Canadian-born Synthwave producer, Cristobal Cortes a.k.a. Das Mörtal is known for his recent release ‘The Void’. The single was released on 31 January 2020 in celebration of the Pagan event Imbolc, but his defining claim to fame is his album Hotline Miami II, which has been streamed over 8 million times across multiple streaming platforms. He has been featured on the Youtube channel called New Retro Wave, which has a following close to one million subscribers and counting.  

Cristobal is inspired by german techno, horror and sci-fi soundtracks in his music. During his two year stay in Berlin, the producer created the scores for a few films, namely Naissance d’un Zombie and feature Deadcon. These opportunities led the artist to get more exposure on the popular app Shazam. The artist has received support from renowned publications like Heavy Blog Is Heavy, Pure Volume,  Exclaim!, VENTS Magazine, The Montreal Gazette, and Metal Sucks.

We get to find out more about the horror movie-obsessed Cristobal Cortes in this brief Q&A. 

Tell us about you, how long have you been producing music? What inspired you to start? 

Been making music since I was a kid on a synthesizer my father brought from Chile to Canada when we moved to Montréal. That synthesizer was a big deal for me because it felt like playing a video game but, instead of controlling characters, I was in control of the sound. And that just inspired me to always come back to it as a child. But I started producing more seriously in my teenage years when I got my first computer. It allowed me to create full songs without the hassle of trying to multitrack on minidiscs or tapes. 

The music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music?  How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want? 

I never made music to be in the industry. I just make music for myself. It just so happens that it got discovered by Lisbon Lux Records, which has been pushing it into the right people’s ears. And that’s very cool since I get to see if other people enjoy it and it’s gratifying but, if people were to stop listening to it tomorrow, I wouldn’t be too affected by it since I’ve always made music for myself first and foremost. And it has never been a mean of financial support either, so there will never be something that will discourage me from making more music other than just one day being bored of it.

How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction, or separately? 

When there are lyrics, I always write them and they are normally written at the same time I’m composing the music. I don’t try to make poetry or something like that. I just see my lyrics as another instrument on my music and not so much as actual words. There has been so far one time where the lyrics were written by someone else and it was by the very talented Ghost Twin who did it for my track RISKING MY LIFE. They were added at the very end of the track creation. As for the music itself, I usually start by playing random noises on a synth for an hour or two. It helps get in the mood for creativity, and then switch on the computer and experiment. I don’t think I often have a clear idea of what I want to make but have more of an emotion I want to come across. 

Where does inspiration come from? 

Pretty much anything these days, from film to artwork or other music. Also from memories, sometimes ones that actually happen and other times, imaginary ones. I like to revisit my teenage years in my head a lot for inspiration.

What’s your favourite track from the upcoming album and what other bands/artists are you listening to right now? 

Honestly, I don’t have a favorite, I love them all and hope people will enjoy them as well. As for what I’ve been listening to lately, I would say a lot of Charli XCX. Just love the personality she puts on her songs and the really alien pop music produced by A.G. Cook.

What’s next for you?

Will be touring with Dance With The Dead in Europe in February and North America in April, where Magic Sword will be added to the bill. So that’s gonna keep me occupied for a while. The album should then drop later this year and I’m looking forward to people’s reaction to the slight change of direction it will have.