Meet Mega Drive, The Anonymous Local Producer Behind Your Ready-Made Halloween Soundtrack.
In July of 2012, a local producer by the name of Mega Drive rather nondescriptly posted a seven-song batch of '80s-influenced and largely instrumental electronic cuts to Bandcamp — the first collection he'd ever worked on.
The tracks didn't necessarily receive too much attention then — still haven't, really — but the collection, released rather appropriately under the '80s-referencing album title banner VHS, boasted a definite allure all the same. They're dark, tense and moody, they're unapologetically futuristic and, most of all, they're just so undeniably cool. Better yet, they turned out to be just the start, setting the table for what has turned out to be a rather interesting and now four-album-deep catalog from an anonymous, Dallas-dwelling mastermind with a uniquely dystopian aesthetic.
Here's what's known about Mega Drive, which isn't much: He lives in the area, he's obsessed with the '80s, and, before making the music he's now making, he was in a local metal outfit that broke up last year.
That's pretty much it.
But with the release of a new, three-song, perfect-for-Halloween-listening album just last week, the producer agreed to answer a few questions for us this week over Facebook chat about his mysterious past, his as-yet-undetermined future and his love for all things dark and '80s-inclined. Hit play on the below embed to hear his scary good new album, called 3:33, and click the “download” button to make the tracks available for your Halloween party playlist needs.
Then scroll down and check out our Q&A with the producer while you listen. You'll be glad you did.
First of all, respecting the anonymity you wish to maintain, what can you tell us about your background and how Mega Drive came to be?
Mega Drive started last summer upon first hearing the song “Nightforce” by the legendary electronic duo Power Glove. But its origins stemmed further back to around 2007. During that time, I started a little Daft Punk-influenced electronic project. I dabbled with different types of sounds and synths and just overall experimented. At the time, I was also in a metal band, which was at the forefront of my musical endeavors. Eventually, though, like all things, that dissolved. What I had left was my electronic project. But after making one EP, I fell out of love with it. I was lost, direction-less, with no theme or structure to guide the music. That was until I stumbled upon, Power Glove and “Nightforce.” It inspired me. To me, it was simple yet extremely effective. Even though only about half of my childhood was in the '80s, I still felt connected to that era. It was a time of comfort and joy — a sense of being carefree and having no knowledge of the harsh realities of the “adult world”. So I decided to try my hand at creating a song in the vein of what the vision of the future seen in the 1980s would be and made my first song, “Neo Tokyo 2019”. And the rest, as they say, is history.
That's a lot of inspiration from a single song.
[Laughs.] Yes, I guess it was! I basically thought to myself, however naive I was at the time, “Hey, I could do that!” Luckily for me, it turns out I was OK at it. It was this '80s theme that guided the music that I had found, which helped me.
You mentioned the futuristic '80s vibe. I know of at least a couple other acts of the day — Survive and Makeup & Vanity Set immediately come to mind — that revel in similar territories. How familiar are you with these musical contemporaries, if at all?
I'm not familiar with those specific groups, but I do know of others such as Perturbator, who does great work in the darker realm of the futuristic '80s soundscape.
Given your anonymity, how familiar are you with your contemporaries in the Dallas electronic scene, if at all?
Unfortunately, I have to say not that familiar. Other than the great producer Lazerhawk from Austin, I haven't heard of any other retro '80s producers in Texas, let only Dallas. It would be awesome to find more, though.
As I understand it, you've yet to perform out live, correct? Do you have any plans to do so?
That's correct. I label myself as a producer first and foremost. I have yet to dabble in plans to do live shows. This is mainly due to the fact of not knowing how I should approach live shows to begin with. I guess I could just jump right in, but, honestly, I wouldn't have the foggiest idea on what I'd be doing. When I see normal electronic producers play live shows, they usually are tweaking parts of a mix they made for their set. Having played in a live band, I'm not sure this would sit too well with me. I feel I should be somewhat creating the music live on stage and in real time — or something close to it. At this point in time, all I know is how to make the music. Performing it is going to take some time to figure out. But, yes, one day I would like to perform my music live.
What can you tell me about your early metal-playing days? Where did that band play?
We started around 2007 and ended a little over a year ago. We never got that far, but did achieve a goal of touring the West Coast, which was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I believe the love of metal music and just rock in general definitely played a part in the darker tone of the music in Mega Drive.
Yeah, I was going to ask about the dark tone of Mega Drive. Kinda lends itself perfectly to 3:33, which you freely label as a Halloween release, right?
Oh yes, definitely. After all, 3:33 is the witching hour.
No fear of getting pigeonholed by that Halloween association?
No fear. I embrace Halloween, and the '80s were definitely a golden era for all things horror. It's a match made in hell. [Laughs.]
Looking over the course of your four releases, how do you see your sound having evolved in that time?
It's evolved in many ways, but I think my music still sticks to this one theme of what the 1980s version of the future would be like. And, in most instances, it was a dark future like the music portrays. I still strive for diversity in the music, however.
You mentioned seeing yourself as a producer first and foremost. You mean that from the creation perspective, or do you hope to work with other acts down the line?
I mean that from a creation perspective. [Laughs.] I have a hard enough time as it is with my own music let alone others'. I am, however, always open to the possibility of collaborations with other artists.
What gear are you using to create these sounds?
I use FL Studio, which I hear is seen as an inferior system by some people. But I've found it's been the easiest for me to create on than other [digital audio workstations].
What's next for Mega Drive?
I just signed with a newly created label that I can't quite mention just yet. But I can say that the album Hardwired will be getting a re-release on that label. A new Mega Drive album that is currently in the works, too.
Anything else we should know?
I would to thank all the fans and supporters of Mega Drive so far. It means a lot and keeps me going.
Mega Drive's newest EP, 3:33, is available as a name-your price download via Bandcamp.