Synthwave Sunday

Synthwave Sunday: Lazerhawk, Redline


Lazerhawk - RedlineFor more info on Synthwave Sunday and why we’re doing this, click here

I had an epiphany this morning about my ever-evolving thesis that the obscure electronic genre known as synthwave has some sort of kindred connection with heavy metal: the guys that make it are the nerdiest of the nerds, electronic music’s equivalent of Misha Mansoor, Devin Townsend, Ben Sharp (aka Cloudkicker) and the hundreds of other hyper-dorky, music-obsessed freaks who make world class heavy metal in their bedrooms.

Don’t be fooled by the hard-edged music and the images it invokes — none of these guys are snorting coke off the hoods of their Lamborghinis on a steamy Miami night, much less snorting adderall off their Kavinsky vinyl. No, these guys are furiously pounding Red Bull (ever since Jolt Cola went scarce) as they slave over their keyboards, perhaps taking a break for cold Chinese leftovers and a quick jaunt over to PornHub. Once their wife and/or children are already in bed, that is.

But that’s exactly why we love them and why we love their music! Misha and Devin are fantastic at playing the part of hyper-successful rock stars yet they’ve endeared themselves to a certain subset of metalheads for their approachable everyman qualities. Similarly, it’s unlikely that either Garrett Hays, aka Lazerhawk, or last week’s Synthwave Sunday featuree Miami Night’s 1984 — together co-founders of synthwave label Rosso Corsa Records — are the badasses their music might suggest. They’re just dudes. Dudes who happen to be fucking great at making music reminiscent of a version of the ’80s that they never experienced and, let’s be honest, neither did you. You like to think you railed blow of a strippers’ humongous fake tits with startling regularity in 1985 — or maybe even that you’d be capable of doing so today — but you didn’t, and you won’t. Synthwave is that escape, that idealized version of your past and future self. Only someone as nerdy as you could create music like this and only someone as nerdy as you could enjoy it.

So, Lazerhawk. He’s been doing it for longer than “synthwave” has been a word (they used to call it “outrun” and trudge uphill both ways in two feet of snow every morning on the way to school back in 2010!) and there’s a reason he’s so well-respected; Redline hinted at everything that would come in the following five years. Lazerhawk’s debut may seem tame compared to the hyper-aggressive synthwave of newer artists like GosT and Mega Drive, but it offers perhaps a more pure form of the genre, a true throwback, before other influences (including metal) started to seep their way in. Every song is different yet each one hits hard, grooves, cuts, slices and does everything that synthwave is supposed to do, including giving you an uncontrollable urge to dust off those old dancing pants.

Next time the party clears out and only the die-hards remain — those who TRULY want to get down — pop on Redline and see what happens. Stream it in full below; more Lazerhawk is available at his Bandcamp.

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