An Interview With VAPERROR
Today marks the first-ever vinyl release of VAPERROR’s classic sophomore album System Delight on wax via Yetee Records. Housed inside a high-quality jacket and featuring brand new artwork by Drew Wise, System Delight has been fully mastered for vinyl playback by Marc Junker (aka R23X) and comes pressed on a gorgeous crystal clear with blue swirl Island Wake vinyl. Originally released in 2014, System Delight has been regarded by many as a cornerstone for the early VGM-infused Vaporwave explosion, and is still one of the most influential albums in the scene today!
Based out of Atlanta Georgia, Jeff Cardinal (aka VAPERROR) is a bass-slapping, car drifting, beat wizard with a passion for video games. Best known in the Vaporwave scene for his highly energetic and sample-based riffs, breakneck tempos, and illusory ambient tones— Jeff’s emergence into the Vaporwave scene has been as symbolic as it is captivating! Resonating throughout the industry he inhabits, Jeff’s playful commitment to experimentation and musical landscapes mixed with pure nostalgia is breathtaking, to say the least.
To celebrate this very special release in partnership with Jeff’s very own label PLUS100 Records, our Content Writer Jacob Chase has sat down with Jeff to get a peek under the veil of his creative quest and all things video games, music, and more. So… without further ado, slot in that diskette, grab your controller, settle in because it’s time to go on a First Class trip to a digital paradise!
Jacob: Who or what have been the biggest influences in your choosing a life in music?
VAPERROR: I wanted to make electronic music after listening to artists like Aphex Twin and Com Truise. Lone is what I cite as one of my biggest influences now, as well as general 90s-00s electronic music. Think VGM, ringtones, menu themes, jazz, and MIDI.
Jacob: What were some games and experiences that helped you create System Delight’s unique genre-melding sound?
VAPERROR: 2014 SoundCloud culture! Soulection in particular was putting out some great future RnB-type beats that got me motivated.
Jacob: What’s your favorite game of all time and why?
VAPERROR: I'm a Nintendo fanboy! I can't pick a favorite, but Pokemon Silver, Star Fox 64, and Super Smash Bros. Melee all stand out to me as some of my favorite games of my childhood.
Recently I've been playing through Pokemon Shield. My most played game on Switch is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with Pokken Tournament and Animal Crossing close behind. I'm looking forward to New Pokemon Snap.
Jacob: What’s your favorite food to take pictures of?
VAPERROR: Anything with a lot of color and textural variety! I'll tell you my least favorite thing to take pictures of is red meats such as steak - I can never get the color right in my apartment, I don't have the right lighting or camera equipment to get an accurate or even appetizing shot most of the time. There's a reason why steakhouses are lit with dim and warm light.
Jacob: Being a part of the unique subset of Vaporwave artists that follow a VGM centric approach to their albums, did that come as a natural choice for you, or was that something you set out to achieve from the onset?
VAPERROR: I've had a conflict in the past with sounding too much like video game music, but now I completely embrace it. I felt that it degraded the musical integrity somehow, but now I feel the complete opposite.
Jacob: Is there a certain method that you go through that gets you into the mindset for your unique writing style?
VAPERROR: It's a lot easier to write music after listening to something that inspires me, and making a mental note of the type of song and the vibe that I want to capture. Usually, it's a menu or battle theme from a video game... ha!
Jacob: What instruments and programs did you use to write System Delight and what’s your production setup like?
VAPERROR: That album is composed of a LOT of this synth called Purity by Sonic Cat. I use Ableton Live to produce all of my music.
Jacob: What’s the quintessential car in your opinion?
VAPERROR: Why honestly the Subaru WRX of course! I feel it's a balanced car and the most fun car I've ever been in. But hey... I'm a fanboy.
Honorable mentions to the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and the Mazda Miata. Predictable answer? Maybe!
Jacob: What’s one of the coolest road trips you’ve ever been on?
VAPERROR: I haven't been on many, but the two that I have taken with my buddy from college Connor have been some memorable experiences. He is very easy to travel with and we always have a lot of good food and beer, while seeing some amazing sights - usually mountain terrain.
Jacob: What’s it been like coming back and revisiting this album for the vinyl release?
VAPERROR: I really liked Drew Wise's rendition of the cover art. I always feel he does a stellar job. I'm grateful that this album will be pressed to vinyl!
Jacob: With the current state of the world right now, what are some things you miss most doing live shows or events like Electronicon?
VAPERROR: I most miss the energy of being physically on stage and performing well, I feed off the crowd's energy!
Jacob: Why Jeff smash computron?
VAPERROR: I smashed my laptop in LA at Electronicon 2 because I was having an audio issue at the beginning of the set which burned about 20 minutes, all while my laptop screen was cracked from the flight due to poor packing on my part. I was so stressed out. At the end of it, I gave in and just smashed it... I had USBs for my next two sets luckily.
Jacob: What was it like touring Japan with the rest of the Neo Gaia Legend crew, any candid or favorite memories from that experience that you’d wanna share?
VAPERROR: James did my laundry on one of my last days and even folded it!
Jacob: What was your favorite memory from the writing process of System Delight?
VAPERROR: Writing Open Me Up was fun, it was the first time I used Reason synths in my VAPERROR music. Little known fact, the percussion starting at around 0:30 was inspired by War's "Low Rider".
Jacob: As this is your third release with Yetee Records what’s it like working closely with Marc to produce these albums?
VAPERROR: Marc is talented and relaxed! I love working with him on just about anything.
Jacob: Any plans to release some more back catalog VAPERROR releases on vinyl now that System Delight is getting the wax treatment?
VAPERROR: Yes, stay tuned! I've just approved some audio for 100% Electronica!
Jacob: What can people expect next from VAPERROR, or any of your other creative projects?
VAPERROR: I have a funk album that will be releasing this year. It's more than halfway complete. You can check out "She's Got the Stuff", in my opinion, one of the best and FUNKIEST tracks I have ever written, on Spotify now:
I would like to thank Jeff for taking the time to sit down and chat with me about his life, this album, and all the aspects of his work for the purposes of this article.
If you want to stay up to date on all things VAPERROR, give them a follow on social media, scope their website, and check out their Bandcamp page for more incredible music.
Bandcamp: PLUS100 Records