Distinct Minds

DISTINCT MINDS: Captivating Creative Duality With ‘80s Nostalgia

R.A. Bakr

Versatility is key throughout the music industry. As such, audiences are able to appreciate the entirety of the art. With this versatility, Synth-Pop and Disco has endured and prevailed. The popularity of that distinctly ’80s sound seems to be higher than it has been since 1985. Even though building since the start of the 21st century, in the 2010s, a brand of Synth Pop with a very ’80s focus has seen a major resurgence and has seeped into the mainstream. There are also scores of Synth-Pop acts bubbling up and finding enthusiastic audiences thanks to streaming services, social media, and old-fashioned touring. And those audiences aren’t all aging, wistful Gen X-ers nostalgic for the music of their childhood youth — they’re young music lovers drawn in by the upbeat, quirky, and somewhat mysterious sound and ear-grabbing melodies. Just as it was in the ’80s.

Fast-forward 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt had an indisputable impact on the music industry, mirroring its impacts across all arts sectors. Lockdown gave reason for creative musicians and composers to use the time to form new works. And newly formed German Distinct Minds is one duo on a creative mission that has brought them an extraordinary prolific year.

Distinct Minds may well be one amongst the freshest faces within the scene, but this duo has already begun to form waves with their unique soundscapes of dominating synths and driving bass that captivate listeners.

We are always of two distinct minds – our journey is just beginning.

Launched in April with their critically acclaimed debut single release ‘Wanderer’, the enigmatic unidentified pair have since released two additional gigantic records ‘Mirrors and Breakout’. The German duo has managed to capture and dominate playlists and airwaves worldwide as they continue to push the boundaries of electronic music with their nostalgic, yet futuristic, synth-driven soundscapes by packaging up those singles unveiling the primary part of their 6-track debut album: Duality I.

Distinct Minds offers up a perfect symbiosis between the reminiscent vanguard sounds of the 80s with next generation production techniques. Within seconds after pressing play on the lead track ‘Entering’ get ready to step back in time to a smoke-filled Miami Vice lighted neon themed ’80s nightclub. From there, you will continue through the night as a time travel “wanderer” exploring the duo’s “mirroring” blend of progressive and synth-wave beats which you simply can’t help but “breakout” and dance away to.

Combined with a mix of progressive and synth-wave beats Distinct Minds drives deeper with Light of The Desert, a track showcasing the duo’s signature immersive soundscapes proving retro sounds have a home with melodic house & techno lovers. Then just as you crave for more, Duality I slowly comes to a close featuring powerful vocals fromIdo with the track ‘Fading’.

Fascinated by the inherent notion of duality and cyclical nature of artistic trends (a distinct point of departure for all of the act’s creations to date) Distinct Minds expands on inspiration behind the record:

We live in a world between where we’ve been and where we want to be. The concept of Duality is a constant struggle for growth – for productivity, happiness, excellence – and the things that hold us back. We are the wanderers searching for something different, we look into mirrors and see both past and future selves. We enter into a moment, our perception shifts, and we find ourselves in a new moment, beginning again.

With stunning creative direction masterminded by innovative digital artist Indig0, the Distinct Minds project explores and develops the recurrent pattern of music within a modern, almost futuristic paradigm. Channeling the fond synth-pop soundscapes of previous decades, whilst also writing the future, every line of every piece of music Distinct Minds makes consists of either continuing along that circle, repeating the patterns of the past, or breaking out to build something tangibly new.

FRISKY News had a chance to catch up with the enigmatic German duo Distinct Minds on all things “Duality”.  Read the full Q&A with Distinct Minds below.

Distinct Minds Duality

Sunshine greetings and thanks for taking time to speak with me on behalf of FRISKY News about your new release entitled ‘Duality’.  Let’s begin by introducing yourselves and giving us backstory insight of what life growing up was like and what made you start playing music?

Hi! Thanks for chatting to us.

We both grew up in the Ruhr Area of Germany. Our families have lived here for many years, so it really feels like home for us. When we were around fifteen years old, we met in school and quickly discovered our similar taste in music. We were always curious about breaking down tracks, even before we started producing. We were always trying to figure out which elements make a track remarkable and interesting, and we decided together that we wanted to get into producing. 

Some weeks later we purchased Ableton Live and what followed were years of discovering our personal and musical identities. Years later, we still love making music together, which is the most important thing. 

With that said, kindly share with me about your key influences and who all has played a key role in your development as artists and how did you break into the industry. 

We have always shared a love for electronic music and are really inspired by our emotional connection to music in general, and how music evokes memories and connection in others.

In terms of influences we are generally really inspired by the likes of Depeche Mode or Rufus Du Sol. 

In the beginning it was really a trial & error phase testing out different genres and styles & seeing what resonates most with us. 

Musically, Distinct Minds embodies 80s nostalgia.  What made you want to tap into that sound now and what else reflects each of your musical and personal identities? 

The 80s had a special influence on music & in general was a really inspiring decade. 

We were always touched by those synths driven melodies & analog drum patterns so many legendary artists used back then and how it still influences music today in many ways. 

Our aim was to create a new mix of music, based on key elements of those particular synths & drums and mix it with current patterns of electronic music, especially taken from House & Disco. These elements all make up the core sound of Distinct Minds.

Depeche Mode and Soft Cell notoriously stand out as examples of your musical inspiration.  What other artists have influenced your journey? 

As previously mentioned definitely Rufus Du Sol in many ways – musically, visually as well as on a personal level.  But in general, it’s really hard to name artists as we gather our inspiration from various sources. Scores from films and shows like Stranger Things were a huge inspiration for us.

Turning to Breakout, the track combines emotional synth and energetic elements that you described that could “translate in any environment”.  How important is it for you to have listeners grasp the context within which your music is created?

Every track of Distinct Minds is created with a certain intention, a certain emotion or a certain mood. It’s important for us that people understand this background of our music, so they can take something out of that for them as well. They’re for both dancing and self-reflection. 

You describe the inspiration behind Duality as “a universal calling to grow beyond whatever walls we have placed around ourselves”.  Tell me about some of those walls that have given you the most inspiration.

Writing the album happened in a pretty interesting phase of our lives.

We were both making huge (positive) developments on a personal & musical level. Ultimately, that kind of growth never happens without digging deep within ourselves and facing how we are holding ourselves back.

The whole album is the outcome of a creative process which took place over two years. 

It was a really inspiring time, but once they were finished, another challenge we faced was holding onto the tracks until we finished the whole creative vision for Distinct Minds, which definitely took some time. It was definitely an exercise in patience. We are so excited to have finally started releasing them! 

Synth-Pop and Disco has endured and prevailed with increased popularity of that distinctly ’80s sound more so since 1985 that is having a huge moment across the mainstream pop and electronic music genres. The best thing to come out of the 80s has to be an iconic reverb effect sound design that’s been creeping its way back in track production in recent years.  Why do you think the sound is so appealing to more people decades later?

It’s timeless and created the core for so many musical developments. 

The 80s as a whole were full of innovation related to society, tech & music. When synthesizers became the norm for certain types of music, it opened up so many doors into different sounds no one had ever heard before. We think it laid the massive foundation in a creative way, which so many artists & people still relate to today. That’s something really inspiring to us, and definitely plays a huge part in inspiring Distinct Minds. 

What has been the biggest challenge, if any, in re-creating these sounds for the 21st century listener? 

The biggest challenge is to create something new that’s not sounding like real 80s tracks or synth wave songs. It’s a balancing act to not drift into either direction too heavily, as we try to keep the balance between the 80s vibe and modern club/pop music. 

Describe your experience with iDo. How did you decide on the production sound and vision you wanted to represent?

iDo is such an inspiring singer/songwriter from Australia. He just felt like the perfect addition to Breakout & Fading, and we are so happy with the outcome! 

Duality is your new album with the first part set to release in October, reflecting your stories of personal growth and development.  Talk to us more about the album and all what we can be expect from it?

As previously mentioned, we wrote Duality in a pretty interesting phase of our lives. Talking about the creation part of Duality is really fascinating to us. It felt more natural & organic than ever to write these tracks, which for us is a sign that we really found our sound & musical identity.

Starting with each track, we exactly knew where we wanted to go, and both parts of the album tell an overall story of growth. For example, Part I is really an emotional journey from “Wanderer” exploring what it feels like to be searching for yourself, “Breakout” is more about taking a risk to break free of the things holding us back. “Fading” is a bit of a melancholic way to end the first part of the album, but it also resonates in the sense that not every journey is a straight line.

The challenge really was to create something, which felt both fresh & familiar. We really wanted to create a particular Distinct Minds sound and take people into a new musical & visual world they can identify with. We’re excited to release the second part of the album this Spring. 

Where do you see Distinct Minds five years from now? 

We really want to bring the Distinct Minds experience on stage and just create great memories with the music! We hope to build a story that people from all over can relate to and identify with. Everything else will come on its own 🙂 

Fun Q & A

Time for some fun Q & A.  Outside your music career, what do you like to do for fun? And what makes you really happy?

Meditating, doing sports, reading and having a really good time with friends & family. 

If we were to have a sneak-peek at the artists you are listening to, who would be on your playlist?

Alan Dixon, Budakid, Krystal Clear & The Midnight. 

Is there anyone you’ve ever wanted to trade places with for a day? 

The Weeknd, haha. 

Thank you so much for taking time with me and FRISKY sharing your thoughts.  It’s been fun! So, before we conclude our interview, do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share for our FRISKY News readers? 

Thanks for having us. Such interesting questions!  To the readers of FRISKY:  We really hope you enjoy listening to Duality PT. I. If you have any feedback & we’d be more than happy to hear it. Stay healthy!

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Distinct Minds – Duality I is out now. For more information head to distinct-minds.com.

And make sure to follow Distinct Minds Socials: Instagram | Facebook | Spotify | Beatport

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