Pylot is a new and truly fantastic synthwave producer. He’s released only three astounding singles that have garnered tens of thousands of plays – something of a feat when you consider he’s had minimal advertising and also chosen to remain anonymous for the project.
But there’s more than music to this mystery producer.
Pylot is crafting an interactive mystery narrative to accompany the music, according to his soundcloud, he aims to create a “captivating story in which the page turns with every release.”.
Each track has been backed up by a story straight out of a dystopian 80’s flick – where the main character awakes with no memory and a singular drive to find out who attacked him and why.
Social media posts by Pylot are filled with beautiful artwork and enigma, as they also contain hidden messages and puzzles for the audience to solve.
Pylot was kind enough to answer some questions via email about his rad tunes – and more importantly about the fresh new interactive art form he’s managed to craft.
Question N°1: When did you decide you wanted to do this project anonymously?
Right from the beginning! I want PYLOT’s character and story to be the focus.
Question N°2: Since you’re going to remain anonymous, what can you reveal about yourself musically?
I can play various instruments, none professionally, but enough to get by! Guitar, drums, bass and piano are all instruments I use whenever I’m writing music. My taste in music is very broad, I find things in most genres that I can appreciate and learn from.
Question N°3: What equipment do you use?
The typical ‘bedroom producer’ set-up I guess. A computer, a DAW, some synthesizers, mic’s, interfaces, headphones and speakers.
My set-up is very minimal and I do most of my work in the box. I also use a portable audio recorder to capture environmental sounds and foley. An example would be the intro for Flashbacks where you can hear the rain and PYLOT scribbling in the journal.
Question N°4: Would you consider yourself a synthwave producer, or are you simply using the genre for this project?
Synthwave for this project was the clear choice for me, it’s often categorised as driving music and it just so happens PYLOT does a lot of that.
I wouldn’t say I’m strictly a synthwave producer, but I love so much about the 80’s and its music. I enjoy every minute I spend writing this style, it’s pretty much all I’ve been writing for a while now.
Question N°5: So, when did you first get the idea to produce synthwave along with a narrative? Why synthwave – it’s cinematic quality?
I first had this idea in summer 2014 and started writing the music and story in late 2014.
The project takes influences from a lot of my interests such as comics, 80’s movies and music as well as anime. Before I had the idea for PYLOT I kept going through phases of writing music and feeling like it had no real substance.
Creating a narrative and writing music that served as a soundtrack for the story was an idea that really excited me, it meant my music had a context that I could be proud of. When working on this project I often sit and think to myself “if this was a scene in a movie what music would I want to hear here?” or “What style of music would evoke the emotions I want people to feel in this part of the story?”, Synthwave is always the answer! It can be dark, dreamy, sympathetic, epic, and nostalgic all at the same time and that’s what I love that about this style, like you say its very cinematic in quality.
Question N°6: The retro synthwave places the story in the 80’s, but you’ve hinted that there’s more there than meets the eye. Can you reveal any more about the setting?
Unfortunately I can’t share too much with you about the world he lives in, as it’s all to be revealed as the story unfolds.
What I can tell you is that we have literally scratched the surface of the story so far, details on the world he’s in and whats to be revealed as time passes by is going to be a lot of fun to unfold.
Question N°7: How many details about PYLOT do you plan to reveal yourself in the narrative, and how much is up to the audience?
I plan to reveal a lot about PYLOT as the story continues. The journey so far has been a slow burner but the ride will be worth it trust me, the next few releases will open up PYLOT’s world a lot more for people to see!
Question N°8: Will the interplay between the audience and the main character have any effect on the story?
Definitely, as time passes by the audience will become an important part of the story telling in many ways, I have lots of plans that really involve the listeners which I think they will enjoy.
It’s all very exciting!
Question N°9: What can the synthwave tell us about the narrative? Are there clues in the music?
There is a potential for clues in anything that PYLOT releases. Whether its the art work, the journal entries or the music. Your job as the listener / reader is to discover them and piece them together. No one has discovered any clues in the music yet to my knowledge, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.
Question N°10: So far, you’ve had about three releases over eight months or so. Is that because you’re creating the music as you go? Do you have any special production techniques?
Yeah I’m writing both the music and story as I go along although the story is written 3 – 4 releases ahead so I always know where the story is heading.
Pretty much all of my spare time is spent devoted to making this project the best it can be for my listeners and story followers. I procrastinate a lot in terms of the music since that’s my forte, the story not so much.
I want every part of this project to be great, the music takes time because I want to get it right for the benefit of my audience, they deserve the best I can offer! No special production techniques really, just the standard stuff.
A lot of my ‘sound’ comes from the mixing stage. Also I’m a big fan of sticking chorus FX on stuff.
Question N°11: Do you create the art as well?
I can only wish I was that talented! I let Mike Yakovlev take care of the art work for me. Its a very collaborative process with lots of chatting regarding what we want to show (and perhaps discreetly place) in the art work. He is a big part of what makes this project work in my eyes, the mood and atmosphere he creates in his art is fantastic.
Question N°12: In a previous interview you said “I’m very excited that people will be focusing more on the music and the story and less on the ‘producer’ behind it all.” Do you feel like this is a problem in today’s music culture – people follow producers and not the music?
For this kind of project I feel like it’s better for me to be in the background and out of the way.
I really want the music and story to speak for itself without the added distraction of me at the forefront of it all. The music, art and the story I’m trying to convey are far more important to me than satisfying my ego, I’ll happily take a back seat.
Question N°13: In your last post, you created a puzzle – has anyone solved it yet? Can you tell us how many hidden pieces haven’t been caught yet?
No one has solved it yet, but that’s assuming all the pieces have been revealed already!
As the story unfolds and you go back to these earlier journal entries you will begin to make sense of a lot of things that currently may not make much sense to you. Any main clues that are important to the story have already been found, but there’s always little things to find in either the journal entries or the artwork, you just have to look hard enough.
For example, someone online found some hidden text that reads ‘Keep looking’ on the Blurred Vision art work that was so small you had to be zoomed in 800% or something ridiculous like that to see it.
It was put there intentionally and although its not a clue that relates to the story it is a small message of motivation to the people who love to investigate and search for clues.
Question N°14: When you’re not working on PYLOT, what do you listen to? Who are your musical influences?
A lot of 70’s / 80’s records. I’m also really big on old film soundtracks from films like Back To The Future, Weird Science, Robocop and stuff. Lots of great synth action going on in there!