We had the chance to talk to Tapehead about his new release, a synthwave tribute to Terminator. Check out the interview.
Headphones For Robots: Who is Tapehead?
Tapehead: Tapehead is my first solo project ever, which is electronic based music inspired by the sounds of the 80s. Capturing the distinct drum’s, pads and even synth’s of that time, from movies or bands from that era, but trying to add my own touch and song making ability.
HFR: How did you start making music? Could you tell us a bit about your influences? What are the last music and movie you’ve seen and loved?
T: Ever since I can remember, music has always blown my mind from a very young age. None of my parents were musicians but there was a lot of music around and music just does something to me like no other.
The first actual piece of software I used to make songs was Dance eJay, I do believe on my friends pc, when I was about 10 years old. It was a sampled based program where you just put samples together on a timeline to make a song and it was a lot of fun. We would burn them to CD and then blast them on a stereo and think we were cool.
10 years later I dabbled with many different DAW’s until a few years ago when I discovered synthwave music, I decided to actually take music seriously and got FL Studio, as this music spoke to me and I wanted to try and make my own.
To be honest I listen to all different genres of music, all the time, not just synthwave. When I was younger I would stick to particular genres more but now and I know it’s all about the song, and if it’s good it doesn’t matter what genre it belongs to. Throughout my life I have taken on influences from the nu-metal scene like Limp Bizkit and Korn, to hip-hop artists like Dr. Dre and Eminem, right through to classic rock and house music.
Within the synthwave scene though I am very music a big fan of the guys who started it all like Carpenter Brut, Mitch Murder and even Electric Youth, but there are so many great artists that are breaking through it keeps me motivated to continue down this path. Right now some of my favourites are LeBrock, RWRG ( Robots with Rayguns), Gost, The Midnight, FM-84 and more. There are so many great ones!
The last band I actually saw that blew me away was Gost, what a sound to hear live, it just makes you want to go completely mad lol
Currently, my favourite song is Tilted by Christine and the Queens, which has a cracking electronic vibe to it and the last movie I saw which I thought was amazing was The Shape of Water, which I found dark and sweet, which is my favourite kind of mixture of tones in any art form.
HFR: Model 101, your last album is a tribute to Terminator 1 & 2. When have you seen this movies? Why do you love them? And what about the sequels?
T: Well believe it or not I watch T2 many times throughout the year as it’s timeless classic for me. Terminator 1 I don’t watch as often as 2, mainly because I think T2 was just an all-round better film in terms of story, production and even the music, which the main theme felt like it had better production, which gave it more impact.
Terminator 1 and 2 has always stuck in my mind for so long as it’s my perfect kind of film. It’s dark, messed up, romantic, funny, post-apocalyptic, heartfelt, deep, and just fun. It hits every notch for me!
When it comes to the sequels they aren’t terrible, but the issue I have is they remove certain elements or don’t keep to the original format and it takes things away, which turns the film into something you don’t see as terminator anymore, hence why people don’t like them. But I try to keep an open mind with them but you never know until you watch them for yourself, but out of all the sequels, the only one I found to be different but in a good way was Terminator Salvation. I guess the thing they lacked the most was James Cameron’s control, as I feel he knew how to handle these films like no one else.
HFR: What was your approach on writing music on that album? Which are the steps you make when songwriting?
T: Well I started off with a few odd songs here and there and I thought I’d do some kind of tribute to the films, but it gradually turned into a full album dedicated, to the point each song represented a certain part of the films.
Whenever I start any song, EP or LP I always have a theme or idea in mind of what I want the album to say to me and my audience, as this helps me know what atmosphere I want to create for each song or the entirety of the record. Then I always start with drums or bass most of the time, as that sets the pace of the song and the heart of the song in terms of rhythm, but sometimes I’ll come up with a melody I want to use and build around that too.
Then I just let my creativity flow and try not to think too hard about each part, just see what happens out of random chaos. Sometimes I get stuck on a song as it’s not going anywhere, other times I can write the outline of a song in a night.
Either way, I love the way I work atm as I surprise myself with the shit I come up with, not trying to sound big headed, but this way I feel much more proud and happy with what I have rather than trying to reach perfection in the way I do it. Just let it roll and see what happens.
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?
T: Well in terms of DAW I use FL Studio, which I find amazing to use, since they brought out version 12 anyway. Most of the sounds I use within my songs are from plugins, as to capture them true 80’s sounds from the synths you need the analogue synths from that time I feel, but I don’t have the most amount of money in the world so I make do with plug-ins or digitized versions of classic synths. Then I just use a small Alesis midi controller to control them and come up with my melodies and patterns. FL Studio has an amazing sequencer which is great for creating some amazing drum loops, rather than using a plugin or drum machine itself.
I do however own a Microkorg which I did use a little on the Model 101 album and it has some amazing sounds in there.
HFR: And in a near future, will you go live? Do you have other projects?
T: I have considered going live as it would be amazing to hear how my songs sound live and what kind of reaction I would get from a live audience, but at this moment in time I am still building my profile a bit more and getting more comfortable with managing sounds and learning the craft, till I feel sure enough in myself that I can perform for my own pleasure.
In terms of other projects, I am always looking to work with other artists, just to appear on stuff or them on mine, because I just enjoy the social aspect and creative atmosphere of working with people that you’re on the same level with. Before my solo project I use to be involved with many other friends projects which were hard rock groups where I would sing and help write songs, but now I want to start working with people who have an interest for this synthwave scene as I feel it has an endless amount of possibilities and a timeless sound.
HFR: Last words?
T: Thank you for taking the time to appreciate my work, taking an interest in my music and keep up the good work sharing and loving the music, respect to HFR and everyone who takes the time to check out my work. Peace!