Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!
Cyber 77 is a Brazilian synthwave producer. He creates music inspired by sci-fi and cyberpunk landscapes and themes that seeks to explore the inner worlds he creates. In an email, he told me about his background as a producer, how he approaches music and discusses his Underworld album.
KM: How did you first become interested in making music?
Cyber 77: I've always enjoyed electronic music ever since I was a kid. I remember my father had a record of Serrano and Giordio Moroder. My family always liked music a lot.
My father played guitar, bass and keyboard, my brother learned those three instruments from him and I learned how to play the keyboard and drums better from a friend. One day while listening to synthwave, I thought to myself, "I've always listened to electronic music why not create my own synthwave?"
From there, I started to practice making my own synthwave music and that ended up with the Cyber77 project.
KM: What interested you in making synthwave music?
C77: I think it was the cyberpunk ambience and cyberpunk sound styles within the synthwave scene and in the movies that got me, as well as '80s/90s video game sounds. I love games so that was an influence as well. I always loved playing tabletop RPGs with my friends, mainly futuristic cyberpunk-style RPGs. I kept playing and listening to the sounds and I think that was the gateway for me to get know the scene's music and fall in love with it. I listened to music here and there, so in the end I was addicted to the sounds of the synthwave scene and that's when I decided to become a part of it.
KM: Who are the other musical artists who have inspired you as a musician?
C77: I encountered synthwave music while looking for videos. It was between 30 minutes and an hour before I found one with amazing music, then I looked for another and another. By that time, I was already really into the scene.
With that, I found a lot of artists that are big names these days. I was inspired by SIDE SCROLLER. I think it was the first music I heard. Dynamic Control reminds a lot of games from the '80s/ '90. I also like Lazerhawk, Cartridge 1987, FM-84, HOME, Dance with the Dead, Mega Drive and many others. The scene has amazing artists. That must be why our first album has songs from the whole scene on it.
KM: How do you approach the creation of new music?
C77: It sounds weird but it comes out naturally as I work. I do I have a focus on what I want to do on the album though.
For example: In the first album we focused on working on a whole spectrum of sounds from the scene. We knew that we had to work with very different sounds and it was going to be a big challenge, but we did what we wanted to do. We made spacewave, cyberpunk, synthpop, Outrun, ambient music, sci fi and guitar music that resembled the '80s like the guitar on Celestial Dream that closely resembles Erick Johnson's guitar.
On the second album, we tried to do something darker, something that references several synthwave songs but in a cyberpunk universe, so there will be songs that will hark back to the cyberpunk universe but without leaving the synthwave sound. Examples of this are Neon Nightclub, Survivor Underworld, Newplace and Battle Race. They're all different songs in the shadow of synthwave but also work in a cyberpunk universe.
That's how I assemble my songs and ideas: I think of a utopian universe and create the ambience for it.
Note: When I say "we" I mean my friend "Daniel" who worked with me on the first album and came on the second album to add some hip hop.
KM: Tell me about your Underworld album. How did you get the ideas for it? What was your approach to producing it?
C77: Underworld is an album inspired by a book I'm writing entitled Agent 77. It's a story I played with friends and decided to write as a book. As I needed the setting for this book, I decided to create music for it.
I did some songs from the first album for it and a lot of Underworld's tracks are focused on the book. The only songs on the first album that were inspired by the book were Celestial Dream, Nuclear Consequence and Xcyber. The second album is already almost the entire story of the book from Survivor to Ghost Dimension.
KM: Where do you see your musical career going in the future?
C77: I want to stay in the scene for a long time, so that maybe with the experience I can share my music with more people. I confess that I'm very optimistic and I think everything will be alright with my work.At the moment, what bothers me is working during the day in a traditional job and at night working with the Cyber77 is a little tiring for me, but I'm always having fun with Cyber77 and that's what matters. In the future, I hope to make music with Cyber77 as my main project.
KM: Tell me what you think about the #synthfam on Twitter and what it means to you?
C77: I particularly love the scene and all the emerging artists of the scene.I see amazing artists who are helping me a lot by sharing my work and supporting me on the scene, I think the people in the underground scene help each other out more.
It is very rare for you to find someone big in the scene supporting the people who are just starting out, but sometimes they're just busy. iI's a great community and I'm loving them all.
KM: How do you recharge your creative batteries?
C77: I have been a tabletop RPG gamemaster for a long time (over 15 years)and for some reason I can imagine the environment and the music that could be part of hat world, so I do the same things with the Cyber77 songs. For example, a song like My Little District is inspired by movies like Beverly Hills Cop. In a song like Battle Race, I imagine an auto race in a cyberpunk universe.
The music on Underworld is inspired by imagining a cyberpunk underworld with surviving people with few resources but with advanced technology for our time. There's a song on our new album where I remember the ghost hunting touch and came up with the idea of creating a melody and solo mixed with that idea. Maybe that's what makes my songs not come out as strictly synthwave.