Friday, February 10, 2012

The Return Of Alpha Boy

To celebrate the impending release of Alpha Boy's next EP, Follow Me (due to out on the 21/02/2012) I thought it'd be a great time to have a bit of a chat with Alpha Boy himself, Norman Knight, about the direction of his new material and also to learn a bit more about an artist who's music I've loved, but never knew much about. So while we sit back and take in a track off the new Alpha Boy EP, lets get to know Norman Knight a little better.

Hello Norman! First off, lets get some of your vital statistics.
Hi Rick. I am 26 years old and I live in Berlin/Germany.

What genre do you call your music?
I would describe my music as 80's Disco/80's Soundtrack.

I intend on asking every artist I interview what style they call their music particularly, I find it fascinating how many different genres there are for the music we love! How long have you been making music for?
When I was 14 years old I started making electronic music in a very simple way by using a Playstation 1.

I loved playing with MUSIC on my PS1! Great title, what else do you do besides make great music? Work? Hobbies?
Besides working on music I love to create cover arts. That is my second hobby. I am primarily working in the real estate industry.

The creative spirit is strong then, I look forward to seeing more of this work. What lead you to create this kind of music in particular?
After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 I watched Hollywood movies from the 80's such as Beverly Hills Cop and Terminator for the first time. These movies especially the awesome soundtracks made by Harold Faltermeyer and Brad Fiedel inspired me when I was a kid. I dreamt of making that kind of music.

I can definitely hear the inspiration of Terminator and Bladerunner in your new music, it works exceptionally will with the Alpha Boy sound. What else inspires your music writing?
Yes, Rick you are right. The whole EP is inspired by these movies. Everything about the 80's is inspiring me. I can not explain why, but the square designs, the apocalyptic mood of the movies, the neon arts, the simple 2D games, the colorful fashion and the awesome synth music of the 80's touched me so deep that this decade is a part of my soul now.

Ahh we're of the same mind and heart indeed. I always say theres so much to love from the 80s on so many levels, that you can always find a new experience and inspiration in the decade. What are your favourite 80s artists that provide you the most inspiration?
Oh, thats a very good question. If I have to make a decision, I would say my favorite musician is Vangelis. During his career he composed a lot of fantastic and innovative music. The more often I listen to his music the more often I find new details. It is just amazing.

Indeed! He's one of the most prolific and talented composers of our time, his soundtrack work is absolutely timeless. Speaking of which, the 80s inspired synth music in general takes many cues from movie soundtracks, and it's often referred to as soundtrack music. Is writing a score for a movie something you'd like to do?
Definitely. It's my biggest dream as an artist. Since this week my dream came true as I composed a soundtrack for a short film. My first musician mentor Vito Illuminati and me we composed the soundtrack. This is the first step on the ladder to my dream.

This is fantastic news! Congratulations!! Please let me know when this gets a release, I'd love to cover it on Synthetix. As you've worked with others, do you have a dream composer or artist you'd love to work with in the future?
I think, it would be Clint Mansell. In my view he is the most talented soundtrack composer ever. He has a very special style to transport strong emotions in form of music. Working together with him one day, would change me forever.

He's certainly come a lonng way from his days in PWEI! It's a testament to the man's talent that he's still creating such stellar work in an entirely different field today.

What is your opinion on vocals in 80s inspired synth music? A lot is purely instrumental, adding to the nature of a soundtrack. I believe it's very, very hard to get vocal track "right". Your new music has excellent use of spoken word samples, but is working with a vocalist something you'd like to do with Alpha Boy?

There are some really good 80's tracks out there with vocals. For example FM Attack - Memorex from the Dreamtic Ep. This track has a very high level of authentic 80's vocals. My opinion: More music like this please

Amen to that! When it's done right there's nothing quite like that authentic experience. The more artists experiment, the greater the rewards I think. Which brings us to the new EP.

The overall sound is much more dark and atmospheric. You've gone to these kinds of places before in previous releases, but this EP definitely takes it to a whole new level for Alpha Boy. Is this a new direction for future Alpha Boy releases or is the Follow Me ep more of an isolated project?

With this Ep, I would like to make a restart and begin a journey with my fans into the universe of the 80's soundtrack feeling. That is why the Ep is called "Follow Me".

I think this darker side works exceptionally well, and I'd like to congratulate you on this new EP, 2012 is looking for good for Alpha Boy already. What do you hope 2012 has in store for Alpha Boy and for the 80s synth scene in general?
I am so happy right now because their are so many artist in the 80's genre out there. So all the fans can listen to a big variety of 80's music. I wish that 2012 more and more people discover this music for themselves especially here in Germany.

Beautifully put! I think the scene is in a very healthy state right now, as you say, theres a lot of diversity, and this is really what keeps everyone interested in the music at the end of the day.

Thanks for your time, Norman. It's been fantastic to get to know the man behind Alpha Boy that bit more, thank you for taking the time to share this small insight into your music. Anything else you'd like pass on?

Finally, I would like to thank my wife for all her support and thanks that I can live my dream. I would like to thank Marco Castagna aka Neosolyt as well especially for his fantastic mastering and his help.

Keep on living the dream Norman! Rock on, brother!

Don't forget, the new EP is due out 21/02/2012 on Alpha Boy's Bandcamp, and please follow him on his soundcloud and Facebook pages for more beautiful music.

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