#Synthfam Interview: Cory Cook (Back in the Future)

Updated on October 24, 2019
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Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

Cory Cook is a musician, songwriter, singer and producer now based in Brisbane, AU. He writes powerful lyrics and backs them with music that spans a wide variety of different influences including a very strong dose of '80s inspired synth goodness. In an email, he told me about how he got started, about his Back In the Future project and about how he creates music.

Karl Magi: How'd you first find a passion for making music?

Cory Cook: My father purchased me a guitar when I was like 11 which got me into music. Then once I started to understand music theory and structure it began to be a passion.

KM: Tell me about the elements of synth-based music that attracted you to making it?

CC: I’ve always loved '80s movies and music, so for me it just came naturally that I would incorporate those sounds and cinematic characters to my music.

KM: In general, how do you go about creating new tracks?

CC: I usually start with a sound first. Whether it’s a VST patch, something on guitar, or a vocal melody I usually try to come up with both a good verse riff, melody and chorus riff and then start to build around that. My process is different every time. I have songs that have taken years to make and some songs that do not take long at all. For example, my current favorite song Time, which will be on the Equinox album was made in 20 minutes; sounds, drums, and sequencing. I also collaborate with others and go back in fourth until we get something sounding cool.

KM: Talk to me about your upcoming album Equinox. What are the ideas behind it and how did you go about producing it?

CC: Equinox is a story about hardships, self acceptance, and love. Equinox will have a side A and side B. Side A is focused on being cinematic, spacey and lightly dark. Side B is more modern and upbeat.

Equinox is completely produced by myself. However, I am working with Scott Horscroft of The Grove Studios here in Australia. He’s a legend, and he’s been helping me with drums and mixing.

KM: What are your plans going forward for Back in the Future?

CC: I want to finish Equinox and shoot a music video. I have heaps of unreleased tracks in my catalogue so I will always have music to release. I really just want to get Equinox done right then move to releasing singles for awhile. I’ve been working on a series of other projects to like my band For The Wolves. We’ve been incorporating a lot of '80s style synths and it’s sounding awesome. I’ve always wanted to be in a band like this so I’m stoked about releasing music that way too.

KM: Give me your thoughts about the current state of the synthwave scene.

CC: I think synthwave is doing great! I’m constantly finding out about new producers and groups, however, I don’t really consider the music I make to belong entirely in the synthwave genre, it is more that the music I make has been inspired by synthwave. I also find it much easier these days to find good plug ins and gear that is suited more for the synthwave sounds. It’s cool that people are picking the elements they like of the genre and making it their own.

KM: How do you recharge your creative batteries?

CC: I recharge in many different ways. I think it’s important to take artist mental health seriously. Knowing when to stop and comeback to certain things is important. I’ve had a few songs where I worked on them for so long I ended up hating them. I also stay pretty musically diverse and I think that helps me a lot. I always try to find new music to listen to that is inspiring to me. Then all the other “normal things” like long walks on the beach, gazing at the stars, you know…

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