We’re excited to introduce Hostile Takeover, the new album of Megan McDuffee.
Check out this music masterpiece and the interview.
Headphones For Robots: Who is Megan McDuffee? Where do you come from? Where do you live?
Megan McDuffee: I grew up just north of San Francisco California, and I currently live south of San Francisco, in the heart of Silicon Valley.
HFR: How did you start making music? Could you tell us a bit about your influences? How have you discovered synthwave?
MMD: Honestly, I started making music as soon as I was able – translation: writing simple piano pieces when I was 8 years old. I was always involved in music somehow when I was growing up, be it musical theater, piano/voice lessons, choir, or talent shows. But professionally speaking I’ve been composing and songwriting for about 7 years now.
Oh boy, my influences are many! I grew up with 80’s music and film scores, and have always loved electronica in all forms. Some of my favorites were (and still are) Beck, the Sneaker Pimps, Depeche Mode, IAMX, Tangerine Dream, Trevor Jones, and John Williams.
Synthwave was a natural evolution. I’ve always been drawn to electronic music, so I really just stumbled across it back in 2011. I was super stoked to have found some artists making 80’s-flavored electronic music, and this was before ‘synthwave’ had really even been coined as a genre (and certainly before it was as popular as it is now). Mitch Murder, Tesla Boy, and Lazerhawk were the artists I found first.
HFR: You’re releasing Hostile Takeover, a synthwave album. What can you tell us about it?
MMD: Hostile Takeover was written as a soundtrack/score to an upcoming indie game of the same name. The game is a cool tactical deck-building game, set in a gritty, dirty cyberpunk world where mega corporations rule. So the album immerses the player and listener in that dystopian future. Hazy synth lines, pumping bass, defined beats, and a general grittiness pervade the entire album. It’s dark, punchy, grimy, and dreamy.
Oh, and it was mastered by the mysterious and rad synthwave artist Pylot!
HFR: How did you approach writing the songs for your new album? Was it different from composing for movies or videogames?
MMD: Since this was a videogame score initially, the approach is definitely different from the linear approach of film scoring. The pieces are self-contained, and the non-album versions needed to loop seamlessly. For the album versions of the songs, I crafted endings so the pieces were each a cohesive whole, instead of cutting off or looping. The mindset of crafting this album was much like anything else (finding the tone, mood, instrument pallette, what have you), but obviously wasn’t synced to picture or looping for the final tracks.
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?
MMD: I work in Cubase, which I find very intuitive for MIDI sequencing. As far as VST’s, my go-tos are definitely Omnisphere 2, Camel Audio Alchemy, Stylus RMX, and Rob Papen Predator, served with a helping of FabFilter Saturn and Izotope Ozone 6. For trailer music and film/game scores, I’d add 8Dio Hybrid Tools, NI Damage, and a ton of custom sound design to that mix. When I’m tracking vocals, I use the Advanced Audio CM251 tube mic – it’s gorgeous!
HFR : Many of our readers produce music too. What is the best advice that you could give ?
MMD: Figure out what you love doing, and do that. Find your ‘schtick’ and what makes you different from all the other producers out there. That, and never giving up!
HFR: Will you play your new album live? Do you have other projects?
MMD: Not sure if this will ever be played live…if so, it would be way far in the future. I’d rather perform my vocal material.
As far as other projects? I don’t even know where to start, hah. I’m regularly writing trailer music for Position Music, I have about 4-5 vocal collaborations with other synthwave artists, I’m co-writing the second, full-length album with my pal Moonrunner83, finishing up a massive 36-track soundtrack for the amazing game company WayForward, working on my own EP, and more things I’m probably forgetting about.
HFR: Last words?
MMD: I really hope you dig the album as much as I enjoyed creating it. I’d love to hear what you think, so feel free to ping me on social media!
Link to get Hostile Takeover: https://meganmcduffee.bandcamp.com/album/hostile-takeover