I got in touch with KRISTINE a day or two after my old friend Mindscramble showed me her SoundCloud. Kristine's style is straight 80s-- when I first listened I wasn't sure if this was someone's old cassette tape and they were messing with everyone on SoundCloud. After listening to the tracks, I fell in love with her sound, and unfortunately at the moment she doesn't have a Twitter, otherwise I think this would have circled extensively in vintage crowds already.
I'm really in awe that all this vintage 80s synth goodness comes from a girl who's new to electronic music and using only a Micro Korg. Check out my interview below with Kristine and listen to her lovely tracks above, below, and on her SoundCloud.
Hey Kristine! Thanks for joining me for the blog. Tell me a bit about yourself. When did you get started making music?
Hello and thanks a lot for the invite!
I started out when I was 12 when I discovered an old guitar my dad had in the closet, I was listening to rock so it only made sense to grab it and try to play. Thankfully my parents let me take lessons right away with an awesome hard rock/heavy metal guitar teacher, while my brother took drum lessons, so we bought instruments, turned the garage into a studio and played every day. During that time, I had always been writing ideas on cassette tapes etc but proper recordings started a few years later when my brother went on to become an audio engineer. He showed me some basics on sound and that’s when I started recording on my own, tracks I’d written for fun, then tracks for the band I had for a while and from some point on just my solo tracks alone and I haven’t stopped since!
Your songs have an incredible vintage quality to them, I really feel like I've just put on a record from the 80s, whereas a lot of other artists only get about 80% there. Who are your influences?
Thank you so much! Truth is, I haven’t been listening to much else other than the 80’s these last years. I absolutely love rock bands like Toto, Survivor, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Van Halen, Journey, Bad English, Then Jericho, etc., also those great male artists with the incredible voices like Phil Collins, John Farnham, Daryl Braithewaite, Tim Feehan, Christopher Cross, Peter Cetera, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Don Henley, etc. and certainly all the women who truly sang or played their own music like Fleetwood Mac, Heart, The Bangles, Debbie Gibson, Roxette, Robin Beck, Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Belinda Carlisle, Pat Benatar, Cindy Lauper, Whitney Houston, all of them.. and soundtracks, definitely soundtracks! Top Gun and Dirty Dancing, Rocky, Cocktail- I will never get tired of them.
What is your production set up like? What software are you using?
It’s very basic because despite doing this for a few years now, I’m technically an amateur and do things by ear and trial and error mostly. So I’ve been using Cubase on a PC since it is simple enough for my limited abilities, with the help of a few plug-ins from Waves (especially the Renaissance series & the Diamond Bundle) and of T-Racks and Wavelab, with which I master what I can. Other than that, I have an old Digidesign sound card, some old big Sansui wooden speakers we had from back in the day, a couple of AKG mics, my favorite Fender guitar and a few others, amps, a borrowed Line 6 pod, the bass and drums which I haven’t been using lately at all (but I do plan to get back to real drums on future tracks) and an irrelevant but mostly adorable ukulele!
What are you using for hardware or software synths?
A Micro Korg synth is all I got, everything you hear comes from there. I don’t know how to use software synths unfortunately; I just got into electronic music last year so I still haven’t figured out what’s going on exactly with all this great equipment and sounds everyone else seems to be using, so I just do things the only way I know how, play the instrument and record in audio.
How do you typically start a track?
I usually know from before what type of song I want it to be, so I have a picture in my mind and I try to stay focused on that. So I start right at the start, with something simple played either on synth or guitar and I build it from there, trying out vocal melodies in my mind at the same time with writing the music and just changing everything until they both come together. It just kind of comes to me. But it always has to have a nice melody throughout and a chorus as good as I can possibly find!
Who are your favorite producers today?
Diamond Cut, Anoraak, Grum, Fear of Tigers- that clean, huge type of production, also all Swedish rock and metal producers are the best for that style (like the band Work Of Art) and other than that from mainstream I really love HURTS sound. And Ladyhawke, she’s very cool.
If someone gave you a blank check for a studio, what's the first thing you would buy?
A vintage synth!
What are your plans as an artist? Are you working on a record, trying to get signed, anything like that?
I’ve just released my first single on Mullet Records this week, with a new side project called Flamingo Drive, featuring remixes by FM Attack and Estate. After that I have a couple of other collaborations with different producers ready to be released in the next months and even more on the works. Surely though, at some point what I’d most like to do is focus on writing new songs and finding that ideal production, as to release my own single, EP or whole album when I can!