One Hollywood screenwriter — who has co-written Marvel films and other fine fare — called FM-84’s 2016 album Atlas “pure pop pleasure.” FM-84’s a big draw when he performs live. His music has millions of streams on Spotify. But just who is FM-84, an artist Vehlinggo first featured in early 2015?
You’re here because you’ve heard FM-84’s synthwave music and love it. You want to know more about it and the artist.
You’re in luck, because Vehlinggo has written a lot about the San Francisco-based FM-84 (AKA Col Bennett). There’s a lot to learn. Let’s start with most recent updates and then get into the interviews, reviews, and other articles.
What’s FM-84 Been Up to Most Recently?
September 2020: FM-84 released a Top Gun-influenced instrumental he’d been sitting for for a few years. “Maverick” comes bundled with 2016 demos of “Atlas” and “Fade” — which ultimately became “Running in the Night” — and a 2011 demo called “Breathe.”
September 2020: FM-84 offered an update on plans for 2021 and 2022.
April 2020: Did you catch FM-84’s set during The Midnight’s One Beating Heart livestream?
As of June 2019: He’s currently on tour on select North American dates with singer and frequent collaborator Ollie Wride
On Feb. 14, 2019, FM-84 released “Bend & Break,” his first single in more than a year. FM-84 also just finished a four-date mini-tour in the fall of 2018. Details in the image below.
The show was fantastic. For photos, peruse the album on Vehlinggo’s Facebook page.
At SXSW in March 2018, Bennett DJed at a Ready Player One event.
On Nov. 19, 2017, Bennett was a guest on a one-off Vehlinggo podcast, discussing everything from his career to the synthwave scene to anecdotes about performing live. He also discussed the future of FM-84.
On Nov. 18, 2017, FM-84 did a double-bill show with The Midnight at The Globe in Los Angeles.
FM-84’s most recent release is “Never Stop,” a single with Wride (who previously performed on”Running in the Night,” “Don’t Want to Change Your Mind, “Wild Ones”).
Also recently, Josep & Kane remixed “Running in the Night” for an Anjunabeats compilation curated by Grum.
Before that, he teased two works-in-progress, “Maverick” and “Radio,” featuring Josh Dally. Listen below.
FM-84 also announced and quickly sold out an initial vinyl pressing of Atlas via Electronic Purification Records. There was a repress, but it sold out quickly. If you want either variant, it will cost you.
Vehlinggo Has Several Articles on the Duo
Perhaps you’re interested to know that Zack Stentz, a writer of Thor, X-Men: First Class, the upcoming Top Gun sequel, The Flash TV show, and a cascade of awesome sci-fi shows (Andromeda!) is a huge FM-84 fan? The interview with Stentz will tell you all about his love for FM-84 and retro-inspired synth-pop/synthwave.
In March 2015 Aaron Vehling interviewed FM-84 (before Wride was an official member) when the artist was first getting his start (and followed it up with a 45-minute podcast interview segment in November 2017). Aaron also reviewed several FM-84 releases, including the Los Angeles EP, 2016’s Atlas LP, 2017’s “Never Stop,” and 2019’s “Bend & Break.”
Here’s some of what Vehlinggo wrote about Atlas:
There are upbeat and intricate instrumentals that recall Tycho, and pop hits that recall the best of mid- to late-1980s synthpop and blue-eyed R&B. For the latter he collaborated with the likes of British retrosynth singer/songwriter Ollie Wride and When In Rome’s Clive Farrington, co-writer of the hit “The Promise.”
The Wride collaboration “Don’t Want to Change Your Mind” is the highlight of Atlas. The massive, slow-burning pop/R&B number is a hook-laden cut largely reminiscent of the 80s work of artists such as Human League, Breathe, and Lionel Richie, but as it progresses there are shades of M83 amid the transcendent synths of 80s-era Starship.
There was also that time Aaron interviewed Bennett about his plans for performing live.
Aaron also ended up feeling inspired by the massive, galactic quality of FM-84’s and others’ music and wrote about that.