Preston Cram, aka Iron Skullet, is the creator and curator of the Ultimate Synthwave playlist, the world’s most popular independent playlist dedicated exclusively to the synthwave genre. He is a longtime metalhead who grew up on the sounds of heavy metal from the ‘80s and early ‘90s. In addition, ‘80s pop music has always held a special place for him, and he rediscovered his passion for synthpop, new wave, and italo disco in the early 2000s.

Iron Skullet’s musical tastes lean toward the ‘80s and its revival, particularly traditional heavy metal and synthwave, though he enjoys other subgenres of metal and new wave music. The sounds of industrial, aggrotech, death-thrash, dungeon synth, and chiptune music are also frequently heard resonating from his home speakers. Iron Skullet is a specialist on the history of traditional metal, especially heavy metal, speed metal, and power metal. He has also been tracking the proliferation and evolution of synthwave and darksynth music since the late 2000s and has listened to thousands of artists in the genre.

As a child and teen before the days of digital media distribution, Iron Skullet rejected the established methods of music promotion and sought out underground artists, plunking down hard-earned money on obscure tapes and CDs without any way to hear them first. This passion for independent music, free from the artistic shackles of FM radio and record conglomerates, has only grown stronger with time and has been emboldened by the affordable access provided by modern platforms like Spotify and Bandcamp. Iron Skullet has made it his personal mission to spread word of the countless talented yet unrecognized musicians in the world.

Iron Skullet thrives on building stylistically narrow and comprehensive playlists on Spotify. By applying his listening skills to the process of collecting and organizing music on the platform, he has helped define (and redefine) musical genres for modern music fans and connected countless independent artists with a broader audience.

The unfortunate truth of the music industry is that the success of musical artists is based on promotion, as well as personal and professional connections, more than on actual musical talent. This means a genre’s audience is regularly exposed to mediocre and subpar releases posing as the best music available. This persistent aspect of the music industry regrettably continues into an age when listeners have access to a wealth of music at their fingertips, and it is well past time for music fans to reject the homogenized and underwhelming music pushed on them by large promotions and record labels that assume listeners cannot and will not think for themselves.

Iron Skullet is always accepting music submissions, inquiries, and other promotional opportunities. Reach out and drop us a line using the contact form, and support this website and Iron Skullet’s playlists on patreon.com/ironskullet.