The UK's 80s Stallone has been one of the flagship producers of consistently impressive 80s inspired synth music for years now. Through many evolutions of sound he's always stayed relevant and always stayed totally 80s. There are few producer's still in the scene with the experience of 80s Stallone, so when a new album hits from him it's always judged with a more critical eye.
With his new album Hotline still being filled into racks in record bars around the world I managed to get a call through to 80s Stallone himself and over the crackly long distance line I spent somee quality time learning a bit more about his inspirations, his future, his past and his dreams.
Greetings, how's life going in the world of 80s Stallone?
I'll take strange over normal any day of the week. I've loved your music for a long time, but never learned a lot about you. Is this intentionally a part of the 80s Stallone mystique?
I never felt the need to show myself. Stallone is far more interesting than me and its a cliché but I let the music and 80s image do the work,.. maybe one day.
How many years is it now you've been creating 80s synth music?
Myspace says Member Since 03/08/2008 I guess that’s when 80s Stallone really started. I had tracks before that were 80s sounding and I always lent towards it i just didn’t want to make the “in sound” I wanted to make my own sound. \
Were you producing other sounds before this?
I have done many projects and bands, made music for TV and am always messing with something or another. But it all started in my final school years with a borrowed fourtrack, a bass, a DR110 drum machine then on to Atari & Amiga and on and on constantly changing and learning all I could. I'm self taught and never took any lessons, so im always learning as i go.
You manage to incorporate modern sounds in a perfect balance and harmony with the 80s moods on your tracks, is this something that happens naturally or are you constantly being pulled in different directions by your creativity?
I guess it's natural. I just have a sound and now know the elements of an 80s Stallone track, plus I use new analogue synths rather than vintage, as well as vsts. Maybe that’s a part of my sound, I like to try new things when making music I like to try and be open.
It's been noted that you're one of the most gifted artists in the scene in regards to the melodies you create. Does this come naturally or is every track a labour of love?
Well that’s an honour and very kind if people think that. My trick is simple: if a track becomes hard work or doesn’t go in the right direction I just leave it and start again. My recent project's folder has 160 ideas and I have larger folders on 3 other hard drives, sometimes I find something I like rework on it or sometimes it’s terrible and I know why I never finished it, but a lot of the time I just try something new.
The new album sounds like a new chapter in the 80s Stallone sound. Lots of rockin vocals and the sounds feel more spatially oriented. Was doing more vocals a natural evolution for you or was it a hard ask?
The vocal tracks are older, but people always seemed to like those tracks. Some days I write as Action Stallone other days it's Romantic Stallone, just depends on how I feel or what direction the tracks take.
Is Hotline a concept album or evolutionary step for 80s Stallone? It's got a beautifully consistent space disco motiff through out it laced with a futuristic melancholy, it's markedly different to a lot of your previous singles. Is this just a stop off along the 80s Stallone journey or have we reached the destination?
I like to keep moving and searching for new ideas. I have two new tracks that are really futuristic and might upset people but appeal to new listerns, but another that’s completely analogue hardware and back to the disco. I plan to do a few in this way so they will probably be two different EPs to come soon so I would say the journey won’t reach its destination any time soon.
Marvellous, the scene will always need artists like you to push the 80s inspired synth genres in exciting new directions. Was Hotline written all together as one album or was there a combination of new and old ideas?
New and old. I have tried to give people the tracks I thought they seemed to want. I have terrific support and great listeners that means the world to me, so I try to pay them back the best I can. Cheesy but true.
You say 'cheesy', I hear 'classy'. As far as influences go, apart from the obvious Stallone muse, who do you draw inspiration from the most from?
Kraftwerk, Patrick Cowley, Denis and Denyse LePage, Giorgio Moroder, Harold Faltermeyer, Jan Hammer, Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, New Order, Depeche Mode, Guy-Manuel & Thomas Bangalter, Alan Braxe, Fred Falke, early Pet Shop Boys & The Human League, Cyber People, Koto, Hipnosis, Laserdance. We could be here all day but you get the picture.
And it's a wonderful picture indeed. The UK has always been at the forefront of synth music and the current UK scene seems pretty rockin, from this side of the planet. Have you worked much with any of the other lads creating 80s music over there?
No one in the UK yet, I'm open to anything and never say never. I worked with my good friend Sakura on Cusax, he was there from the first few Stallone tracks always supporting me from the start so I enjoyed collaborating on Cusax with him, hopefully we can find the time do more in the future. Embryonik and I have plans to do something together, there is a track we did but neither of us have finished it, I'm sure we will get round to it at some point but we both want something special and not just a track for the sake of it… I value their opinions and support.
I'm champing at the bit to hear that 80s Stallone/Embryonik collaboration! The UK scene also seems one of the most likely to get regular live 80s inspired synth live gigs happening, would performing the 80s Stallone experience live be something you'd love to do on a regular basis?
I’ve had something planned for a show for years, so I would want it done right, but I think I’m happier making music than performing it. Some people enjoy the stage some people enjoy the studio think Im the studio person.
I noticed you stay very independent in the scene, with no affiliations to the older or newer established labels around the 80s scene, do you prefer to work independently as an artist or have you just not found the right one?
I think it helps me to just do my own thing, I support everyone out there doing their thing, but I find it easier to keep my nut down and keep working, but I’m open to work with any label. I offered this album to a good few labels two wanted it, but I was then offered to do it on tape with a label and hopefully that will still happen at some point with new tracks.
An 80s Stallone cassette release would be perfection! I hope this happens too. Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
Jackie Stallone or Bridgett Nielsen, maybe? I would have loved to see Patrick Cowley at work in a studio though.
I've used Brigitte Neilsen for much 'inspiration' in the past myself. If you were to create the ultimate Stallone Movie Night, what 5 movies would you have to show?
"Stop or my will Mom Shoot" five times in a row. Or all or the Rocky's, but I always fall asleep during Five.
What are your other interests outside of creating music?
Eric Qualen or Drago?
Eric Qualen! But John Lithgow as Roberta Muldoon, thats Lithgow GOLD.
Haha! Amen to that. Thanks very much for your time to grant Synthetix this little window into the world of 80s Stallone. Is there any final message you'd like to say to the readers and fans out there?
Thanks for support and keep listening. As in true Stallone style there will be a sequel.
I wish you all the best with Hotline, it's a maginificent album and should go a long way to making the 80s Stallone fanbase grow in leaps and bounds.
Hotline is available through 80s Stallone's Bandcamp site here. This album is an incredible display of songwriting talent combined with unbridled love of 80s sounds, it's a testament to the 80s Stallone experience in these genres that he can make this release sound totally fresh and full of exciting new ideas.
Everyone with a love of 80s synth sounds should invest in this album as soon as possible and let the 80s Stallone experience wash over them in a neon shower of beautiful aural majesty.
80s Stallone's Hotline is most definitely a bonafide Synthetix approved experience.