Interview - Timecop1983

What initially got you interested in creating music?

When I was 12 I had a friend which I met on Holiday in France and he told me he made music with the computer. He showed me how he used a program called Scream Tracker to make great music (for a kid at that time). So I asked him if I could have a copy of it and he gave me a box full of floppy disks with the program and lots of samples.
I didn’t have any musical background so at first I didn’t have a clue of what I was doing. And since there was no Youtube to teach me and I didn’t have a manual I just started experimenting with the program.

Slowly but surely I started to get to know the program and its commands and I started recreating songs. At first I created gabberhouse which was really popular in The Netherlands during the early ‘90s and from there I created anything ranging from metal to hiphop.

Who are you biggest musical influences?

I would say I am very much, but indirectly, influenced by the movie Drive (2011) like many people in our genre. I didn’t see the movie until a few months ago, but around that time I listened to French electro (mainly Ed Banger guys) and when I was browsing the internet for new music I found “A real Hero” by College and from there a whole new world opened for me: 80’s influenced music.

Then I found out about guys like Futurecop!, Kavinsky, Anoraak, Mitch Murder, Miami Nights 1984 and I started recreating that style, but wasn’t really focusing on anything yet (I still created all kinds of music.

So after the mountainbike season (my other hobby) of 2012 I decided to focus on one kind of music and decided to go with the 80’s influenced sound and created my Timecop1983 project.

As any genre gets splintered into subgenres, the lines between them tend to get blurred. What do you identify as and why?

Haha, I know what you mean. There are so many subgenres in any kind of music I don’t even know what to look for anymore when I look for new artists. Especially in electronic music there are so many styles. I would like to know who comes up with all these names and kick him in the nuts, it’s just crazy! But then again, there is so much music coming out these days it’s normal people create subgenres.

So, it’s really hard for me to identify the right subgenre for my music, just because I don’t know how many there are and which fits my music the best. But i guess synthwave/dreamwave suits my music the best, although I just like to call it ‘80s influenced music.

I saw on Facebook that you have recently acquired a Juno-106. What made you choose that particular synth?

Yeah I did buy one last week! I’ve been wanting one for many many years, but always thought they are a bit overpriced. They usually go for around 750 euros here in Holland and I just think that’s a bit much for a 1 DCO synth.

But last week I found one for a very very good price, mailed the guy and picked it up a few hours later and already love it to bits! Now I know what I have been missing all those years. Although it’s used a lot in ’80 influenced music i just needed one and it’s the perfect addition to my setup.

I’m always looking for synths on the internet and have a nasty form of GAS (Gear Acquiring Syndrome), but I made a promise to myself to not buy any more synths. But this opportunity I could not let go.

What is your current recording set-up?

I use a combination of hard- and software, all sequenced in FL Studio 7.

A lot of people are hating on FL Studio, saying that it’s not “professional” and stuff, but that’s just bullshit; it’s the cook, not the kitchen. I did try to switch to other software, because the recording of external inputs in FL Studio sucks, but always came back. I know the program inside out (at least I think I do) and know how to work around it’s flaws. Time is usually my enemy, so I don’t want to waste it in learning new software.

Mostly I use free software synths like Synth1, OBXD, TAL UNO62, but I also use software like D16’s Lush101, U-He Zebra2 and Arturia Spark a lot.

For hardware I use a Alesis Micron, Yamaha AN1x, Korg Radias KB, Roland D50, Roland Alpha Juno and recently the Roland Juno106.

A lot of musicians/producers have certain production techniques that they are fond of using multiple times. What is your favorite production technique?

I don’t have a particular technique or anything, but I do have a FL Studio template I use all the time. It consists of a multiband compressor, parametric EQ and a limiter. This gives my music the same feel and sound every time.

I know this can be good, it’s part of my identity, but I also realize this can be a bad thing. It will make every song sound a bit the same. For the future I will try to use it less, but I like the sound so much that it’s hard to let go!

What is your songwriting process like?

Usually I have an idea for the melody in my head and to start I try to recreate that melody in FL Studio. Once I have a melody I create the bass and from there I will build the drums, choose the right sounds and then I start thinking about the buildup of the song.

Because I have no musical background it can be challenging sometimes to create what I have in my mind, so I have to do everything by ear. Sometimes I end up with something much different than I came up with, but most of the time I can translate it to the computer.

Not too long ago I found the Caustic app for Android and sometimes I use that to create a basic idea for a song on the road and recreate that on the computer later. Works better than singing or whistling a melody in a voice recorder!

I saw that a song of yours is going be used in an upcoming film. How did that come about?

Yeah, my song “Waves” is going to feature in a film called “Magneto”. It’s an indie sci-fi film by Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola and it’s about a girl who is essential in the preservation of life on Earth after a huge solar storm.

They just emailed me if I was interested in licensing the song for their movie and I said YES!

Are you currently working on any projects? What does the future hold for Timecop1983?

At the moment things are really busy for me. I’m working on a few collabs, started working on a new album and played with the idea to start a side project (that’s on hold now).

Also I’ve been asked to do the music for a game called “Crossing Souls by FourAttic games. It’s made by 4 Spanish guys who quit their jobs to focus on their first big video game project. It’s a 2d pixelart adventure game with an awesome story and they wanted my music in the game.

This will be my first encounter in game music and making music “on demand”. It’s going to be a huge project, but I’m super excited to start working on it.
Everyday I’m surprised so many people like my music and ask me to work together on their projects. At the moment I am so busy that I have to say no sometimes. This sucks, cause I enjoy working with others, but I only have limited time to make music and I also have a normal dayjob unfortunately. 

What was it like to work with Futurecop!?

They used my song “Childhood Memories” in one of their mixes and since it was a huge honor to me I sent them a message saying how much I appreciated it. They sent me a message back that they really liked the song.

And then I acted like a fanboy and told them I was a huge fan of their work and that they are partly responsible for the music I make. And then I just thought: “Fuck it, this is your chance… Ask them for a collab…”. So I did and as you know now they said yes!

They sent me the idea they had for “Growing” and two weeks later we finished the instrumental.

If you could collaborate with any artist right now, who would it be?

My dream would be to work together with Miami Nights 1984. Although I am very influenced by others, he is the one who is my biggest inspiration. I love all of his work.

Others very high on my list are Kristine, Electric Youth, New Arcades and Le Cassette.

Which Timecop1983 song are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the fact that I did a song with Futurecop! Not the song itself I am most proud of, just the fact I did a collab with one of my old heroes.

But musicwise I would say “Tonight” is my favorite. Even though I made the entire song in one evening I’m kind of proud of it.

Finally, what is your favorite 1980’s film?

I’m not a big fan of eighties movies, they are all so cheesy and I think I was a bit too young in the eighties to watch a lot of 80s movies. But I did like Top Gun, Ghostbusters and Bladerunner (for the music) a lot!

Timecop1983's most recent release is Waves, the review for which can be found here.

- Joey Edsall