Part 2 of Vehlinggo’s series on Forêt de Vin is a quick Q&A with the enigmatic Swedish duo, who released their first single a month ago.
For Part 1, check out the review of their exquisite second and latest single, “Carol,” which as I said a few days ago is “an almost perfect facsimile of every single element of a pop song from 1988, even though [Forêt de Vin] are ostensibly modern humans living in this modern world.”
In this interview, the duo talk about how and why they decided to go down the retro route they did, about the response they’ve been getting after barely being a month into the project, and about the Swedish synthwave/retrowave scene, among other things. [Editor’s Note: This email interview was edited for grammar and style, but is otherwise intact.]
Vehlinggo: Who are you? Are you one person or more than one? Is it true that you’re from Stockholm? If you’re not sharing who you are, when will we know?
Forêt de Vin: We are Forêt de Vin. We are two guys in our late 20s living in Stockholm, Sweden. We might show our faces someday, but when is still the question. Everybody loves a mystery.
Why’d you choose to make 80s music? Also, what’s your musical background?
Because of our love for synthesizers, cheesy vocals, and reverb. We want to do authentic 80s pop music without a modern touch. We want our music to sound like the songs the record company forgot to release 30 years ago.
Growing up in Sweden in different cities, we both played all kind of musical styles and instruments in various constellations. We met a couple of years ago and found out that we shared the same passion for 80s music. Daytime we both work in the music business as writers and producers. Night time, we tune our synthesizers and play beautiful chords with a lot of reverb.
How are you able to achieve such an authentic 80s sound?
We only use hardware. Not because you have to — I mean, of course you can get it to sound 80s with software too — we just do it because we own a lot of synths and stuff. The mixing also plays a very big part in our sound. The mix is supposed to sound like it’s 30 years old. No autotune, no cool FX, no sidechain compression. 🙂 [Editor’s Note: Typical synthwave has a ton of side-chain compression, which gives cuts a pumping quality. It’s probably the French Touch influence.]
I hear Boy Meets Girl, Richard Marx, and even Steve Perry’s solo work (esp. “Oh Sherrie”) in your music. Who are your influences?
A-ha, Kenny Loggins, Cyndi Lauper, Lionel Richie, Richard Marx (with fewer guitars) to name a few.
How do you feel about the buzz surrounding “Carol”? I know that your first single also had buzz, but “Carol” is attracting even more, seemingly.
Just fantastic! We didn’t expect this kind of response. Two very happy Swedes!
What are your future plans? Are you going to release anything in digital stores? An EP, an LP?! Have you been approached by anyone interested in licensing your music?
We don’t know what the future has in store, but one thing’s for sure: More music is coming. We have been contacted by different labels and right now we’re discussing our options.
What is your philosophical approach to creating your music? And what does your music do for you — emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, etc.
To have fun. Never force anything. If we don’t have a song when we leave the studio, no problem! Then we do it the next day. We put a lot of effort in every song to make it just like we think 80s music sounds like. That includes carefully choosing of chords, melodies, sounds — you name it.
A lot of people talk about AOR and studio musicians when they listen to our stuff. That’s good! Maybe this is because of the ”perfectly” played instruments, the ”perfect” and smooth mix combined with the cheesy lyrics.
How connected to the Swedish Synthwave scene are you? Sweden has produced several big retrosynth artists, including Mitch Murder, Lost Years, and Sally Shapiro to name just a small few. If you aren’t connected personally, did they influence you?
We’re very new on this scene. Perhaps we get to know these guys and girls soon? At least we hope so! We love working with other people. Mitch Murder was one of the first synthwave artists we listened to and he actually inspired us to give it a go. Also, after watching the Kung Fury trailer we knew this was something we wanted to continue doing.