love letter to a bygone age of music TimeCop1983's creations resonated with a wide audience gaining massive traction of course with his affiliation with New Retro Wave which came about in 2018.
With music videos garnering literally millions of views and his celebrated collaborations with some of the best on the scene like 'The Midnight, Tokyo Rose & Dana Jean Phoenix among others I was super excited to get a chance to interview the man who let's face it is one of the nicest guys in Synthwave given his propensity to engage one on one with fans, take pictures, sign autographs and basically thank them for being part of his audience, it's incredible how humble he is considering the journey he's been on and no doubt the trajectory he'll take with his new releases to follow...read on!
Those into Synthwave music the world over will certainly know who you are as an artist but tell us how Timecop1983 came to be?
I have been making music since I was 12 and made all kinds of styles, ranging from hip-hop to gabber, but I never released anything before I started Timecop1983. I just had fun making small loops of music and always saw it as a creative outlet. I never had the dream of becoming a musician because I didn’t have a musical background and just had fun.
Around 2012 I was still making music, but also did mountain bike XC races, so I was very very busy. So I decided for myself to either stop making music or stop the mountain bike races, because it was just too much to combine the two hobbies with a full time job.
Then I heard Synthwave for the first time. I think it must have been Nightcall by Kavinsky in a French House DJ set (by Le Castlevania) and when I heard that I became instantly in love with the genre. So I started looking for more artists and found guys like Futurecop!, Mitch Murder and others and I just loved these kinds of sound, the perfect combination between 80’s music and a little bit of the French house genre in it.
Then, in 2013, I finally saw Drive and I was blown away by the combination of the visuals and the soundtrack. It was just perfect I thought. So I decided to give this type of music a try myself and if I didn’t like it I would stop making music and fully focus on mountain biking.
So after a few months of trying I had my first song ready and I wanted to upload it to Soundcloud and see if people might listen to it and maybe even like it. So Timecop1983 was born.
The work you’ve done to date has been nothing short of prolific, are there any stand out tracks in your discography that you feel ultimately proud of? Why?
There’s so many things that I’m grateful for what I achieved with my music. It’s not that I’m particularly proud of what I did, but it’s more that I’m surprised what I have achieved with no prior experience in music.
Tell us about your creative process, how long would it take for you to lay down a track? I suspect it varies?
It definitely varies. Sometimes it takes me 30 minutes to create a track and sometimes I keep coming back to a idea for months before it gets turned into a song.
When I write music I usually begin with a patch from a particular software synthesizer and I start jamming from there. I always begin with the main melody and the bass line of the song. Then I keep adding elements to it until the chorus of the song is done. This process usually takes a few hours. Then I’m breaking down the song to start arranging the song.
Was your journey as a Musician always intended to be in the direction of Synthwave or was it a case of happenstance?
When I started making music in the 90’s I was full-on in Gabber (Dutch Hardcore) mode and Synthwave wasn’t even a thing then. So no, my journey as a musician was certainly not intended to be in the direction of Synthwave, haha! It was just pure luck for me I heard that Kavinsky track in a DJ mix, otherwise I might not have ever heard Synthwave until much much later.
You’ve had some amazing collaborations with some of the best musicians on the scene, the likes of The Midnight, Dana Jean Phoenix & Josh Dally, how did that materialise? Did they come to you?
Yeah, I have been really lucky to have worked with so many talented people!
It’s different how the collaborations came about. Most have sent me an e-mail asking me if I was interested in working with them and some I sent e-mails to myself. And somehow they all said yes to work with me!
Are there any Bands or Artists on the scene currently you’d love to get the opportunity to collaborate with?
The last couple of months I have been working hard on finishing the new album (release date unknown, first single “Falling (feat. Josh Dally)” is coming soon), so I haven’t checked out much new music lately. So to be honest, I don’t have a favorite band or Artist at the moment I would love to work with. I do love working together though!
What is a day off for Timecop1983 like?
Most day’s off I’m still working on music. I love trying out other styles like ambient and soundtrack-style music. But when I’m not working on music I love to go cycling. Since this year I picked it back up again and I really enjoy going out for a ride on my mountain bike or race bike. No music, just me against the trail or the wind clearing my head.
Honestly we daren’t dream of a Dreamy Synth pop world without Timecop in it but in an alternate universe if you couldn’t make the amazing music you do what would you be doing?
I honestly don’t know, but probably I would be on the organizing side of the music industry. I studied Event Management in university and I would probably be working at a venue to organize music/cultural events.
What is the one guilty pleasure you cannot live without?
Music-wise I always fall back to the same software synthesizer (PG-8x) and effects when I’m creating music. I always try to use different software or my hardware synthesizers, but I always go back to specific presets for that software. This makes the Timecop1983 recognizable, but I should vary it a little bit. Although I must say that on the new album I used more different sounds! Food-wise it’s definitely cookies. I love cookies and I can’t stop eating them! :-)
I’ve had the good fortune to catch you play on various places throughout the world which has been great, have you any plans to get back out on the road in 2021?
It’s crazy in how many places we have met! You are a true fan of the genre and it’s great you are willing to travel all over the world to visit Synthwave events! Before Covid-19 I was working on building a new live show with Josh Dally, so nothing was planned yet and I was lucky I didn’t have to cancel any shows. Josh and I have a lot of new work coming on the new album, so definitely plan to tour in the new year if things are back to “normal”.
What has been the best memory of your career to date?
I have a lot of great memories of my musical career to date. It’s all new for me, so everything is new and exciting. But my best memory so far is my first request for a synchronization license for a movie/documentary. The producer sent me a message asking me if I was interested in licensing my music for his project for which he offered to pay. At first I thought, “ok this is cool”. But then I Googled him and found out he was the creator of a major film and one of my favourite comedies. Unfortunately he chose somebody else’s music, but I just thought it was so cool this major producer/director asked me if he could use my music.
Another great memory is that a major top-40 artist from the 90’s wanted to work with me. We didn’t work together in the end (our styles are too different), but I just thought it’s so cool they know me and wanted to work with me.
Since Lonely nights way back in 2013 to Night Drive how do you feel your sound has developed over time?
I think my music sounds way better than in 2013, at least sonically speaking. I’ve learned so much since then. It’s definitely not perfect, but I have basic knowledge of how to mix properly and that has improved my sound a lot. Music-wise it has not changed so much I think.
The songs differ and Night Drive is a little darker, but it still has a romantic and dreamy basis.
Its been a little while since we heard anything from you, I sense there may be new music brewing, can you tell us more?! What can we expect from you into 2021?
You are absolutely correct! Josh Dally and I are in the finishing stages of a new album and we’re working hard towards the release of a first single. We even shot a music video in Berlin!
Before I worked with different people on my albums, but for this album I chose to work exclusively with Josh and it turned out great. With this album we’re going back to my romantic/dreamy style.
If you could share the stage with any musician on the scene currently who would it be? Why?
I would love to share the stage with The Weeknd. Of course he’s more pop than Synthwave, but his songs are so catchy and I would love to be an opener for him! :-)
Since your foray onto the scene over 7 years ago I’m sure you’ve witnessed many changes. What is your take on the scene as it is currently?
Yeah, the scene changed a lot. What I mainly see is that there’s so many new artists releasing Synthwave every day. A lot of them are great and don’t get the proper attention they deserve, because there’s so much being released. On the other hand I see a lot of mediocre Synthwave being released.
What’s your favourite film? Why?
My favourite film is Ex-Machina. I just love the story line and how unsettling it is. It has the perfect combination of psychology, sci-fi and action for me. I don’t want to reveal too much for people that haven’t seen it yet, but I loved how it showed how weak humans are. And that soundtrack is perfect!
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