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What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come tobe in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.

One of my best friends in high school was a bit of a showoff on the piano. He not only played flashy pieces, but wrote songs for girls. That was all the inspiration I needed to get started with piano lessons. Over time I got involved with the drumline, jazz band, and eventually went on to get a degree in piano performance.

I always knew I wanted to make records, not become a concert pianist, so immediately upon graduation I started writing songs for what would become the first Color Theory album. Now I’m ready to release my 11th.

Provide us with some info about your latest release…

These days successful songs are getting shorter and shorter, with intros under 5 seconds, due to what has been dubbed the “Spotify effect.”

So I threw all that out the window and wrote a concept album! It’s called Lucky Ago and I’m planning to release it in October.

It’s a set of dark synthwave songs, each one dealing with a different superstition. I documented the creation process over a series of nine chapters, compiled into an article called. Why and How I Made My Supernatural Synthwave Album.

Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?

I grew up on Depeche Mode, Cure, Smiths, and later fell in love with David Sylvian. His album Secrets of the Beehive is my all-time favorite.

Outside of music, I can’t say I have a good handle on what influences me. I watch a lot of anime, yet I have yet to write a song about confessing to my senpai. So I guess I have to fall back on “life” — relationships, difficulties, aspirations, and cleaning the toilet.

In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?

Lucky Ago is my second synthwave album, after The Majesty of Our Broken Past. The album before that, Adjustments, blended synthpop with EDM elements. Its predecessor The Sound was closer to The Postal Service.

And there were seven before that! While my sound has evolved, the common threads are synthesizers and piano.

I’d say the thing that most distinguishes my music, for better or worse, is my voice. I’ve always been compared to Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, though I don’t hear that as much these days. Either you love it or you hate it!

Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…

I’m not going to think too hard about this, or it’ll take a whole weekend:

David Sylvian “Secrets of the Beehive”
Depeche Mode “Violator”
The Cure “Disintegration”

The first one I already mentioned, and the others are so obvious I’m embarrassed.

Movies are tough. I only consume them once, as a rule. So I’m going to go with recent anime stuff I love:

Your Name
A Silent Voice
Liz and the Blue Bird

Books are a little easier, since I can refer to my Kindle library:

Assassin’s Apprentice
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Elephant in the Brain

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Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?

Easy, studio. I haven’t performed since the turn of the century. To be honest, I never really enjoyed it.

Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?

At the risk of boring anyone who’s even vaguely familiar with Color Theory…

Back in the Napster era, my song “Ponytail Girl” spread like wildfire, mislabeled as a Depeche Mode b-side from their then upcoming album. It was leaked from a bonus EP I had released with holiday orders, and not formally released yet. Try as I might, I couldn’t convince people that the song was mine, because my voice was so similar to Martin Gore’s.

It went on to be featured on bootleg compilations all over the world, and inspired me to release my Depeche Mode tribute album Color Theory presents Depeche Mode.

Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?

I’m certainly not the first to do this, but I took a page from my high school friend’s handbook and wrote a song to propose to my wife. It’s called “The Perfect Song” and it’s not as braggy as you might expect from the title, which I’ll prove via a lyric excerpt:

I love you more than I can ever express
In anything but the perfect song
That’s why it breaks my heart to tell it to you
In anything but the perfect song

Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?

Since the album is done done DONE(!) I want to focus on collaborations and maybe a few covers before starting another.

Speaking of which, I’ve been working on a covers album with trance producer Matt Mancid for years now. We released our first single (Pet Shop Boys “Rent”) back in 2013, and I’m just today recording vocals for the 12th song. So I suppose that’s due for an early 2020 release.

Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…

How do you promote your music?
I do anything and everything, and write about it in my music promotion blog, Passive Promotion (http://passivepromotion.com). I also put out a monthly email newsletter called How I’m Promoting My Music This Month (https://mailchi.mp/colortheory/musicpromo).
Photo credits: Kremer Johnson

Curated by: Christos Doukakis

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