Retroglyphs - Interview
BMN: So I was surfin the interwebz and ended up on The Big Takeover, one of the best blogs/print zines around, and saw this video premier for your band Retroglyphs' "The Noose". I read the piece about you guys and how you are merging an indie pop/rock past with a new synthwave foundation inspired by 80s nostalgia and sounds and was really intrigued, so I checked out the video and it was absolutely killer! It was like I got into a time machine...the track "The Noose" grabbed me right away with the simple but catchy guitar run and overall vibe and sounds reminiscent of 80s greats New Order and Depeche Mode. I've checked out some of your previous work as a solo artist (Frank Cervantes) and your other band The Once Was, both of which I really enjoyed. How did you take that sound and writing style you've been working with for years and turn it into this hypnotic 80s retro project? Thanks for your kind words about the Noose and the video, that project was really fun to work on and we like how it turned out. In a lot of ways the Noose is the song that launched this band, having been released on NRW's WeRuleNation channel before most of the songs on our album were even written. That was monumental to our success in this scene, because NRW is probably the biggest retrowave platform in the world, having them rep your track crowns you legitimate retrowave. Having the video come out one year later has special meaning for us, since its the one year anniversary of us launching this band.
Leading up to forming Retroglyphs, I had been experimenting for a while with writing a song traditionally and then transforming them into something completely different in the studio using production techniques. In addition, I didn't have a drummer to demo with, and
naturally started to experiment with a drum machine just to hear the songs in a different light. Add Josh to the mix and suddenly we had a batch of songs that didn't quite fit into any other project, these songs had a new wave 80s pop vibe to them that we knew we wanted to pursue more. Oddly enough, we weren't actually familiar with Retrowave music or the synthwave 80s revival while we were creating these demos. When we decided we wanted to create a new project, we researched and discovered the NRW label and all these similar acts. Therefore we created Retroglyphs to work as a mouthpiece to release these tracks, and as we moved into post production we became devout students of the 80s committed to matching the sound and feel of the era. We demoed a lot of material and we still have about 20 unreleased songs, some 80s some not. This was a very prolific period that won't likely be repeated.
BMN: You guys have been getting a really great response, your shows have had great crowds and you have been playing constantly. Tell us about your immediate future plans and the re-release of your record that's coming out soon. Also, how did you hook up with Pyrrhic Victory for this release?
Connecting with PVR is the feel good story of the year, we messaged them on Soundcloud and they actually listened to our tracks and got back to us. For years I have emailed and cold called labels I thought we would fit well on, and almost never got a response. Luckily I never gave up because I always believed in what we are doing. We are really excited about this extended version of the record that PVR is releasing, we are going to be highlighting some remixes by a few excellent synthwave producers as well as a collaboration with our friend Marcenby. We put a lot of work into our debut release, and we're happy PVR agrees that we need to continue to push the record, we believe it needs to reach more ears.
BMN: These songs, no shit, put me in a good mood, which is like unheard of. I'm a Thunders, MC5, Iggy, Stiv, Dylan kinda guy. Most of the music I listen to or tend to like is depressing and is usually based on pleasant themes such as addiction, heartbreak, death, and even the quasi-inspirational shit you can find from Stiv and Dylan types is still tainted with a reminder of the inescapable horror of consciousness, sort of like the shadow monster in Stranger Things, ya know? Or maybe I should up my meds? Anyway, I'm trying to make a contrast, and give a complement, in that your music has grabbed me in a way that helps me escape my existential dread, which is totes effing refreshing. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that take of your music.
I think that is a very accurate take on our music, which is why it feels genuine. On the outside it looks like candy but on the inside its dark pop.
BMN: Do you guys write together or do you mainly bring full songs in and then everyone collaborates? Can you walk us through the process of writing a song like "One More Kiss" or "War Torn", amazing tracks.
The general idea of the song is typically generated by myself, but once contributions are made to the track things change fast. Our attitude in the studio is to try everything, nothing is sacred. We try to stay open minded. Ideas often come out in rehearsal as well. For the last record we thought a few songs were finished but then after rehearsing them with the band, we went back and added sections.
BMN: What's in store for 2018? And what are you long term plans? Are you thinking that far ahead or just enjoying the ride for now? We're already working on a lot of new material and we're currently brainstorming how we would like to release it. Our preference is to release songs in a way that they compliment each other, whether it be a pair of singles, an EP, or another full length, we should have a better idea in a couple months as this new material continues to develop. That being said, you can definitely expect some new tracks from us next year, that much is certain.