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Give Your Project a Retro-Creepy Vibe With 80s Synth Music

Michael Maher

80s synth music is back, thanks to the Netflix hit Stranger Things. If your next horror or sci-fi project is short on atmospheric chills, these royalty free throwback tracks might just do the trick.

Much has been said about the wide range of pop culture influences found throughout 2016’s smash hit Stranger Things. In addition to respectful nods to the likes of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, creators the Duffer Brothers looked to the past for musical inspiration as well.

“We always wanted the music to play a major role in the show. Very early on, we decided that we needed an entirely electronic score. Electronic music is making a major comeback right now and we’re loving it. Specifically, we’re obsessed with Cliff Martinez’s work on The Knick, as well as Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ work for David Fincher. Their electronic soundtracks, while very modern and cutting-edge, also inevitably evoke the sounds of ’80s music (most notably Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and John Carpenter). So we felt that having a synth soundtrack would do exactly what we wanted to achieve with the show: It would feel both modern and nostalgic at the same time.” — The Duffer Brothers via Entertainment Weekly

When it cam time to score the episodes, the Duffers turned to Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the Austin, Texas synth outfit, S U R V I V E.

“We came upon S U R V I V E from the soundtrack to Adam Wingard’s The Guest. We used one of their songs in that little trailer we cut together. So of course when it came time to actually find a composer, they were one of the first names to pop in our heads.”  — The Duffer Brothers via Complex

If you’re looking to apply some retro-synth vibe to your next project, you won’t have to worry about hiring an indie act to write a score from scratch. The songs below (handpicked by the PremiumBeat music team) are brimming with dark 80s atmosphere. And with a PremiumBeat standard license, you won’t need to worry about copyright issues.

Cover image via Make It Stranger

Chilling 80s Synth
The Perfect Tracks to Give Your Project Dark Retro Atmosphere
  • Proxima-1
  • Floating and suspenseful, featuring shimmering synth textures and smooth strings that create a foreboding, dramatic mood.
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  • Last Syndicate
  • Tense and cinematic, featuring eerie piano over a menacing, pulsing synthesizer and drum loop that creates a mood of intense fear and suspense.
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  • Hypnotic
    By Gyom
  • Warm and upbeat with an indie synth pop feel, featuring electric piano, synthesizer, electric guitar and a pulsing drum machine that create a euphoric, feel-good mood.
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  • Sky Way
  • Building with pulsing muted electric guitar, featuring a driving Pop-Rock drums groove, shimmering synth textures and a soaring piano melody that creates inspiration.
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  • Spirit
  • Warm and floating, featuring lightly pulsing electronic elements that build with a Pop Rock groove and create inspiration.
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  • Wild Card
  • Upbeat and building, featuring warm piano, light synth, 70's style electric guitar and a heavy Electro-Pop groove that creates a confident and positive mood.
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  • Some Kinda Groove
  • Bouncy and building with an 80's Pop Rock groove, featuring an energetic bass riff, electric guitar and smooth synth textures that create a happy and carefree mood.
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