Synthetic Sitdown with Robert Parker, Talks Crystal City

Arc Avalon: You have some amazing art to go with Crystal City. I notice Florian Renner credited on your page, Did you contact him as soon as you seen his Retrowave Delorean video on Vimeo, and is this how long Crystal City has been in the making? or was it already underway?

Robert Parker: I’m a big fan of Florian Renners art. I actually discovered his work before the DeLorean video, he had a few other videos up that were simply amazing. I actually waited with the release until he had time! However, the tracks on the album were created under an even longer time period. “’85 Again” was recorded in 2012, and was saved for this release, and I started and finished “sweet nothings” just a week before I submitted the tracks for release.

Arc Avalon: “85 Again” fits perfectly in the album, being from 2012. Thats a bit earlier than some of your peers have been in the Synthwave scene. How long have you been at producing, both in and out of Synthwave?

Robert Parker: Thank you! Well, doing electronic music of some sort, I have been at since 1997, starting with tracker music. The style I’m doing now though, begun around 2009-2010 when I bought a Korg Polysix. However, I waited more than two years before starting to post tracks to others, because I spent most of my time trying to perfect the producer and mixing part of the music creation process. I then realized, that process is never finished! So around 2012 I started posting tracks on soundcloud and got a really good response!

Arc Avalon: What are your inspirations on this project?

Robert Parker: My major influences is and will probably always be French Electro, from the early days of Daft Punk, Cassius, Étienne de Crecy, Motorbass and so on from the middle of the 90s, until Anoraak, Kris Menace, Lifelike and the Valerie Collective in the mid-2000’s.

Arc Avalon: It was time well spent, and it paid off sound wise. You really capture the spirit of the 80’s in your tracks, especially your collaboration with Bachelor of Hearts on Track 9 “Seasons of Lust”, Which could of been off a film from the era. How was it like working with BoH, Waveshaper, Miss K, Shyguys, and Maethelvin? Could you give any insight on the creative process working with them compared to solo material?

Robert Parker: I love collaborations! In my opinion, you never develop as a musician or a producer if you just keep on repeating your own expressions. You need to be inspired by others. Not all collaborations become finished tracks, but to me the creative process itself is most important. The common denominator on the collaborations on “Crystal City” is that I’m friends with and have met all the artists in real life. That felt very important to me with this album. The working process however, was very different. About a year ago Waveshaper and I basically finished an EP together but for several reasons, mostly because we were both very busy with our own projects, we decided to save the collaboration tracks for individual releases. “Arcade Oliver” was one of my favorite collaboration tracks since it’s really like a tennis match; I sent him a bassline and I got it back a bit different, I added a beat and he adds a chord progression, and so on. The process was very similar with Maethelvin and Shyguys. Bachelor of Hearts sent me an unfinished track he needed new input on. He had an awesome guitar solo and electric bass line. I added a Moog solo and voila! we felt it fit perfect together. We finished the track in just a few weeks.

Arc Avalon: Moog, Korg PolySix. Sounds like you have a love for the hardware. What is it about synthesizers you love over their software counter-parts?

Robert Parker: I particularly love the hands-on possibilities. You never get that in the computer. A software synth can sound just as awesome as a hardware one, for instance I use the PolySix VST just as often as the real deal. But I get more inspired with hardware, to fool around with it, and have that partly controlled partly chaotic creative process that’s a bit unpredictable.

Arc Avalon: I think everyone is looking forward to whats next for Robert Parker, Crystal City is amazing but us fans always want more! Whats next on the horizon for you? Stylistically and release wise.

Robert Parker: Hehe. Well, I can reveal I will be part of two more vinyl releases in just a couple of months! There is also some more material coming out this summer, though I cannot reveal anything more than that at the moment. I will focus more on hardware-only productions. I will also do more live shows, coming up next is the Catclub in Brussels April 23.

Arc Avalon: Thanks for the interview Robert! Anything you want to add?

Robert Parker: Well, that would be to thank my fellow collaborators Maethelvin, Waveshaper, Shyguys, Bachelor of Hearts, and Miss K to be a part of the album, proud to work with such professionals!