Vitaliy Chis from Kharkiv (Ukraine) has been conquering the expanses of space synthwave under the name EARMAKE for 5 years to now. Having released 8 releases to this point, one of which was released on NewRetroWave Records, the musician shows no signs of slowing down as he strives for new heights with his mastering of other genres of electronic music. His new album Beyond Reality was released recently and once again it follows his signature cosmic-stylized sound.
In honor of this event, we decided to interview EARMAKE and asked about his work and other things related to it. You will learn the following from this interview:
— How does Spacesynth differ from Spacewave;
— What does a person feel when he signs a contract with NewRetroWave Records;
— Where you can hear Nightcall track for the first time in your life except Drive movie.
Editors Note: This interview has been translated from Russian into English.
Hi Vitaliy! Thank you for agreeing to chat with us about your work and more. Please say hi to our readers!
Hello! It's very nice that you decided to interview me. I will gladly share my thoughts with you
I know that this interview is not the first in your career, so I decided to select non-standard questions for our conversation, that were not in your previous conversations. The first question is: What kind of feelings did you experience when signing a contract with NewRetroWave Records? Did you have a realization that this moment is a turning point in your career and life?
First, I decided to forget about the standard submission channel on NRW and directly send them my album for release. I told them that I wanted to change labels. I already released two albums on the Future 90s for two years and wanted to go further. I sent it and expected that they would say no to me, or as western labels like to say: "We're too busy, I'm sorry."
Several weeks had passed then I saw a message from NewRetroWave in my inbox. I opened and read it, and it said "This album sounds awesome, we are happy to release it on our label."
That day I might have had some great music event, released a soundtrack for a game, or did a show in the capital, I can't remember. I just remembered that I didn't care so much about any of it because of that message from the label. First, it was very nice to read what they "LIKED" and not just them saying "we don't like your music", or "we didn't listen to it at all, but we'll release it like a favor" Second, of course it was a shock. I'd consider myself a top artist from the post-Soviet space, but this event certainly gave strength and self-confidence. Of course, somewhere inside, my self-esteem went through the roof. I wanted to share this with all the listeners as soon as possible. After that, for some time, I simply could not get this event out of my head and thought only about it.
What feelings have I experienced? Happiness, for I have long worked towards this for a long time. There are artists who can immediately "spit out" cool music. I started from the beginning and worked through trial and error and I am proud for what I have accomplished. Alas, without pride one cannot succeed in any area of our life. Signing with NRW also gave me self-confidence. I knew that a release on the top label would open up new opportunities, connections and resources.
As an artist who worked with several labels (30th Floor, Future City, Future 80s) and has made some mistakes, can you offer advice to those in the future who want to publish their creations on a music label?
First I need to remember all of the mistakes (laughs).
Well, first of all, I advise you not to give up and start your career right away with a label. You need to study the label for a more successful path. Each label has its own set of pros and cons and you need to know about them. Be sure to look at the activity of the label, on the dates of publication of releases, on purchases. It is also worth finding out about the owner and chatting with them directly.
Let me give you an example of the temper of the Future 80s creator. As soon as he found out that I had signed a contract with NRW and didn't manage to notify him, he began to write angry messages, delete my releases and add me to the blacklist. We all know the "payouts" of Future City. How many artists have been cheated by them. Honestly speaking, expecting some sort of an advance from an artist before signing doesn't make sense. I want to say one thing: if you are a beginner, or have been writing music for some decent time - you still should work with the label. Every day the competition in our genre is growing.
It`s not easy thing to make yourself famous like it was in 2013, when MN84, Lazerhawk and Mitch Murder were the top-artists. The label has an audience, financial resources and a public relations program. The most important thing is to choose the label wisely and to approach this choice wisely. First, toss your music to your colleagues, collect all the positive and negative reviews, analyze whether it will be accepted by a western label that has its own requirements, and only then decide whether to send, or to improve your skill. Different perspectives are always important. Personally, I welcome criticism, rather than friendly compliments.
Let's start from afar. 2015, you released your first album in the synthwave genre - The Senses Time EP. Was it hard to get involved in a previously unknown genre of music?
- * went to see the date the projects were saved *. Well, I switched to synthwave in 2013, and my first track was "Miami Night", then - "1980". This genre was as unfamiliar to me as the whole music production. Then I also could not arrange the notes without messing it up, really, I didn’t know how to do things well.
I started with dance-core, then I heard Nightcall by Kavinsky. After that I listened a little more of his tracks. Then I came across some tracks from Timecop1983. And that's all it took! The whole principle of my first tracks was very similar, and I still adhere to this structure. You can always hear the intro, couplet, drop, chorus, drop, couplet and outro in my tracks. It's a kind of song structure. Some people like to write in the spirit of outrun when almost the entire track goes on the same way, with just the small addition of some melodies and sounds. It really was not not hard to get involved.
It was harder to write good quality arrangements because there were not a lot of ways to learn back then. Back then the genre was still flourishing, the web podcasts on Soundcloud were super popular, and everyone experienced an orgasm when their track was played somewhere on Synthetix Sundays under the lead of Marko Maric. There were few performers, and the value of their work was at the highest level. Ah, youth age...=))
In 2017, you released Cosmic Hero on Future 80`s Records, which is your favorite creation. What is its special charm in your opinion? If you had to advertise it on a large trading platform, what slogan would you come up with for this release?
It's my favorite stuff because I feel it was my first successful attempt at space music. It was something that improved little by little over several albums. The only good track from the WANA EP was "Nightly Flights." Only "In Your Dreams" was suitable for spacewave on the Somnium EP. But in Cosmic Hero I made every composition fit (well, almost). As a plus, I increased writing skills. I dived in head first. Each composition has a beautiful sensitive melody that can make you feel. Some works (Last Hope) were written minimalistic, with one VST and pair of presets on it, but the composition is mesmerizing. In addition, it was also great to work with the guys from Andromeda Dreams and BlazerJacket. Most importantly, we got two million views on NRW's YouTube channel despite the fact that for them I was some no-name from Ukraine. I think that is a great achievement to be proud of.
This album is still actively bought and continues to get reviews. Based on statistics, you begin to filter your work. Of course, the collaboration with Dynatron in 2016 was also good, and we made a gorgeous track where my tunes and his were intertwined. But Cosmic Hero is the direct work of my soul. What a slogan? I came up with it for a long time ago:
"Interplanetary cosmic journey through the deepest galaxy of your mind."
You once said that at the moment the topic of space in the genre of synthwave is poorly covered, and also that darksynth is highly preferred by listeners. Why, in your opinion, is the space synth so much less popular against the background of darksynth?
You know, a few years ago, Meteor send me a screen where people hated him, saying that he tags his music as a Spacesynth. Spacesynth is a bit different. I have since renamed my music and now call it Spacewave! Perhaps it's stupid and someone will say "who gives a f*ck!", but it really is. So, let's talk about space music in retrowave. No matter how sad this sounds, most listeners will always like dynamic music which produces certain hormones with its energy. People like what you can listen to at live events and what you can dance to. For such events, they write dynamic outrun, darksynth or songs. Spacewave is more dreamy and slow. Why is he not popular? Honestly I don't know. It has everything: Sci-Fi atmosphere (hello cyberpunk!), low-frequency "gloomy synthesizers" (hello darksynth!), And so on. There are artists who mixing dark and present it as a space (like Starfarer). There are artists whose space is more inclined to Spacesynth and it really has a lot in common with the era in which we were born (for example, Andromeda Dreams). I really want more space music in the genre, and I strongly support anyone who has switched to the side of Space. For example, the works of Dynatron, Heifehen, Stilz are very close in spirit to me. Even Belorget has an "Endless" track, which is also considered space. Every action has a counter action. I decided to fight against darksynth everywhere by using spacewave.
You create all your albums on FL Studio. Do you have plans to switch to keyboards and play music on them?
Well, when I'm writing, I use the midi controller. But if we are talking about hardware (synthesizers, modulators, drum machines), then there are no plans.
How often do you get an offer for a collab track with someone? Do you have criteria for a potential track partner? What artists do you have in the wish list in terms of creating collabs?
Infrequently. Rarely I offer it to anyoneand there is no criteria for the artist. I do not care about the popularity and status. If artist catches the same vibe in music as I do, then I am always pleased to work with such people. Recently, I began to learn a new genre; I love it very much, and offered up part of my album to a popular Russian artist - Astronaut Ape. We had similar interests and it felt like the early days of writing music when there was courage, excitement, inspiration to create and create. Our work will be released in my album Beyond Reality.
Simplicity in communication is also very important. Usually I had no problems with this, but there was a case when a collaborator wanted to take control over the entire arrangement. So we closed our collaboration. I cannot stand arrogance.
Your song Nightly Flights has appeared in one of the episodes of the HBO series 'Vice Principals'. Have you watched it? If you received a proposal to record a soundtrack for a movie or even a series, would you accept it?
I didn't watch it. I watched only a video with my track. If such an offer will be received, of course I'll accept it. I am pleased to collaborate in such arenas. I really liked writing soundtracks for VR games, which now work as attractions in Russia.
As part of the Mars One project, there is a possibility to become a volunteer in flight to Mars in 2023. Would you take the chance to be one of the first people to land on the Red Planet?
No. For all my dreamy nature, I am a realist. There are a bunch of details, criteria, requirements, difficulties that would have to face. I wouldn't want to make such risks. But when it becomes a routine, everything will be safe and automated - then yes. True, then I will no longer be on this Earth (laughs).
And the last question: Why don't you want to see the movie Drive with Ryan Gosling?
- IT'S WAY TOO POPULAR! Sometimes excessive attention to the picture discourages a desire to watch. It works both ways. And in the case of Drive, I did not want to watch it because everyone had already discussed it and dismantled it for memes. In addition, a heared "Nightcall" for the first time not in the movie, but when I played in the Gangstar Vegas mobile game. So I'm proud that I'm not a fan of Drive and Gosling, although I like his films: Memorial Diary, Lars and the Real Girl, A Place under the Pines.
Thank you for the interesting conversation! Be happy and look forward to your new musical success!
Mutually! Your, Cosmic Hero.