A founding member of Rosso Corsa, Lazerhawk is Garrett Hays from Austin, Texas, USA. His outrun electro is robot pop mixed with dark synths and the occasional lyric. Two years ago I described him as reminiscent of everything that was good in the 80’s: synthesizer jams with gargantuan leads, hard toms, spaced-out melody and the pains of being pure at heart. Since then he has experimented with chill wave and disco, but with a fundamental link to the 80s.
Infectious is the best description for Lazerhawk’s concept album Redline which we have on offer here at Rosso Corsa. On this album the typical monotony of other electro artists is broken up by leads that flow right over top of the hooks. That might be the key to this album, but the timbre of synths or the precision of the programming could be as well. In 2012 his sophomore album Visitors dropped with a more varied style that included sounds from outrun electro to dreamwave and space-disco.
Lazerhawk’s influences are 1980s Synthpop and Italo Disco: “When I decided to start doing Lazerhawk tracks, I had a general idea of what the artists of that era used to create their sounds and set out to either emulate or use the same sounds. I think Kano – Im Ready was probably the track that made me want to start learning more about synths and sequencing and what not.”
When asked about his methods, Lazerhawk professes he uses 100% emulation and it is proof that genius doesn’t always come from the gear your packing or even the programs you use. “Ive been using fruity loops for a long time and I guess its how I prefer to write music since I haven’t changed to something better. Its really kind of embarrassing because FL studio is really garbage in a lot of ways.” (After a giving him a bribe, I was able to learn that TAL-U-No-62 and Arturia’s Jupiter-8V are part of the Lazerhawk sound)
I asked Garrett about the early days of Outrun Electro and how Rosso Corsa began. There’s no secret that the rise of the Valérie Collective and the Outrunners led to an outpouring of new artists and recognition for the genre. Afterward, the Masters of the Universe compilation laid the groundwork for even more artists until it was squashed by Hasbro:
“I started making tracks and I wanted to get them online and at the time myspace seemed like a good place to start so my first Lazerhawk page was on there. Around the same time Sakura Night/Ghost Driver/Savage House was doing a compilation thing called Masters of the Universe and had to take it down due to threats from Hasbro lol. I think I was hoping to start something like that with Stallone and Actraiser. I came up with the name and Actraiser and I started asking people to join us as collective that would evolve into a label. Actraiser is probably 99% responsible for everything else though lol. Hes talented as hell”
After Redline was released, Lazerhawk admits he was searching for his next sound while keeping the 80s aesthetic. His soundcloud included new disco-heavy jams and even a few Chillwave tracks: “I was really proud of the album and Electric Groove but I can barely stand to listen to any of that stuff now.” Only an idiot likes his own work, right?
One of the best tracks from this era is Visitors which was the first track for the next album. The accompanying video, a compilation of supposed UFO footage, was the best synthesis of a Rosso Corsa artist and youtube. Unfortunately, Garrett was afraid someone might steal the footage: “around the same time someone had taken some of my Redline tracks, renamed them and published them on myspace like they were his and I didn’t want that to happen to Visitors. I took it down and I don’t think I have it anymore.” The track is available on his soundcloud and it’s one of his darkest yet.
For the label, he says it would be nice to sign Neon Workout or Power Glove. “I dunno there’s so many artists out there.”
Some of the best tracks in my own music collection are Garrett’s early works and he has always dominated my last.fm wall. Most of the highlights are available on his soundcloud and I’ve played So Close off the Redline album more than any other, so it’s a fitting choice for our Soundcloud page:
Lazerhawk – Redline released January 15, 2010
Lazerhawk – Visitors released Feb 6th 2012
LexiconDon – December Sunset (Lazerhawk Remix)
Powerglove – Hunters (Lazerhawk remake)
Lazerhawk on Soundcloud
Latest tracks by Lazerhawk
Written by Richard Michael Owen