On this wonderful day, here is our exclusive interview of one of the best synthesizer maestro, the Australian musician Luke Million. After the release of his single « Heard It On The Radio » with a great video and fantastic remixes of Anoraak & Waveshaper, he revealed his favourite Synthwave album and when he discovered this music genre, his love for synthesizers, a description of his performance in live in the US & UK, his opinion of Stranger Things series and his different projects for 2020. A musician as pleasant as prodigious. Strongly following!
Retro Synthwave: Hello Luke, can you introduce yourself to our community of Synthwave lovers?
Luke Million: Hi, I am Luke Million from Australia. I make music using classic vintage synths and drum machines, drawing influences from the past and present to explore the future.
When was the first time you ever listened to a Synthwave track?
I think it was back in 2007 when I first heard Kavinsky’s ‘1986’ EP. I had been listening to a lot of Italo Disco and Electronic music that heavily featured sounds from the 80’s but this was the first time I delved into Synthwave and I was hooked.
What is your favourite Synthwave album and how does it compare to your favourite album of all time?
Well it is hard for me to go past ‘Outrun’ by Kavinsky, but there are so many great ones like Timecop1983 – ‘Night Drive’, Mitch Murder – ‘Kung Fury Soundtrack’ and Waveshaper has to get a mention here too for his ‘Lost Shapes’ album. I tend to like conceptual albums that take you on a sonic journey like Pink Floyd – ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and Daft Punk – ‘Discovery’. ‘Outrun’ definitely immerses the listener in a sublime journey.
Who in your eyes is the ultimate pioneer of the synthesizer?
Of course we would all agree that Bob Moog was quintessential at the forefront of the synth uprising. I also have great admiration for Ikutaro Kakehash leading the development of so many innovative synths and drum machines for decades at Roland.
Do you recall the first moment when you realised your love for synthesizers? If so, what is your favourite synthesizer?
It all started for me when I discovered Herbie Hancock in my teenage years. He was a maestro of synths and I was so blown away by the sounds he was pulling out of these strange keyboards I had never seen before. I started getting my hands on some vintage gear and never looked back.
It is hard to pick a favourite synthesizer, but at the moment it is a close tie between my Oberheim OB8 and Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. The Moog Multimoog is coming in close too.
What was the inspiration behind « Heard It On The Radio »?
The song was born in a jam session with my good friend and fellow synthesizer and cat enthusiast – Touch Sensitive. We were both channelling inspirations from the sounds that shaped one of our favourite decades. We gravitated to dark digital sounds from 80’s synths mixed with some classic analogs and immersed ourselves on a journey into a synth drenched soundscape. I continued to work on and develop the track back in my studio and when it came time for vocals, I enlisted the extraordinary talents of Asta to deliver some impeccable ethereal vocals to contrast the darker music
How do you know which song is perfectly ideal to be remixed?
I think a great vocal or melodic hook in the track is essential for a remixer. That creates the ideal environment where the remixer can explore endless possibilities but still have a connection to the original track.
« I think a great vocal or melodic hook in the track is essential for a remixer »
It is your first original release for a long time, do we expect more to come in 2020?
Yes indeed. There will be lot’s more music to come and I can’t wait to share it. I have recently set up a new studio and I am in the honeymoon period of exploring and writing new material.
Have you ever played in the UK, US and France? If so, where did you play and what was your experience?
I’m definitely due to return overseas very soon. My last venture to the US was on tour with Hayden James playing shows across the East and West Coast. It was an amazing experience and some highlights were definitely the shows in Brooklyn, Portland and San Diego. I have played in the UK and across Europe and have a fond memory of playing at La Clairière in Paris the other year.
To those who have not seen you live how would you describe what your live performance is about to them?
My live show is an immerseful journey through my music catalogue of originals and remixes. I am armed with synthesizers, drum pads and most importantly a Keytar. I love to feed off the energy of the crowd and make every show a unique experience. And for that one hour, nothing else matters except dancing and feeling the musical connection.
How strong is the synthwave scene in Australia?
It may not be as strong as higher populated places like Europe and the US but we have our own thing going over here. There are some dedicated Synthwave purveyors who have started community groups and running parties on the east coast like ‘Laser Highway’.
You did an excellent version of the Stranger Things theme, what do you think about the series and the Soundtrack?
I absolutely love the series! When I binged watched the first series I was immediately drawn to the 80’s aesthetic and the soundtrack was absolutely spot on. I have continued to watch the subsequent series and I do like that they are developing a darker tone.
What upcoming projects have you got.lined up which isn’t solely focused on your solo work?
I have been collaborating with other people recently and delving into the production/mixing world. One thing that is coming up is a release that is re-working some of my favourite tracks that have inspired me as an artist. For those of you that don’t know, every Friday for the last year I have been filming myself jamming on classic tracks in my studio giving them the synth treatment. I had so many requests to do extended versions of these jams so I’m going to give the people what they want and you will hear more about that very soon.
« I have been filming myself jamming on classic tracks in my studio »
What is the next step for you in your solo music and how are you going to achieve it?
Now that I am settled in my new studio, I just want to make as much music as possible and draw on my influences and experiences in life. I want to share my story through voltage controlled oscillators and those classic drum machines that thump right inside your chest. So there is new music to come and then it will be time to hit the road again to tour and create a new show to take to familiar places and explore new ones across the world.