KC Killjoy and Kayla Bee of the Fort Lauderdale synthwave band Alpha Quadrant were at a show at Gramps when they brainstormed an idea.
"We watched Mystvries play, and we started talking with them," Killjoy remembers. "There isn't an event in South Florida where synth bands play. You'd think with that Miami Vice aesthetic, there'd be one of these nights."
But there wasn't — until now. This Friday night will bring the first edition of Beach City Synth at Las Rosas. The free event will present South Florida acts Alpha Quadrant and Mystvries — along with Moondragon, driving down from Orlando, and Shredder 1984, hailing all the way from France. Bee says depending upon the response, they hope to make Beach City Synth a regular night.
"We want it to be recurring. We want to get all these synth artists out of just recording in their bedrooms. We want to get them onstage. None of the bands playing Friday sound the same. The synthesizer is so unique. Each has their own unique sound. The instrument shoots you back in time into the 1980s."
Alpha Quadrant found the synthesizer by accident. Killjoy had been in the industrial and trance scene for years when he was asked to remix a song. He began researching synthwave and found it fascinating, but he wanted vocals.
"I'm too used to having people onstage with me," he says. "Kayla was posting videos online of her singing a cappella. I'd seen her karaoke, and she MCs at Fetish Factory, so I knew she had stage presence."
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The act's first self-titled album is filled with catchy, danceable, retro-futuristic beats. "KC is the music robot, and I write the lyrics," Bee says of their songwriting process. "I try to get a feel for each track and then draw inspiration from life events. '#Obsessed' sounded superficial, so I wrote about a girl obsessed about social media likes. It became satirical and something cheesy to dance to. 'Gossamer' was more serious. It was about dating and what it's like when your emotions battle you. I had to think about back when I was single."
Although the pair's easy banter makes it seem as though the two might be an item, they're quick to correct. "We're like siblings," Killjoy says. "I have a rule: Don't shit where you eat. It's a bad idea to date a bandmate. If things go wrong, the band can fall apart."
Regardless, the Alpha Quadrant members hope the burgeoning South Florida synth movement will begin this weekend, and they encourage one and all to "come early and synth late."
Beach City Synth. 9 p.m. Friday, June 29, at Las Rosas, 2898 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 786-780-2700; lasrosasbar.com. Admission is free.