geometric lullaby interview vaporwave music

June 23, 2024

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

When vaporwave began to emerge, the artists who would fashion the cornerstones of the genre were largely unknown. Talented – whether putting an incredible amount of effort into their craft, or chucking something out in a semi-satirical manner – but relatively unknown save for small online circles. 

One can still see this love for anonymity in the modern landscape of vaporwave, in cryptic names and enigmatic release methods. But these days, we’ll more often be drawn to the same names or the same labels. These more popular purveyors have established a name for themselves due to their hard work, but it can feel as though the mystery and the crucial element of discovering under-appreciated or new talent is lost, especially with algorithms often directing us to the more popular and trusted names. 

It would be hard, trusting these data-crunching codes, to discover something like Nightmare of the Deep Sea (stylised as 深 海 の 悪 夢) by Lucid Dream Catcher (明晰夢のキャッチャー) a striking three-hour long exploration of deep dark ocean trenches, droning dreamtone pads representing strange creatures unseen in the light of day, a pulsing phaser imagining how serene the water’s caress might be (if you weren’t smooshed in an instant at such a depth). 

Would the algorithm ever serve you up Undefined’s EP 6? A blistering electronic six-track that’s ingenious percussion turns from clean-cut breaks to sludgy artefact-ridden samples.

It’s hard to imagine that these incredible releases would be offered up very much. And what is an enigmatic release without the listener base their to appreciate its mystery? Geometric Lullaby is ensuring that a wider audience gets to hear some of the most impressive music on offer from less-established names in this online music sphere, most explicitly through the incredible Artist Discovery Series.

When did you initially get the idea to start the series? 

This was quite a while ago! I first came up with the idea mid-2020 I believe. It took a long time to gather every single artist, put together all of the artwork and music, and prep every single bandcamp page, which I did before the first Discover release came out. So there is a big gap between inception and the first release on 1 July 2022. But by that time, every single Discovery release was 100% ready to go.

Was there a particular artist that sparked the idea for you?

I think (forgive me since it's been a while since the beginning, I'm trying my best to remember) it was a combination of several artists that submitted to me. They were all lesser known, and so it was a bigger risk for me to release in a large format like vinyl. But the music was still amazing and I wanted to be able to share them with listeners. 

P U R E​清​い by 歪めるIΘN

Did you have an idea of the specific genre you wanted to feature?

I kept the genre somewhat open. Basically, if it fit with the GL catalogue, then I considered it. So slushwave, ambient, dark ambient, hushwave, dreamtone, and more were all fair game. And I used the same criteria that I always do; it had to be something I really enjoyed. 

What are the prerequisites for an Artist Discovery release artist?

There wasn't any hard and fast rules. In fact, I still released somewhat known artists like Zer0 れい within the series. So I expanded the definition a little to also include artists I just think deserve some more spotlight. I suppose, if I thought it could sell well enough on vinyl to be worth it, it wouldn't be considered for this series, but a vinyl release instead. 

Why do you think the series has featured a lot of slushwave and dreamtone?

Three reasons. The first reason is I was extremely into those genres at the time (and still am) so they were more likely to be considered. The second is they are both very LONG genres in their album length. Therefore vinyl releases were a lot more expensive to do for them. Having them on cassette allowed fans to listen on a physical format that didn't break the bank. The final reason, is because I had many friends I wanted to release for, and they had all made slushwave and dreamtone albums, so it worked out that way in the end.

(Obviously not playing favourites) but, personally what three releases in the series stand out for you?

First, I'll say I enjoy every single one that I put out. It is a prerequisite for anything I release, of course. But if I had to choose three that stand out to me, I'd say C H R O M A 彩度 by 歪めるIΘN, who's album is a perfect escape. I love that with music. The Labyrinth by Aleksis Tristan Shaw. This stood out because it's a LOT more dark ambient than I usually release. It has a suffocating and creepy feeling to it. The last one I apologise for the long title haha; 4​.​9​.​18​.​7​.​5​.​19 15​.​6 20​.​8​.​5 13​.​1​.​19​.​19 4​.​5​.​1​.​20​.​8 by 131129191514. This album really took me by surprise, exploring a very dark subject in a tactful way, but coming out with something menacing and overbearing. I'll let you look up that title to see what I'm talking about.

Why is it important to recognise undiscovered artists in the vaporwave/vaporwave-adjacent communities?

It's always important to support artists who don't yet have much of an audience. Just because an artist is well known does not make their art any better than those who are mostly undiscovered. It's especially important in a newer genre with such a niche community as it helps the genre grow and change. I also think it is very much important to the genre (in my opinion) to continue the mysterious, small, unknown, or completely anonymous artists. This was a big reason for why I found joy in the genre to begin with. It adds to the mystique and aesthetic of the music. 

This is something I've supported since day 1 of the label. I've always released smaller artists along with more well-known, and I plan to continue that long into the future. There are a few more reasons for this, such as being able to financially put money into smaller artist releases with the success of larger releases; as well as the larger artists being part of bringing more ears to all of the smaller ones on the label. So it becomes a sort of ecosystem that really helps everyone I work with. And to me, that's a beautiful thing that brings me joy.

With the series over, can we still expect more unknown artists on Geometric Lullaby?

I’ll carry on releasing lesser known names mixed in with my favourite bigger names! Like I’ve said, I think doing it in that formula really helps everyone in the long run. While people enjoy new artists, if you present them as: “Hey, this is a new artist that has a small audience” I think it affects their perception from the get-go.

And just wait for the next series. I will be continuing Geometric Lullaby: Collections, legends returning to the label, as well as some amazing newcomers too…