The 1980s was a decade when technological advances seemed only to be restricted by what could be imagined. Home computing took off at a rate of knots with the availability of a multitude of reasonably affordable units and a media frenzy for what the future of computing held.
80’s Synths & Drum Machines
The same level of technological advancement was going on in the music industry.
Now legendary synthesizers like Roland’s Jupiter 8 and Juno 60, Yamaha’s DX7 and D50, the ground breaking Fairchild CMI digital Sampler (admittedly it’s genesis was in 1979), drum machines like the Linn LM2 and Roland TR808 and TR909 dominated the charts of the 80’s and advanced music recording as much
as the invention of the electric guitar did in the 60’s and 70’s. Despite all the
technology available the songwriting of the 80’s was a strong as any of that which preceded it.
Technology has moved on at an exponential rate since the 80’s. The boundry between what is a computer and what is an instrument has become exceedingly blurred and the possibilities available to musicians are seemingly endless.
Madhen are always keen to embrace new technologies both with regards to the musical content of what we do and the broader live performance aspect. Last week we brought this all together for a gig at Leicester Athena to relive the glory of those 80’s tunes. The songs were classics including tracks originally by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Soft Cell, Yazoo, Madonna and The Human League but the tech was cutting edge.
On stage we always run an Apple Mac powerbook which provided the
synthesizer and sampler elements of the music as well as synchronized hi-
definition video. We installed an 8×2 meter video wall run via another very
powerful Green Hippo media server (a real super computer). On top of all that we supplied a D&B V system line array PA and a Soundcraft Digital mixing console.
Carol Decker, Sinitta, Gary Davies
To add to the 80’s vibe of the evening the crowd also saw sets from Carol Decker (T’pau) and Sinitta as well as DJ sets from 80’s veteran Gary Davies and Madhen’s very own DJ Rosie.
Whilst the technology is important you can’t beat a good serving of day glow colouring too from Madhen’s extensive wardrobe. You can get a feel for what a great night we all had from the accompanying photos by the talented David Garcia.
There’s always been a huge resurgence for all things 80’s. TV shows like “Stranger Things” proudly wear their 80’s inspiration on their sleeves and synths, samplers and computers are at the forefront of a multitude of current hits. If you’re looking for a great nostalgic 80’s set for your party drop us a line at Madhen and we’ll make sure your party rocks with the right mixture of kitsch and retro-cool.