Miami Nights 1984
Among the pioneers of dreamwave, outrun electro and 80′s soundtrack revival Rosso Corsa Label owner Miami Nights 1984 joins us to share some seminal tracks from his past, some choice parts of his new album “Turbulence” and shed some light on his recent success. The Nights is helping bring virtuosic musicianship back to electronic music, so don’t miss this westcoast phenomena on the rise.
Tim Dotchin interviews Mike Glover aka Miami Nights 1984
[CFR] You have helped pioneer the sound called ‘Outrun Electro’ or ‘Dreamwave’. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
[Mike] It seems like there’s everything ‘wave’ under the sun these days.
[CFR] It’s like step.
[Mike] Yeah, either throw a ‘wave’ or a ‘step’ at the end of it and you have a genre.
We started doing outrun a few years ago. The main person I think I can really give a salute to to bringing that sound to the forefront is Kavinsky. What it seemed like we were all trying to do was bring back the same sort of emotion and feeling that we had when we were watching 80′s movies or listening to 80′s music. It was a certain sort of rawness in the characteristic of it that we’re trying to embody in what we’re doing now. Just trying to refresh it a bit. Make it a bit more clubby or something you can listen to when you’re trying. Whatever the situation may be, just have it as the soundtrack of your life.
[CFR] You guys got the convenient privilege of being able to name a genre. Where did that come out of?
[Mike] When I was first getting into the scene, I was doing it under ActRazer. There were a few of us that were all connecting through MySpace at the same time. Palm Highway Chase was someone I really looked up to as a producer and when we first started talking, we labelled the music as ‘outrun’. It sort of went from there. When I teamed up with Laser Hawk and AD Stalone it just sort of stuck and we started labelling it as ‘outrun’. We couldn’t really think of anything else to call it. Outrun suited it, let alone the fantastic video game it was. Just with the name really representing the sound all together was something you picture in a fast car, outrunning the police or your problems or whatever. It just sort of stuck and people grabbed onto it. I think everybody could sort of see the picture that went with the music. So it worked.
[CFR] When did that really start?
[Mike] I guess around 2009?
[CFR] I’ve had the priviledge of seeing your record collection. Looks like in 2007-2008, you were really into some really banging electro.
[Mike] I was always trying to get into a new sound, where I was living at the time. Well, where I still am living. People were really into DnB and stuff like that. I started hearing this really dirty french house that Ed Banger was pumping out in early 2007. It really grabbed me because it was dirty. It wasn’t super predictable like normal house music and it was funky, too. There was a really good funk vibe to it. To me, it didn’t sound like rave music or anything like that. It was something totally new to my ears. Like Daft Punk with lots of distortion and cut up. It was great. So I got really into that. Got really into Sebastian. Really liked the cut up stuff. Justice and all that jazz. Eventually that started becoming really popular here, so I had to move onto to something else. I was trying to produce that at the time and make electro stuff. I started to post some of my work on MySpace, but, I was noticing it was something that everybody was just trying to do at the time. Everyone was trying to make noisy electro house. It was the thing. I started just stumbling through friendlists of other producers and I fell upon The 12′s. I thought they were great. They were making this funky, danceable electro music that was sort of retro. They were doing it all live, which was pretty neat. On their friendslist, I saw this little tiny logo that said ‘Valerie’. So I thought I’d check that out. When I first listened to it, I walked away.. I think I was doing the dishes or something, and it just blew my mind. I thought it was fantastic. It was everything I loved from the 80s with a bit of a kickdrum behind it.
I was really into Kavinsky before that too, because I was really into the Ed Banger crew. He was the one pumping out that sound from them. Where am I going with all of this? Well, I guess that’s what really brought me into the network. It’s what really switched me from the hard banging stuff to soft, melodic, chill stuff. Just a good sort of presence.
[CFR] You mentioned live play in there too?
[Mike] Yeah. I’m not saying everyone making music is doing it live by any means, but, that’s what grabbed me about The 12′s. When I listened to their music, I hear more of a musicianship as far as the melodies and progressions go than when I hear a lot of music that’s just dedicated to a noisy baseline.
[CFR] How did the production of your label (Rosso Corsa Records) come about?
[Mike] 80′s Stalone and Laser Hawk had already been talking. They mentioned that they wanted to team up with me and start some sort of record label. What it was originally going to be was just some sort of promotional tool for the three of us. I don’t think Stalone wanted to make it a full on label, but put a couple free EP’s and gain some recognition that way. Once me and Laser Hawk started chatting, we just really hit it off. We said ‘well why not? Why don’t we make this an actual label. We’ll take all these artists that we love and get them exposed’.
We’re very picky about the sound that we have with Rosso. The original members of the team were definitely the cream of the crop. Unfortunately once we got everything together and had our roster together, it seemed nobody was really motivated to make any music after that except for Laser Hawk, Mitch Murder and myself. There was a fallout with us and Stallone. He sort of wanted to just go to his own thing after that. All the other artists are still on the roster, but, we’re still waiting for a lot from them.
[CFR] But the perseverence seems to have paid off. The market is finally coming around to your sound and the guys that are still with it are being asked for. It seems like finally the ship is turning and coming back your way.
[Mike] It’s been a gradual one but it seems like it’s been catching on. Definitely with the dry film and stuff like that, it definitely got the spotlight on us for a bit there.
[CFR] ActRazer. That was your original act. We’re going to feature the song Kill Switch. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?
[Mike] When I was first sort of switching over there, I became ActRazer. I took down all the previous electro tracks I’d been making. Took down all the imagery… I changed everything. I got ahold of the Countach image and sort of made that my thing for ActRazer. It was this badass Coontage leather jacket dude you don’t know much about. I kept it that way. People didn’t know much about me. I posted one track and left the entire page blank besides that one track and a fancy looking .GIF. That seemed to blow up. Instantly I had all these people that I was looking up to, who were making that sort of music messaging me asking me what I was about. Sakura Nights was a really big guy as far putting everything together. He was doing these Masters of the Universe compilations. He took everyone that was making that sort of music, took a track from them, threw it on a huge compilation and gave it out for free. Instantly he was all over me, saying he wanted to work with me. It was really cool because it just kind of happened out of nowhere. I didn’t approach them or anything. It kept me motivated and kept me making tracks as Act from there.
[CFR] Your first album, called Early Summer, came out in 2009. How much work went into that?
[Mike] That was a lot of work for me. There was somebody else that had come up with the ActRazer name after me, and they were doing dubstep. I never actually released anything as ActRazer. People were asking me to put out an album, but I wanted to really wait on it. It was kind of foolish of me with a name like that. I guess this other guy started making music and actually selling it under that name. He kind of beat me to punch as far as copyright goes. I could have worked something out with him, and we could have been mutually happy with keeping the name, but… I wanted to have a name I didn’t have to worry about. So I came up with Miami Nights and threw the 1984 at the end of it as a tribute to the first episode of Miami Vice. I knew it was such a big, hideous name that nobody else would be copying it. And yet, here we are.
[CFR] There are 3 other artists out there trying to use the Miami Nights name.
[Mike] Yeah, they are, but they don’t have the hip 1984 at the end of it. 1984, Miami Nights. It’s time to make a full album and not let the same mistake happen with this. So, I crunched down. On the first album I was doing a lot of guitar stuff. I used some real synths on it and, as far the drums, it was just programmed in there on Jazz and stuff. I wanted to have and analog feel to it, like it came out of the 80s. I think I accomplished that pretty well for my first album. Out of nowhere there was a pretty decent success that came out it, which blew my mind for a first release. With my background of being somebody who’s quick to download music, it really blew my mind with how people were actually willing to buy my album. It was really neat.
The first album is all really soft. There’s nothing in there that I think is a really hard or aggressive track in there.
[CFR] Which a bit of a split from ActRazer, correct?
[Mike] Yeah, total split. Act Raiser is all slow and sort of dark and badass feeling.
[CFR] And that’s what you’d call the Outrun stuff?
[Mike] Yeah, definitely.
[CFR] And your first album is more Dreamwave?
[Mike] Yeah, whateverwave. Dreamwave. Binary Start came with the term ‘Dreamwave’. It’s sort of a joke genre because they didn’t have a name for it. But everybody sort of caught onto it and they’re using it anyway. It sort of stuck. I guess you could call it Dreamwave. It’s definitely still Outrun too, it’s got that in it. It’s not like that badass Outrun sort of vibe. This is definitely more the feel of a dude and chick sitting in a Ferrari racing down the street.
[CFR] Some of the bigger notoriaty has been through this Gotye remix, “Somebody That I Used To Know”, which is probably going to be one of the biggest songs of 2012. How did that come about?
[Mike] I started work on my new album, and Christmas time was coming around so I wanted to look for something I could just do a remix of and give out for free. Obviouslly I can’t sell it because I don’t have permission or rights on it. I heard the Gotye track. A couple people had been posting it on Facebook. I was checking it out and my friend informed me who he was and what he was doing. I decided, hey, why not. He kinda sounds like Peter Gabriel and has an 80s sound to his voice. So I decided to do the remix and then just give it out for free for Christmas. Next thing I know, I was talking to a couple people about sending it out to Gotye to see what he thought about it, and my friend beat me to it. It got sent off to Gotye and he ended up really liking the track. At first he said to tune up the vocal a bit, because the vocal was actually pitched out a little bit, so I upped it 4 cents in Ableton. So I sent it off at he said he’d tweet it up. Next thing I know his management team really liked it and they wanted to buy the rights off me for it. Gotye was saying the only ones he really liked were mine and one from AdRock at the time.
[CFR] So we can look for that sometime in 2012-2013?
[Mike] Yeah, hopefully.
[CFR] That’s a really big deal. What kind of impact did that have for you?
[Mike] First thing, right off the bat was the Rolling Stone, then VH1 and of course locally things were really popping off when radio stations heard about it. It was cool. I was doing radio and newspaper interviews. I got to feel like a rockstar for a day.
[CFR] So that kind of brings us into your second album called Turbulence. That was written around the same time as the whole Gotye thing. Has that been doing well for you?
[Mike] Yeah, it’s been doing great! Besides all the piracy websites that have been going up, it really hasn’t put too big of a dent in it. I’ve got a really wicked fan base and I think most of my fans want to support me and keep seeing me make music. It’s pretty cool and makes me feel really good to know that people are supporting me in that kind of way.
[CFR] In the beginning of this segment we’ve got an intro from you, and we’ve also got an outro at the end of your last track here. Tell us a little bit about that part of your writing.
[Mike] It stems back to when I was saying we make soundtrack music. I really wanted this to have a story to it in the album. What I always loved about 80s soundtracks wasn’t just all the cheesy montage music, but the stuff that really grabbed your ear. Whenever Tangerine Dream did a soundtrack for a film, you instantly knew it was them and it was instantly this epic piece of music that stuck with you. I definitely tried to carry on the Tangerine Dream feel with any of the pieces that were just instrumentals without drums or percussion behind it. The intro, the outro and the interlude in there. I think a lot of people grabbed that right away. People are saying the intro sounds like Risky Business, so that was really cool. I reallywanted something that was just epic. It didn’t have drums to carry it through. The synths just spoke for themselves, and when it’s done you’re left wanting more from it.
Miami Nights 1984 Spotlight
1.Miami Nights 1984 – MN84 theme – Rosso Corsa Records
2.Miami Nights 1984 – Streets On Fire – Rosso Corsa Records
3.ActRazer – Kill Switch – (unreleased)
4.Miami Nights 1984 – Early Summer – Rosso Corsa Records
5.Miami Nights 1984 - High Beams – Rosso Corsa Records
6.Gotye – Somebody That I Use To Know (Miami Nights 1984 Remix) – Samples N’ Seconds
7.Miami Nights 1984 – The Getaway – Rosso Corsa Records
8.Miami Nights 1984 – Ocean Drive – Rosso Corsa records
9.Miami Nights 1984 – The End – Rosso Corsa Records