Synthwave is a nostalgic, largely instrumental genre of electronic music. We provided a three-part guide to synthwave here. In a new weekly series, we look at songs that have defined the genre and interview the creators behind them.
‘We Lost’ is a very special song. There is no synth song quite like it, and while the production and structure of Anoraak is chirpy and upbeat, the vocals of Slow Shiver are devastating. This is like a blend of synth music and soul, and while that sounds like a fundamentally bad idea, here it works beautifully. We spoke to Anoraak (aka Frédéric Rivière) and Slow Shiver (Valente to his friends) about how this wonderful little song came to be.
1. How did you get into synth music?
FR: “Well I feel like I kind of grew up with synth music in a way, but I really got into it in the early 2000’s, when rock bands brought synths back into their music.”
2. How did you come to write ‘We Lost’?
FR: “Long story! A few years ago I remixed a track for a Los Angeles artist known as Valente (the Distant Lights), we never met at the time. He loved my work, we started to talk, then met while I was in LA, and finally became very close friends.
A couple of years after, he had started this new project named Slow Shiver, and I had this track I was working on. I was not really feeling the vocal part. I asked him to give writing lyrics a shot and singing on it, and he came up with what’s now ‘We Lost’.”
Slow Shiver explains:
SS: “I was going through a breakup right before I met Anoraak, one of those rough breakups. When he asked me to write for the song which eventually became ‘We Lost’, it was during that period where you wonder what happened, so the lyrics were about that moment in my life; viewing the breakup in retrospect and trying to see what went wrong.
Like everyone else, it takes some time to get your balance back after sharing your life with someone and this song to me is about that process of making this mental inventory of what took place, and how now you’ll never know what could have been.
It’s always easy to see what the other person did, but it often becomes more elusive to understand what might have been your own wrongdoing, and whether that triggered the slow domino effect of it all.
I named it ‘We Lost’ almost as a challenge to how things felt around me during those days and at times even now. The strong emphasis on always being positive and trying to glaze over everything with the idea of “everything is just great”.
I think it has almost made taboo the feeling of being vulnerable, admitting that something didn’t work, being heart broken about the reality of love ending. It’s as if we don’t feel as free to just be down, and reflect on things, at times. I wanted this to be an ode to that feeling.”
3. It’s a really unique sound, like a blend of synth music and soul. Was it a challenge to make it work?
FR: “Not really, as the music was 90% done when I sent it to Slow Shiver, and his vocals took it to a higher level. Then I just had to finish the production, it was quite a smooth process.”
4. Slow Shiver’s voice is incredible – how was it working with him?
FR: “As I explained earlier, as long as I was not feeling like singing on that track, I thought about him because of his particular voice and way of laying it down on the music. And it worked instantly!”
5. If this could be the soundtrack of any 80s movie, which one would it be?
FR: “I’d say Risky Business probably :).”