Straplocked has recently released “First Strike”, a first LP with 11 tracks of melodic Synthwave with retro sounds and lovely shred guitar solos, a perfect occasion to talk a bit.
Check out the interview and the track”Just Take Him” featuring the awesome Dimi Kaye.
Headphones For Robots: Who is Straplocked?
Straplocked: Straplocked is the solo (currently synthwave focused) music project of hard-rock guitar player Chris Carvache.
HFR: How did you start making music? Could you tell us a bit about your influences?
S: Where to begin. I’ve actually been a musician for a long time. I’ve been playing guitar for over 18 years and played clarinet for 9 years before that, so pretty much the majority of my life. However, I only recently got into making music in March of 2017. The main driving force of that was out of frustration. I’ve played in many bands before and for as great as all the musicians were in those bands, there was always a key component missing; flakey members didn’t know how to produce, couldn’t book shows, whatever the issue was. After experiencing frustration for many years, I decided to just do my own thing and see how far I could take it. Musical influences range from, classical, jazz, lots of metal, rap and my new found love of electronic music.
HFR: You have just released First Strike, your first full-length album. What can you tell us about the whole story behind this?
S: Well, there really isn’t a story behind the album. The album is mainly one huge experiment and what you’re hearing is me trying to find my sound. Funny thing is that in the process of writing the album a character was developed that will be the base of the next album. I know that may sound lame but, it’s true.
HFR: What was your approach on writing music for this LP? Which are the steps you make when songwriting?
S: The approach was simply to FINISH the LP. I had never written an album myself and all the other projects I was apart of seemed to fall apart whenever we started the writing process. For songwriting the first step is to make sure that I have a few parts that go well together. Objectively speaking, LOTS of synthwave artists rely on layering sounds and creating rhythmic variations. While this is great and super important, I’ve witnessed that the melodic side of the genre has been left unexplored. All that said, when I’m in the composing stage of writing a song I’ll make sure that I have a few different parts that seem to work together. From there moving forward I’ll spend time working on sound design, rhythmic and melodic variations of all the parts and the mixing in no particular order. Arrangement I try to not overthink anything and for the most part use arrangements that are loosely based on the standard pop structure: verse chorus verse chours bridge chorus. But even that isn’t something that I’m committed to, it’s just a framework to work with so that I’m not spending time doing any unnecessary tinkering. At the end of it all, its like what so many artists say, its all about the song.
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?
S: My MAIN instrument these days is my 2015 MacBook pro 🙂 then I have all my guitars. I have so many sounds on the computer that I can literally spend hours doing NOTHING but creating sounds with the synthesizer or looking through other producer’s presets. Right now my favorite software synths are Serum, Sylenth1, the Arturia V Collection and the Korg Legacy Collection. Hardware wise I use my PRS SE 7 String and my Ibanez RGA 121. Both super solid great sounding guitars.
HFR: What leads a guitarist to produce synthwave electronic music?
S: It really wasn’t intentional at all haha. My goal was simply to produce SOME kind of music as a solo artist and whatever that ended up being to also incorporate my guitar into it. At first I TRIED (and let me emphasize the word TRIED) to make future house music but, I was TERRIBLE at it. I had been listening to synthwave passively for a couple of years because of one of the guys I worked with and then one day he introduced me to Perturbator. He said listen to dangerous days bro. And I did for like 3 weeks straight. Then I thought, I bet I could make this style of music, let me give it a shot. Now 8 months later, here I am 🙂
HFR: Straplocked in a near future? Will we see you live someday? Will there be a second strike?
S: There will definitely be Straplocked live. Looks like some shows in NYC this summer and possibly the NEON Fest in Rhode Island Fingers Crossed! There definitely will be a second strike too! However the next planned album (and foreseeable albums after that) will be based on a character created by the awesomely talented Mafer!
HFR: Last words?
S: This scene is amazing. All the artists, the promoters and the fans. Best music scene I’ve been apart of. I’m excited to see what the future holds!
Check out the album: https://straplocked.bandcamp.com/album/first-strike