When it comes to synth-wave, few have pushed the boundaries of sound like Waveshaper. Reining from Sweden, the synth-wave pioneer shapes sonic waves of bass into mesmerizing masterpieces that leave a lasting imprint in the minds of every listener. Like an author writing a novel, the iconic producer is able to script epic stories from sound, creating a captivating cinematic journey with every release. Between producing soundtracks for video games and movies and exploring new sonic realms with his solo albums, Waveshaper has released a staggering 10 LPs throughout his career and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Following his debut collab with F.O.O.L, The Daily Frequency caught up with Waveshaper to discuss his inspirations, new music, and so much more.
Check out the exclusive interview with Waveshaper below.
DF: You and F.O.O.L finally hopped on a track together and really took us on quite the sonic adventure with ‘Encounter.’ How did it feel to finally release a track together?
Waveshaper: We had a great time creating this track together. I discovered F.O.O.L in 2011 when he performed at one of the biggest festivals in Sweden. His mix and sound stood out among the others, and I knew that he would become a big name.
DF: You both seem to complement each other sounds exceptionally well, and ‘Encounter’ flows together beautifully. What was the chemistry like in the studio, and can we expect more F.O.O.L x Waveshaper collabs in the future?
Waveshaper: We complement each other really well. His strong sound, fused with some chords and melodies from me, creates a dynamic journey. As for the collaborative track, we built upon each other’s ideas and added various elements.
It also resulted in quite a long track due to ideas that we didn’t want to reject. The arpeggio before the drop at the end part was first meant as a break, but we decided to finalize the track strong with this clockwork orange-style chord progression.
DF: You also just dropped another massive track, ‘Comeback,’ with the rising synthwave artist Lazerpunk! As a pioneer for the sound, how do you feel about the direction of synthwave today?
Waveshaper: This autumn has been packed, and there is more to come! Both Lazerpunk and I have been in synth-wave for a long time, and it was great to finally make something together. I would say that diverse sounds are key in the genre today. Sure, there are a few artists and bands that really successfully stick with their sound and have a loyal fan base for it.
Personally, I still have my base to circle around with various musical influences. Synthwave shows that an underground genre can remain relevant indefinitely. Maybe because the ’80s and ’90s are always decades to be inspired from.
DF: Who would you say were your inspirations when you were starting your career?
Waveshaper: I was coming from trance and techno and explored more retro sounds thanks to acts like Daft Punk, Röyksopp, Justice, and M83, to name a few, around 2005. Before that time, I was very inspired by Jarre and Vangelis, along with a lot of video game composers like Chris Huelsbeck or C64 legends like Ben Daglish and David Whithaker.
DF: Your sound as a whole has such an extraterrestrial feel to it. Are we alone in the universe, and if not, what music do you think aliens listen to?
Waveshaper: Haha. Well, I think they listen to some radio signals and 56k dial-up modem sounds.
DF: You also have such an incredible way of telling stories through your music, and you really take listeners on a journey through sound itself. Where does that storytelling ability come from?
Waveshaper: Thank you! Imaginary stories through music are really impactful. For me, I mostly work around melancholic chord progressions and melodies to create strong feelings from my music. I also believe that there are so many movies and soundtracks rooted deeply into my subconscious that interact through my mind.
DF: How often do you draw inspiration from actual movies, and what movies would you say had the most significant impact on your direction as an artist?
Waveshaper: Well, there are the classics like Blade Runner, Terminator, Aliens, The Running Man, Back to The Future, and so on. But I also think that there are some local Swedish films and even cartoons as well. Check out the original Mysterious Cities of Gold, which had a stunning soundtrack that really got my attention as a kid.
DF: Are there any artists or bands outside of electronic music that inspired your cinematic style?
Waveshaper: I listen a lot to movie soundtracks, so for me, it would be Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Ludwig Göransson, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and more.
DF: You’ve released a staggering amount of brilliant music throughout your career! Where does your work ethic come from, and how are you able to stay so consistent?
Waveshaper: My work ethic has changed over the ten years of being Waveshaper. The first five years were very intense, and I probably tweaked a snare sound or a synth preset every night. Then, when life had more priorities than music, I started to get pretty good at planning my work.
Now, I really schedule my studio time, and it works out good. You need to set up some sub-goals and plan your sessions. Of course, things can change, and even today, quite a lot of ideas come from “mistakes” or accidents during some sound tweaking.
DF: You’ve also produced for a variety of video games and films. When you’re producing for a video game or movie, what techniques do you follow to immerse yourself in the feelings and emotions of the story?
Waveshaper: Creatively, it is actually very nice to do these jobs that are more targeted for a specific purpose. I have noticed that it can help prevent writer’s block if you actually get a photo album, storyboards, and other assets that can boost your ideas.
It is very joyful to see the end result of your music in a video game or movie. I always dreamt of doing this as a kid, so I am very humbled and honored every time I get asked to compose some original music for a video game.
DF: Do you feel sound is able to express things in ways words or even imagery can’t?
Waveshaper: The strongest is to have a mix of all, but the music itself can be speaking. My best experience of listening to music is with my eyes closed.
DF: Lastly, what kind of impact do you hope your music makes on the world?
Waveshaper: I have got a ton of messages over the years that my music has helped people during difficult times. That is always very rewarding and surreal to read. If my music is able to help a small group of people across the world, then my job is completed. <3
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