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#Synthfam Interview: Palm Lakes

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


Tim and Ian Hardwick are synthwave producers under the Palm Lakes moniker. They create music that combines '80s synth sounds, vocal melodies and infectious hooks. In an email, Tim told me about how they got started making music, their approach to music creation and their latest single Satellite.

Karl Magi: How did you both get passionate about creating music in the first place?

Tim Hardwick: We’re brothers, and our parents had a great record collection - Our Mum’s was more Jim Diamond and Tina Turner, and our Dad’s was more towards Huey Lewis & The News & Journey. For Christmas when we were around 9 or 10 years old we got a drum kit and guitar, and wrote our first song that day - It’s called Keep Your Head Down If You Wanna Go Home - quite a political song for young kids, and it’s awful.

KM: What are the elements and sounds that drew you towards making synthwave music?

TH: We grew up on and love '80s music, and that's never wavered as we started playing in rock bands and going on tour. We always had '80s elements in our songs, so hearing early synthwave and retrowave was inspiring for us, and Palm Lakes was born.

KM: Who are your creative inspirations?

TH: It begins and ends with Phil Collins. There are also so many others, from A-Ha & Tear For Fears to synthwave artists like Foret De Vin, but big Phil C is king.

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KM: Tell me more about how you create new music.

TH: All our songs start on acoustic guitar and are fully written that way. We’re big on vocal melodies, so the songs are based around a hook or a chorus. We live in the south of Taiwan, and we’re very lucky to make a living writing music for TV, movies and many other projects, so we have a studio here and can demo and then fully record the Palm Lakes material.

KM: Where did the idea for Satellite come from and how did you go about creating the track?

TH: Satellite was different as we started with the verse melody, and we didn’t have a chorus at first. We were going over and over it, and then one day I said, "Why don’t we try something like this?” and just played it right off the top of my head. It's pretty weird how songwriting can happen like that!

KM: What does the future hold for Palm Lakes as a musical project?

TH: We already have another track that we’re storyboarding a video for at the moment, and we’ve just recorded a 3rd that will actually come out before that. Then the next stage will be to finish an EP, and actively shop that to companies for release.

KM: Give me your views about the #synthfam and the synthwave scene?

TH: It’s great to see such a vibrant and supportive scene. I think the fact that everyone is coming from similar interests and influences really helps, and there is some great music being made.

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