MK Khan brings 80’s and 90’s inspired cinematic electronic music
There’s something magical about M. K. Khan’s music. It enters your ears, reaches your brain and then transports your mind back to the 1980s. Listening to “Hope for a New World” while driving, makes you wish you were sitting in a cocaine white Ferrari Testarossa cruising the streets of Miami, even more than usual. And if you close your eyes when “Morning Communication” is on, which I don’t recommended doing if you’re actually behind the wheel, you can start believing you’re late for school on a grainy TV teen drama.
I’ve been following M. K. Khan for quite some time now, and thought it was a good time to introduce his talent to you all. He’s SoCal born and raised, with a day job in finance. However, he’s always been more passionate about music and art, and starting the khansynth project has been the perfect way to keep in touch with his creative side.
How did your love for Synthwave start?
I started listening to vaporwave back in 2012 – 2013 back when Tumblr was still popular. That eventually got me into synthwave. I bought my first Timecop1983 t-shirt after hearing “Journeys” and the rest is history.
How would you describe your style to people who haven’t heard your music, without using the words synthwave and retrowave?
It’s 80’s and 90’s inspired cinematic electronic music. A soundtrack for a show or movie that never existed.
Do you think there are more synthwave /retrowave musicians today compared to 5 years ago?
Yeah, definitely. There are probably 100 new synthwave artists debuting every week with a new album. That’s a good thing. Competition drives innovation. Don’t worry about being successful. Focus on the story you want to tell with your music. If you became a musician to be rich or famous, you need to find a new genre.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Mostly 80’s and 90’s movies…I love the aesthetic and feeling of Spielberg and Zemeckis. Also, Miami Vice, obviously. But I’ve recently been getting a lot of inspiration from 80’s and 90’s anime and tokusatsu I grew up watching, like Yu Yu Hakusho, DBZ, and Power Rangers. At the end of the day, the nostalgia aspect of my music and art is kind of like a coping mechanism to escape all the troubles of the modern world.
I don’t think those are really effective ways that necessarily translate to a new audience to my music. People follow me on IG because of my art, or salvaged images from the 80’s. They’re not necessarily interested in hearing electronic music inspired by the 80’s. More often that not they’d rather just listen to actual music from the 80’s. Unfortunately, in order to be a successful musician now, you kind of have to cater to the Spotify playlist algorithms, which is driven by new singles every month, which I don’t do. My music tells a story and has to be heard in album format. I’m not looking for a lot of passive playlist fans; I’d rather have a few listeners that can really enjoy the stories I’m telling.
Any other tips you can give aspiring musicians?
Study music theory, listen to a lot of genres, and don’t limit yourself to copying what other artists have done. Synthwave won’t be around forever. Just have fun with it. Also be nice to newcomers.
You can compose the soundtrack for any TV show or movie in history. Which ones do you choose, other than Miami Vice?
The O.C. (2003) and Power Rangers Ninja Storm (2003)
Is there any visual artist you’d like to collaborate with for a music video?
Yeah, Skycorp Home Video would be awesome to work with! Also Jimmy Synthetic and Jay Diggs.
80s or 90s?
80’s music but with 90’s state of mind
What can we expect from you in the coming year?
I’m collaborating with a lot of artists from different genres outside of synthwave for a few remixes. I also have new merch coming out in the coming months. Also, I started a pop-punk band and hope to release music for that soon! Honestly, I just want to have fun and hopefully make people feel something to help them escape their worries, or process emotions in a healthy way. Hopefully these upcoming projects can bring joy to people that same way it makes me happy when I’m creating them.