Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
GlitBiter is a synthwave producer creating what she calls, "dreamy synthwave for the dark soul." In an emailed interview, she told me about her approach to making music, her views on the current state of synthwave and how she refreshes herself creatively.
Karl Magi: How did you first become passionate about making music?
GlitBiter: I grew up on classical music, old Broadway shows, and folk rock - mostly curated by my mom and grandfather. I was taking piano lessons by 1st grade, and ended up studying classical voice in undergrad. Music was always inherently somewhere in my life, but it wasn't until I started branching out and discovering new music on my own that I got the idea to start creating. But at first, I had no idea where to start. I had this idea, for years, that I wanted to sing in a band, but I never tried very hard to find band members and get anything happening, so that never worked.
However, I happened to take a couple of computer assisted recording classes in college, which opened up a new world to me, and gave me an immediate creative outlet. It didn't go anywhere at first, but at least I finally had the chops to sit down, every now and then, and make somewhat terrible electronic music on my own. But it really wasn't until I found synthwave that I actually had much of an ultimate focus for writing music.
KM: What has drawn you towards making synthwave music?
G: The draw of synthwave, for me, is generally because the music is melodic and succinct, as opposed to being a collection of seven plus minute long droning, repetitive electronic songs. I ended up discovering the genre through Dance With The Dead, who blew my mind with their perfect blend of synths and metal guitars, along with sounding like they were writing modern music that was straight out of an ‘80s zombie themed B-movie. After that, I fell down the synthwave rabbit hole, and found a genre of music that I felt like I had been searching for all of my life. Besides the sound, another thing that really stuck out to me was that most of the artists who were making this music were mostly solo acts. So, I thought, "Hey, I don't have that band that I wanted, but I have these skills. I should do this, instead".
KM: Which artists are your musical influences and why did they influence your approach to music?
G: This is always an interesting question for me to try and answer. I've never really heard an artist and said, "Whoa, I want to sound exactly like them!” I want to sound like my own thing, musically. Most of artists and bands I've been drawn to over the years have had more of a conceptual influence on me, instead of influencing my music, directly.
My mom played me Jimmy Webb's music while I was growing up, and his brilliant songwriting has had a profound influence on how I structure a song, and process chord progressions that I write and hear. I was obsessed with AFI in high school, but it was the community that surrounded their music that I was mostly drawn to.
Currently, my favorite band is Mew, and their ability to make complicated melodies and weird lyrics accessible is what I admire. Basically, I'm a scavenger who takes concepts form all over the place.
KM: Tell me more about your creative process when making new tracks?
G: I don't necessarily have a process. I mostly get random bursts of creativity, here and there, generated by anything from lines in movies to hearing a new preset. I'll usually start with a small motif or simple chord progression, and build it from there. Lyrics are mostly a stream of consciousness, and usually come last, in the process.
KM: What are some of the projects on which you're working lately?
G: I’m in the process of working with a friend on mixing and mastering an EP, which, if all goes well, should be out soon. I can't say too much, yet, but I also have a few exciting collaborations in the works...
KM: Where do you want to take your music going forward?
G: Honestly, wherever it takes me! Being part of this scene has been so fulfilling. I didn't quite have a goal in mind when I started, because I had no idea anyone was even going to care about or listen to what I had made. The past few years have been crazy (pro-tip, don't start a music project literally the same time you start grad school), but I've met some amazing people who have helped me from the very beginning, and who have guided me. Now that I'm almost done with school, I'll finally have more time to devote to music, so we'll see where it goes from here!
KM: Give me a sense of how you think the synthwave scene is doing?
G: I think we're at a really exciting time, right now. The synthwave scene mostly started on the Internet, but more and more synthwave concerts and club nights are popping up all over the place. For me, the most fun and most valuable part of being part of the scene is going to events and meeting people, fans, other artists, etc; Promoters are starting to realize that it's worth their time to put on synthwave shows, which means we get more shows, and more opportunities to really establish and expand this community.
KM: How do you reinvigorate yourself creatively?
G: I find that co-writing and collaborating on music really helps in my own creative process. Writing with someone else puts up certain restrictions, so the next time I'm writing for just myself, it's a noticeably more free process. But if I can't work with anyone, a good night's sleep does just fine, if I can get one!