Despite just releasing their self-titled debut album not but a few days ago, on October 20th, the synthwave producer known as Wyndsrfr is already making waves in the synth scene with their unique sound and is therefore poised to make an even bigger impression in the future as a result. With a history in the music industry already in their arsenal, and a passion for electronic music to boot, I interviewed this promising producer to find out more about them and to also help introduce them to a new audience.
Wyndsrfr is the synthwave stage name for Jacob Prestidge, who has another band with his wife Danielle called The Blackbird Revue (more on them in a bit), and for him the love of music all began in the late 90s when he joined a ska band. However, his love of electronic music started earlier than that as Vangelis‘ soundtrack for the film Chariots of Fire was one of the more often played and popular albums in his home. “I always loved it,” Jacob recalled, “though growing up I never really sought out much more in the way of electronic music. During the summer of 2014, while working on a new track in a recording studio in Wisconsin, I came across some other Vangelis records and had a good talk with the producer about his music. This led me to look into other electronic acts from the same era which introduced me to Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and, most importantly, Tangerine Dream. For the past three years I have subjected my wife to copious amounts of Tangerine Dream.”
Jacob continued, saying that “as I began to talk with friends about these artists, a few recommended more modern bands such as Kavinsky, Futurecop!, Com Truise and Tycho. I also really love Jean Michel Jarre‘s Oxygene series, and the Stranger Things soundtrack. Wyndsrfr is my natural creativity flowing through the inspiration of these amazing artists, but I also really enjoy post-rock (This Will Destroy You, Explosions in the Sky) and well-written, straight ahead, rock ‘n roll like Ryan Adams, The War on Drugs and Tom Petty.”
Going into the more technical aspect of his work and production, I asked about the type of equipment that he uses to make his sound, and Jacob responded by saying that he’s “definitely a mixture of in and outside the box production techniques. The album was tracked in Pro Tools 12. I use Reason a lot for drums. But almost all of the melodic content was created on 3 vintage synths: a Roland D50 (’87), an Ensoniq ESQ1 (’87), and a Yamaha AN1x (’97). I also play electric guitar on the album and prefer to use external pedals and effects (perhaps most prominently a Strymon Dig dual digital delay) and Fender amps for that.”
One of the standout tracks on the album, “Control,” features vocals by Jacob’s wife Danielle who also performs alongside him in their other band, The Blackbird Revue, which is a more folk and indie-rock effort in contrast to the synthwave sounds of Wyndsrfr. Despite this difference in tone, the vocals on “Control” are wonderfully done and make for an interesting mix of genres as a result, to which I asked Jacob how he sees and handles said differences of genres?
“No one in history has had access to as much music as we have today and therefore I’ve found so much great music in so many different genres” Jacob mused, “so it just makes sense to me that, as I create, these various sounds that I love come naturally to the surface. While I am aware of the importance of creating a cohesive sonic palette, I don’t tend to intentionally restrict myself to my own perceived genre boundaries. I want to have a unique voice and make music that I think sounds cool. That said, creating music for The Blackbird Revue is a totally different process from that of Wyndsrfr. I do have to be mindful of our sonic history and of Danielle’s tastes and preferences. It’s a much more collaborative experience and I love it as well.”
When asked what was next for Wyndsrfr, in terms of not only the music but perhaps the prospect of performing live as well, Jacob responded by saying that he’s “looking forward to seeing where this takes me. Electronic and instrumental music are so special to me, and I really love expressing myself in that way. A lot of the success I’ve had with Wyndsrfr has been in conjunction with film and TV, so I would love to continue to work in that realm as I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of tapping into an emotion or mood and expressing it musically. As for performing live, not yet, although that’s something I am currently working on.”
Before ending the interview, I had to ask: what goes on your perfect pizza and inside your ideal burrito? “Pizza is half ham and pineapple with the other half being pepperoni,” Jacob answered, “and the burrito is beef, refried beans, tomato, potato, sour cream, cheese, and medium-to-hot salsa.” Sounds delicious to me!
You can also hear more from The Blackbird Revue over on their official website.