Interview with Starlight
Hello and welcome to Spacesound Records. We would like to shed some light on the individuals who make the music we all love. What better way than hearing it from the artists themselves. Starlight, Welcome to Spacesound!
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what do you do?
I was born in 1970 in Lublin where I actually live. My zodiac sign is Gemini and my profession is a computer technician. Since my youth I have shown musical ability, I was able to tell the difference in cars by hearing their engine noise. In kindergarden I already was fascinated by musical instruments particularly those that had piano keys. During my school years the accordion became an instrument of interest. I learnt to play many songs by ear.
Since the mid 80’s -90 I began organizing discothèques. With the arrival of the first PC computers I began an interest in composing; though my first production was on the Timex. Apart from my Electronic knowledge, the computer was never a main interest; however that changed with arrival of the Atari. The ability that it offered allowed me to uncover its true potential and to maximize it in music. In the early 90’s I bought my first equipment, started doing covers of 60’s 70’s and 80’s.
2. How did you get involved in music and do you have a music background?
My love and ability for music come from my mother, who sang and played the mandolin in a music group. Since the early years I was exposed to music as there were a few family members who played. My main reason was my uncle who was a multi-instrumentalist and had equipment such as the Weltmeister 60 accordion. His playing inspired me and it was on this instrument that I first started my first notes.
3. Besides spacesynth what other hobbies do you have?
Programming and creating webpages. I also like fixing electronic equipment. In my spare time I also enjoy snooker, basketball and ping pong.
4. What other music interests you?
Firstly and mainly electronic music from the 70’s and 80’s. Apart from this I listen to Classical music as well as Pop, Rock, film music and recently I have been listening to organ music. For many years I’ve had an interest in it. On many Sunday nights I would stay back after Mass in the Cathedral just so I could listen your standard compositions interpreted by (Rudolf Steiner) performed on the pipe organs, piano and cello by very competent musicians. Rudolf Steiner was my piano teacher and I hope one day I will have the opportunity to play pipe organs in church.
5. Do you compose any other music besides spacesynth, if yes, what might that be?
Yes, under the pseudonym Deep Darkness, I create music somewhere between ambient, ethnic and Berlin School. A sample of my work can be found at the following page http://www.myspace.com/deepdarknessmusic These compositions are part of the project "Contemporary Electronic Soundscapes which features some of Poland’s top Electronic musicians.
6. How did you find spacesynth or when did you first come in contact with this genre of music?
I came in contact with Spacesynth through Italo. The early 80’s was a period of discovering many different music styles particularly electronic. It all started with the group Space and their hit “Magic Fly” I liked this track so much that I began to look for other songs with a similar atmosphere. I discovered Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis later on I got to know Laserdance, Koto, Hypnosis, Cyber People.
7. What draws you to spacesynth and why do you like this music.
The fact that I grew up when Italo Disco was dominant. I took notice of the instrumental versions. Spacesynth showed up being a kind of instrumental discotheque, you had rhythm, melody but more specifically a unique sounding bass sound as well as synth riffs. These features made me more interested in this genre of music and getting to know the albums and artists.
8. Is there anything that you dislike about this genre?
I don’t like the repetitive rhythmic sequenced sounds, particularly the bass and percussion which give a specific atmosphere for this genre. By using the same sounds all the tracks sound alike and as a result it becomes boring and off putting. The ability to create different sounds is far greater than 10 years ago therefore we have a lot to choose from.
9. Are there any group or artist(s) that have influenced you?
Yes first and foremost Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Enigma and Deep Forest. After hearing Oxygene and Equinox I have never heard such incredible synth sounds to this day. Blending pop rhythms and plain passages with unique and innovative ones for those times and adding space effects got me interested in synths, their build and how they generate those sounds.
10. I guess this question follows on from the next but do you have a favorite artist and why?
11. Do you have a favorite spacesynth album and why?
In consideration, I would say two: Future Generation and Masterpieces. Even though it has been a while since they were made I still think that they are one of the best in all production of Spacesynth. Here we have the quintessential example of spacesynth at it best created by the differing styles of M. van der Kuy and Anfrando Maiola. Unfortunately, M. van Der Kuy's later Laserdance productions seem to lack catchy moving lead sounds.
12. Would you be interested in working in a duet or with other artists if yes who would that be?
Of course I would. I am open to all offers. I don’t have any personal preferences. I think here the most important thing is to have honest intentions and willingness to support concrete ideas.
13. Do you like Italo Disco?
Oh Yes. I associate with this music many memories of my school years. I could say a lot. Like now days the prevalent music at discothèques is Trance Techno and House back then in the 80’s the king was Italo. Radio played a lot of this music as well. The fact that I did organize discos during that time gives me a sentimental attachment; I don’t think I’ll ever tire of Italo given the short time that this style existed. To this day I willingly return to listening to Italo and thankfully for the Internet I am able to find material that I’ve never heard before.
14. A few Spacesynth artists have come from the Demo scene, were you ever part of that, if yes what was your artistic name and do you think there is any advantage to Demo artists?
I never took part in this scene. Probably the reason is that I never had the right equipment when it all started. I’m sure there would have been benefits and experience from it. If you make great music then even with demo you will be noticed and even successful. Examples of this are Lizard King and Chris Huelsbeck whose game music was played by a symphony orchestra.
15. Let's move to composing. How do you start with a new track? Do you, start by trying to compose a new melody or do you play around with chords and then try and fit a melody into that or is there perhaps another way?
A lot of the time many new songs come about during composing another track. This happens when I’m looking for different sounds/tones, I’m checking the effects. The filters, the generator and usually here I come up with something different, then it’s a matter to decide whether it’s going to be a rhythmic piece or perhaps a slow number. I then add the percussion, bass and melody. Sometimes I compose from the piano sounds and then I work on the different sounds and melodies.
16. Recently there has been some debate about the importance of melody in spacesynth. Do you have any opinion or thoughts on this?
I think the importance of the melody is not only fundamental to Spacesynth but to all music. It is the melody that lets you know whether the track is catchy or not, whether it appeals to your ear, or whether it’s monotonous or chaotic. From this basis we form our opinion whether we like it or not.
17. Spacesynth currently has many different styles for example Protonic Storm is very futuristic and pushing boundaries on the other hand Marco Rochowski epitomizes the Golden era with his classical interpretation. Where do you think you fit?
I consider myself somewhere in between. I would describe my music as Soft Space. There are fewer characteristics than classical Spacesynth. It is far more soothing and peaceful but it does retain a specific space character. I try and maintain my own style where I feel most at ease that being experimental with the sounds of different instruments.
18. This question is a sort of follow on. Where do you think the genre is heading? Some people have said that we should move on from the LD influence and embrace influences from other genres i.e. different drums, bass and not have to rely on melody. Others have argued that the melody is the essence of spacesynth and overhauling it would kill the uniqueness of the style and thus create just another electronic sub genre. Any thoughts?
Now that’s a good question. It’s hard to really say how this genre should broaden. I think both sides have a point. I would opt for the broadening of the genre because you have to realize these are the requirement that the market wants. If we stay with Laserdance’s influence then we are closing our doors to broad appeal and only limiting ourselves to a small group of spacesynth fans. Today Electronic music is vast with many genres; it probably has evolved more than any other type of music with the inception of the Midi interface in 1983. With software and hardware being more accessible due to price drops I think this topic warrants much further discussion on the forums.
19. Any thoughts on how we could improve the genre (musically and gaining more mass appeal)?
This is a hard guess and it’s difficult to come up with a constructive answer particularly given that there is a lot of music available freely. Since the early 90’s when electronic dance music began to evolve with technology and pick up tempo, it then became mainstream. It's hard to put on a brave face with what we hear on the radio and clubs. Today music is flooded with Homies wearing caps backwards or hoods making weird hand signals trying articulate incomprehensible phrases mixed with boring sounds. A lot of professional musicians probably consider how to not be a part of such pop culture yet reach out to the mainstream. I think to gain mass appeal we need to try and make a Trance version or Techno version and promote this in clubs and discos and media. That’s what is happening in Germany. Maybe then we will have a road to success.
20. What sort of gear do you use?
I have pretty humble equipment. For production I make use of Yamaha CS6X with the plug-in PLG150-AN EMU Proteus 2000, Roland JD-990, JV-1080 with extensions SR-JV80-99, SR-JV80-15, SR-JV80-04, Oberheim Matrix 1000, Korg Wavestation SR and other VST plug-ins.
21. At times debate has centered on Software synths vs. hardware, do you have a preference if yes why?
On the market there are many synthesizer products that are comparable to the hardware when it comes to the palette of sounds. I think that this is a good alternative, being more economical as well as cheaper. At times it is hard to say whether it was a pluggin or hardware. The negatives are the impact on the CPU and its usage, thus the need for more powerful CPU’s becomes necessary to ensure there are no crashes. This happens when one uses too many pluggins at once. One of the positives is that it doesn’t take up space on ones desk.
22. What’s your favorite TV Show?
I don’t have a preference as I don’t watch much TV.
23. Anything you would like to say to the fans of the Spacesynth Genre?
I wish all fans and myself that this music may continue to grow and gain more appeal. I also would like to hear some feedback on my material. Greetings to all.
Now for something light hearted. Just give the answer to one you prefer or “Neither” if they aren’t applicable. (No explanations required!!).
1. Tea or Coffee? Green Tea.
2. Market or Shopping Mall? Market, but it depends on ones needs at the time.
3. Demo or Italo? Italo.
4. TV or Sport? Sport and more Sport.
5. Books or Cinema? Cinema.
6. Resort or Camping? Camping.
7. Summer or Winter? Thinking... Winter.
8. Cat or Dog? Dog.
9. Beer, wine or Spirits? Beer, but wine for dinner.
10. Blonde or Brunette? Brunette.
11. Sweet or savoury? Savoury.
Once again thank you for allowing us your time in answering these questions, it is very much appreciated! We hope this gives the spacesynth community a little better insight into you as an artist.
Interview Conducted By Peter D.