Everybody likes a bit of synthpop now and then and, while many of us regularly dig deep in the 80s to get a solid dose, there are plenty of movers and shakers making great music in this genre here and now. Among the names that come to mind, there are two we have the pleasure of introducing you today to their first collaboration.
Ahead of the April 20 release of his ‘Wild Insane’ album, California-based duo Vandal Moon has teamed up with FM Attack (a.k.a. Shawn Ward) to release both the original and FM Attack remix of the LP’s lead single ‘Baby Sounds‘. Both versions are highly original. This is stellar in the synth realm with a cool kickback to post-punk and new wave, giving goosebumps and wetting appetites for the dancefloor. These tracks indicate that both Vandal Moon and FM Attack are at the top of their game.
‘Wild Insane’ is an 8-track offering loaded with dark and sweetly alluring pop tracks – a fab find for lost souls and soundtrack for the post-traumatic stress of simply being a citizen in the 21st century. The new album is rooted in post-punk and new wave, with gothic undertones of the early 80’s.
“I cover a lot of themes of alienation and dystopia on the record. We’re living through a dystopia right now. The internet is slowly killing us all with its incessant input, and I think we know it. But we’re so drawn to it, that we’ll be damned if we can’t convince ourselves otherwise. Myself included. I’m victim to our brave new world, and it came through on this record very naturally,” says Vandal Moon frontman Blake Voss.
“‘Baby Sounds’ is a song about an android that has awakened into full consciousness. In the process of learning to think for himself, he discovers that part of that is making decisions which can severely impact the lives of others. It’s about a robot struggling with thoughts of love, death, violence, seduction and mortality. At the same time, it’s a metaphor for how the modern person manoeuvres through society. How to wade through all the bullshit, and still be a positive human being.”
Driving and hypnotic, this electronic/post-punk album from Vandal Moon plays on the darker undertones of the early 80’s synth movement. With pop hook sensibilities, emotive vocals, and themes of gothic alienation, the California-based duo pulls from the atmospheres of The Cure, The Chameleons and Gary Numan.
This album was written and recorded by Blake Voss, produced and mixed by Shawn Ward (FM Attack), and mastered by Peter Maher (Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, U2, Patti Smith, The Killers, Noel Gallagher). This record also features contributions from new romantic legend Logan Sky (Visage, Boy George), emerging synth-pop duo vverevvolf and vocalist Nicollette Vaughn (a.k.a. Nico), with guidance by electronic artist/producer Emika.
Blake Voss formed Vandal Moon in 2012 and, although he has collaborated with various artists over the years, it only recently morphed into a duo comprised of Voss (vocals, guitars, synthesizers and principal songwriter) and Jeremy Einsiedler (drum machines and synthesizers).
Based in Santa Cruz, they are big on synths, guitars, and drum machines. They are inspired by various acts of the new wave, post-punk, synthpop and darkwave scenes of the early 80’s, along with newer pop sounds, and particularly by such bands as The Cure, The Chameleons, New Order, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Blue Angel Lounge, Wax Idols, Kristin Kontrol, Drab Majesty, and Emika.
Recently, Vandal Moon won a Synthy Award from Echosynthetic for his 2017 collaboration with The G on ‘Stars That Fade’ (from the ‘Cosmopolis’ album). He also contributed vocals and guitar for ‘Braindead‘ on the new ‘Electric Blue‘ album from vverevvolf.
Starfield Music was created by synthwave vanguard artist FM Attack (a.k.a. Shawn Ward), who has had great success pioneering a sound and helping to develop the synthwave scene. Following up the release of his own album ‘Stellar’ via this label, he is expanding upon that sound to take the music into new and different directions.
“The purpose behind developing Starfield Music, as a label, is to have a creative outlet to make music that isn’t generic or relegated to one specific genre or style. I want to feel free to take my music in any direction, and help other artists to do the same,” says Ward. “Since meeting Blake, I thought his music was the perfect sound for establishing the vision of ‘Starfield Music’ even further, and perhaps create something new while resurrecting some nostalgia from a lost and forgotten era.”
‘Wild Insane’ will be released across digital stores and streaming platforms on April 20, but is now online for pre-order via Bandcamp with ‘Baby Sounds’ available for download immediately upon order.