We had the ultimate luck to have the return of two very mysterious Australian brothers named Jarome and Joel aka POWER GLOVE. In exclusivity for our website, the Synthwave pillars confided theirselfs about a musical formation in an enigmatic house, a long collaboration with the French video game publisher UBISOFT, their favorite graphic designers, some wishes in film industry but also their future projects and many more things that you must discover. Enjoy reading the words of those genious musicians of electronic music from Australia. And don’t forget, may the VHS era of the 80s be with you, young Synthwavers!
Retro Synthwave: Hello Power Glove! Could you present yourselves to the people who don’t know you yet?
Power Glove: Hello! There’s two of us, and we mostly make music with a strong love of the VHS era.
Any real nerd knows the famous ‘Power Glove’ created in 1989 on Nintendo! Where did the idea of calling your musical project as such come from?
We remember coming up with the name in so many different ways, the truth is a blur. One memory is that at the time we were obsessed with the music in one of the Nintendo Power Glove TV commercials. In fact, if we ever musically go on a tangent and try new things, we watch that commercial to remind ourselves of true north.
You said that you started composing in 2008 via your Myspace and that people’s feedbacks encouraged you to pursue. How did you musically train yourselves?
Officially we learnt piano and guitar. Our biggest training though would have been growing up in a house full of recording gear, synthesizers, guitars, tape decks, action films… Lucky by-product of having ex-prog-rocker parents.
« our biggest training though would have been growing up in a house full of recording gear »
You created the soundtracks of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon in 2013 and Trials Of The Blood Dragon in 2016. How did the collaboration with such a huge group as Ubisoft went on?
It never felt like we were working with a huge corporation. Ubisoft could have been a tiny indie studio as far as we were concerned. And they always were pushing for the crazier ideas. Dean Evans gave us these really simple and amazing briefs like “Okay guys, three words, Purple Lazer Beams”. It wasn’t until the release of those games where we were reminded of the scale of that Ubisoft machine. Especially with the coverage and press their games receive, as opposed to an indie movie or the like which we’d done before.
For the Far Cry 3 soundtrack you said being inspired by films like Terminator, Commando, Predator or even the Miami Vice show and scores by John Carpenter. What about the inspirations for Trials?
We wanted to play in the 90’s era of 16bit & CD-rom video games and the commercials that came with them. It wasn’t about a big 80’s movie score like the first Blood Dragon, rather we obsessed over video game soundtracks from the time, especially start menu music and character select music. As well as lots of new jack swing influences, orchestral hits, bad DJ scratch samples, 90’s techno. That brief era where producing electronic soundtracks was less about synthesizers, more about big digital workstations and being totally radical. It makes us laugh.
As you’ve been composing video games scores, do you play yourselves? Are you more of some retro-gamers in between Atari and Megadrive or more PS4 and HTC Vive?
Honestly we wish we had more time to play video games. Especially the classics. For the new big ticket items like Zelda or Uncharted we dive in, though if we’ve ever have any spare time we’re always in the studio.
We’re also linked to the retro design universe. James White made the covers of both of your soundtracks. What do you think of his career? Would you have any other designer to suggest?
James White has had a massive influence, he stamped synthwave with a very specific visual style. Especially that Blood Dragon style he created with the neon grid, wireframe mountains and sun horizon. We see carbon copies of his artwork used everywhere. There’s so many great designers in the genre. Though we really like illustrators and artists who create worlds… cyberpunk or digital influences… like Josan Gonzalez, Jesse Kanda, James Rowsell.
We really feel this 80’s touch in your sound design. What do you think about Synthwave musical in general and according to you, which bands are on the top?
The more synth music the better. We had no idea this style of music was going blow up the way it has, nor even be given its own name. The aesthetic seems to resonate with a lot of people. At the top of synthwave? We’ve been so out of the loop whilst hiding in our studio that it’s too hard to say. Though we have been listening to Oneohtrix Point Never’s new soundtrack and of course really digged Lazerhawks recent release.
« we had no idea this style of music was going blow up the way it has »
The Retro-Sythwave team is French. What do you think of the French successors of Jean-Michel Jarre like College, Lifelike, Kavinsky or Carpenter Brut?
Somehow there is always a sound that connects these French artists, even if the music is different. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. We’re interested by the different sounds that have split out and emerged from France, with that classic French house influence versus the more aggressive industrial metal stuff. We wonder where it’ll go next.
You seem pretty much inspired by cinema. Would you like to be part of any Drive, Kung Fury or Netflix’s Strangers Things sequels?
We’d love to do more scoring to film. One of our favourite projects was working with Jason Eisener on ‘Hobo With a Shotgun’. Recently we’ve been tackling some movie trailer scoring – and may release a conceptual album of sorts… a more serious soundtrack take on PG that we’ve been sitting on for a few years though only now are starting to figure out a way to release it.
We already know that your work is the combination of software and hardware. Which gear and softwares do you use?
Our studio is too small, so we only have a handful of hardware synths on the go at a time, the rest of our gear gets eaten by bugs down in the garage. The Juno 6, M1 and SY99 are our dearest and get the most love.
You released the great ‘EP 1’ in 2010 and ‘EP 2’ five years later. What’s next?
An album is on its way. Taking a little longer than expected as we find the right tracklist.
« an album is on its way »