Can you please introduce yourself to those that may be new to your work?
my name is matthew steven pusti. i make music under the name makeup + vanity set. i’ve been making music now for about fifteen years. i make synthesizer music.
What are your musical influences? What kind of music do you listen when not producing? What is your earworm at the moment? What have you listening to on repeat recently?
everything is dependent on mood_ everything is a soundtrack. sometimes i might spend all of my time figuring out what suits a situation or a moment + lose the moment altogether. lately i’ve been really into the berlin school of synth music. classic stuff. tangerine dream. harald grosskopf. klaus schulze. those guys are my touchstones.
What inspires you while working on new Music?
film, usually. film is a rounded experience; you get the vision + the design + the tone + the score / textures. all of those things work in tandem. i may read a book or an essay or a short story but they don’t do the same things that films do. a good film will rattle my bones. work has to come from that. it usually does. that + life.
What programs and instruments do you use for your Music? What is your favourite VST you use? And which Drum Machine do you prefer?
over the years, many many things. never ending lists of things. everything has to serve a function. i don’t linger on things if they aren’t getting used. maybe that’s from being broke for so long. i’m impatient with equipment. things also have to fit my workflow. i’ve tried for a long time to get my studio into an ‘always on’ place, where things are always ready to use. my current set up is a roland hs-60 (juno), yamaha dx7, moog LP2, moog mother32, elektron octatrack, analog keys, analog rytm. meris 500 series pre-amps, mercury7 reverb, strymon dig + big sky. the octatrack is essentially a midi sequencing hub. my main DAW is ableton live. anything involving video is scored with logic. my fav VST is still NI’s reaktor. there’s very little it can’t do. the elektron analog rytm is the greatest drum machine ever made, bar none. + i’ve used many.
How you came to the Synthwave Scene? How was the idea/project behind MAKE UP AND VANITY SET born?
makeup + vanity set started in 2004. my college work was all based in synthesis. during school i made heaps of IDM music. the first couple things i did as MAVS were a transition out of that. the things that started to really click into place were probably the first charles park record. at the time DFA + ed banger were starting to happen. all of that music was really aggressive + new. i think never let go was the first conscious decision to use cassette tapes as part of the aesthetic + the sound / mastering. synthwave wasn’t really a think at that point. people didn’t start using that label until valerie started showing up online. around the same time i made a record called [88:88]. all of that stuff seemed to happen at the same time.
Is there some Synthwave/Dark Synth Artist you would love to collab/work?
i’d love to do something with steve moore.
If you could choose one film director to make a music video for you who could that be?
in the last few years i’ve really had the chance to realize there are loads of visual directors that i’d love to work with. i got to score a short for anthony scott burns / pilotpriest. i collaborated with saman kesh on hit tv. i scored + mixed a film for caspar newbolt. i’m always working with joey ciccoline on something. i’d like to make something with ash thorp. i think his instincts are always fresh. his stuff always has so much happening but without feeling cluttered.
What are your favourite Movie flicks or Video Games?
i’m currently playing resident evil 7 on PSVR + it’s ruining my life. nothing else like that. i can’t look away. the last great film i saw was knight of cups – terrence malick. i’m always behind.
DC or Marvel? Star Wars or Star Trek? Fulci or Romero? And why?
comic book movies are almost unwatchable to me now. they’ve just saturated that market with so much garbage that i can’t get pumped about it anymore.
star wars. empire changed my life as a kid, for sure.
love both but neither. dario argento all the way.
You played some live shows, what was the coolest/most rad moment on tour?
i started 2017 at MAGFest + it was pretty special. it was the first, major visual show with joey [ciccoline] running the laser. there were maybe 3000 kids in there. during death laser i looked out + saw three people in giant inflatable t-rex costumes slam dancing to the music. that was insane + wonderful.
What was the best or worst thing as on tour and do you have a crazy funny tour story to tell?
the best thing about touring is the weird pacing of everything. i just sort of happen to be there until the moment i get on stage + put on the mask + do my thing. then i take the mask off + i wander off. that’s freeing in a lot of ways. the worst thing about touring is food. i’m an eternal trail of garbage when i’m on tour because it’s all rest stops + fast food. it’s miserable.
Before going on stage, how do you warm up and get in the right mood for a show?
i usually just find a space to myself off to the side of the stage + stretch a lot. i usually drink a few beers + try not to think about it too much. that’s a good place to not get into your own head.
You released your new Album Chrome (Data052) few weeks ago and its a epic album. Are you working on new music? A new ep? A new Album? Or other projects youre involved in?
thank you! right now i’m working on a new album that will hopefully be done this year. it’s a full length. i can’t talk much about it. i’m working on another EP for data airlines. i’m perpetually working on a full length album with jasmin kaset, who has sung on the last two records i put out. we’ve got a full album of tracks together that’s pretty great. trying not to rush that. i’m curating a couple soundtracks. + there are always films in production that i’m in various stages of work on. feature films are a long process. none of that makes any sense to me. i just show up + watch the final thing + react. my part is so small in all of that.