Forward by Joe O’Brien
A handful of years ago, I fully immersed myself in the Vaporwave scene. I loved how the music was like nothing I had heard before, but it still gave me that feeling of nostalgia.
As with the discovery of many other musical scenes, the amount of music out there was overwhelming. That classic feeling of overwhelming discovery was two-fold with Vaporwave, as part of the allure of the scene, was the anonymity of the artists and their work. In came Pad Chennington.
His fun and informative videos on the genre allowed me to develop a feel for the Vaporwave landscape. In addition to the videos he became famous for, Pad has begun to create his own music and organize in-person concerts.
Pad, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. This last year has been rough. How are you holding up?
Thank you for checking in! I’m doing well, being careful and feeling blessed to have been healthy this entire time. Outside of YouTube, I’ve been employed for most of the pandemic, and I am very thankful to have had consistent work since everything started to get pretty wild in early 2020. I have many friends and family who are out of work right now, and we always must remember to help those in need whenever and however we can.
We’re all going to have a really hyper-sensitive appreciation for the littlest things once everything gets back to normal…shooting hoops with some friends, grabbing a beer in the city…catching a band we love, or some good tacos or something. I miss that shit so much, we all do, and we’re about to enter some golden times once we hit the other side.
Tell us about your backstory. What was your musical gateway, so to speak? Also, I have to know- with a name like Pad Chennington – are you a Jets fan? What are the origins of the moniker?
For most of my childhood, it was pretty much what my rents listened to. My Pops was a huge Queen fanatic and Disco head, and Mom was a big MJ fan. Some of my earliest memories of listening to music was hearing News of the World going into Brooklyn to visit my grandparents. I will always have a sweet spot for Freddie’s vocals over his piano playing. So damn good!
Once 7th or 8th grade hit, I discovered Abbey Road, and that album completely changed my life; it kinda took me away from just listening to radio hits and, instead, making an effort to look for new music online or in a store.
Once high school hit, my favorites were all over the place…Passion Pit, Daft Punk, Kanye West, The Fall of Troy, Dance Gavin Dance, MF DOOM, just to name a few. I also fell into a massive French House rabbit hole (gotta love the OG YouTube French House days).
And believe it or not, I’m actually a Pittsburgh Steeler fan! I like the Jets and definitely root for ’em anytime the Steelers ain’t playing, but the name actually came from a night out with friends. We were playing Jackie Robinson in the Uber (a sports trivia game), and I accidentally said Pad Chennington instead of Chad Pennington. I immediately knew right then I had to use that name for something eventually. [Laughs]. A year or two later, Pad Chennington was created!
What first sparked your interest in music, and subsequently making your own music?
I honestly can’t remember what initially sparked my interest in music. Like I said earlier, I can remember listening to Queen on the way into Brooklyn, and even at that age, I remember feeling so attracted to the sound, and that is seriously the earliest music I can remember ever hearing.
I guess a good way to answer this would be to think of times in my life a certain song, album, artist, or show really sparked something in me to be more creative and productive.
Simon & Garfunkel’s track “My Little Town” was one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. It was like the day before school started, and I was like 9 or 10 and the song just felt like the literal concept of a warm summer transitioning into September. As a teenager, hearing Daft Punk’s Discovery caused my obsession with sample-based production. Seeing acts like The Fall of Troy, George Clanton, and Linkin Park live inspired me to want to perform live one day as well and bring an energy to the crowd, matching, or somehow greater than, what these legends were doing.
And that leads into why I made music in the first place…I just wanted to have some of my own material to play live. It’s as simple as that! I knew I wanted to perform, so I spent some guac on an XDJ-RX2 and watched countless tutorials on YouTube (Shoutout to ED.’s Future Funk tutorials!) to cook up some of my own tracks to spin as well, and for a couple of months just worked on both production and performing non-stop.
Can’t wait for things to open up again so we can all party once more!
Piggybacking onto my last question. What was it about Vaporwave and Future Funk that drew you in?
I’ll tell ya exactly how it happened for me…I had just got out of college, was working a job where I watched YouTube half the time, and one day someone recommended Macintosh Plus’ Floral Shoppe. I remember being taken aback right away. It came out of nowhere, and I had no idea what it was but with such a bizarre thumbnail, I was like, “What the hell is this thing?” At first, I thought it was maybe some weird obscure video game; I used to watch a ton of retro video game content on YouTube back then. I had no idea it was music.
After clicking on it and hearing the first couple of seconds, I was immediately reminded of old start-up screens or menus from CD-ROM games from growing up. We had a single computer my entire fam used that sat in the basement, and hearing the first couple of seconds of Floral Shoppe just brought me back to those days. I could cut the nostalgia with a knife, and the artwork brought me back to old science or social studies textbooks. Such a trip, and I was hooked right away.
I had no idea what Floral Shoppe was, who made it, why everything was in Japanese, or that there was a whole genre or community behind it, but I knew I wanted more. I just kept clicking away at the related section, discovering all the classics like Yes! We’re Open, the Blank Banshee releases, Palm Mall, etc.
As an artist, who has have been your biggest inspiration and why?
First, I gotta go back to Freddie once again, specifically, how he moved a crowd and created such an emotional, passionate connection between himself and the people coming out to see the show. Watching old concerts (Live Aid ’85 comes to mind, of course), all of the shit he did is just mind-blowing to me. It was like he was captaining a ship through an ocean, especially those shots where he’s AAAAAAAOOOOOOO-ing into the crowd. [Laughs]. It doesn’t even look real, like a green screen or something. It’s wild.
Second, and maybe the most important inspiration I can think of, were the barbecues and block parties my family, our cousins, friends, etc., used to throw growing up. Closing down entire blocks in Brooklyn or Staten Island, or an entire street in Jersey with 4 or 5 neighbors barbecuing for the whole neighborhood. Hot summer days, music bumpin’, playing wiffleball in the streets. And all you’d hear on the radios everyone brought outside were high-energy Disco hits or old Sinatra or shit like that; it was all such an insane combination of things. [Laughs]. Trust me; it made for some of the most memorable, fun days I can remember. Everyone was so loud and laughing, and it just made you feel great to be alive!
I’ve always wanted to translate the aura from those parties into my live sets and music. To me, lighting up the energy in someone is my most important goal as a performer. Getting people to throw their worries away and just let loose, yell a little bit, or something!
Celebrate any moment you possibly can; that’s all we are here for on this planet anyway. Collaborate in any way possible, whether artistically or just to laugh together. Whether it is Freddie Mercury moving crowds like waves in a sea or my uncle grillin’ some sausage and peppers on the grill, it is the idea of bringing people together that is the biggest inspiration for me always.
What does your process look like? How do you go about creating your music?
Always starts with a nice hot cup of coffee. [Laughs].
When I made Contrast and dewdropper, I completely dedicated my free time to solely work on the albums. I always tend to take on multiple projects or activities at the same time, but I knew for these I should completely submerge myself in the process, especially since I’ve never created any music digitally before up to that point.
My good friend used to work at a local Starbucks, so most nights after work, I would go straight there, grab a coffee and just sit at a table and work all the way ’til they closed up shop. Both albums were done on my old MacBook (R.I.P.) with cheap studio headphones. Half the time, I would still hear the music playing in the Starbucks through the headphones; they played it so damn loud. [Laughs].
The process pretty much all came down to just zoning in for a couple of months and knocking out one track after another. Lots of trial and error and a bunch of frustrating times. [Laughs]. But you know how it is, once it clicks…it clicks, and it was so rewarding figuring things out and getting to an end result. All worth it!
I wanted to talk about Contrast for a moment. Such a great record. What can you tell us about the recording and inspiration for it?
Thanks! Making Contrast was so much damn fun. The whole project was created in about a span of 3 months.
I am a huge boxing fan, and one of my favorite time periods of the sport was the 80’s. From the talent at the time to something as stupid as the overlay graphics and animations used during the broadcasts, there is this rich, yet fuzzy VHS aura surrounding the boxing world in the 1980’s that I just absolutely love.
I wanted to create a sound that replicated the energy from these old fights and boxing clubs from back in the day. Dynamic, pumped-up jams to fuel anyone working hard at something holding them back.
Around the time of Contrast’s creation was when I would say I had the most vinyl in my record collection. Today, I’ve trimmed the collection down to only a couple hundred records, but back then, I still had all of the crates of vinyl I would find at old garage/yard sales that I’d buy in bulk, many times not even knowing exactly what was in ’em. So what I did to find the sample material to play with on Contrast was go through all of these old boxes of records I had, find albums that popped out to me with zany or cool artwork, and head towards the latter part of the records to see if I can find any hidden gems on the B-sides to rework for a track.
The first track I actually made on that was “CRYDA NIGHTS” with Barb Walters. It’s funny; the first time I sent him over my initial project file, he snapped back hard, “Hahahaha!” He was like, “Dude, hold up; you needa fix this whole thang,” or something along those lines. That was the beautiful thing about Contrast. I felt very blessed to be able to have artists and friends I look up to join me on the album; I was able to get some awesome insight, criticism, and advice on production and sound design, which was such a huge help for me at the time since I never did anything like this before. I learned a lot, and by the time I was finished with the album, I became way more familiar with everything that goes into the music-making process.
Also, a big shout out to FIBRE, another producer in the scene. Alex (FIBRE) is a very good friend of mine, and we really began our friendship during the creation of this album. Alex did the mastering for the album and mixdown for a selection of the tracks, and I remember us talking for hours on certain tracks, which would just lead us into talking about music in general, artists we love, our thoughts on the future of the Vaporwave/Future Funk scene, etc. Alex is a very intelligent individual and someone I truly look up to.
I feel like I can talk about Contrast forever; it was just so much fun to make and exciting at the time. I can see why music production can be an addiction for many, a constant desire to put stuff out. It’s an opportunity to obtain that rush from completing something and hearing your creation fully through. It’s that simple joy in setting a goal and hitting it.
Some other interesting facts: “Babe” is dedicated to my girlfriend (is an album really an album unless you dedicate at least one track to your significant other? cmon’ now…), the original cut of “Boxers Paradise” was completely different before that friggin legend ev.exi came in for the feature…that dude has some serious talent. I remember getting his contributions on the track back for the first time and being like, “Holy shit.” “Motor City Cobra” is dedicated to one of my favorite boxers of all time, Tommy Hearns, and “Silver Surfin” was one of my favorite tracks to make; I threw I think 3 different samples in there to make the track, and I was really proud of myself at the time to work 3 different sources into one.
Contrast will always be my baby!
Moving on to another favorite of mine, dewdropper. Tell us the inspiration for this release. Are you working on anything new?
So dewdropper actually came out a couple of months after Contrast! I was really surprised at myself when I began the groundwork for the album because I told myself after creating Contrast that I would take a break from making music for at least a year and strictly focus on booking live sets, but after 5 or 6 months or so after Contrast dropped, I got that itch again to create new tracks.
I wanted dewdropper to have a similar sort of energy to Contrast except a bit grittier and heavier on the low ends. Still, I was pretty much making this album just to have even more of my own material to play with live, so all I wanted to do was have some more high-energy bangers to throw out in a set.
Both albums were made at that same Starbucks I would frequent with the same shitty headphones with the same worn-out MacBook. [Laughs]. I like to think of dewdropper as the sequel to Contrast.
I also tried to organize dewdropper exactly the same as Contrast. When creating the song order of Contrast, I felt like I was managing a baseball team, treating the tracks as if they were part of a lineup. Doing this seemed to naturally fill out the order of the tracks…you got your quick, speedy lead-off hitters with the title track of Contrast, “Babe,” and for dewdropper, “Rookie.” Batting clean-up for Contrast at the #4 spot was “You’re Apartment Can’t Really Be That Small,” while dewdropper saw “EXHIBITION,” one of my favorite sample chops I’ve ever done. And for the grand finale, “Sliver’ Surfin” closed it out on Contrast while “Seasons of Disco” featuring SAINT PEPSI finished up the line up on dewdropper (That track alone is an entire story in itself).
Both albums also featured exactly four features. On dewdropper, FIBRE joined me for “Amalfi,” which actually samples a track from my grandmother’s cousin who was a sorta-famous musician in Italy in the 80s. One of my favorite artists of all time, The Phantom’s Revenge, also hopped on for the album. This dude straight up rocked this track; I remember sending him 3 different samples to see if he was interested in any of ’em, and after a couple of weeks, he sent me back pretty much an entire track. “BETTER THAN 20 MILLION,” the track he joined me on was virtually entirely him. He absolutely crushed it, and the title of the track is named after a line from the film Rocky IV (we both have a love for 80s over-the-top action films, The Phantom’s Revenge actually hopped on the channel for an interview a while back, check it out if ya get the chance!). It was an absolute honor to be able to have him on for the project.
The homie HATENA joined me for the track “COMBAT,” a high-energy, classic House-style rocker that had some additional production from FIBRE as well, including a killer bassline! And last but not least, “Seasons of Disco” with SAINT PEPSI. I actually went to visit Ryan in Brooklyn to create this track and to watch him just fly with his set up, and everything was just magical. The dude is a wizard.
dewdropper was extremely fun to create and was mainly inspired by me just wanting more heavy hitters to drop during a live set.
If we’re talking about future projects, I would like to release a new, completely sample-free, album in 2022. I want to create something from scratch and reserve a couple of months to completely dedicate my time to it. This year (2021), I’ll be focusing mainly on the new record label I am launching, Kats Kill Records, and some big video projects for the channel.
Let’s talk about your YouTube channel now, which actually came before your music. How did you get started on YouTube? What were your goals for the channel, and how have they evolved since you began? Did you ever think the channel would grow to the levels it has?
Yes! The channel was created in October of 2017 (so crazy how fast time flies).
I created the channel to be a creative outlet for myself at a time where I needed an artistic outlet very, very much.
I was out of school for just about two years at this point and was working the same job I took right away after graduating. The position was presented (or as I like to think of it, disguised [Laughs]) as a “graphic design” spot that ultimately had you revising and checking over dozens and dozens of material tags and fine print. And it’s not like a compliance job is a bad thing at all, but for me, it was just super repetitious and not necessarily “fun” in a way. [Laughs]. It was also pretty tiresome, revising all this tiny print and checking over labels for proper spelling, structure, etc. The job left me more exhausted at the end of the day than any other fast-paced restaurant job I had during college, and by the autumn of 2017, I was really falling into a zombie-like state. I’d go to work, come home, eat, watch tv and then pass out. I knew I had to make a change.
This was also around the same time I discovered Vaporwave. It was a direction of art and music I quickly became fascinated by, and I was diving into countless albums every single day at work to keep me company. Everything about it was so warm and comforting; from the aesthetics to the sound, I was simply hooked.
I also loved listening to YouTube videos and video essays while I worked; the videos made it feel like I had someone to hang out with and wasn’t trapped inside a cubicle. I began to notice pretty quickly there was not a whole buncha content exploring Vaporwave on the platform. You had FrankJavCee, who, if I remember, wasn’t putting out as much content anymore at that time. Besides that, there was that awesome WosX Vaporwave doc which I must’ve watched at least a dozen times, and a couple of other talking pieces I just can’t remember specifically. But I couldn’t really find anyone who was exploring solely Vaporwave, and everything about it, on a consistent basis.
So one day, I decided at the office that I would go home and throw a curveball at the work-eat-tv-sleep crisis I found myself trapped in: What if I made a video of my own?
I had the Creative Suite at the time and knew the basics of Premiere Pro, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to have some fun with it outside of work for once.
Creating that first video was a huge breath of fresh, creative air and a whole ton of fun, even though I didn’t really know much at the time on how to make a proper video lol (go look at my old videos if you get the chance, none of them are properly sized for YouTube’s dimensions. I always smile looking back at the earlier days of the channel).
After creating that first video, I knew I was hooked and wanted to create more. After that, the process seemed to snowball. I was creating new videos every week or so, sometimes more than one a week, and connecting with so many incredible producers, label owners, and Vaporwave fans along the way.
When talking about specific goals for the channel, it has always seemed like there is a new one every week or month. [Laughs]. Some people like to aim for the end game or think of the bigger picture or whatever, but for me, it has always been about finding new things to achieve and explore along the way, all of the time. That strategy has always kept things fresh and exciting to me and has allowed me to branch out into exploring different sounds and fields of music with no rules or restrictions. I never feel like I have the weight of going off course or straying away from some big final goal or checklist I gotta hit.
I think people put way too much stress on themselves trying to hit a certain goal by a certain time or something like that, and all the micromanaging that comes along with it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Who cares about the numbers, or subscribers, or views, or anything like that? It’s always fun to hit a milestone as a nice reminder to take a step back and look at what has occurred over time, but life, or at least by what I can tell about it, is all about trying new things and creating friendships with other people, not some numerical figure to dictate whether or not you were “successful.” Focus less on long-term specifics or a date to hit a goal, and focus more on the simple concept of adding newness to your life every week. That is my goal, and sticking to an ever-changing game plan has prevented me from burning out at times where I may have if I was more strict with myself.
But what the hell do I know lol just do your thang!
Let’s talk about the state of the scene a bit. Reddit has really changed a bit, and there is this sort of toxic nature seeping in, which wasn’t there previously. You’ve got to have really thick skin to exist there. What are your thoughts on the culture of Reddit these days? Does Reddit still have a place, or is the toxicity too much? If it does have a place, how does someone new to vinyl and Vaporwave sift through the garbage?
Reddit can be an incredible place to have your work discovered; I really have to contribute the initial success of the channel to Reddit. In the beginning, I would non-stop post there, and it really helped me find an audience to connect with.
Online toxicity is an interesting thing in general…I hate seeing creators I love get so caught up in negative comments. They will avoid the 10 compliments they get and let that one negative one hit em’. It’s really unfortunate, ’cause in the end, it just delays the process of them making new content, which means I gotta wait longer to have it!
The longer you dwell on the negativity, the longer it is until your next creation. It is as simple as that, and don’t ignore the constructive comments and just lazily pool everything as negativity or toxic because a lot of comments can be very helpful if you throw your pride out the window too.
At the end of the day, it’s all letters and words on a screen. Only absorb what can help you. There is a beautiful sun outside and you can always put the phone down, remember that!
So yes, I do think Reddit still has a place. Utilize the space and learn more about a community and how whatever you do can benefit them. What are they passionate about? What do they want to see evolved in their space? You can gain some amazing insight from platforms like Reddit; it is all about the mindset you have and what you allow yourself to soak in.
And if you’re someone getting into vinyl collecting, Vaporwave, or any hobby/craft for that matter, just use the site for why ya went there in the first place. Ignore anything that doesn’t answer your question or helps ya!
Opinion question. FOMO is a huge issue for record collections, and the problem has never been on greater display than in regards to Vaporwave and Future Funk releases. These records are all so limited and go for insane dollars in the aftermarket. What are your thoughts on the situation? How do we improve it? How do we get it to a place where fans, artists, and labels all benefit?
Now that I have started my own label and have experienced first-hand bulk ordering records, I am realizing why many releases can have such limited quantity runs. Many people immediately jump to the conclusion that an artist or label is making a run so limited to create a product more desirable due to its limited quantity. Still, there is so much more that goes into the potential reasons why.
Almost all of the labels in the scene are run by people who have regular jobs or go to school. There is no warehouse or space they rented out in town; everything is stored in a closet or on a shelving unit they built to house everything in whatever space they found in their house. Besides the limited space they have to work with, you also have to remember purchasing all the product can get crazy expensive. You never know if it’s going to sell out or not, AND THEN, factor in everything you have to buy for shipping…mailers, label paper, tape, filler pads, and bubblewrap…where the hell are ya gonna store all this stuff!
It can be really tough to put these releases out; so much goes into doing it right, and one of the main reasons releases can so limited is because of that upfront cost and just straight-up space it all takes up.
I think the only way this improves is with time and as the Vaporwave fan base grows. As the scene gets discovered by more and more people, the demand for physical releases will continue to grow. By that point, it may be financially reasonable for myself and other label owners to go full-time, rent out a space to store and move product in, and whatnot. A good number of releases will sell out in the scene, but what about the ones that don’t? Y’all gotta remember, those records, cassettes, CDs can take up an entire person’s living space. The more you press, the more risk you take on being stuck with a product you thought wouldn’t be there after a couple of weeks.
One disturbing trend I’ve come to learn about is the fact that streaming services don’t pay indie artists well, if at all. Bandcamp, on the other hand, goes out of its way to take care of the indies. What are your thoughts on that? How do we, as fans, help support the artists that we love?
I actually don’t use Spotify at all! I never got around to creating an account or however it works, so I really don’t know anything about it.
Up until I started collecting vinyl and discovered the Vaporwave scene, I pretty much only listened to music through YouTube. Around 2017 is when I started using Bandcamp, and since then, YouTube, Bandcamp, and my physical music collection are really all I use to listen to music.
From what I’ve heard around the scene and seen on Twitter and whatnot, it really does seem like many people don’t dig Spotify too much. [Laughs]. Bandcamp, on the other hand, is just a straight-up G. They’re that cool friend that texts you late at night to go on a fast-food run saying they’ll pick you up. They really seem to have everyone’s back.
And them Bandcamp Fridays?! Such a brilliant concept. It keeps artists happy, brings more traffic to the site due to the barrage of free promotion Bandcamp now gets from artists hyping the day up. It’s just great stuff all around.
And how do we as fans support the artists we love? It goes beyond monetary contribution. Sometimes, sending them a message on Twitter or Bandcamp and just stopping by to tell them what you like about their work, how they can build on it for their next release, or even just saying hi, can make a person’s day. We’re all humans behind the computers and phone, and just saying anything at all can really shift a person’s entire energy for a day. Try it out!
So, here’s a situational question. Let’s say you’re a new vinyl collector, and you’ve just stumbled upon this crazy, niche genre called Vaporwave. If you were going to direct a new fan of where to start, how would you do it? What labels, artists, and albums should a new fan lean into?
Your first experience with Vaporwave is always a special one. I always tell people it’s music you already love that you didn’t know about yet!
If I were to direct a new fan on where to start, I would tell em’ to just follow one of the big names on Twitter…100% Electronica, Business Casual, My Pet Flamingo, VILL4IN, Geometric Lullaby, First Class Collective. Once you do, just check out who follows them, and you’ll find a massive number of artists, labels, etc. Everyone will always be posting their stuff, so check Twitter from time to time for upcoming drops!
And Reddit as well! As I discussed before, Reddit can be extremely informative…r/VaporVinyl will always share many of the drops happening around the scene, and many of the people on there are so chill and helpful. It is always awesome seeing what people have in their collection, and many times in the comments, you’ll find discussions on what’s coming around the corner.
What other passions do you have? How do those interests inform your music, if at all?
I am a huge boxing and mixed martial arts fan. There are nights I find myself going down the rabbit hole of old fights for hours and I just get so zoned in on the action. Combat is one of the purest forms of art, competition, and story to me, and ever since I was a kid and would watch old fights with my pops, it is very hard to say there is anything that comes close to the beauty of a good fight.
If you’re reading this and want something new to get into, go watch any of the fab four fights from the 80s. Just look up Hagler vs. Hearns or Sugar Ray vs. Duran II. They will change your life.
Besides that, I just love having a good time. [Laughs]. That is really a true passion of mine, just hanging out with good people and enjoying each other’s company. With COVID, it’s been so hard to do that, obviously, but in any other time than now, I would say a big passion of mine is hospitality. I love having friends over and providing a good time. I love cooking for people, throwing parties, having some beautiful cigars on deck to smoke with friends on a hot summer night. You just can’t beat a good laugh with good friends.
Are you only into records? Tapes? CDs? Digital? Where do you like to shop for music? How big is your collection these days? What are a few albums that mean the most to you, and why?
When it comes to collecting, I am pretty much strictly a vinyl collector. I do have a couple dozen CDs and cassettes, but vinyl collecting has become a real passion of mine. I love having friends over, pouring some drinks, and just vibing out to whatever record they want to throw on. It’s a lot of fun, creates awesome conversations, and makes the music feel that much more special (at least for me [Laughs]!).
I mostly shop for music on Bandcamp, but I do like to hit up a couple of other places for drops: Boomkat, Polyvinyl, Tower Records, Vinyl-Digital, and Stones Throw, just to name a few. My favorite record store is Face Records in Brooklyn, NY. All Japanese imports that are amazingly priced! I did a video on that shop as well on the channel if you want to see more, and if you are in the area, make sure you stop by!
As I mentioned earlier, I have cut down my record collection a whole bunch over the past two years. At its largest point, I would say maybe my collection was as big as 3,000 records? But now I have to be down to maybe 400 or so.
I find a good-looking collection to be pretty key. After finally admitting to myself that there was a whole chunk of records on my shelves that I just never listened to, I also realized the collection could look so much cleaner without all these old, ripped-up records I scooped from all these yard sales. [Laughs].
There are so many records in my collection that mean so much to me (maybe I’ll make a video on it sometime!) I would end up writing a damn novel if I shared each one in this interview, but some ones that definitely stick out are:
• My SAINT PEPSI autographed LATE NIGHT DELIGHT lathe cut (an extremely rare, low run 45 released over at Illuminated Paths. When I got Ryan to sign it for me in 2017, he did not even know this thing was pressed. We both had a laugh).
• My Flamingosis autographed Great Hair (another OG release that I got him to sign at a show in Brooklyn back in like 2018, I think?).
• An original pressing of death’s dynamic shroud’s I’ll Try Living Like This (Quiet Earth Records, limited run of 1000).
• NEWS AT 11 (One of my favorite Vaporwave releases of all time. I was sent this from Dennis of Geometric Lullaby, one of my favorite labels in the scene, and was given the honor to reveal its existence in a YouTube video).
• A copy of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night (The first record I ever “owned.” My grandma gave it to me when I first discovered Abbey Road, and I’ve always kept it safe and snug!).
• And, a whole bunch of autographed cassettes from artists I look up to like death’s dynamic shroud, waterfront dining, chris†††, Enylobe (One-half of TOWERS), my boy Shoji正治, and many more.
Two-part question. Where do you see your music going in the future, and how do you stay inspired creatively?
I definitely see my music going in a heavier direction. Where Contrast and dewdropper were focused on mostly upbeat Disco and Soul samples, I want to create some wicked heavy-hitting club bangers. Something completely sample-free that I can truly call my own and take a couple of months to completely dive into the process. The next album will be inspired by the energy felt by artists like Justice, Boys Noize, Skrillex, death’s dynamic shroud, Machine Girl, Mr. Oizo, etc. I just wanna make some heavy-ass club blasting stuff. [Laughs].
When I do all of this, I will probably take a break from the channel and Kats Kill Records for quite a while because I truly want to make something special that has my utmost attention. And who knows, maybe what I want to do now will change by the time I actually get to starting it, but I think this is the direction I want to go.
For the second part of the question, I stay inspired creatively by friends, family, and everyone else in the scene. I try to not burn out by keeping the process fresh constantly, no long-term goal setting. Just fun, little things to hit every week. Also, like I said earlier: Celebrate. Celebrate whenever you can, for every little victory or thing accomplished. That definitely keeps me hyped as well!
Last question. You’ve maintained a strong DIY approach thus far in your career, which is never a bad thing. That being said, what advice would you have for other indie artists/YouTubers just getting started?
1) Be consistent.
2) Do something your passionate about, and if you get bored of it, don’t be afraid to scrap it and try something new.
3) Numbers are not everything.
4) When things get frustrating, go outside. Also drink a lot of water.
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