Interview with Synthwave Band The Affirmation's Pablo Cordes
The Affirmation is a synthwave band from Buenos Aires, Argentina made up by Pablo Cordes and Melisa Beato. The Affirmation creates "dazzling sounds from a bygone era of synthwave and neon" with their music. I talked to the band's leader Pablo Cordes about how the band came into being, how they create new music and where they find inspiration.
Karl Magi: How did The Affirmation first come into being?
Pablo Cordes: I started composing synthwave after listening to NewRetroWave artists like Gunship and The Midnight. I love the synth sounds from the ‘80s because I grew up listening to a lot of pop. Artists like The Pet Shop Boys, A-Ha, Tears for Fears and many others defined my childhood. As a matter of fact, until The Affirmation came into being, I wasn´t ready to make this kind of music. I come from the rock scene, so this is totally new to me and it took a lot of work to make it sound good.
KM: What is it about retrowave/synthwave music that has such a strong appeal to you?
PC: I think it’s that nostalgic, retro sound. It just takes me back to my early years of listening to old pop tunes. I remember that my brother and I used to watch a particular music channel all the time waiting for the ‘80s videos to appear. That’s how I was introduced to the synthpop and rock bands from the ‘80s. Tears for Fears just rocked our world. It´s not just the synths, it’s the mixing and the way songs were produced in those days. It’s such a perfect sound with so many effects and so much melody. When someone makes a tune that is so good that you can remember it and sing it all day long, that’s what I love about music.
KM: Who are the major artists that have been inspirational to you as musicians and why are they so inspirational?
PC: I think this is my favourite question. I could spend my life talking about the artists that influenced me, but I´ll try to mention the most important.
First of all, I love singing with Melisa! As musicians, our favourite all time band is The Beatles. After those masters, I'd mention Genesis (all the eras), Pink Floyd and Queen. Those are the real influences for my whole life as a musician. As regards synthwave, I mentioned before that the Pet Shop Boys had always been a band that was inspiring to me. I love the songs that they wrote because they’re so catchy and well-produced. Phil Collins is perhaps the one artist that I can listen to and still get surprised by the music as if I was listening to it for the first time.
I´m leaving a lot of great artists behind like David Bowie (love him), Camel (just as much as I love Genesis), King Crimson (a hard band to listen but so eclectic and inspiring at the time), The Alan Parsons Project (of course), Supertramp (I used to listen to them lot when I was a teenager) and I could go on for hours and hours…
KM: How do you go about creating new music with The Affirmation?
PC: Actually we are creating new tunes right now for our first long play álbum. We´re very excited about that. Melisa is recording vocals and helping me with the artistic production. She´s the greatest companion to have in the recording process because she has good ears and good ideas.
KM: What are some of the current projects that you're working on?
PC: I still play guitar and write songs in the progressive rock band Fobos, we´re about to release new songs soon; and I´m producing the soundtrack of the upcoming horror adventure game Asylum created by my talented brother Agustin Cordes.
KM: What does the future hold for The Affirmation?
PC: We don´t know but I can tell you this: we hope to release the new LP on vinyl, that would be a dream come true. Meanwhile we´ll keep playing live and sharing shows with the other bands in the Buenos Aires synthwave scene.
KM: What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
PC: I think it’s very hard to create something completely new. I try to stay focused on writing good songs, that´s about enough for me. The creative batteries are charging every day when I sit to listen to music, all kinds of music, not just synthwave. The Affirmation won't always be the same project because my goal is to make each album fresh and different to the one before. So, only time will tell…