In this regular segment I’ll be showcasing an artist that I’ve recently discovered and discussing their work with them. In this first edition of Synthwave Showcase I’ll be talking to an artist I found recently through a playlist submission. The artist is MicroMatscenes.
It was only a few days ago as I was making my way through the delightfully large number of submissions for our playlist, when I came across a name I’d never heard before; MicroMatscenes. From the logo and artist name it wasn’t difficult to recognize comparisons to the popular retro game franchise of the late 80s and early 90s, Micro Machines. I quickly made the assumption that I would be listening to some game style chip-tune tracks (which I love), however what I began to hear was something very different indeed.
The first thing that stood out to me about MicroMatscenes was his ability to instantly draw me in with his songwriting and production, and to keep me there until there was nothing more to take in. This is not overly common for myself to experience upon the first listen, and was a more than welcoming feeling for me to not want “Scenes”, the artist’s debut EP, to end. MicroMatscenes very quickly reminded me of the classic work of Vince DiCola, or even of the more recent ‘Beckett’, both of whom I love and have a great deal of respect for. If you’re hungry for some beautifully crafted, well written, cinematic and thought provoking Synthwave then this should satisfy your tastes to no end.
I caught up with MicroMatscenes to ask him some questions about his inspirations and his love of music…
Q. So tell us a little bit about yourself and when you started playing music.
A. My name is Matteo, I was born in Ronciglione, Italy, June 1983. 1983 was a year of great music, with Michael Jackson, Prince, Queen, Spandau Ballet, Madonna and many other big ones hitting the charts. I grew up listening to a lot of sounds blasting from my parents’ Hi-Fi, expecially my mom who was a great music listener while doing housework. Keyboards were the first instruments I put my hands on, from a Disney themed little piano to a Bontempi keyboard. My father taught me some basic chords and I started playing along with the LPs. Later, during the years of primary school, I started learning music theory in the music school of my town, and I came in contact with Classical Music playing in the Band. I learnt to play the Euphonium and Trombone, until I graduated at the Conservatory and found a job at the Italian Air Force Military Band.
Q. What was it that got you into Retrowave music and inspired you to become an artist?
A. Though my path led me in different directions than pop music I never stopped playing my beloved keyboards, and I continued practicing and playing in various groups, also singing in cover bands of 80s music like Queen and Michael Jackson. Then I fell in love with keytars, so I bought a Roland Lucina and a Korg RK100S. I think this was the start of my journey into the Retro-world. There are many artists who influenced me, like Mitch Murder who is the first Retrowave artist I discovered, then FM-84, The Midnight and many others, but my inspirations go much more deeper in my experience as a music listener and player; I think videogames, movies and TV shows soundtracks really left an impression in my heart. In the mid 80s there was a quiz at lunch time called “Bis”, conducted by Mike Bongiorno, and the theme song was “Rydeen” by the Yellow Magic Orchestra, followed by another show called “Il Pranzo è Servito”, which also had a fast paced happy musical theme… while I wrote “Saturday Morning”, the opener of my EP, I could recognize that feeling about being a kid, at home with my parents at lunch time with the TV playing in background. I think we all love Retrowave for exactly this kind of feeling.
Q. How do you feel about the future of the genre? Do you think it will continue to grow? Or otherwise?
A. Thanks to Instagram I came in contact with a lot of Retrowave artists like Surge, Andante, No Rush ’85, who share their stories and music, and I really feel like being part of a big family.
I don’t know how long the Retrowave genre as we know it will stay; maybe it will slowly fade as this generation of 30 and 40 years old people will grow up… or maybe it will evolve again into something not less fascinating. Anyway it will surely be remembered as an important part of the electronic music era, and who knows, maybe future generations will come back to our social profiles to get lost in those vibes, just like we do with the greatest artists of the past.
I encourage you all to check out MicroMatscenes and his fantastic debut EP “Scenes”, streaming now on all major platforms, including here on Spotify: MicroMatscenes Spotify
If you would like to be featured on Synthwave Showcase, please continue to put forward your songs on the Playlist submission page of this website and I’ll listen as soon as possible.