An Interview With Canadian Synthwave Artist Renz Wilde
Renz Wilde is a Vancouver B.C. based creator of retrowave/synthwave music. In an email interview, I asked him about how he became passionate about music, how the creative process works for him and where he finds inspiration.
Karl Magi: What first got you passionate about making music generally?
Renz Wilde: My earliest memories of wanting to create music go back to when I was around 10 years old. By that age, I was not just really into music but I was fascinated with the whole concept of creating music, packaging and releasing it to the public. Before I ever wrote a song, I had already designed a ton of imaginary albums from imaginary bands. Everything from band logos to album artwork to album liner notes.
KM: What drew you towards creating synthwave music?
RW: My love for late 70s and 80s synth music by artists such as Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Erasure and Kraftwerk lead me to discover synthwave rather by accident. I was listening to Kraftwerk on YouTube when a track by synthwave pioneer Lazerhawk appeared in the suggestions. When I listened to the track I was instantly blown away. I mean literally, my mind exploded. I had no idea this synthwave scene existed and it captured my imagination immediately, This style of music was exactly what I wanted to create and I was thrilled to know there was already an underground scene of artists and fans creating and enjoying this music. This was back in 2013.
KM: Which artists have inspired and influenced you as a music maker?
RW: There are many artists in many genres that inspire me. I enjoy listening to everything from disco to funk to heavy metal and they all inspire me. As for influences, bands like Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and Kraftwerk are established artists that I love. I'm also inspired by many contemporaries in the synthwave/retrosynth scene such as Stilz, Syntax and VHS Dreams to name just a few.
KM: Take me through the process you go through as you create new music.
RW: I can only sit down and attempt to create music when I already have an idea to start with. It can be anything from a simple beat or a simple melody to a complex lead. So long as whatever it is I have in mind feels right, I will attempt to flesh it out and see where it takes me.
KM: Tell me more about your latest EP. What inspired it and how did you approach its creation?
RW: My latest EP Shattered was truly an experimental release for me. In fact, the first incarnation of the EP was a longer album that was rather bizarre now that I look back and it was close to being released in that form before we decided to drop four tracks and create a new track that was a last minute addition to the final EP. From the track selection to the album artwork, the EP that was ultimately released is nothing like the album that was almost released. I was inspired by making something totally different, mixing genres, and throwing some production rules out the freaking window. I want people to enjoy it for what it is: a fun, lo-fi record.
KM: What's your take on the health of the synthwave scene in Canada?
RW: I think Canada has been a major influence in the synthwave scene, going back to its early days. Artists such as Miami Nights84, FM Attack and Rosso Corsa Records are well established and artists that have made a major impact on the scene worldwide. Many other Canadian artists are producing synth music and making an impact also. I think it's not a secret to synthwave fans around the world that Canada produces some amazing synth music.
KM: Where would you like to take your career going forward?
RW: I set goals for myself once I decided to create retrosynth music and release music as Renz Wilde. I feel very lucky that I've achieved many of those goals but there are still many left. One of them is scoring for film and it's very possible that I will get that opportunity soon and I am extremely excited about that. Other things I would like to do include creating music for video games, haviing my music released on vinyl and playing live.
KM: How do you reinvigorate yourself creatively?
RW: I admit that I find reinvigorating myself to be hard sometimes. Not because I don't want to create music, I seriously would do it 24/7 if I could survive doing that, but when I release an album or EP, that's the final step of a long journey. For someone like myself who is not a prolific artist, I am often very drained by the end. I am unable to create music at a fast rate. I just can't. I put a lot of myself into my music so when the inspiration does hit me, I get rather obsessed and nothing matters to me but creating music. It's an amazing escape from the real world. As I mentioned earlier, if I could survive, I would eat, shit, and sleep in a studio 24/7.