Back in the 80’s I played guitar and synthesizers in a band in San Francisco. We played mostly at The Hotel Utah, but other more divy bars in the SF Bay Area. I lived in SF between 1984 and 1994 – what I consider a real hey day and so much better than when the first “dot con” ruined the city – which happened in the late 90’s.
Anyway, between 1987 and 1991 I travelled to Europe a fair amount on business (mainly Gupta Technologies) and visited quite a few places in the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and two other cities Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Helsinki (Finland).
That travel ended my musical escapades and I switched to photography – and had visited several of the Dada-ist and Surrealist “old haunts” in Europe. I had quite a few black and white shows in San Francisco at cafes and even a bar or two. I hung out at Cafe Soma and Brainwash back before SOMA was completely ruined.
The synthesizers I had in the 80’s were Roland, EMU, Casio and Korg. I see these fetch a big price as collectors items. Back then, you kind of had to declare that you were a synth band or a guitar band. As 80’s punk and new wave was supposed to be liberating, new and “free form”, it really wasn’t. There were standouts and strange bands who were very cutting edge – like Wire, New Order, Cabaret Voltaire or Tuxedomoon, and then there were synth band wannabes. Some guitar bands were less avant garde, but excellent, like The Feelies. There were excellent pop bands too – it was a great “gateway drug” of pop music that paved the way to the 90’s.
At that time I was listening to Jazz and Classical a LOT, and I was introduced to these fabulous genres as I sat in my favorite cafes pretty much every day.
My favorite rock decade was the 90’s. The different styles started making sense – grunge, rap and especially rap-rock (Beasty Boys, etc), and many other melding of styles. It wasn’t as artsy or pretentious as the 80’s.
In the last decade or perhaps two – there has been a new generation of styles influenced by the 80’s and 90’s, and one area that is perhaps the most exciting is the electronic music genre, that has all kinds of interesting elements. I think the rave scene and rap scene and its melding is just super cool.
I’m changing the name of this blog because several songs ago – “Synthetique” was an eye opener. I first changed the name to Kabarette Synthetik, but then got a new idea for scoring dadaist music for a creepy puppet theatre. I have only gotten back into music this past year, and it took a year to get a new direction artistically. Consider my past year as learning time – and a reawakening.
Because I’ve traced my German roots back to 1500, where the Holoch family has always resided along The Neckar River and valleys near Stuttgart. My Mothers side of the family were / are Cockneys from Bow and Hammersmith. I plan on learning German and doing my creepy puppet shows in German.
Recently I Re-introduced synthesizers in my songs, and WOW, not only is the technology so much better than the 80’s (you can keep those old synths), the re-imagined versions of those synths (Arturia V Collection 8) plus hybrid digital analogue and even cheesy little “toys” like Korg Volcas are all superb. I have watched what the trip hop and other rave electronic music artists have done, and yeah, this is so much better than the 80’s. What I mean by this is the use of synths in music that sounds like it goes all the way back to the real visionaries – Kraftwerk.
Back in the 80’s I wanted my band to be like R.E.M. or XTC, but we fell short. We always got gigs and our (cassette) demo tapes were played on College Radio and we were reviewed in several musical publications. The best review was “These guys are weird, but not weird enough”. I never was offended because that was the truth.
Thankfully, I’m old enough to give no mind to being cool and I feel more freedom than when I was in my 20’s.
I’m hoping an sort of Euro-cafe-synth-stringed-pop style emerges. I’m liking the recent stuff where I do spoken word up front then its just instrumental music. In my mind I hope it sounds like a new sort of Cafe music – something weird, but not weird enough …..