Zero Hour is the name of 24:7 first album, an awesome new synthwave artist. We had the chance to talk to him a day before the official release.
HFR: How did you start making music? Could you tell us a bit about your influences?
24:7: I always had pretty standard cheesy pop taste as a kid, all the mainstream stuff that was in the charts, from billy ocean through to do the bartman! but I never really paid that much attention to it, too busy out with friends or playing on my Amstrad CPC464 then megadrive and snes!
When I was about 15, someone leaned me the black album by Metallica, and that was that! Got a guitar and started learning and played in a few thrash metal bands in my teen years, my music got progressively heavier, then I moved into writing pop music and mellower music, my iTunes collection is pretty eclectic, to say the least, I pretty much like anything that’s got a kick ass driving melody. Looking back I always loved things like the Rocky 4 soundtrack etc, but never really pure synth 80s pop, then a good friend of mine, Steve, from The Opus Science Collective, introduced me to Mitch Murder, then I discovered the midnight, then the heavier artists like Volker X and Carpenter Brut and I’m smitten by the whole genre and aesthetic! 🙂
HFR: What can you tell us about your new ALBUM?
24:7: The album is called Zero Hour and is out on the 21st of June digitally and on Cassette with Timeslaves recordings which is 80’s awesomeness! When I started really diving into the scene I started writing Synthwave style music, I wrote about 15 tracks some more happy, some more heavy and decided to put 10 of the more anthemic ones together and create an album, they all have a similar tone and without sounding too poncy it has a bit of a journey through the album a bit like a 70s prog album lol.
HFR: What is your approach on writing music? Which are the steps you make when songwriting? You are also a mix engineer, do you mix while you write or do you make it once the song is done? Or you prefer someone else to mix your music?
24:7: A lot of the time I will hear a melody in my head and quickly sketch it out, or hum it into my phone, other times I will get the groove down first on the drums then look at chord progressions and just fiddle about until a top line appears, look at harmonies and generally trying to make the song interesting throughout (i get bored very easily with my own music!)
The nature of the sounds is so important in this genre, I tend to get all the melodies and parts and chords down quickly, then I spend a while thinking about what type of synth sound I want, I’m not a massive tweaker to be honest so I’ll find a preset thats in the ballpark and then tweak it a bit to taste, and maybe layer it with a few other sounds to thicken it up and create something a bit unique, The lines are so blurred right now in terms of job description, aside from the elite the job descriptions all blur into one now! It’s great to be able to take something from a riff to completed mixed and mastered arrangement but it is a lot of work and it’s easy to get caught up in the “3 AM headphones on, lost the plot” world, so I bounce it off a few producer friends of mine and grind away at the mix until I’m happy with it.
HFR: Could you tell us a bit about your “go to” equipment? What do you use when writing a song and which are your favorite instruments?
24:7: I recently got the Arturia collection which is pure 80s cheddar right out of the box, I love it! For some of the harder edged sounds I use cubases retrologue and massive, Predator by rob papen is a superb synth, you could probably do it all on that! Stock sounds I go to Kontakt 5 and Omnisphere, drums and basses I used Reel drums and a lot of Korg fatline bass! I’ve also got quite a lot of free vsts I’ve picked up over the years like tal uno and tal bassline which are superb for this type of music. And it’s nice to just call up a weird free vst synth and throw something in thats a bit weird! I dont really use outboard when mixing anymore, plug ins are so great! Again a combo of some free ones, waves, fabfilter, tal chorus and I use Slate FXG to smash it all up at the end!
HFR: What makes 80’s so attractive today?
24:7: What doesnt? 🙂 It was such a mental decade, fashion, music, politics, video games, tv, it was pretty zany and expressive, felt like a lot of people just did what they wanted in lots of different ways which made it so interesting, and the advent of new technologies played a massive part in that. I remember in the 90s everybody frowned on all things 80s as cheesy and crap but with the passing of time you can look back on it and just love it! Plus like a lot of us in this scene I grew up throughout the 80s, no internet no mobile phones, get on your BMX and ride down to the arcade, pick up a slush puppy head over to blockbusters and rent Ghostbusters on VHS and your golden 🙂
HFR: 24:7 in a near future? Are there any shows coming up within 2017?
24:7: it’s been a veeeery long time since I played live, I tend to throw everything and the kitchen sink at my arrangements so short of hiring 10 synth players, a drummer, keytar bass player and 10 macbooks, I cant see it happening to be honest! Although it would be fun.
HFR: Last words?
24:7: I just hope people enjoy the album, it was great to sit down and write a collection of songs with no preconceived ideas, just whatever came out at the time, and whatever I felt was right without worrying about it. I’m really happy with how it came out and if it reaches the ears of fellow synthwave lovers I’ll be over the moon!
HFR: Good luck with your awesome EP and thanks a lot for answering our interview.