An Interview with Dennis Mikula of Geometric Lullaby

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Geometric Lullaby is, for my money, one of the better labels in the Vaporwave game today. Sure, there are many labels out there doing what Dennis (the founder) does, but not many do it better. I firmly believe that Geometric Lullaby is a cut above in quality of product, customer service, and its active roster of artists.

The label itself has been around for a few years now. In that time, the label has perpetually put out stellar albums, some of which are essential to any Vaporwave collection regardless of which format you collect. Albums from the likes of 식료품groceries, MindSpring Memories, R23X, Nmesh, death’s dynamic shroud.wmv and 猫 シ Corp., and more are some of the finest the genre has to offer.

Today, I’ve got Dennis, the mastermind behind Geometric Lullaby , with me. If you’d like to learn more about Geometric Lullaby as a label, you can head over to their Bandcamp. Also of note, Dennis is a member of Death Metal band, Ghost Bath. You can check them out here. Once you’ve done that, give this interview a read. Enjoy.

Andrew:
Dennis, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Tell us about your back story. How did you get into music? What was your musical gateway?

Dennis:
I’ve been into music for most of my life. I taught myself to play piano as a child. Then I started as a lot of kids do playing viola in the 4th grade. I moved on to the trumpet, then saxophone, then the guitar. I’ve been in bands since I was 12, and right now, I play in a depressive suicidal Black Metal band called Ghost Bath on Nuclear Blast. I discovered vaporwave sometime in 2013.

Andrew:
Over the last several years or so, you’ve released a lot of incredible music under Geometric Lullaby, which has a focus on Vaporwave. How did the label get started?

Dennis:
It began because I wanted a place to release all of my various vaporwave aliases. I wanted to keep them all in one location. But for some reason, I figured I could start doing some tapes for other people. I started at 50 cassettes per release, and they all sold out VERY quickly. From there, it all sort of snowballed. I made sure to keep up with high-quality physicals and to release only the music that I loved.

Andrew:
In my opinion, all of the releases from Geometric Lyullaby are done right. You’ve got an incredible roster of artists, which seems to be growing by the day. You press well. You package well, and you ship well. Where do you press your records? Were there any experiences you had that influenced your decision to pursue the level of quality you have today?

Dennis:
I think it was always part of my basic idea for the label. I had a few things I wanted to maintain.

1. I only wanted to release music that I personally loved and would buy myself.

2. I wanted to make sure my customer service was professional and that all releases got shipped in a timely manner (a problem I saw in the scene at the time).

3. Make sure every release is high quality and something a collector would be proud to own (as I am a collector myself).

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 I love about Geometric Lullaby is that you make all the albums people want readily available and at fair prices to boot. Was there always a conscious effort to try and thwart the scalpers?

Dennis:
That’s never been in my mind at all. It’s difficult to explain the amount of work that goes into even small 50 cassette releases or limited 300 pressing vinyl releases. The limited quantity has always been due to my limits as a one-person operation. Over time, I have worked on expanding (slowly) in a timely manner as not to grow too quickly and allow more fans to be able to pick up the music that they love.

Andrew:
As you probably know, quality control is an issue throughout the vinyl industry. I’ve personally purchased many records through Geometric Lullaby, and the quality is always top-notch. Furthermore, you guys always make it right 100% of the time if there is a rare issue. What are your thoughts on quality control in the industry today, and what’s your QC process like?

Dennis:
I have a good relationship with my pressing plant. I am clear with what I want from them and make sure to upgrade and have the highest quality I can get. Sure, people can order from mass production type sites or labels, that will cut every corner, and so they can offer a lot cheaper prices. But I would rather offer a high-end experience because that is the type of vinyl I would like to receive of these amazing albums that I am passionate about. It’s all been a learning experience, and I believe the quality just slowly gets better over time as I learn more. I would never want to remain stagnant.

Andrew:
Shifting gears here, is there anything within the industry 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 the music community in general?

Dennis:
I think labels and artists should focus more on quality (of both the products and the customer service.) From my experience, once you have those basics down, then you can work on expanding and doing all of the cool things you want to do. People tend to rush things a little bit too much, and there is nothing wrong with taking your time on stuff, as long as it serves to improve what you are doing.

Andrew:
Vaporwave is a hard genre to pin down. It’s everchanging, but people always like to put things into boxes. What are your thoughts on that
and the idea of genres in general?

Dennis:
When I first came to Vaporwave, I saw it as a singular thing. A singular sound and aesthetic. It wasn’t until I heard the album I’ll Try Living Like This by the artist death’sdynamicshroud.wmv that my field of vision on vaporwave expanded greatly. It didn’t have to be a gimmick, it didn’t have to be one thought or sound, but it could explore a wide range of emotional and dark topics. It could be true art. I think it still will take the average listener a little bit of digging to find all of the aspects that vaporwave can explore. But I hope the GL catalog can help people discover this.

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?

Dennis:
For me, having come into the scene as late as 2013, the physical cassettes were always a part of it. I thought it was awesome to have cassettes like I did back when I was a kid. I think the physical support is great for everyone, especially in the current years with the pandemic. It helps artists and fans alike support themselves when shows and concerts aren’t really an option. I love that vinyl has overtaken CDs as well, as it’s a much more special connection to the music. Larger artwork and a lot more love put into each release, from the mastering to the layouts, to the vinyl colors.

Andrew:
The way I discovered Vaporwave was mostly through Bandcamp and Reddit. What are your thoughts on the importance of both Bandcamp and Reddit for Vaporwave and Indie music in general?

Dennis:
Bandcamp has been huge for me. I love the site, and I have had a great experience using it.

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

Dennis:
As I mentioned before, cassettes were always a big part when I started my journey with Vaporwave. To me, it fits perfectly with the style of music and aesthetic.

Andrew:
This might be an obvious question, but 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?

Dennis:
I am a collector for sure. I have a TON of Vaporwave cassettes and vinyl. I think it helps to be a fan and a collector to then release music on physical mediums that others will collect. It helps get one in the same mind space as them. I did have to sell a large portion of my collection to make room for the label, though. I live in a tiny apartment, and my office is completely filled with boxes…

Andrew:
What other passions do you have besides music? How do those passions inform your work with the label and as an artist?

Dennis:
I love basketball. I’m a big Bulls fan. I am in a metal band, and I love to play guitar. I collect pokemon cards. I love reading fantasy, and I am currently writing my own epic fantasy trilogy. I love to travel and specifically love Japan. I have been learning Japanese for a few years now. Some people say they do a little of everything, but I do a LOT of everything. It can be tiring, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Andrew:
What are some of your favorite releases you’ve put out thus far?

Dennis:
It’s hard to say exactly because I put out only music I really love. It really depends on what kind of mood I am in.

Andrew:
Last Question. It’s been a crazy year. Once COVID-19 dies down, what’s next for Geometric Lullaby in the future?

Dennis:
There is a LOT in the works for the label. I will be moving to the other side of the country. Expanding internationally. And I have a lot of secret stuff up my sleeves that I can’t quite talk about yet. Just keep an eye on any of the label’s socials.

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

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.

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