Erik, aka Tape Loader is one of the true wavers out there, a surfer at heart and in real life, that really has an understanding for the waves. You can hear this by listening to his rad releases. His composition and production skills are (musical) fine arts and his taste for music reflects this. Synthwaver had a chat about his recent LP release on Sunlover Records called The Pull.
Hi, I’m very happy to have this interview with you about your recent and second long player called ‘The Pull’. The first curiosity that immediately pops up by listening to the first track of your album is: who is 80s action star Creek Stanley? I couldn’t find him in the digitals realms. How did the collaboration come about?
“Creek Stanley is a real character, and as real as can be. At least if you acknowledge a person with multiple personalities being ”real”. If you do not then… who knows. What is sure is that, – as he sort of lets on himself – his success in Hollywood was slightly absent. I do not remember how we met, but in one way, I think that he has always been there.”
This somehow is a reason why Hollywood is creepy. Mr. Stanley definitely introduces The Pull in an entertaining way. Listening to the whole album, one can hear many (let’s say) colorful and positive elements. There are many cool pop and funky elements throughout album. To clarify the term “cool”: More like George Clinton cool than Justin Bieber cool. While you were creating the songs for the album what was your inspiration?
“Oh I am very inspired by the original funk artists. I am a vinyl collector and listen to a lot of forgotten music. A big part of my collection is made up of 80s music of all sorts, and since those are also the sounds of my childhood – and I do not like being a grown up – probably explains why I make this kind of music. As for this particular album, musically, I just wanted to communicate an array of melodic, rhythmic easy listening. Humor is always a good thing too. I cannot stand dark wave and other bloodthirsty music. I listened to too much metal as a frustrated teenager. That is all over and done with you know?”
You definitely nail the easy listening and smooth bright 80’s sound. Though some melancholic elements can be found. “Beach Frequency” is a good example. It really let the listener dive deep into the song title’s atmosphere. I’d like to know how the collaboration with the singer JJ Mist started. It turned out to be a perfect match.
“Yeah. Melancholy will always be present. I love bitter sweet. That s what is so great about music, you can have your cake and eat it too.
I love JJ Mist. Her voice is amazing. I found her a year ago on Soundcloud when she had done a collab with someone called Roro I think. Her voice on top of that song really made it great. I had this song that definately needed voice, I asked if she wanted to dance and she said yes.”
There are other great collaborations on the album like the one with Syntax and the synthwave queen Dana Jean Phoenix. With all this presence of great artists from this genre and a lot of production skills, besides the great compositions, is there something that you would do otherwise or miss now in the album.
“No. It is a masterpiece. I would not change a thing.”
I share your thought on this! 😀 how long did you work on it and what tools have you used?
“It took me a year and a half. I mostly used digital gear and samples. Although some of those samples I have made myself a long time ago, when I actually had some studio equipement. I once had a studio in my (then) garage, even with an electronic drumset. I am a schooled drummer so that is a super funny thing to have. But then my wife (now ex) got pregnant. So I sold all the stuff and renovated the garage so to integrate it as a part of the house. It is now the nicest part of that house, and it is the kids room. So it goes. Priorities and lack of space. I am not making any real money on my music so I do not have a traditional studio space. I kept some vital gear, but I am just a computer musician nowadays I guess.”
How will Tape Loader evolve? What can we expect in the future?
“Well, the only song I have made, that got any extended love (by that I mean something out of the Synthwave scene) is ”Prime Time”, by Tape Loader and Phatt Rok Ski. Funny enough, it was sort of rejected by our scene at first as it did not make it onto usual mixtapes or internet radio plays or whatever, even my good pals over at NRW did not see it fit their channel. I respect their views, but I was a little down at that point. But… the song made it on to the 2015 Official Break dance world championship OST; the BOTY, or Battle of the year, released on Dominance Electricity. What then happened was that we struck a good chord with the Dominance management… and they are starting a new Vinyl sub-label called ”Ground Control”, that will focus on this retro, bass and electro kind of thing… and so yeah, all of a sudden, we are realeasing ”Prime Time”, including several brand new mixes on vinyl now in octobre. So to answer your question, Dominance, and Ground control is the ones that Tape Loader and friends are hooking up with. We are very happy to have found a home. Tape Loader will now concentrate on this retro electro thing, although we do not forget friends like NRW, Sunlover, and others for future projects that would suite them more in the pure Synthwave genre.”
How do you see the synthwave genre today?
“That is a simple question that is very hard to answer. Depending on my mood, I might say that I love it, that it is my life. Another time, I might say that I hate it, because of the extremely generic state of affairs. Sometimes I hear a new artist, or a song of an old favorite genius master that releases a new song, like the great Cobra Copter, of whom I heard a new track the other day… and I go insane you know?. But a lot of the times, Synthwave artists just does not do it for me if we are talking about a pure quest for musical bliss as a listener. Very few young people manage to carry the nostalgia, that for me is so important in this scene. It is like the disco genre towards the end you know, you have to go through a lot of manure to find the truffles. But then, I also think that that this scene, as opposed by my disco reference, has only ever been a stomping ground for people, we are only here as peers to share amongst one another, so why would I be harsh? Who am I? I might just be a super shitty wannabe Synthwave artist myself… that would explain why no one is downloading my album.”
I’m pretty sure it’s because of missing exposure. There are awesome artists and releases, that are simply not known. The Pull is certainly one of these gems!