An Interview with Dean Terry AKA Tupperwave

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Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with the talented Dean Terry AKA Tupperwave to discuss, among other things, what he’s been up to during the lockdown, his newest music, his thoughts on the music scene going forward, and what he’s looking forward to the most once COVID-19 breaks.

If you would like to learn more about Tupperwave, head over to Dean’s Bandcamp page, and dig in. Once you’ve done that, check out this interview with Dean Terry. Cheers.

Andrew:
Dean, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us here. How are you holding up?

Dean:
No worries! I’ve been pretty fortunate during COVID to be living in Australia. We haven’t been impacted too heavily by the outbreak. The restrictions on gatherings and shows really made a dent in my plans to do more live shows though, which was very unfortunate.

Andrew:
Tell us about your backstory. How did you get into music? What was your musical gateway?

Dean:
My musical journey began back in the mid-2000s when I got a copy of eJay in my cereal. Ever since then I was hooked on music creation. Around the same time, I was heavily into the online game Habbo Hotel which had its own in-built music-making abilities called “Trax.” The “Trax” machine was a very basic loop builder but there were so many samples to choose from! Unfortunately, they removed this feature and I sort of left music creation for a while. Fast forward to 2008, a musician friend of mine named Liam introduced me to the wonderful world of DAWs – I followed a ton of tutorials in Propellerheads Reason and started creating some Electronic/Ambient tracks.

In the coming months, I was making Liquid Drum & Bass, Dubstep, House, and Ambient music…it was extremely rough. I still have a full archive of what was created, and I cringe a little. This brings us into the early 2010s, I was out of school and working full time, no time for music anymore. I was working huge hours and being generally miserable. This continued all the way into early 2016, I was downright depressed and plodding along in my 70hr per week hell job, I was doing data analysis and web development…so I made some scripts to do a lot of the data analysis for me which freed me up a good 1hr each day. This is where I started to create Vaporwave music in Audacity, whenever my boss wasn’t looking and on each lunch break, I was charging through tracks and learning the magical art of Vaporwave.


Andrew:

While you are often lumped in with Vaporwave only, in reality, your music crosses over many genres. Along with the obvious classic ethereal Electronic influences, I hear elements of Chillwave and Ambient throughout your music. Would you agree? What more can you tell us about that?

Dean:
I like to consider myself a man of many genres, I have explored lots of genres whilst learning to use DAWs – a timeline spanning Dubstep and Drum & Bass, through Ambient, Chillout, Progressive House, and more. The Chillout influence came from my Dad, he was always obsessed with the Ministry of Sound Chillout Sessions and things like that, I really do share similar tastes to him. Some of my original music was made for him.

To You, baby, With Love

Andrew:
To You, Baby, With Love and Baby, I Miss You are classic albums within the genre. You really took things to the next level there. What can you tell us about those albums? What was the inspiration?

Dean:
To You, baby, With Love was my first album that followed a theme. It was originally created for my wife, that I love very much! I took my time in creating a long-term plan for the album to try and make my big break into the Vaporwave/Future funk scene, I had to be original, create a style that could be recognized easily. So I took some elements from Vaporwave and Future Funk, blended them together with a ton of sidechain compression and reverb and the magic happened! The style was created, and I needed a story, from the beginning I had planned for this to be a two-piece album. The titles and artworks are designed to give the feeling of a long-distance relationship that is maintained over a digital medium. The green lines on the art represent a digital grid and they join in the middle. Some of my main inspirations for the album’s sound were MELTNET, Saint Pepsi, Bakmahn, RITCHRD and TVVIN_PINEZ_M4LL

Andrew:
What are the origins of the Tupperwave?

Dean:
The origins of Tupperwave were simple – I was thinking of rebranding my original Vaporwave alias, The Vapor Room, into a more “household” name. So, I looked around my house for something witty. I found a microwaveable Tupperware container and the rest was history. It’s a play on the terms Vaporware, Vaporwave & Tupperware.

Andrew:
Who are some of your biggest influences musically? 

Dean:
Some of my biggest influences are Aphex Twin, Moby, Lone, Pendulum, Gramatik, Flume, Royksopp, Groove Armada, Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, George Clanton, Skylar Spence, Vaperror, Windows 96, Dan Mason, Luxury Elite, Tyler the creator, Telepath, Nmesh, VANITAS, Persona La Ave, 18 Carat Affair, Cat System Corp, Phil Gerus, Runners Club 95 – The list could go on for years, but these are some that came to mind.

Baby, I Miss You

Andrew:
There are a lot of misconceptions and confusion regarding how Vaporwave music comes together. Can you tell us a little bit about your process? How does your music come together?

Dean:
Vaporwave as a genre is built around plunderphonics – it is chopping, distorting, modifying, and changing music into something new. A lot of Vaporwave artists rely heavily on nostalgia which is a sentimentality for the past. It is designed as a sort of a way to musically create a false sense of nostalgia or Déjà vu. The music and visuals can make you feel like you were there, even though you weren’t even born. Like the infamous track “Private Caller” by Saint Pepsi, if you have watched the ElFamosoDemon video paired with the song it takes you to another dimension of 1980s Japanese consumerism and culture. I create my music the same way, I generally start with a sample and transform it into a gateway to another nostalgic false reality.

Andrew:
Thinking back, how have you evolved as an artist today, compared to where you were when you were just getting started?

Dean:
I feel like my musical evolution came when my Dad introduced me to The Caretaker – An Empty Bliss Beyond This World. That album really made me feel something. I knew that the sounds that had been made were all old songs but the way they had been processed made them sound as if they were a memory that has been demi-erased or decayed. Like you’re thinking really hard to a time when you were young but it’s all scattered and distorted. It’s like dementia music. Really fascinating. This fork in my musical career pushed me more toward sampling and musical feeling rather than headbanging and energetic club music.

Andrew:
Two of the biggest issues in the Vaporwave community are FOMO and scalpers. These releases are all so limited, and the prices get insane in the aftermarket. What can be done better to help thwart the scalpers that plague the community? What would you say to the scalpers out there?

Dean:
First of all, if you are a scalper, I hate you with a passion. You are a cancer of the music industry. The issue with Vaporwave releases on physical is that they are all done by small labels, and as such doing large runs of things may not sell out and cause financial losses to the labels. Bigger artists are able to do large runs of 500 but it’s still being done by labels not having huge budgets, so they are trying to mitigate the risks of monetary loss and maximize profit for the artists and themselves.

Andrew:
We know about all of your classic albums but tell us what you’re working on now. What have you got in store for us going forward?

Dean:
I am looking forward to 2022 – I will be attempting yet another fork in my musical styles and have paired up with some friends to try and create something new. I have a couple of side projects going on at the moment, the first being Liars Club ’88 which is more Vaporwave based with a friend of mine, and in 2022 I’ll be releasing some music under the alias of Dimitrios. Tupperwave as a name will be discontinued.

Andrew:
Shifting gears here, is there anything within the industry that you would like to see change for the better? What improvements would you like to see that you feel would be beneficial to us all within the vinyl community, and music community in general?

Dean:
I would like to see the community a bit more unified, I feel like there has been some separation and angst amongst certain clicks of vaporwave. Especially looking at the Reddit community – they seem to be extremely critical and unwelcoming. Looking at physical creation I would love to see some more people venture outside the box! Try some new media! I love the way George Clanton has created some really interactive things with his live streams and even video games.

Andrew:
A lot of people try to define what genre you’re associated with. You seem to like to disassemble genres in a way. What are your feelings about that? What are your thoughts on the idea of genres in general?

Dean:
I don’t like to associate myself with any particular genre, yes, I create music in several genres, but I like to think that having a broad genre range is important to prevent musical stagnation. You can learn so much from venturing outside of your genre comfort zone.

Andrew:
The way I initially discovered your music was through Bandcamp and Reddit. In your opinion, how important has both Bandcamp and Reddit been to the Vaporwave scene, and Indie music in general?

Dean:
Bandcamp is THE best place to discover new music, not once have I ever been on there and fail to discover something new. It is a place for artists to be artists and not be squashed by corporate greed. Bandcamp gives the artists flexibility and with their new vinyl options coming into play it could be an incredible all-in-one place for artists. Reddit is another place for sharing vaporwave music releases, you’ll find most release dates and upcoming releases in a number of different subreddits. This is also a great way not to miss out on physicals.

Andrew:
Vaporwave has existed in digital forms for a long time. What do you think of the rising wave of support for vapor-vinyl over the last few years?

Dean:
I think the wave of Vinyl is built on that nostalgia that people crave. Nothing screams nostalgia more than outdated technologies and mediums. There’s a sort of charm to having something new and old.

Andrew:
Another interesting development in the Vaporwave community has been the sudden resurgence of cassettes. Did you see that coming?

Dean:
The Cassette BOOM was bound to happen, the best part about cassettes is that even somebody with minimal equipment can make a bootleg. All you need is a printer, blank cassettes and something to record with. This is what has driven the boom and I absolutely love that it’s so universal, easy to do, and cheap!


Andrew:

Do you collect vinyl? Tapes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? If so, what are some albums that mean the most to you? Where do you like to shop for music?

Dean:
I had a collection of VaporVinyl a few years back but mainly am collecting tapes at the moment. I sold all of my collection during the Australian fires to raise money for charity. One of the most beloved pieces in my collection is my Jean Michelle Jarre Oxygene tapes that my dad gave me, it holds sentimental value and is an extremely cool album.

My main shopping spot for music is Bandcamp, I like to support albums that I thoroughly enjoy. Even if it’s listed for free, I like to support the artists.

Andrew:
Aside from music, what other passions do you have? How do those passions influence your music, if at all?

Dean:
I have loads of passions! I am a keen graphic designer and artist, I love classic cars and playing football. Creating art for me really inspires me to make music, quite often I’ll do the artwork before I have even started a release, play off the color scheme and style of the cover. I think visuals and music go together hand in hand and it’s very important to pair them together.


Andrew:

Last question. You’ve always embraced the DIY approach to music. What advice do you have for young musicians trying to get their start?

Dean:
I think one of my favorite pieces of advice is that when you want to create music do as many tutorials in different genres as possible. Don’t be afraid to use sample packs! Another fun thing to do is replicating other people’s songs to try and capture their methods by trial and error. You can look to people like ED., Frank Jav Cee, Boyinaband, and more on YouTube.

Interested in learning more about Tupperwave? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Andrew has always felt himself to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of person. With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found Vinyl Writer in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Stories from the Stacks. Over time, the column grew into a website which now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process.
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