Occasionally something will spark the senses – a smell, or a sound – and evoke deja vu. Less occasionally will it become full-blown nostalgia, but when it comes to NEW ARCADES that is definitely what you get. From the hooks to the synths to the pop culture, the influence of the 80s is smattered everywhere – and it’s not something that they are ashamed of in the slightest.

“Stuff from the 80’s is always going to be classic!” says Adam Sullivan, who is one half of the London based duo. “SNES, the music, the movies! Films like Back to the Future, Rocky, Predator, Blade Runner [are iconic] to this day and will never be matched. I think the 80’s was such a creative and epic decade where so many “firsts” happened.”

And it’s true, for whilst other decades have made their stamp on culture, it is doubtful that any era other than the 1960s impacted as forcefully as the 80s. For those of a certain age, it was surely a wonderful time to grow up, and for those that were not lucky enough to be of said age, well, you missed out. For Sullivan and bandmate Dean Canty, reminiscing about their younger days proved to be a bonding ritual.

“Originally we met at work – our friendship began as we broke out singing ‘Hello’ by Lionel Richie in unison. We then began working in different projects and playing in bands together, and then because of our mutual liking of 80’s synth sounds and movies, we decided to put this into our new songs.” Oh, and they’re enjoying the recent resurgence, by the way. “Drive, The Guest, It Follows and Stranger Things all have a great sound and aesthetic. It’s nice to see modern movies/TV embracing it too!”

Their latest single ‘Where We Were Before’ sounds like a classic in the making and like many of the band’s tracks it features a female guest vocal, this time courtesy of the silky tones of Sarah Bird. “[A Female] vocal adds not only a dynamic of contrast against our own, but lifts the song in many ways.” states Sullivan, and it was an idea that was really solidified following their collaboration with Chloe Pamplin on ‘Don’t Let Go’. Since then the band have featured both Bird on the current single and Lula on ‘More Than This’. “[They] have really beautiful voices which add a whole new level of individuality to a chorus that would have otherwise been sung by us two.”

New Arcades itself is very much a DIY project, with Sullivan and Canty writing, recording, mixing and mastering all of their own material. Their eagerness for their project is very much something that they intend to translate live, choosing to perform the tracks as acoustically as they possibly can (“Our drummer learns the tracks and plays tight”), though they are always looking for an opportunity to expand on the live experience; “We would love to get animation or a light show going eventually!”

It’s a busy time for the band, with a potential single in the works for later this year and an EP or album for next, not to mention that they may have already realised their childhood ambitions. “We may also have a movie feature on the cards for next year too, which may be scored by us!” Just like the iconic soundtracks that inspired the band in their youth, perhaps the band may spur new ears into delving back to the 80s.

You can listen to the band’s playlist of their favourite 80s and 80s influenced tracks below and view their own playlists (they have a tonne!) on their Spotify page. Read their reasons for picking some of the tracks below.

Oh, and they also recommend the YouTube channel New Retro Wave – who the band put out an EP with earlier this year – for new 80s influenced music. Trust us, it’s rather cool.



  • Tangerine Dream – ‘Love On A Real Train’

Great instrumental, really cool synth parts and has featured in many films over the years.

  • M83 – ‘Gone’

Amazing song. Simple but so effective and very emotional with minimal sounds.

  • Robert Tepper  – ‘No Easy Way Out’

Just yes! and that scene in Rocky 4. Cheesy but love it. Some of the other tracks on the soundtrack are cool too.

  • Electric Youth – ‘Innocence’ 

Lovely synth driven tune. They’re best known for ‘Real Hero’ (with College) from Drive and this is a superb song. Her voice is beautiful.

  • The Naked and Famous – ‘Higher’

Have been into this band for ages, new track released this year and it’s huge! Amazing vocal and production.

  • Chromatics – ‘Kill For Love’ 

Led by Johnny Jewel, this band are amazing. Hard to pick one song as they have so many good tracks (instrumentals and with vocals.) Check out his other project ‘Symmetry’.