INTRO BY KAT VISTI
INTERVIEW BY CAMI LIBERTY
Sunset Neon recently released his debut album Starlight on December 1st. This is a project with multi-genre musician and producer Bret Autrey, whom of which is widely known for his time as Blue Stahli. Sunset Neon came about because Bret wanted to get more of that 80's nostalgia as well as combine multiple genres together that he added into Blue Stahli's sound. We recently caught up with with Bret to find out more about his music and what's next in store for Sunset Neon.
Recently you made the transition from rock to electronic. What would you say was the biggest challenge for the change?
BRET: "Well, even though my other project Blue Stahli has quite a lot of rock elements in the vocal albums, it’s always been an electronic project at its core. Some tracks have been purely electronic and are full of strange cinematic sound design, while production of the heaviest rock tracks are approached like I was putting together an electronic track. Chopping up guitar takes and treating them like samples, drums made from one shot drum machine samples, chopped up breakbeats, masses of synths and fx chaos everywhere. Sunset Neon was my way to go even further in the purely electronic direction and explore the dreamier indie pop aspects. I’d say the biggest challenge was in allowing myself to fully go down that road and not feel the need to introduce the darker elements that pepper a lot of Blue Stahli material during songwriting."
Even though the genres are vastly different, do you find any similarities between them when creating new music?
BRET: "Absolutely. While the sounds are completely divergent, I put them all together in the same way. Chopped up bits, blown out drum machines, strange synthesis and sample manipulation, etc. The process is exactly the same, except there wasn’t as much of a guitar focus for these tracks (except for the song Tonight, which has an avalanche of guitar stuff and action movie solos)."
You recently released your new album Starlight on December 1st. Can you tell us a little about it?
BRET: “Starlight is made to be the lost soundtrack to your favorite obscure straight-to-video VHS movie that was then sampled from warped video tapes and well worn cassettes into a glitching sampler then reconstructed through the lens of nu disco and lo-fi french house."
What song of yours do you think best represents you as an artist?
BRET: "That’s tough to pick since Starlight mixes a lot of genres together to create the VHS nostalgia pop that Sunset Neon is aiming for. Offhand, I’d say You Are the Sun for the way it blends lo-fi dreamy indiepop with flashes of nu disco production and some strange sample mangling."
How did you come up with the name ‘Sunset Neon’? Did it take a long time to decide?
BRET: "That was actually the fastest part. It all came about after I made a song called Sunset Neon under my Blue Stahli project that was a mix of 80s-influenced indie electronic and nu disco. I immediately wanted to do a full album of tracks in that style and realized I had a few others that never quite fit being Blue Stahli songs. So naming this project after the Blue Stahli song that’s already released and floating around out there is a way to not only give a nod to Sunset Neon’s genesis, but also link the two projects together in a fun way so if someone is searching for more Sunset Neon, they might stumble onto an entire range of albums from the same guy in an even weirder range of genres."
Is there anything else that we can expect from you in the near future?
BRET: "I have a big cinematic movie trailer-style cover of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell coming out as a single from Blue Stahli. I wrapped up a big monster of a remix for one artist that should be out soon and am about to kick in on a remix for another awesome band. The next Blue Stahli album is already demo’ed out and you can expect regular singles from that project to be hitting on a consistent basis. In addition to those Blue Stahli singles that will soon be popping up, I have some awesome ideas for more Sunset Neon music that you’ll be hearing soon as well! There were tracks I just ran out of time to include on the album, so there’s just a hell of a lot more music coming your way."