#Synthfam Interview: Andy Walker, The Alphabet Zero

Updated on August 6, 2019
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Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

Andy Walker (R), Brad Beal (L) and Kellie Besch (Middle)
Andy Walker (R), Brad Beal (L) and Kellie Besch (Middle)

The Alphabet Zero is a synthwave project from producer Andy Walker. His music combines the darkness of industrial music with the dreaminess of '80s synths. I talked to him about how he got started making music, his creative process and where he thinks the synth scene is going.

KM: How did The Alphabet Zero get started as a project?

Andy Walker: Originally The Alphabet Zero began as an outlet for some ambient/noise experimentation. My first two EP’s (available for free on my band camp) weren’t synthwave at all. Then I borrowed my friends Prophet 6 and wrote my first ambient synthwave song (If I Leave, What Will I Find?) and shortly afterwards started writing with Matt Pusti (Makeup and Vanity Set). He really got me into analog synthesis and around the same time, Stranger Things came out and I wrote Friends Don’t Lie for fun as a tribute to that first season and it just went from there

KM: What is the thinking behind the music you make?

AW: I want to capture an emotional moment in everything I write. The song Teenage Feeling off my new EP was written when I was really struggling with the in & outs of daily adult life with a job/kids and how I missed the emotional highs and lows of being a teenager, when ignorance and naîvety about love made it devastatingly exciting. With every song I write I want to capture a feeling like that, because none of us are alone in feeling these things, and I hope the songs make someone feel just a little less alone.

KM: Tell me about the thematic and musical elements that drew you towards wanting to create synth-based electronic music?

AW: All through high school I was really into industrial/EBM scene. I listened to tons of VNV Nation, KMFDM, early Apoptygma Berzerk, Front 242, etc. I got really into indie music in college and when M83’s album Saturday’s = Youth came out, I completely fell in love with the dreaminess of the synthesizers. As a producer, I’ve always loved including synths in production, as it brings infinite depth and options to production, so as I honed in on my voice as an artist, synthwave was a natural starting place, with a lot of the darkness of industrial but the dreaminess of the '80s vintage synths.

KM: How do you generally approach creating new music?

AW: Every song is different but it's usually finding the one sound that will help define the song and build from there. I’ll experiment with different synth vibes until I find the one arp, synth bass, lead line, etc that captures that emotion, and I just add from there.

KM: Tell me more about some of your recent musical endeavours of which you're most proud and why.

AW: I just released a new EP with several tracks that I collaborated on with Kellie Besch and Brad Beal. Brad played live drums with me at a show last year and has a killer voice so I was really happy to write a song that would work for him. The EP really focuses on a lot of universal feelings so I hope everyone can connect with the songs in their own unique way. I also recently scored a short film with Makeup and Vanity Set that is making the festival rounds right now. You can keep up with it here.

KM: What are your views on the state of the current retro/synth scene? A

W: I love how many great new and old artists are releasing vocal tracks. The more the scene can flirt with the mainstream like FM-84, The Midnight, Ollie Wride, Gunship, etc, the more new listeners we can bring to our synth family and bring attention to the hundreds of great smaller artists.

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