Interview with synthwave producer Das Mörtal

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Image credit: Ariana Molly

Canadian producer Das Mörtal is seemingly tapped into all things retro. With a love for old-school cover art, which he discusses in the interview below, the producer draws inspiration from science fiction and horror movie scores. Having produced music for the Streets of Rage 4 original soundtrack, the latest addition to a video game series that first appeared on Sega’s Genesis console in the early ‘90s, he has dropped a retro record named ‘WASTED’. Besides bringing Grand Theft Auto’s fatality scene to mind, the track shimmers with classically synthwave plucks and film-esque synth stabs, with an innovative twist bordering on Electronic Trap.

We let Das Mörtal tell us more:

Stream / Download: Das Mörtal – ‘WASTED’

Describe a pivotal music moment for you in your favourite film, television show, brand partnership etc. Has this influenced any of your own compositions?

Touching a synth for the first time as a kid was it for me. I can’t say that it is exactly what made me decide in the moment that I wanted to do music in the future, but it sure made me feel like I was doing something special. I also learned with it many basic things about sounds and textures that would help me with getting into music-making later on.

How did you become drawn towards making retro/synthwave music?

I just made music that I felt was nostalgic and attached to childhood memories and, since I grew up in a time when the ‘80s pop culture was still very fresh, that’s what it ended up sounding like. I don’t think I set out to make specifically synthwave music, and I think this might be the case for a lot of artists that were associated with the movement in the beginning. It just sort of naturally happened.

What does your current software/hardware setup currently consist of?

FL Studio, which I have been using since version 3. I also recently acquired 2 specifically designed controllers for it. The Akai Fire and FLKey Mini.

Outside of music, what inspires you?

Movies have been what drove most of my inspiration in the past, and they still do. There are specific scenes or visuals captured in film that have always brought inspiration in the past. Even the posters or VHS covers were very inspiring.

What kind of relationship do you have with the internet? How does this inform your artistic expression?

It’s cool but nothing too time-consuming in my life nowadays. I like discovering new music through it and keeping in contact with people, but I have definitely been spending less time on it than I used to.

As a performer or as a member of the audience, what single show has been the most memorable for you?

It’s hard to be anything else than the Daft Punk Alive 2007 show if you saw it live. Not only was it memorable for me, but I really think that it was a pivotal moment in live shows in general. It’s a magic that has been reproduced many times since then for sure, but it never got close to it even though EDM shows are way bigger now because it’s not fresh anymore.

Any new or upcoming artists on your radar?

I always discover bands way later than everybody else, so right now there’s nothing on my radar, and I’ve been concentrating on mostly finishing my next album.

Please suggest an album for us to listen to.

Lifestyles Of The Laptop Café by The Other People Place.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

We just released ‘WASTED’, the first single of the next album, and I think I might drop one or two more singles before the full album release later this year.

Famous last words?

No!

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