An interview with Takahashi Jones (Marcus Christensen) and Sonny Shimoda (Henrik Pihl) also known as Cobra Strike Force synth, new retro wave, electronic DJs inspired by the 80’s.
Tell me something about yourself?
-I am a father of three, addicted to bingewatching and I have played the keyboard in various constellations (mostly metal) for almost twenty years. Henrik is the original lead singer in the late synthpop act Code 64, deeply devoted to all things Star Wars and also has an somewhat unhealthy obsession to bullet hell shmups.
We have known each other for a long time and also work at the same place. He ́s my brother from another mother sort of.
How did you come up with the name “Cobra Strike Force”?
-It just came to me at work while we were throwing names out there for the project. We both thought it sounded wonderfully cheezy and had that ninja commando gungho vibe that really defined the 80 ́s movie scene. We also have our own aliases within the duo.
How would you describe your music?
-Vivid, atmospheric and… diverse. Our different musical backgrounds makes for an interesting mix . We both have a soft spot for video game music and cheezy stuff in general. As long as it sounds good and 80 ́s enough we see no harm in blending genres. Personnally, I would like to explore italodisco a bit more. Funny shit.
What inspired you to become involved in 80 ́s wave music?
-I guess it was a mix of everything that happened in the movies and games industry that really caught our attention. The soundtrack to Drive, the game Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and the discovery of acts like Lazer Hawk and Mitch Murder was a real inspiration. I have always listened to 80 ́s stuff and was pleasantly surprised to discover that there still was an active scene for this type of music. And the community is half the fun. People like Karate King, who has this burning passion for synthwave and helps promoting budding artists just for the sake of it is a true hero.
Why did this feel like the right time to bring the 80’s vibe back?
-I have grown tired of metal. I spent the best part of last year arranging synths and writing lyrics for a 14 track album that even didn ́t see the light of day because the band split On the Facebook chat. How sad is that? So I started to concentrate solely on Cobra Strike Force. It ́s a kind of relief just sitting by the computer and create music that you really “feel” compared to chasing gigs, rehearsing into oblivion and arguing with people that just feed of your energy. The 80 ́s were all about fun. And I want to have fun.
You guys love everything 80 ́s which we hear through your concept and music, but what are some of your biggest 80 ́s influences?
-Ninja movies of course! Ninetynine percent of them are complete and utter crap but in a good way with hilarious story lines and severly bad acting. It ́s remarkable how anyone (including us) saw past that at the time and just thought they were good action movies. Any Carpenter flick is also an neverendingt source of inspiration. The man is a god. I ́ve must have seen Big Trouble In Little China over 200 times. I remember standing in front of the TV in the living room, dressed in a makeshift Chang Sing warrior outfit while mimicking their fighting moves to the best of my abilities. Jesus, I must have looked like a complete idiot. Or a giant, retarded bee. Those were the days.
Musicwise it ́s a mixed bag. We listened to everything then. Madonna, Depeche Mode, Twisted Sisters, Michael Jackson, New Order, Cyndi Lauper… you name it. It was a time when all music was just… good. Really fucking good.
Which of your songs is your favorite?
-I was really satisfied with Avenging Heart which was my contribution to the compilation Karate King presents: The Annihilator (Out now on Bandcamp, people!) It ́s more in the vein of Vince Di Colas work than regular synthwave but I think it out quite nice despite the short time I created it in.
Henriks favorite track is Silver Dragon. I did not get a statement why but I believe that it was the first CSF track he was really proud of and could stick the synthwave tag on it without hesitation. It is a damn catchy tune!
How is the Swedish electronic scene in your eyes at the moment?
-I haven ́t got the faintest idea really . I only listen to synthwave Aside from our top synthwave gurus I guess it ́s still Swedish House Mafia this and Avicii that. And that fucking dubstep really needs to go away.
If you only could listen to 3 artists on your iPod for the rest of your life who would it be ?
-Opeth, Yello and Michael Jackson. I am pretty sure that those artists entire discography would be sufficient. At least for me.
Any artists you’d like to collaborate with?
-Ohh, there is so much talent in this genre it ́s I would be honored regardless of who ́s asking. But of the top of my head… Mitch Murder or Irving Force. It would be awesome to collaborate with fellow countrymen.
What should your fans look forward to in the future?
-A more structured Cobra Strike Force. We will start making songs together and there are also plans of incorporating vocals. Henrik has an amazing voice and I am a decent singer myself. Prepare for ultra cheezy ninja anthems that would make even Baltimora embarrased. There will also be participations on coming compilations and, hopefully, some collabs. If anyone out there is interested in working with us, just contact us via our FB or Soundcloud page. Cheers!