Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing.
E.M. Watson is a synthwave/retrowave producer with a passionate love for the sounds and style of '80s music. In an email, he told me about his initial foray into making music, who he considers his strongest influences and talked about his creative process.
KM: What first kindled your passion for music?
E.M. Watson: I come from a family of musicians. My father is a minister of music and a jazz pianist. My mother is a vocalist and song writer and all of my siblings do something musical. I grew up being the family drummer and was always the go to guy for church outings, live music shows and weddings, but I was never passionate about music. I didn’t want to do music for a living but I was so moved by artists such as Prince, Jackson 5, Debarge and more. I toyed around with making beats and fun quirky jingles but it wasn’t until my daughter was born in 2008 that the music bug really hit me.
KM: Tell me about the elements and the ideas that got you into making synth/retrowave-style music.
EW: I had been toying with different genres for a few years. I went from rock to electronica to pop music, but I was never satisfied with the outcome. I didn’t even know that synth/retrowave music was a genre. A year or so ago I had the opportunity to soundtrack a video game for a client. It was a VR first-person shooter that was '80s themed and the developerwanted the music to be synthwave. This prompted me to research the genre and ultimately fall in love with it.
I had been focused on the electronica and dubstep genres, but found that they didn’t quite serve my voice the way I felt they should. I recorded my first single, Cotton Candy and the synthwave community was so welcoming. I knew right then and there that I had found my home.
KM: Talk to me about how you create new music.
EW: My method has differed over the years, but I have been trying a different method for this genre. I like to create some sounds that make me feel good, listen to the hook and chorus section and let my mind wander. Eventually, I begin to reminisce on personal experiences. Whatever memory manifests while I’m listening to the chorus or hook ends up being the topic of the song.
KM: For Cotton Candy and Lady of the Midnight respectively, what were the ideas behind the songs and how did you go about creating them?
EW: Both Cotton Candy and Lady of the Midnight were written with specific women in mind. I will not give out their names, but I can say that they both had big impacts on my life, positive or negative. I wrote them using the new song writing process that I spoke about earlier. I just played the chorus and hook and let my mind do its thing.
KM: Tell me about the current projects that you're working on.
EW: I am working on a good number of new songs! I plan to have three more of my own released by the end of the year as well as five to seven songs produced by other synthwave artists. One of my favorite synthwave producers thus far is DreamShore from Miami. I would have to say that his sound and way of structuring his songs is by far the best of the best. Hopefully, once I finish all of the scheduled tunes, I can then prep for live shows.
KM: Where do you want to take your music in the future?
EW: I would like to take my music to the stage and eventually grow my fanbase nationally and internationally. It’s every artist’s dream do become an international sensation, but I truly want to be heard by as many people who want to hear me. It makes me feel good knowing that I cam sharing my art with those who understand and appreciate a good story. I would also like to collaborate with heroes such as Ollie Wride, The Midnight, Kalax and Com Truise.
KM: Give me your thoughts on the Twitter #synthfam and what it means to you.
EW: I love that there is a hashtag for the synthwave community. As I stated before, the synthwave community is one of the most welcoming community I have ever experienced. They open their arms big and wide and because of that they have gained a loyal fan and creator.
KM: How do you rekindle your creative fire?
EW: To rekindle my creative fire, I simply listen to my heroes and their musical process and I also work with a team of creatives called Dash Digital Studio. This place alone really stimulates my creative energy which is why I have migrated myself to calling it my production home.