An Interview with Canadian Synthwave Artist The Starfighter
Dustin Fraser (The Starfighter) is a Canadian electronic music producer who got his start in the melodic house scene in 2012. Since that point, he's moved into making many different styles and genres of electronic music including his ventures into synthwave/Outrun/darksynth with The Starfighter. I talked to him about how he became interested in music, his creative process and how he inspires himself creatively.
Interview with Dustin Fraser (The Starfighter)
Karl Magi: Tell me about the genesis of your passion for music.
Dustin Fraser: I’ve been into music for as long as I can remember. When I was about 4 years old my father would play the fiddle for me and later on around age six I he taught me to play the guitar. I’ve always enjoyed listening to music, and exploring different genres.
KM: Talk about your approach to music and the elements, musical ideas or themes that you explore.
DF: My approach with my project “The Starfighter” is to pay homage to older 80’s and late 70’s sci-fi or horror soundtracks. I also like to mix that with some dance vibes, a big genre influence for me is French house or French Touch. Some of my songs have been named after a movie from the 80’s, e.g, T-800 (Terminator).
There’s somewhat of a nostalgic feeling with synthwave / outrun / darksynth which is why it’s one of my favourite genres to produce.
KM: How does the process work for you when you’re creating new music?
DF: It depends on the mood. Sometimes I start with a beat, other times I start with chords & bass or even a melody. More often I begin with chords and an arpeggio. I like to have an epic intro leading into a beat (or as most EDM fans would call it the “drop”).
I guess you could say I have been known to take a soundtrack approach. Sometimes what I like to do is to just watch older movies, darker horror films or sci fi (usually from the 70’s - 80’s), and just play out some notes that I feel match the energy in that scene.
KM: What are your impressions of the synthwave/retrowave scene in Canada today?
DF: From what I’ve noticed, the synthwave/retrowave scene in Canada is pretty scarce. Keep in mind I’m currently residing in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Not too much happens up here. I love the scene because everyone is so passionate, supportive, and most of all positive.
KM: Where would you like to take your music in the future?
DF: I’d like to one day produce an entire album and possibly do a couple of shows with friends in the scene across Canada and the USA. I’d have to take a whole year dedicated to The Starfighter to get that sorted out though. The Starfighter is mostly a fun side project of mine, I focus more on my main Project “Dustin Miles”.
I create side projects for different sounds and vibes: The Starfighter is synthwave / Outrun /darksynth, Dustin Miles is Nu-Disco / Future House / House and BORDERZ is trap / bass house / jackin’ house.
KM: How do you keep your creative batteries recharged?
DF: I like to listen to records, old and new. Going out for a walk, hanging out with friends, house work. Inspiration can come from nowhere sometimes. I don’t have a very good answer for this question as I am currently in a wicked creative block.