An Interview with U.K. Singer and Synthwave Artist Night Vision
Night Vision (Tali Dennerstein) is a U.K. based singer with a passion for '80s music and a fascination with the synthwave sound. In an email interview, we discussed how she first became passionate about music, her creative process and where she finds inspiration.
Karl Magi: How did you first get interested in making music?
Tali Dennerstein: I’ve always loved singing ever since I can remember. My parents had a record player and I remember getting my first records when I was 12, which were the soundtrack to the film South Pacific and Cathy Dennis's first album Move To This, which I became a bit obsessed with at the time. I also used to listen to Dr. Fox's Top 40 UK radio chart show every Sunday and I remember sitting there for hours every weekend, just so I could tape any songs that I liked from there. I've just always been really passionate about music.
KM: What drew you towards synthwave/retrowave music?
TD: My love of of ‘80s and ‘90s music. I've always been a huge fan of ‘80s synth-pop, New Wave, goth, coldwave, darkwave and post-punk music, as well as ‘90s grunge and alternative rock music all my life, so when I discovered the synthwave scene in 2015, I felt really excited! I first heard Mitch Murder's Outpost Alpha and Electric Youth’s Hero and I instantly fell in love with synthwave music in that moment. I'd been disillusioned with mainstream music for many years and discovering retrowave music felt like a breath of fresh air. It brought me back to memories of the good times I had as a kid when life was much simpler.
KM: Who are some of the artists that have inspired you and why?
TD: Whilst I love music and listen to many different artists and musicians, I'd say that a few of my biggest influences are Madonna, Depeche Mode and Curve. I loved Madonna's early ‘80s sound the most because it was so fun and catchy and her voice was really unique. Her songs always make me feel uplifted and happy whenever I listen to them.
Depeche Mode are a band that I discovered when I was a teenager and I always loved their dark synth-pop sound and Martin Gore's haunting songwriting style. Dave Gahan is also an amazing singer and a very entertaining and charismatic frontman and I love how they've always stayed true to their sound.
Curve are another band that have been a huge influence for me, especially their Doppelganger album. I have always been a big fan of Toni Halliday's dark, ethereal vocals but with the contrast between her soft voice floating over a massive distorted wall of guitar sounds and sampled electronic beats it just really blew me away. Their sound is incredible.
KM: How do you feel the U.K. synthwave scene is doing right now?
TD: I think we've got a really great grassroots underground synthwave scene going and not just in the UK but all over the world. I run a synthwave YouTube channel called Synth Heaven and I'm constantly seeing a lot of fresh new music being released by very talented and promising new synthwave artists and producers.
KM: Talk about your creative process when it comes to writing songs and music.
TD: My creative process can be really chaotic. I am always getting melody or lyric ideas stuck in my head and often I forget them, but if I think they are o.k. to keep and I am near my sound recorder, I'll record them and then go back whenever I get a new idea or want to work on a song. I'll usually try expanding and adding to the first idea by coming up with other melodies or lyrics that work. I sometimes do this for instrumental ideas as well as for vocals. Sometimes I can write a song in a few minutes and sometimes it can take weeks.
KM: Tell me more about the Runaway EP. How did it come about?
TD: I released my first single called Do It All Over Again in November 2016 and then I decided to start working on my EP Runaway pretty much straight after that. I had a song I'd written called Runaway from a few years ago. I really wanted to hear how it would sound if it was recorded in a more synthwave style, so I spoke to a few producers and I ended up working with Juno Dreams, who did a new mix of the song.
I also worked with Dave Maverick, who did a very ‘80s sounding remix of the track and with Earl B, who made an electro club mix. I purchased some instrumentals from a producer called SilverHawk and then I started writing lyrics and vocal melodies for Heartbreaker and Never Enough. Once I was ready, I recorded my vocals at home and then I had everything mixed and mastered.
KM: What are your plans for the future when it comes to your music?
TD: I’ve recently started writing for my album and I'm hoping to start recording in January 2019. My next album will have more of a summery electropop, dreamwave sound with maybe a couple of ballads here and there.
KM: How do you reinvigorate yourself creatively?
TD: I would say by listening to lots of good music. Whenever I hear music I enjoy, I tend to get a lot of ideas floating around my head and it really inspires and motivates me creatively.