AMA with Tokyo Rider
ViolentEncounter: Biggest synthwave influences?
Tokyo Rider: Lazerhawk, hands down. The day I first listened to Redline I decided that I’m going to make music like this. Even today, when writing a synth line, I ask myself how does it compare with the solo in “Overdrive”
Also, Miami Nights 1984, I love the way pitch slides are done there. But the final tracks are more Hawk-ish, I guess
twentytoo: Where do you see this genre headed? Is there room for innovation?
Tokyo Rider: To be honest, I’m a bit bitter about the direction the scene has taken. I’m not a big fan of dark-synth, I prefer something more melodic – like Miami Nights, Mitch Murder or Robert Parker. Today, I think, many producers are somewhat stuck with giallo and John Carpenter stuff. I can understand them (after all, the biggest names are more or less dark-synth ones), but I can’t stop feeling that if this keeps on going, outrun might end up as the next sea-punk.
As for the innovation, I’m not even sure that it will be a correct word for a scene that identifies as “new retro”, aimed at reviving and reinventing sounds. I think, there are many sounds that were somewhat left behind, and there are certainly many talented producers to exploit them – at least this is what I want to believe 🙂
Cheyvan: Hi! your new LP is really cool. How do you achieve that Lo-Fi sound in the track Enter Omegashima? Specially the drums. Do you use reverb and saturation? If so, what plug-ins? Also, what DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) do you use?
Tokyo Rider: Thanks! Well, all this sound mostly originates from me sucking at mixing! 😀
I use FL Studio, and I use a lot of effects from MDE-X from Korg Legacy Collection. The Lo-Fi sound comes mostly from slight detuning binded to LFO, if I remember correctly, and, yeah, lots of reverb. And bus compression. Never use bus compression. Don’t be like Tokyo Rider.
Cheyvan: when did you start making electronic music in general?
Tokyo Rider: Don’t remember if I was 13 or 14 years old at the time. The tunes I made then were extremely awkward – simple beats and multiple layers of trancey synths. Anyway, during most of my teens I was more interested in playing 80s style guitar, so all of this wasn’t too serious.
And, wow, Tokyo Rider appears to be 3 years old. I wrote my first track, Running Wild, in April 2013, if I remember correctly.
knuckztve: Given the chance, would you move your production workflow from software to hardware where applicable? For example, having an actual LinnDrum machine instead of samples/emulation. Or would that be too much of a hassle? I understand that software production has the benefit of flexibility unavailable to vintage equipment, but some producers swear by hardware anyway.
Tokyo Rider: I would like to use more hardware as, huh, currently I use none. However, I’m quite comfy with my samples, so actually using a vintage drum machine is not that important for me. I would still like to own a LinnDrum or a TR-707 just, you know, as a thing from the age I love. I would like, however, to include live guitar solos in my tracks. Probably live synth solos, though, again, I’m quite comfortable with automations.
knuckztve: What’s your favorite synth, if any? Not necessarily one you used, could be anything you consider the coolest.
Tokyo Rider: Juno-106, I guess. Also, I would like to grab a DX100 for using with a talkbox for some funkier stuff.
knuckztve: Since you mentioned the DX100, what type of synthesis do you prefer? FM or additive/subtractive?
Tokyo Rider: I stick to vanilla subtractive stuff, and FM sounds I use are mainly presets with minor tweaks. I can’t say that I prefer any of those to each other or to, say, samples, but for most of the tasks subtractive VSTs do the job.
Metallic keyboard sounds of FM are cool, though, so I use those at times
Cheyvan: Given your name and aesthetics, I’ve seen you like a lot Tokyo and Japanese stuff (so do I, btw, I have a future funk song called “東京高速道路” which means “Tokyo Highway”) Anyway, how do you make your designs? I mean logo, EP/LP covers, etc. Do you pay a designer or do you think you can google some images and do some photoshop on them and that’s it?
Tokyo Rider: I paid for the cover of “A Complete Guide”, but what I got was just a photoshopped picture. So, I made “Lead and Neon” and “Tuned to a Dead Channel” covers myself. As for the cover for “Omegashima” – it was made by a designer from the video game studio I’m working with. As for the logo – I drew it on a napkin and a friend of mine made a digital version
LemonkV: Do you like chocolate waffles? Waffles der chocolat? Ay-na-ne-na-ne wafli?
Tokyo Rider: Cacao kletochka. Sure!