Q&A With Blackpoole


Revival Synth would like to introduce you to the german producer, musician, Achim aka BLACKPOOLE.

Born at the end of the sixties, he experienced the flowering time of the 80s with all facets of it's music and lifestyle. It was exactly this decade that shaped him musically to this day and is reflected in his own songs.

Sit back, enjoy the sounds of Blackpoole and discover the world of this fine talented musician.


Q. Hi Achim. Tell us about yourself, your music, and how you got to where you are today. 
First of all thank you so much for giving me the opportunity for this interview. I deeply appreciate it. 
I was born (as being part of the GEN-X generation) 1969 near Hamburg. During my childhood days I did not have a deep connection to music, because in the 70s there was mostly ‘’Schlager-Music“ very popular in Germany. On the radio, other music was hard to find, as well on TV (but this should change luckily the soonest).  
In the beginning of the 80s I was immediately caught by the fascination of Arcade & Videogames. I dreamed of owning my own Atari VCS2600 system but it was too expensive for me to buy. But I used every chance to play as much as possible on the VCS at a warehouse nearby. I was in luck when I could play 60-90 minutes straight, but often I was kicked out of the store after 20 minutes :-D 
In 1982 I discovered the next big thing for me: Home Computer. My first device was the  Sinclair ZX81 back in 1982. I learned BASIC programming and this was how the track was laid wishing to work in the IT business one day (which I do now for over 33 years and  counting). It followed the Commodore C64, the Commodore C128 and the Commodore  Amiga by the way. 
At the same time I discovered more and more 80s synth pop & new wave. It made a perfect combination for me, because the way the world (and I) started using modern technology like home computers, the music scene has changed to electronic instruments more and more as well. It didn't take long and I was completely assimilated and deeply fascinated by this new kind of music. There were sounds and soundscapes like no others before by using synthesizers and I knew I found my new home – literally spoken. 
Fun fact: I discovered the awesome band OMD by listening to a SID-Tune compilation on  the Commodore C64. Their song ‘’Enola Gay“ was converted to a C64 SID track. (Note: The MOS Technology SID is a programmable 3-voice sound chip used in Commodore C64 and C128 home computers and considered to be the best sound chip of  the 8-bit era.)
In 1985 I was falling head over heels in love for the first time ever.  
First love, first kiss … but no happy end at all. I was completely heartbroken, but in the end there was a sleeping talent coming to life and I started writing poetry and my own song lyrics. All the feelings and emotions I had to get rid of – I put them into my writings, and it has become an inherent part of me and my personality. 
Fast forward to 1995:  
A colleague of mine asked me if I was interested in playing the bass guitar in a band he runs. For me it sounds a bit unreal because I couldn't read any music note nor I had any experiences in playing a bass guitar. But he convinced me to join a jam session and all of a sudden I found myself being a part of the band as the bassist. 
Our band name was ‘’Savage Heart“ and we used to play self written rock songs. Unfortunately the band split up two years later, but in the end I found myself having the deep wish to continue making music. I never thought at this time it would take another 20 years to make this dream come true ! 
Fast forward again – 2018: 
The amazing time of the 80s was a distant memory for me, but always alive in my heart & soul. On a rainy weekend I discovered the movie DRIVE and gave it a try.  
What followed was an overwhelming rollercoaster ride of flashbacks and long missed emotions. Really hard to describe. I opened Youtube, searching for the soundtrack. After listening, I went deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. I discovered bands like The Midnight, TimeCop83, Gunship and more. It was like a dream came true to relive the 80s again! 
In April 2018, I started working on my very first synthwave/retrowave track 'Jupiter Nights' and my project 'Blackpoole 80s Music' was coming to life.
Q. You’re a self confessed 80’s music timelord, you say your music draws inspiration from all the popular sounds of the 80s, including New Wave and Synthpop. Who were your influences throughout that era? 
I believe the first contact in the early 80s with the following bands made it for me:  Yazoo, OMD and Ultravox. 
I was 13 years old in 1982 when I heard the above bands on the radio for the very first time. Hard to describe the feeling – their music hypnotized me, it felt so good and familiar and I was falling in love instantly with their songs and with the whole music genre they were representing.  
This was the time when my interest in music awoke and through the coming years there were Howard Jones, Yazoo, Human League, a-ha, Alphaville and Hubert Kah worth to be mentioned as well. 
Nevertheless there was a completely other genre which I started listening to:  Progressive Rock 
My all time favorites prog rock bands are ASIA (and singer/bassist John Wetton) and Saga
Q. In your songwriting process, does the birth of a song generally start with a title/theme, lyrics, or a melody? 
It depends, most of the time there is a melody theme or a simple bass line on my mind which I work out. My songs often start as pure instrumental tracks, but having suitable lyrics in my mind it can happen that I have an idea for a vocal track as well. Best example is the song ‘Dreaming of You’. In the beginning it started as an instrumental only version, but the more I listened to the song, the more I realized that the song is incomplete without vocals. In the end I was very happy with the result adding vocals to it. The song itself and the vocal parts are coming together nicely. 
Q. Can you share any insights into the role of mental and emotional preparation before a songwriting session, and how you manage creative blocks or self-doubt? 
Oh well - I have self-doubts all the way ! (laughing) 
I never learned an instrument the old-school way, and I can't read any musical notes till now. All I do is self-taught over the years and I always play 100% by ear. This makes it difficult to compose for me, it's like a challenge to master every time. 
What I have discovered over the years is that I can't push anything.  More or less a new song will find me.  
As a mental and emotional preparation I don't touch my keyboard for days or weeks. I try to set the focus on other things. Watching movies, reading books or just listening to other people's music is the key to recharge the creative battery for me. 
Q. Your new single is, ‘Waiting For K_’ featuring Luci Rivas on vocals. Tell us about the track and the connection to Gennaio Winger. 
I got in touch with Gennaio receiving an invitation for a BBQ last year.  
Unfortunately I couldn't attend in the end, but we still kept in contact with each other. I told him about my music and that I am a huge fan of the old Blade Runner movie and the successor Blade Runner 2049.  
And that one special scene in this movie has inspired me to make the song ‘Love Noir’. 
Gennaio replied that he likes this track a lot and that he wanted to write a story about Joi, the holographic partner of Agent K (as being in the movie BR 2049). 
So one thing lead to another and my track ‘Love Noir’ was the inspiration for the short story, ‘Do Holograms Dream of Endless Love?’ which was in the end my inspiration to write, ‘Waiting for K_“.
Q. Luci Rivas is a prominent part of the Blackpoole sound at the moment. How did your paths cross, and do you plan to use other guest vocalists in the future? 
I met Luci Rivas through an internet platform for musicians and creative artists in 2022 for the first time. 
I was looking for a singer who was able to convey emotions in her singing.  Someone who sounds real and authentic.  
Her artist profile sounded very promising and when I listened to her demo songs I knew I didn't have to look any further. She has such a wonderful warm and soulful voice that encompasses everything I was looking for. 
To be honest, I can't imagine a better singer than Luci Rivas at the moment, but I generally don't want to rule out starting new projects with other vocalists in the future. 
Q. I have to mention the sax on the new single, beautiful! Do you play the sax on the track? 
Yes, I do play it.  
It is a VST instrument called, ‘Sensual Saxophone’. 
(The full version of NI Kontakt is needed) 
Here is the link if somebody is interested: 
For me it is one of the best virtual saxophones on the market for a very attractive price. 
Q. Can you tell us about any unique instruments or techniques you use in your music, and how they contribute to your sound? 
Yes, sure ... 
Due to lack of space I use VST instruments only. 
Looking back over the last few years I was surprised that I use more or less the same VST synths for my projects.  
My favorites: 
- reFX Nexus  
- Reveal Sound Spire 
- Arturia V Collection 
- uhe Diva & Repro
Speaking about how they contribute my sound: 
The TAL-U-NO-LX is used for the bass regularly and from time to time for pads & lead sounds as well. 
When it comes to Diva, I love this synth for its ability for creating awesome analogue pads and more. 
Spire is used for lead sounds mostly which can cut through the mix with ease. 
Nexus is used for arpeggios sounds in general and – as being a ROMpler – it can be used in a bright variety of sounds or FX as well. 
The Arturia V Collection is in use when I am looking for special sounds like the Yamaha  DX7, PPG Wave, the CS-80 … 
As well I experimented a lot with artificial singers in the past. On some of my tracks I used the software Vocaloid from Yamaha. I was surprised how good it can sound.  
Well, not as good as a human vocalist, but surprisingly good all the same. 
You can listen to the Vocaloid software for example on the following tracks of mine: 
Q. Long Way Home was your last album, released back in 2021. Do you have another album in the pipeline? 
At the end of 2022 I was planning a new album. Unfortunately I had a serious accident in January 2023 and all plans were put on hold.  
I needed nearly all the year 2023 to recover and I had two choices: 
– No releases from Blackpoole for a (potentially) long time period 
– Releasing two tracks (which were intended to be on the new album) over the year 2023 to show some presence in the scene 
And … yes !  
I will start working on a new album this year.
Q. How do you approach the process of balancing your personal life and relationships with your music career, and what advice do you have for others wanting to start their music career as an independent artist? 
In my case a perfect balance is often not that easy.  
As well as being a husband and father, my first priority is to support and be there for my family. 
Then of course I spend a certain time of the day at my job. At the end of the day there is often not much time left for my alter ego Blackpoole and making music.  
However, for me the best time to get creative is in the evenings anyway. And luckily, I'm a night owl and I get my best ideas at times when other people are already asleep. I love the peace and silence late in the evening or at night, when the noises of the day fades away. 
As advice I can only speak from my own experience and there is only one rule: !! Everything takes (and needs) time !! 
Don't put yourself under pressure, if something doesn't work out the way you wanted.  It's done, when it's done! And accept making mistakes as something positive. You can  always gain something good from it. 
Q. What is your perception of the current global synthwave scene? Do you think the interest of the genre is getting more popular? Personally, I think the quality of the  music is getting better by the year. 
The synthwave scene has grown successfully over the years, but in my opinion it has lost some momentum recently. However, this is not a big deal or a problem. 
As you already stated in your question, the quality of the music has increased. I'm not familiar in detail with the rules of the music market, but as in every area, saturation occurs at some point as an associated factor. 
Some artists stay true to the genre, others try new styles and wander off. 
Ultimately, a loyal audience will always remain there and stick with the established artists. 
Q. Is there a synthwave scene/community in Germany at the moment? 
Not as much as I can see here from Hamburg. There are synthwave events and parties taking place from time to time in clubs in Germany, but nothing really comparable like in other countries. Nevertheless, I know a lot of people around my place who are listening to synthwave/retrowave on you tube or other streaming platforms. So there is a solid fan base for sure.
Q. Have you performed live in the past? If not, any plans to do so? 
No, I haven't done any live gigs in the past.  
Nevertheless, I'm still dreaming of doing this ... 
(But there is nothing planned for the near future.) 
Q. What has been your most memorable experience as a musician so far, and why? 
My most memorable experience was being played on the radio for the very first time. It happened on the ‘ Forever Synth Show ’.  
Joe and Rob put my song ‘Jupiter Night’ on air.  
Such an extraordinary feeling – I felt so proud, honored and happy :-) Something I will never forget for the rest of my life! 
Q. Without putting you on the spot, which artists are you listening to at the moment, and if you could duet with one of them, who would it be? 
I am listening to a synthwave/80s music mixup actually: 
 - and - 
Ultravox, Heaven 17 & The Cars 
If I could do a duet, I would chose Midge Ure (Ultravox) 
Q. If I saw your current bucket list, what would be the top 3 wishes on it? 
1. Always being in good health for the future. 
My accident showed me how fast life can change and go upside down  
2. Visiting Japan incl. Tokyo 
I am always fascinated my whole life by this country and its culture  
3. Meet Harrison Ford  
I am a huge fan of him since my childhood  
And to be honest: Who wouldn't want to meet the person who played the biggest icons of the 80s in movie history: Indiana Jones, Blade Runner & Han Solo ;-)
Q. If you were in charge of creating the all-time synthwave supergroup, who would you have in it, dead or alive, and why? 
Vocals & Bass: John Wetton 
His vocal and bass skills are out of this world for me.  
He was my teenage hero back in the days and still he is !  
Guitar: Steve Stevens 
If you know his skills – no further explanation is needed anymore  
Synth: Howard Jones & Vince Clark 
Their unique creativity and wealth of ideas as they played a decisive role in shaping the sound of the 80s imho 
Drums: Carl Palmer 
He is one of the best drummers in the world. Such an outstanding musician. 
Q. Last of all. Thanks for taking part in this Q&A, Achim. Are there any future plans you’d like to tell us about? 
There are no special plans for the future at the moment ... 
But I would like to thank my fans and followers from the bottom of my heart for listening to the music of Blackpoole. Without you, I wouldn't have gotten this far and I'm very proud and feel honored to be a part of the worldwide synthwave/retrowave scene.  
Stay safe & healthy, wherever you are!