A Quick Q&A with 80s Retrosynther Lost Years

Photo Credit: Lost Years
Photo Credit: Lost Years

“…What the hell do I know? I just hit 40 and am old.”

Lost Years, one of the handful of Sweden’s synthwave pioneers, has had a busy year.

Most recently, his work has shown up on Amazon’s popular 80s-themed TV show, Red Oaks, where he is joined by friends and colleagues Mitch Murder, FM Attack, Soviet, Betamaxx, Arcade High, and Miami Nights 1984.

Earlier this year, he had great synthy cuts featured in the meme-orific 80s retro satire flick Kung Fury, now on Netflix, and its soundtrack, released by Universal Music.

The Rosso Corsa-affiliated Lost Years (AKA Magnus Larsson) took some time to do a quick Q&A with Vehlinggo, as this big year comes to a close. He touches on the reality of having a great professional year, while having a tough one personally. He also talks about getting old, his devoted fans, and using Ableton in a live setting. Anything that has been edited has been touched up for clarity or style.

Vehlinggo: This has been a big year for you —­­ Kung Fury, Red Oaks, anything else I’m missing. What do you think of it all? Is getting this kind of attention everything you’d hoped for?

Larsson: 2015 has been a great ride for ”the artist” Lost Years. Not so much for me on a private/personal level, which among other things has made it hard to write new material.

Anyway, getting your music featured in Kung Fury and Red Oaks, and having some of your tracks released on vinyl at the Universal Music label feels great! I’m also very grateful to have fans that actually pay for my music. 

Vehlinggo: What’s the difference between the perceived value of your being a part of Kung Fury to how really it affected you? Do you have similar expectations with Amazon?

Larsson: Exposure for Lost Years through Kung Fury has been awesome. In the case of Red Oaks, I guess only the most hardcore fans will ever notice that my music is in there. [Editor’s Note: It’s a piece called “Breeze” and it’s featured in the sixth episode.]

I really loved the show. I think it did a good job capturing the heart of the 80s. It feels even nicer to see that almost all of my musician friends from the time back when we started this scene have their music included as well. “The circle is closed,” so to speak.

Vehlinggo: What are you working on right now?

Lost Years' Prophet 6. Photo Credit: Lost Years.
Lost Years’ Prophet 6. Photo Credit: Lost Years.

Larsson: I’m struggling with finishing my upcoming EP (or album) — trying new synths and hardware to find inspiration. Hopefully, there will be a release in late December.

Vehlinggo: How has “the scene” changed since you first started making 80s-­inspired synth music?

Larsson: Well, there has been an explosion of new artists — a lot of them very good. Today, the kids call it ”Synthwave,” I think?

Vehlinggo: What’s next for you? What’s next for the scene?

Larsson: I’m trying to finishing the EP/album. It would also be great trying to get my music featured in some games, as I am a great gaming enthusiast as well.

Actually, my track ”West Side Lane” was going to be included in Hotline Miami 2. However ”some guy” called David Sandberg asked me some years ago if he could use that track in some trailer he was working on. I said, “Yes, go ahead.”

Well, when that trailer exploded some years later on the internet, that track got forever associated with Kung Fury. Thereby the track was excluded from Hotline Miami 2, which I fully understand.

What’s next for the scene? I don’t know. It’s great to see that some artists are taking it live, playing for live audiences (and actually playing some instruments!). Since I’m kinda old school, I could never see myself pressing a button in Ableton Live bent over a fucking Macbook. But what the hell do I know? I just hit 40 and am old.

Vehlinggo: Which philosophy or set of beliefs governs your life?

Larsson: “I feel it closing in…”

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