Com Truise has been pure love for years now, so I was really, really excited and honoured when we got the confirmation for this chat. This was the first time I speak to an artist via audio, so that was a new experience for me and Seth is such an inspiration... that was one of the most exciting things I've done so far!
You can listen to the full conversation on any platform of choice here (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, Deezer). Hope you enjoy the conversation. As always, sharing is appreciated... so we get love from the algo.
I've transcribed bits of the episode, so I hope it helps you navigate through the hour-long chat I had the pleasure of having with him.
[6:50] On finding inspiration when it comes to creating music
I think the emotions and the things you’re going through in your life, they are definitely gonna work their way into your music no matter what, but it's whether or not you are kind of translating that into something immediately and not taking time to process it. I think it was my way of shielding myself of kind of…you know, I was always a private person, so that was a little privacy shield as much as it could be.
[8:40] On how he perceives Galactic Melt nowadays
I am kind of amazed by it [Galatic Melt] now. I am amazed in a few different ways. Like ‘wow that carried me where I am now and it has been my job ever since'. I am also amazed by the fact that I even made it. Sometimes I listen to that stuff and I’m like “how did I even do that”. I guess going into the old project files you can kind of get the gist of what my thought process was, but I think it was the time and where I was and what I was doing that influenced me more than I expected it to. I don’t know. I do still enjoy it. Galactic Melt is probably my favourite record. A lot of that record was just me being naive, so that’s kind of hard to get that back.
[11:00] On working with Ghostly
Ever since I started working with Ghostly, that’s a big thing that they kinda help me with along with my manager. They help me with track listing and everybody gets the files and we come back with what we think our version should be. Sometimes things work better when different ears hear it. Other than that they didn’t have much to say back then. They just let me bloom as an artist in my way. They’ve had some input along the way, but it’s more like ‘why don’t you try this, or that’, but they are pretty hands-off for the most part which is great. I really look to them for pressure and deadlines, because we all know being your boss is pretty difficult, and staying on top of things can get a bit challenging. I like that kind of relationship where they still are watching out for me and trying to make the best product.
[15:29] On productivity and COVID
I didn’t feel extremely creative in the early parts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, so for the most part I cleaned the studio and took a lot of stuff out, went through all my old books, and tried to make it less cluttered and more inspiring and creative space. That was good, and as of the last couple of weeks, I start to feel the writing is getting back to how it was working before. It took a little while… you forget things sometimes, so sometimes just going through and remember processes I had has been a journey.
[15:54] On the music industry and consumption nowadays
That’s always been a thing for me - I found it difficult; watching how music is released now and how people are consuming and consuming and I don’t think… we’re just really digesting things and we’re moving onto the next thing and we want more, more, more. I don’t want to get into that. Obviously, the more music you release, the potential for more income…but I can’t compromise with my sanity. If you just don’t feel it - you don’t feel it. I try to work on music every day, whether it's just a loop or whatever, and whether or not it turns into something - awesome, but a lot of times is just stuff that clutters the hard drive. I am the type of person that... if it strikes - it strikes, I can’t force it.
[17:30] Adding value to music and the future of the Synthetic Astronaut
We’ve talked about some things but nothing really serious. I would love to make something more supplemental to it and have added value to the music. A lot of people think they add value to their music by being extremely active on social media, and that… I’m on the other side - I am really starting to dislike social media more and more. I don’t want to be pressuring into that, so I rather do something like … make a little zine or some sort of comics or write something that would supplement the music as opposed to constantly post. It’s hard to battle against the people who constantly engage with people. How do you really have a private life by doing this all the time?
[20:45] On Synthwave, Drive, Stranger Things, and Com Truse's genre
I used to call it mid-fi synth wave slow-motion funk when I first started, and then as years have gone by I just kinda say downtempo electronic music… that’s what I tell people. I don’t mind being called synth wave, chill wave, retrowave or whatever, I think certain parts of my music fit in all those things, and some don’t but I never felt pigeonholed in that way, I always felt I am on the fringes on a few things, so I’ve been able to stay in this weird bubble that’s forever morphing in whatever might be. But yeah, mid-fi synth wave slow-motion funk is kinda what I like to call it. Everybody has their own interpretation of it, so as long as people enjoy it you can call it whatever you want.
I loved Drive (2011) and everything and that soundtrack was perfect for that film, but the film didn’t necessarily really touch on the nostalgic aspect of synths and 70s and 80s and the culture surrounding that. For me, I don’t think it was disconnected in Drive, but it was 2 different ideas happening. On the other hand - Stranger Things is much more focused on the retro aspect, just because that’s the time period the show is set in.
[25:15] On re-writing movie scores
For a long time I used to want to do that - re-score movies in my own way, but after watching these films so many times I don’t think I can hear it in another way. I always wanted to my own version of Videodrome (1983) or Scanners (1981), but now I don’t know.
[28:03] On why 80s aesthetics is so appreciated nowadays
I think we have some fomo - I was born in 1985, so I was there but I wasn’t. I’ve always thought its attest to some sort of nostalgia and I always wondered why we’ve attached so much of the visual aspect to that music. But I’ve never been super neon and that kind of stuff. I didn’t even necessarily like the 80s as a thing/aesthetics, but I do like the equipment used back then.
[30:26] On studying the 80s
When I first started to write music I started with drum & bass, so all technical insights were all new. As the internet grew, when I get really got into the sound of 80s was while I was in advertising. I remember I’ve heard these songs back in the days, but I never really cared until then. Then I fell in love with the sound of the drum machines.
[32:53] On making it in music nowadays and being noticed
It’s crazy right now. It’s really oversaturated and its hard to start. People write me all the time - “I’m writing this music, what do I do, where do I put it”, and I’m like - I came into the moment it all changed and started. Even SoundCloud was very small when I started and it blew up shortly after that. And now I just don’t know how you get noticed anymore. It’s not as easy. All the little micro-blogs that were really popular, all of those faded away and now its a totally different landscape with the streaming platforms. I see more features coming to certain platforms (social media) that are kind of re-intertwining how people used to find music. I think now you have to go to so many places to find things and its extremely overwhelming.
[36:21] On the evolution of synthwave
If you saw what happened in the 60s and 70s into the 80s and we watched how music changed just from that perspective, how now all this kind of throwback music is coming back now, I am already starting to see it filter into pop music. It was the air here and there a little but, but now a lot of the big hits that are coming out are extremely references to this kind of synthwave/retrowave sound. I think we gonna see more of that whether it hurts this kind of genre I don’t know, but if anything its going to make more people get into it. I can’t really see where its gonna go. I honestly don’t listen to that much of my own style of music because I get roped in with a lot of stuff and its not like I don’t like it, its just really like listening to ambient and indie. I like to switch it up.
[39:26] On venturing into the pop space as a producer
I’m always open to it. I’m hoping to have a few vocal tracks on the next record just because its something I don’t really get a chance to do that often and I would like to get better at. There has been a few things I’ve worked on that just never went anywhere and I am always open to it. I don’t know if I’ll go full pop, if it happens it happens, but I am not seeking that out. I rather score a film as opposed to producing music. Its always been a difficult thing to work with another artist, I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to production process, but I’m not opposed to it or growing into it. I would love to try it and see if I can do it but I am not actively seeking it. I do love doing remixes because for me its like taking the vocals and the melody and I completely rewrite it as if I’m the producer in the studio.
[43:30] On remixing
For me doing remixes was a way to stay active. It was also a way to branch out and reach out to other. If you do remix for big artists, you know I did remix a Deftones track, that kind of opened me up to a lot of people that wouldn’t necessarily listen to this style of music, which is incredible. When synth wave artists remixes synth wave artist is kind of like all in the family. Its awesome, but the point of a remix is to take something and make something new with it. A lot of my remixes don’t sound close to my own personal production. I think I’ve always used the remix as an excuse to experiment and be weird with things. For the most part it has been well received. Remixes have allowed me to work with vocals in a limited capacity. It is definitely good for the brain as well - learning new things and all that.
I kind of stopped towards the end, but we dived into some cool conversationns about the web 3 and NFTS. Seth - thank you for this opportunity. If you enjoyed the conversation - make sure you follow annd share our Fox Tales podcasts.
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