Music: Autovampir's Outrun Inspired Music Video Lazereyes Is Excellent

By Axel Ricks

He is restless and servant to the Black Sun. He is chased by his inner demons and always on the run. But when darkness falls across the Autobahn his music comes to life, a sound that drives you through the night... Send out your prayers and welcome to the Church of Autovampir!



Music: Enjoy The Pure Synthrock Madness From A Space Love Adventure's Synth Punk EP Out On Sunlover Records

By Axel Ricks

NYC Episode 11 (Luca Carey) *Explicit Language*

By Axel Ricks

We first begin our interview in Chinatown and quickly realize that we are unable to push through the snowy cold weather so we decide to make our way up to the Bronx to continue our chat with Luca Carey at his apartment! In our chat we cover his artwork, techniques, and his inspirations. We chat casually about Dan Terminus whom Luca makes his album covers for and pretty much everything else under the sun including NYC, conspiracy theories, capitalism, aliens, and reptilians. Hope you enjoy!

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All tracks featured are from Dan Terminus' The Wrath Of Code album which you may purchase via the Blood Music label here:

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Production: Timecop 1983 Shares His Production Of Wild Love (feat. Ollie Wride)

By Axel Ricks

It was pretty close, but this track barely made it to the album. I had the music done and thought it was an OK track, but felt like it was lacking something and thought about deleting it. But I talked to Josh Dally (who worked with me on Let’s Talk) and he said he could send it to a friend who maybe could do some vocals. I thought “ok, let’s give it a try and if it doesn’t turn up nicely I’ll dump the song”.

So after a few weeks I received an email from Ollie Wride with the first rough version and I was completely blown away! From the moment I heard it I knew this song was going to be epic! It instantly became one of my favorite songs of the album and I was so happy for sending it to Josh and thanked him for asking his friend Ollie. Ollie’s voice really fits so well with the music and it just completed the track.

Josh did the processing of the vocals and he really made the vocals blend in with the music. The reverb he added really makes the vocals sound huge and epic. They also added some extra elements to the music like the “bell” type synth and the toms which complimented the track so much.


For most of my songs I use a combination of my hard- and software, but with Wild Love I only used software. I usually create the foundations of a track with soft-synths and add some “organic/analog” sounds to it with my hardware synths, but with this track I didn’t feel the need for some real synths.

I start all my projects the same way: with a template in FL Studio 7 that has a Parametric EQ, a Stereo Enhancer and a Multi-band Compressor. They are all FL Studio plugins and I have them setup in a way so that all of my tracks have the same feel.

Many people say you shouldn’t use templates for your music, but I feel like I can’t do without. I’ve tried not using it many times, but it just doesn’t feel right and keep coming back to it. With this template I know how to setup my (soft)synths and drums, so I know exactly what to expect. This saves so much time for me!

After loading the template I always work on a loop that will be the middle (chorus) and most important part of the track. That makes things easier, because then you know what you are working to when arranging the song. This takes the longest and I can spend days on working just on the chorus, but once I have that it’s easier to build a start and an ending to the song (arranging).

In this case I loaded my favorite patch in Zebra2 and recorded a melody which I had in my head for quite a while. This is also the backbone of the song and is the arp melody with the bass notes you can hear in the beginning.



After that I added the lower bass which I did with Rob Papen’s Blue2 vsti and added the pads with TAL’s (free) U-NO-62 vsti with a bunch of filtering on top.

Then after laying the basis of the track with the arp, pads and the bass I started programming the drums. In this case I used the Arturia Spark Vintage Drum Machines for the kick and Aly James’ VSDSX for the snare.

The VSDSX is a really good emulation of the old school Simmons drum synths and it is by far the closest thing to the real deal. I just love those deep snares of the Simmons which is recreated perfectly in this piece of software. And it’s fully programmable too! Before I used Simmons samples, but this beast blows them all away.





After the drums I thought it would be cool to get a electric guitar. Because my own playing sucks I use the EEG Strawberry library for Kontakt a lot. It’s a pretty good sounding virtual guitar, probably the best I have worked with so far.




Because I wanted the guitar to sound very dreamy or ambient sounding I used some effects on the guitar track). I am a huge fan of the Vallhalla Shimmer VST which instantly creates a very dreamy sound and together with that I added a delay, more reverb, a overdrive and a parametric EQ (to cut some of the highs).

So once I had the foundation of the track it was time for the arrangement. Because I usually know where to go with the track and because I start with the chorus this is pretty easy for me and is done pretty quickly most of the times.

As you can see I like to work with patterns that contain all the elements. Many people use only one sound per pattern (i.e. one for drums, one for pads, etc.) and use those as building blocks, but I normally use full patterns in the arrangement process. Meanwhile I also create the automation envelopes for the different sounds and effects.


So, like I said, when I finished the music I wasn’t completely satisfied with the track and felt like it was missing something. Josh Dally told me to send him some tracks so he could send them to his friends and ask them if they were interested in doing some vocals. He sent them to Ollie and that’s when Wild Love was born!

Ollie did the lyrics and Josh did the processing. They also added some extra elements to the music which just made the track perfect (in my opinion).

After I received the processed vocals I loaded a new project in FL Studio 11. Normally I work in 7, but that has a smaller buffer size, so I can’t load all the vocals in. So I exported the music and loaded that together with the stems Ollie sent me and placed them in a new project.

Although Josh added lots of effects to the vocals Ollie and I though the song would sound even more epic with more reverb and some delay at times in the track. I also added some compression and the song was finished!


My mastering is done completely in the box and I use various plugins to do it. In this case I used a combination of Izotope Ozone 5, some EQing, Melda Production Multi-band Dynamics and the Waves L1 Ultra-Maximizer.

I do all the mastering of my music myself. I know I am not good at it and even when things are completely finished I hear things that should be different, but I have fun doing it and am learning more and more about mastering . I know it’s a process that takes years to master (haha ,get it?).

Hopefully this gave you some insight in how I made Wild Love featuring Ollie Wride.


Interview: JPVD, Jon of the Shred and KFDDA unleash the Neon Wolves saga upon us

By Niccolo Mach

Neon Wolves is a recently published novella and, on a surprisingly fresh move in the scene, is accompanied  by a beat-'em-up video game and a music album compiled from a number of artists' tracks! I had a virtual sitdown with Jean-Pierre Van Damme, Jon of the Shred and KFDDA to talk about this new story, the Scythe saga and their involvement in this project.

Greetings guys! Before we get into details about your new epic, let's tell our readers a bit about its background; the Scythe Saga. What is it and where does The Neon Wolves fit into this universe?

JON: The Scythe Saga is basically a never-ending concept album. The lore is built and expanded upon with each album, compilation, short story, and art piece. I've always been a huge fan of these sprawling, epic narratives in all facets of media such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Mass Effect. So my goal in starting the Scythe universe was two fold – one, to create a universe that focuses on popular horror and sci-fi elements in a unique way, where zombies and cyborgs can organically exist on the same plane, and two to have more than one musician working on the same concept album together, collaborating on a story that grows with each release. While the budget is unfortunately non-existent, I am proud of what we have all done together as a team. Primarily, the stories take place on two planets within the Scythian solar system – the planet Scythe and the planet Lleh. There is a far story arc I'm building up to – the history of the universe, the cause of the apocalyptic happenings throughout the Scythian solar system, more planets to explore, etc. The most I'll reveal here is that Paragon exists on several planets, but withholds knowledge from the general public on the existence of life on other planets. They hide their space travel technology, they keep the populations clueless as they siphon the resources of each planet.

JPVD: I came to Scythe after starting my novel for End of Days. Jon was one of the artists I wanted to work with. He liked the idea and told me about the big Scythe Universe and wanted us to tie it into the Scythe Saga.Now I have my own planet “Lleh” with it own stories and some tie-ins to the other Scythe Universe stories. “Neon Wolves” is a prequel and the story is set in the same city like in End of Days. So there are some Easter eggs and cameos of other characters from the other stories.

KALEB: Jon approached me about a year ago to help contribute to the Scythe Universe. I loved the concept and was very excited to get behind it. Although my involvement wasn't much until recently, when JPVD joined the team we sort of formed a tri-fecta of a team and the rest is history.

The Neon Wolves is set in a world of gangs, crime and corruption yet in which friendship, trust and honor exist. How did the initial idea came along?

JON: I'll let JPVD take this one, as with his compilations he starts the initial draft of the story before I go all Stephen King on it. All I'll say is Neon Wolves takes place on Lleh, same planet as the End of Days story. This is a spiritual prequel.

JPVD: I grew up inside the biker scene here in Germany. My father is a vice president of a big MC here. Also my uncle were a long year member of the well known Hells Angels. So I had some “real” inspirations for the story. I'm also a big fan of the movie “The Warriors” and wanted to combine that with a “Blade Runner” Sci-Fi setting. So that was the initial idea when I started to write the story.

You've created a collective media that consists of a novella, an album and a beat' em up game. Is the novella the main concept where the music and game revolves around it, or is it more an equal circle where all of them interlap? How was this planned on pre-production/pre-writing?

JPVD: The first and most important thing was the novella. Every chapter of the story gets its own song. I invited artists I love and who would fit for the chapter/song I wanted for the novella. The idea is, while people are reading it, they can play the album on the background to fall deeper into the story. Kaleb had the idea to make a game for the whole project to “play” some of the background story while listening to the songs too.

JON: I'd say they are all equally important to the story. The compilations and concept albums are like the soundtrack, and I know with certainty that the songs will always get the most attention. Not everyone has time to read 10,000+ word short stories, although I do hope people like what JPVD and myself have wrote. Kaleb worked very hard on the game (I helped with graphics, but he did 99% of the work, all the coding, etc) which ties in as a prequel to the Neon Wolves. (Prequel of a prequel?) The purpose of the Scythe universe, however, is to constantly build the world, so I'd say all these elements are equally important.

KALEB: I don't remember who initially came up with the idea for the game, Jon and I always throw different ideas around, most never develop into something full, we ran with the idea of the video game, all of us contributing to the development of it in different ways. JPVD and Jon always write great short stories and I wanted to honor that in an alternative format.

Reading the story I felt influences from Judge Dredd. Did it influence the setting directly? And what are your other influences?

JPVD: Yes the dirty Sci-Fi City from Judge Dredd could also describe Macropolis. The main influence was the movie “The Warriors” with some “Akira” elements. Also the main character, President Shadow, is a homage to Snake Plissken, one of my favotite anti-heroes of all time.

JON: I believe JPVD was inspired by Sons of Anarchy and Akira with this particular story.

The vivid description of action sequences is one of the strong points of the novella. Where you thinking of it visually when you where writing it? It seems that it could be a film or a comic book too.

JPVD: I watched many martial art movies the time I wrote the story like “Bloodsport”, “Mortal Kombat”, “Karate Tiger” and stuff like that. Before I write/finish a story the whole thing is complete in my mind like a B-Movie. So I write down what I see before my inner eyes.

JON: Thanks! Generally JPVD will write short drafts in German, have them translated by Ray Sattler, then send them over to me to work on. When I get the drafts, it's a perfect launching point – all I have to do to get started is just clean up the vocabulary and grammar discrepancies that are expected from the translation process. Then I get free reign to go buck wild adding tons of new content, beefing up scenes, getting a bit more descriptive. For the past year freelance writing has been my biggest means of income, and the assignments are usually quite boring. Getting to work on the Scythe stories, both my originals and the collaborations with JPVD, are much funner to work on.

Tell me a bit about the video game tie-in. Where does its plot fit in the Neon Wolves? I enjoyed the background design and did I notice some Streets of Rage references in there?

JPVD: The Game starts before the Novella starts. Like a playable Prequel for Neon Wolves. You play Thomas Shadow the Vice President and brother from Michael. Yes Streets of Rage were a big reference. We also put some Easter eggs inside the stages.

KALEB: Like JPVD said, it takes place before the novella as sort of a prequel. The idea of the beat-em-up style did indeed come from Streets of Rage. It was a huge influence to me and I thought the concept would fit perfectly within the neon wolves story-arch.

Why did you chose to have the album as an open collective effort instead of taking the whole songwriting on your shoulders? Was it easy to manage the artists' works to make sure they meet your artistic vision?

JON: The whole intent of Scythe, in a nutshell, is lore and universe building, executed through a “never ending concept album.” Sort of an open source lore-building process. Having many moving parts is essential to the fundamental idea of the group – many creative types working on building an extensive lore together through music, art, games, and stories. Solo albums are also welcome, as with Kyoto Dragon with “Kyoto Cyber Police – Return of the Undead Yokai,” which just happened to be set on it's own planet as well. That was a killer release too, Dave crushed it.

JPVD: I love working on projects like that, collaborating with other artists. Many of the artists we invited are good friends now and with some of them I worked on some recent projects too. It's not always easy to handle such a big group of artists but the most of them I know really good and the writing and working on it is real fun. We inspire and push each other towards higher levels. We share our WIP Songs and stories and ask in the group what we can do better. Before the artists begin their songwriting they get the song title and the chapter description and they compose completely free based on what they feel for that particular song/chapter. It's really inspiring to see what others have in mind when transcribing your written words into a song.

The novella is vocally anti-drug, and also emphasizes on codes of honor like trust. Is Neon Wolves making a statement here/getting messages across?

JPVD: Exactly. I don't do drugs or drink alcohol. I made some mistakes in the past while drinking too much. I also lost some friends in cases of drugs or driving under the influence. So it's my decent statement that you have a better life when you are sober.

JON: As a member of a jam band, and having been in and out of various jam bands for the past, I don't know, 6 or 7 years, I've definitely done my fair share of drugs. Generally I was drawn to hallucinogens – mushrooms, DMT, LSD. I never cared for the party drugs like MDMA. I no longer take drugs at music festivals...well, not THAT many...and I dig the anti-drug sentiment. I'm not judgmental of others choices to indulge in psychoactive substances, but when it gets to the point of them stealing TVs or lying to friends, that's when the judgment kicks in. If you aren't harming anyone else, there should be no's when others suffer from your poor choices you need to reevaluate your extracurricular activities.

KALEB: Like Jon said I really like the sober message in the story, although we've all had our fair share of that kind of stuff throughout life and it's nice to work with guys who aren't judgemental.

Are these themes aspects of your personalities that deliberately defined the story?

JPVD: Yes, some of the parts of the story happened in real life. The inspiration for the most characters was real friends or people I know. I changed the names but nearly all characters exist as does the personality I gave them.

JON: There is a character that's been around since my second solo album, “The Lone Musician,” who also appeared towards the end of Circuit Board Lunacy and the “Harvest of Insanity” compilation, totally based off myself. He's a man that wanders the apocalypse with a guitar, gunslinger type, not unlike El Mariachi. That character is how I'd envision myself in a post-apocalypse; if I even survived the initial onslaught.

What's your take on the modern uprising trend of comic books, games and other media that feature near-future dystopian societies? Why is this trend coming back from the 80's?

JPVD: The 80s were the golden age of movies and books. Stephen King wrote some of his best stories in the 80's and they created new film genres in that time like slasher movies. The whole feeling of that era is completely different to stuff from the 90's or later. I mean the ideas where fresh, new and the movie directors had the balls to make something different and strange in that time.I think because of that fact that the best movies were made in the 80's Hollywood is now making sequels and remakes, or tries to copy the whole 80's feeling into new movies.

JON: If you think about it, each period of time with global turmoil was bereft with post-apocalyptic scenarios. The 80's had the Cold War inspiring it, and nowadays there's a whole bunch of messed up shit going on globally. Be it malicious banking cartels, the corporate takeover, warring countries, terrorists, GMOs... the world is a very paranoid place, a ticking time bomb many would say. This sort of social unease is a perfect atmosphere for post-apocalyptic fiction.

KALEB: I think society tends to posterize violence in times of distress or uncertainty. With that kind of mentality comes the need to explore dystopian themes, and with the constant gripe of security and privacy concerns, it almost starts to feel too real. Art resembles life right?

Does adding literary works, video games and other forms of art in the picture take Synthwave up a notch in terms of artistry?

JPVD: Yes, and not only in the Synthwave scene. I always loved concept albums or when music comes with a nice booklet and nice artwork. New music comes out everyday, it's a flood of new stuff and it's not always easy to get attention between all those new releases and compilations. If you give the listener something more then 10 new songs, he can go deeper into the world you've created. For me it's not just music, it's more. And it's also a new idea to promote your stuff differently. Listening to new music while playing a game or while reading a story gives you a different way to enjoy the music.

JON: I wouldn't say it takes things up a notch, but I like to think we're doing something unique and memorable all the same. There's so much talent in the scene, between graphic designers, musicians, bloggers, radio hosts, Djs, promotional masterminds,'s a scene full of passionate artists of many walks of life spanning across the globe. Scythe was originally intended to pull in all these creative minds so we could symbiotically create something unique, combine all these elements into something that has never been done in quite the same way. Roughly a year since the first project was started, I now realize I need a bit more of a budget to entice a lot of the creative types. In an effort to take things to the next level, I am going to focus a lot more time and energy into securing a budget, as opposed to jumping haphazardly into the next Scythe venture.

KALEB: Absolutely, if the genre wants to be successful it needs to stop sticking itself in the strictly-music type of mentality. It needs to be expanded upon all formats and get in front of as many people's faces as possible.

One last thing; the way the story ends definitely leaves possibilities for a direct sequel. Are there any plans or ideas for something like that?

JPVD: Yes, there are plans for a comeback for some of the characters. We will make a sequel to the story. It will be set after the apocalypse in End of Days. I have some ideas for it, all I can say is “Mad Max” meets “The Last of us”. But I have some other projects to finish before I begin writing the new novella. I don't want to reveal too much, but the working title for the follow-up is: “Return of the Shadow Wolf” hehe.

JON: You'll definitely see the Neon Wolves again. Scythe is all about plot progression, even if we move at a snails pace.

KALEB: I hope Jon and JPVD end up making characters cross paths again (timeline-permitting of course), it would be nice to see some story crossovers.

The Neon Wolves novella and album is available here:
Play the videogame now here: