Synthwave is a nostalgic, largely instrumental genre of electronic music. We provided a three-part guide to synthwave here. In a new series, we look at songs that have defined the genre and interview the creators behind them.
‘Cracked Plate’ is absolutely sublime. A tight four minutes of kooky melodies and springy synth bass, it is the debut single from You Drive. There is a spit-shined gleam to ‘Cracked Plate’ that avoids the lo-fi crackle that many synthwave producers emulate, instead opting for the sort of thick-souning, icy sheen of Com Truise. Add to that the spritely vocals of Jasmin Kaset (cassette? if only), whose lyrics pop with idiosyncrasies.
You Drive is Makeup and Vanity Set and Jasmin Kaset, and their self-titled debut is due next week. We spoke to the band and Michael Eades, head of YK Records, about the song and the forthcoming LP.
How did the You Drive collaboration come about?
ME: Makeup and Vanity Set and Jasmin Kaset have collaborated a few times in the past on previous MAVS releases – see ‘Hand in Hand’ from Wilderness or Homecoming from 88:88 – and simply decided to try making an entire record together.
What is the division of labour as regards who writes the music / lyrics?
ME: To create the tracks for the album, Pusti wrote instrumental tracks with Kaset’s lyrical and vocal talents in mind. Kaset created a mood board centered around discussions that the duo had about their shared goal of keeping the album present, grounded, and centered around universal themes.
She then composed lyrics and vocal melodies for the tracks, which she would send back to Pusti as voice memos. Pusti then made changes to the instrumentals to better fit the vocals. Only then did they meet in the studio to record the final version of the tracks.
Is ‘Cracked Plate’ about a break-up or a make-up, or something else entirely?
MAVS: ‘Cracked Plate’ is about a love affair with Swamp Thing. Jasmin’s lyrics are never about what you think they are…
(we prefer The Toxic Avenger, but each to their own)
How does this song fit into the wider LP?
MAVS: The goal was to make a complete, connected set of songs about how complicated love is, in a fleeting sense. The songs all had that starting point.
Is You Drive a large departure from previous projects?
ME: Sort of! Both artists on their own create music that is similar to the work of You Drive – Makeup and Vanity Set working largely in electronic composition, and Kaset often writing character driven narratives – but it’s not a wild departure from what they do individually; it just works quite well together.
When is the album out and what is it going to sound like?
ME: The album comes out August 3rd, 2018 on limited edition white vinyl (designed by Caspar Newbolt at Version Industries with photography by Jeff Brown) and on all streaming platforms. On the whole, it sounds similar to ‘Cracked Plate’ in that all of the songs fit into that same genre.
Read our prior Secrets of Synth with Dana Jean Phoenix here.