You have arrived at Utopia District, the premiere destination for vaporwave, future funk & internet music, art, culture, and community! Feel free to visit our website! https://utopiadistrict.com
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Today we are in the District with team members Priestess, Stuad^Dib, Prenoko, & Gbanas92 to catch up, check out some tunes, and make the incredibly important determination of whether muffins or cupcakes are more superior. As well as some other things that have been on our minds lately!
We are thrilled to be sitting down with Groovy Kaiju (FKA Groovy Godzilla) in the UD studio! Join us for a jam packed episode of groovy proportions! Hailing from Long Beach, California, Aaron has been producing music under the name Groovy Kaiju/Godzilla since 2014 and runs music label / collective Oceanfront Online. He also performs under monikers Marquice Turner & Aviscerall. Please enjoy this amazing conversation with one of the communities greatest!
You have arrived at Utopia District, the premiere destination for vaporwave, future funk & internet music, art, culture, and community! Feel free to visit our website!: https://utopiadistrict.com
Welcome, and please enjoy your stay!
AILANTHUS RECORDINGS – Scott Michael
Today, we are truly honored to sit down for a chat with vaporwave and “new easy listening” OG, founder of the legendary internet label Ailanthus Recordings, and invaluable inspiration to a large portion of the vaporwave community over the years, Mr. Scott Michael. His projects include, but are not limited to: ™CENTURY, NEW FIGURE VARIETY, ADHD NFL BLITZ, NYKDLN, Ⓐ☮♡△, DANCENERGY CRUISERS, diamond ladies, & I am hockey and flowers, and Unknown Artist (2014).
Join Indy & Scott for a deep dive into vaporwave history, classic record labels, invaluable albums, and much much more!
Ruminating on the exceptionally talented and impactful duo. So long, soldiers.
On February 22nd, a video titled “Epilogue” was shared to Daft Punk’s Youtube channel, an 8-minute clip taken from their 2006 film, Electroma. Daft Punk’s publicist would subsequently confirm the split-up shortly after, though no reason was provided. And just like that, after 28 years, Daft Punk was no more.
This tandem of legendary producers hardly need an introduction. One of the most important and influential musical acts of all time, the French duo comprising Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, and Thomas Bangalter changed music forever. And nowhere is that influence felt more than vaporwave, this wonderful corner of the musical world that likely wouldn’t exist at all were it not for these pioneers. And with that being said, we at Utopia District -with the help of a few friends- wanted to give something back. Join us as we share some parting thoughts on these two magnificent mechanical gods.
First things first. Daft Punk are (and probably always will be) my favorite artists of all time. I’ve been such a vocal fan for so long that, when they announced their break up, people acted like I lost a family member. “Hey, I heard the news. I’m sorry, man.” And while I’m not in some deep sorrow, I still took a minute to really take it in. I was always kind of holding out for 1 more album… 1 more single… 1 more live set. We’ve lived through a pandemic and insane political headlines but for some reason I did not expect to see this headline.
Through Kazaa and other peer-to-peer file-sharing sites, I was exposed to Daft Punk’s freshest sounds including “One More Time,” “Around The World,” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Having an older brother who was a lot more net-savvy than I was helped a lot on that front. My 3 brothers and I became obsessed with the duo and, in 2005, we received the entire Daft Punk discography for Christmas. It is probably one of my first real exposures to sampled music or, at least, music based around sample chops and electronic beats.
Daft Punk’s trick of making every album sound different and, yet, so very them has always blown me away. You can be bangin’, you can be fresh, you can be dirty, and you can be disco. I am still studying tracks from Homework and realising how simple yet addicting they are. Their loops are an artform. Don’t even get me started on Alive 2007, an album that even today still gives me goosebumps. It glues all the different eras of Daft Punk together into a literally perfect blend. I hold it up on its own as one of the best albums ever made.
Ahh, I can literally go on forever! Uhhh, Discovery is my favorite album; “Touch” is my favorite track. Random Access Memories is also one of the best albums ever made. Hit me up in the DMs for more Daft fanboy shit.
This one hurts, gang. I remember reading the news at work. It wasn’t a particularly bad day, but it immediately turned fairly blue. It is amazing to see how our community has come together to reflect on the Robots’ legacy. On an individual level, so many memories flash before me. I recall how creepy the “Around the World” music video seemed to me as a child. I recall scrolling by “Digital Love” on my first crush’s iPod, hoping one day I could mean that to her. Driving nowhere, I would jam to Random Access Memories when it first came out.
I miss going to concerts; I miss my sister, with whom I grew up. Daft Punk is unquestionably part of the soundtrack to our childhood. We’ll never see them live…
But it’s alright, gang. The music remains. (But, you know, just in case, keep those records in a different crate lest they self-destruct too.) The memories remain. Hold on.
If I can name one band who really defined my journey from childhood to adulthood, it would be Daft Punk. I remember back in high school, I was a lost person trying to see where my road was going to take me when graduation hit. I didn’t know where I belonged exactly. I spent the last two years trying to blend in with others and their music. I felt empty and hollow, it didn’t feel right for me…
The year was 2013. I was playing Grand Theft Auto 5, just cruising around and listening to the electronic station to hear something different. This mysterious song came on. It was disco in tone, but it felt very modern and different. I was enthralled by the words of “Music Sounds Better With You.” I needed more of this.
I was able to track down the lyrics to the band of Stardust and I was wondering where I could find more of this band. As it turns out, they only made one song, and I was disappointed. But the YouTube comments were talking about another band that the artists were involved in. It was called Daft Punk. I was very intrigued and searched for them on YouTube. The first thing that popped up was “One More Time.” The animation and music were just displaying pure joy and happiness, and it felt like me, finally. This version of electronic music was the thing I’d been searching for during my childhood.
The style and journey of this electronic duo really showed that you can explore and create new things without barriers. They were able to achieve crazy projects like making an anime movie, making LEDs go beyond anything anyone ever thought in 2007, and creating a live movie about their characters.
So, when I saw the final announcement, I was anxious and nervous. Could it mean a new song, an album or something coming along? As I saw the date and the duo walking along the desert, something was wrong. As the video progressed to seeing Guy activate the destruction sequence for Thomas, I knew this was the end. Guy walking away in that sunset and hearing a different version of “Touch” gave that cinematic ending to their journey and I didn’t notice a tear rolling down my face. It’s like seeing your best friend going off to another place and you don’t know where they are going to end up or if you will ever see them again…
I’m trying to think of the good times that their songs and creations have brought me in the last decade, how their work morphed me into a person who thinks music can always be an extension of the soul and how it can mean so much for others.
Thank you, Guy-Manuel and Thomas, for breaking barriers and making us all voyagers and bringing “life back to music” for me.
Daft Punk was one of the first bands I ever listened to seriously; Discovery was the first CD I ever owned. I can’t say their style of music impacted my own production very much (that being said, I’ve tried to remix them for years with no luck), but I’ve always been a fan! Random Access Memories is an album everyone in my family can enjoy; Homework is an album I’ve kept mostly to myself; I had Discovery downloaded on the Nintendo 3DS sound player that I carried with me daily to and from school; and a few singles from Human After All carried me through my high school years. I’m sure I subconsciously took inspiration from them when adopting my new mascot: a robot with a monitor for a head. I’ve never posted selfies on my public account, because I’m in love with the idea of going your whole career anonymously. Daft Punk has been a huge part of my music listening and taste for years. Given all the love I’ve seen for them on my Twitter feed, who doesn’t like Daft Punk? I’m a little sad this means we’re not getting any more music from them, but I’m very happy for what we’ve gotten!
When you’re a kid, you don’t really have much of a reason to say why you like something other than the satisfaction you get from it. But when you’re an adult you begin to reflect on how and why that satisfaction has made an impact on you. For me, hearing “One More Time” on the radio at the age of eight-going-on-nine always lifted my spirits and put a huge beaming smile on my face. But it wasn’t until I started high school that I would listen to Discovery’s full duration. That was when I reached what then felt like the zenith of musical euphoria. Though I was a wannabe edgy teen who mostly listened to metal and rock, Daft Punk always had a special place reserved in my heart.
After indulging in the infectiously funky finesse of Daft Punk for exactly two decades, as a guy in his late 20s who is now making music inspired by them, it’s extremely saddening to know that the duo who rightfully sit on the throne of House Music are no longer and that I, like millions of others, will never get to see them live. But my sadness ultimately doesn’t take away from the fact that Daft Punk have played a substantial role in music since their inception or that they’ve made some of the most monumental tracks in history; their music is electronic perfection and their material continues to age better than a bottle of Château Neuf-du-Pape. Thank you, Daft Punk, for your service in bringing da funk to the world.
My mid-2000s was adorned with the beats of Daft Punk. “Robot Rock,” “Technologic,” and “The Prime Time of Your Life” are a few of the songs that stick with me to this day. When I heard the news, I was transported back to my teen years, rocking out to Daft Punk while playing Diablo II on my beefy CRT monitor. Their Human After All album was my introduction to the group. The music video for “The Prime Time of Your Life” haunts me to this day. Feeling like a meat bag in a skeletal world tickled my edgy teen self. I still cringe at the sight of razor blades. Then comes an almost forgotten memory of the time my friend and I duct-taped a megaphone to his truck and drove around blasting “Robot Rock” in the middle of the night in all its crackling mono glory.
I only liked Daft Punk: I wouldn’t have praised them much openly; I wasn’t on the bandwagon when Tron: Legacy came out or their latest foray into the pop music charts. I had all but stopped listening to them, until the news spread that they were disbanding. A sad nostalgia filled me. I called my wife over and asked her if she ever saw the music video for “The Prime Time of Your Life.” She had not. It probably didn’t have the same effect on her, but I sat there and felt the same as I did back then, sitting in my parents’ house, contemplating a skeletal world. I never understood their music’s effect on me until recently. Of the infinite potential timelines that might exist, I was lucky enough to live in the one that gave us Daft Punk. Thanks for the memories.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my first exposure to Daft Punk was a 2002 Flash animation called “Work It”. I’m going to have to tell my kids, “You see, a River City Ransom character dancing to Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger was my introduction to anything resembling funk.” None of them will know what on earth I’m talking about, and that’s OK. I probably won’t have kids anyway. Can you imagine the pain of giving birth to a glass-tiled baby?
From there, my elementary school playlist was populated with MP3s of Alive 2007, and Daft Punk plunged me further into the world of dance music. I didn’t think much of it because the complete Weird Al discography on that playlist hogged more of my attention. Not that I’m complaining!
Fast forward to 2013, and Daft Punk releases Random Access Memories. I was a light fan of the duo until I pressed play on “Give Life Back to Music” and changed my life. Mind you, I’m a bigger fan of 2001’s Discovery. But Random Access Memories was the closest Daft Punk ever came to capturing that pure disco sound, and it turned me into a Discoholic. I explored their discography, to see how they repainted the dance music landscape. They pioneered artistry not just sonically but theatrically: the robot personas, the worldbuilding, the live performances. You can’t name anyone who shook the world of dance music quite like these robots did; people still call me Daft Punk’s weird cousin with a disco ball for a head. I can always lean on them for someone to compare myself to during introductions. “Oh, yeah. Daft Punk’s cool. I’ll check out your beats on SoundCloud.” So long, Daft Punk. Maybe drop those unreleased songs you’ve worked on over the last decade. Please?
I remember Daft Punk from hearing “Around the World” for the first time on the radio as a kid and, later, as a teen getting crazy excited over my fav house track “One More Time” (which I loved for the track and the videoclip) being played on TV. They were my introduction to the french house sound and are a huge inspiration to the music I make myself today.
What can I say about Daft Punk that hasn’t already been said? Their legacy is having forever changed electronic music for the better. They showed people that you didn’t need to chase certain trends to be popular, that striving for excellence and artistic integrity was a motto worth living by, and that electronic music can tell a story and have a timeless grandeur.
I wouldn’t be here had it not been for Daft Punk’s music. They were the first band that resonated with me past just a love for their discography. No, it was much more than that. I loved what their project stood for. It motivated me so much that I decided to embark on my own journey as a musician, to find out what I could contribute to electronic music in my own way, to be a direct part of the artistic process. People who knew I was obsessed with French House in high school used to make fun of me and, somehow, I couldn’t care less about them; it was all just noise to me.
It’s actually really difficult for me to describe in words how important they were to my youth. Without their influence, I would never have started learning to produce. I would never have started FIBRE, nor would I ever have been a part of Future Society or all the other labels I’ve worked with. I would never have started Montaime.
Starting off, I wanted to be as cool as them. Nowadays, FIBRE and Montaime have taken on a new, more personal meaning to me, something that is uniquely a part of who I am and doesn’t compromise on artistic integrity. That motto that they started is something I will always carry with me for the rest of my life.
I remember watching Daft Punk debut 4 of their music videos from Discovery on Toonami’s Midnight Run on August 31, 2001. Soon after, I asked my mom to take me to Walmart to buy Discovery on CD, because I needed the full album and I only had a few songs I was able to download on Napster. From that moment on, I was hooked and Daft Punk kept my interest all throughout different periods of my life. When I was “only” into punk and metal in high school, Alive 2007 brought me right back. RAM reminded me what it was to break expectations. Daft Punk never did wrong by me and have opened up many other doors. And, in a sense, they’re responsible for so many other discoveries. All good things come to an end and I’m glad I got to experience and grow up with Daft Punk’s music. Thanks for the memories.
I was actually pretty late to the party when it came to Daft Punk. I grew up mostly listening to ‘70s rock, in large part thanks to my dad, and didn’t find that modern music left much of an impression. But I also loved movies and watched tons of them. And a movie I just happened to love was Tron. And as we all know, Tron received a sequel, an undeservedly maligned one at that. I loved Tron: Legacy almost immediately and a big part of that was the music. However, I wasn’t terribly familiar with Daft Punk yet. I’d heard “Around the World” and, uh, that’s about it. After I saw Tron: Legacy in theaters, I immediately went and bought the soundtrack on CD — still in my possession today — and proceeded to work my way through the entire discography of these geniuses in reverse order. I did not listen to much electronic/house/etc. in my youth, so Daft Punk were my first real introduction to that sound (with the exception of Eiffel 65, a story for another time). And that exposure is something that, until vaporwave, had never really expanded past Daft Punk. I realized there was a specific sound and philosophy I wanted out of the electronic music that clicked with me, and Daft Punk were for a long time the sole artists capable of delivering it for me. For better or worse, the only album of theirs I was excitedly anticipating along with the rest of the world was Random Access Memories which is, of course, a masterpiece almost unmatched in its diversity and scope. What an album to serve as a closing chapter, right?
Although Daft Punk are widely believed to make only French house music, their influence on the future funk community has been undeniable. Listeners can hear their sound-design and ingenuity endlessly rejuvenating the scene throughout their catalogue, with the overflowing examples of disco, funk, and house music being reimagined, chopped, and experimented on. It’s even possible to say that future funk uses anime as a visual backdrop so often in part because Daft Punk used their Interstella 5555 as the leading visual force in several music videos from their album Discovery in 2000.More evidence of their influence on future funk, a lot of producers discovered Daft Punk from the track One More Time, the first track from the album to have an anime debut! Audiences can hear Daft Punk’s influences on the work of artists like Discoholic, Pad Chennington, TANUKI, Skylar Spence and Night Tempo, just to name a few!
The legendary duo’s calling it quits after 28 years has certainly been heart-wrenching to the community, but let’s take this time to appreciate everything they’ve made and how many artists they will continue to inspire in future generations.
I hopped on the Daft Punk train pretty late. After a friend showed me their track “Voyager” in 2010, I knew I had to do a deep dive into their discography. I have fond memories of that summer: late nights with friends, and Discovery on full blast. Daft Punk brought a cohesive package of funk, house, disco and more to the masses. On a positive note, their legacy will continue thanks to the throngs of producers who have been influenced by Daft Punk in one way or another (Would future funk even exist without these guys?). Regardless, with such an important duo calling it quits, it’s a sad day in music history. Thank you, Daft Punk, for a summer I will never forget!
Daft Punk had a profound effect on me. I remember it vividly: 1998, the first day of grade 6. New school. New kids. A new setting. Looking for footing in a world of unknowns, searching for a sense of belonging and to be accepted by a new group of peers. Deciding to stay inside during lunch-hour, I happened upon a classroom of kids that also didn’t want to play outside, and got to just listen to music and play games instead. It was here I would first hear Daft Punk, and learn of their impact on the world; it was the unmistakable beginning of my understanding of how to share the experience of music with other humans. Music is powerful because of our ability to have and share experiences through it. So is art in general, for that matter. We listened to music together and played Starcraft at lunch and were taken aback by Daft Punk (a CD borrowed from someone’s older brother). A perfect cascade of happenings and trickle down effect: I had just got my first Discman for my birthday and one of the kids burned my first ‘mixtape’ CD which included a handful of Daft Punk tracks, especially “Around the World,” the song that truly exposed me to the sheer genius music can offer. It broke my understanding of what a song ‘had’ to be, exposed me to the world of sampling and DJing, presented me to the world of raving and dance and sincerely taught me what sharing a musical experience could be. I don’t know if my musical experience through life would have been the same without hearing and bonding over Daft Punk. Fingers crossed for 2027! 💗
The first memory I have of Daft Punk is of sitting in my parents Mitsubishi Expo minivan in the parking lot of a Dollar Tree, flipping the dial between the stations we had preprogrammed. The dial suddenly lands on a station I haven’t heard before, right at the very beginning of that bass thumping intro of “Around The World.” I think this was around ‘98, so this kind of sound was brand new to my ears as a kid. After that, I could not stop singing that chorus and, every time I was in the car with my family, they would tell me to stop singing that annoying robot song. Having older brothers growing up really shaped what music I got to listen to but discovering Daft Punk that day was how I came into my own taste. They’ve always been special to me, their sound growing as I grew, and seeing them go feels like losing an older relative you treasure.
It’s August 31, 2001, right around my bed time. Before heading to bed, I begged my father to hit record on the VCR so that I wouldn’t miss out on Adult Swim’s “Midnight Run: Special Edition” airing that night. What made this particular Midnight Run special was that it was an hour of animated music videos. Little did I know just how much impact this event would have on my music taste going forward.
The tape started with a short and dreary music video for Kenna’s “Hellbent.” Next came three music videos from Gorillaz’s stellar debut album. So far, I was ecstatic with all the new tunes I was hearing, but then the intro loop for “One More Time” faded in. As soon as I heard the first vocal and beat drop, I grabbed the TV remote and cranked it. They ended up airing nearly half of Interstella 5555, still in production at the time. Almost every night for the next few months, I was playing that VHS tape while air guitaring “Aerodynamic” and singing along to “Digital Love.” To say Daft Punk had an influence on my own music creations would be a massive understatement. Without Daft Punk, there’s a great chance I would never have started diving deeper into house/electronic music or even picked up a DAW, for that matter. Daft Punk will forever be one of my most cherished musical acts. I have since lost that VHS tape, but I will always have those memories and music to live on.
I remember exactly where I was when I heard Daft Punk the first time: in the car on the way back from baseball practice in elementary school and “One More Time” came on the radio.
At that age, besides listening to whatever my ‘rents had on around the house, all I did was listen to what was on the radio. And this? This was like nothing I had ever heard before. It was so adventurous and intergalactic! It was infectious!
Fast forward to high school: becoming obsessed with Discovery, showing my friends how to remake “One More Time” and “High Life” on “Virtual DJ”. I found the action of rebuilding tracks with their original samples to be the coolest thing ever; Daft Punk was that initial spark that got me so fascinated with sample-based production.
And then, in college, when that little teaser came out for Random Access Memories? The 10 second clip of “Get Lucky”? I played that shit over and over again for days!
I owe these damn robots so much.
Thanks for everything, Daft Punk. It’s amazing what you’ll find face to face!
I remember my first time (consciously) listening to Daft Punk in the seventh grade. A friend showed me “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” off his old 2003 dinky mp3 player. At that moment I was hooked. The song played endlessly on loop in my head the entire day; the memory alone was so loud I almost couldn’t hear things people were saying to me.
Daft Punk continues to be the biggest influence I’ve experienced in my life; the core reference point that shaped who I am today. The most important music to me, period.
Daft Punk is what first motivated me to make music. I rank my enjoyment of a piece of electronic music by evaluating how closely it resembles a song off the album Discovery. The opening track of my album was inspired by “Voyager” and “A Brief Encounter” is a slowed down take on “High Life.” The consistent use of the number 5 often in my brand is a direct Daft Punk influence from their film Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem.
Their album Discovery was so important for everyone, to be honest, but especially the future funk scene. In my opinion, it’s a genre defined by the blueprints of a single album. So much so that if it came out today no doubt people would call it future funk’s best album.
What they offered the world was true artistry: time tested music that still sounds like it’s from the future; storytelling through songs that evoked strong feelings and images in your head while still being accessible enough for anyone to enjoy, but finely crafted enough to forever be considered God Tier. THANK YOU!
In the summer of 2001, I had my first pre teen crush on a girl I met at a sports camp disco. I clearly remember seeing her for the first time, drinking the Kiwi flavor Virgin Soda that had just been released in Sweden at the time, while the DJ played Daft Punk’s “Digital Love.” The little love story with this girl lasted a couple of months. The love story I started with Daft Punk that evening is still blooming. Daft Punk was my first venture beyond mainstream pop music. I bought Discovery on CD, brought it to school and had the teacher play it during gym class. My classmates hated it. My parents hated it. I took on the nickname “Daftpunk_89” on the social media and chat rooms I used at the time. It’s really an understatement to say that “Daft Punk has meant a lot for me as a musician.”
What Daft Punk offered the world was more than just good music. They offered true artistry in a way that is rarely seen in the mainstream pop music world these days. They never seemed to adapt to current trends or made something purely for commercial reasons (except for maybe that GAP commercial, but I guess we all make mistakes). Daft Punk did the music, the videos and the artwork they wanted to do and didn’t consider external factors, and their entire brand was an homage to the music, art and movies they loved growing up, their childhood heroes. Now, my childhood heroes Daft Punk are passing the ball to the next generation, and I will do my best to carry on their legacy in my own work. So, whenever I find myself at a crossroad in my own musical journey, I’ll remind myself to stop and ask, “What would Daft Punk do?”
With the news of Daft Punk’s retirement, I’ve noticed how I can connect personally significant memories of time and place with incredible releases from the duo and their many “French Touch” projects.
I remember a rave at St. Louis’s Palace skating rink in 1997, hearing the hypnotic chorus of “Around the World” played by 3 different DJs. I remember my girlfriend purchasing Homework on CD after we broke up, hoping to make me jealous (we married in 2003). I remember attending a rave in 1998 and hearing Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better With You” again played over and over by multiple DJs.
I was studying in England in the winter of 2000 when “One More Time” was released and every Virgin Record store in the country had Daft Punk in their street-front window displays. I experienced the genuine thrill of seeing a favorite band (that I had regarded as my underground scene’s secret) become international pop sensations.
2005’s Human After All was one of the last electronica albums to make my collection before I stepped away from dance music for several years. They helped bring me back with the release of “Get Lucky” in early 2013, bouncing my newborn daughter on my knee, losing myself to dance, one more time.
Weeks ago, I happily marked the anniversary of my involvement with the vaporwave scene by catching the premier of Alive 2007, a board-recording of their Chicago Lollapalooza performance, thanks to an invitation from the future funk label Montaime. I didn’t realize it at the time but watching that epic live show with my ‘wave community was the perfect way to say goodbye to a duo that has marked so many special moments in my own life.
Thank you, Thomas and Guy-Manuel. Thank you for the music, and thank you for the memories.
The music upheaval of Daft Punk and their unmistakable impact were only escapable for a fleeting moment: amplified lines were drawn in defense of our musical tastes while growing up in New York City. The neighborhoods you frequented, along with live show nightlife and jukebox picks, was a firm part of your identity. French people making disco songs with computers had no relation to my scene and spoke little to how I was defining myself. Who were these two lifting Edwin Birdsong? These guys were just chopping up dance hits in pursuit of “Top 10” accolades. I didn’t listen to Daft Punk, and nobody in my circle did.
At the time, my hopes of electronic music innovation were in the chiptune scene flowing between New York City and Philadelphia. We were inspired by Europe and disregarding the mainstream. I was busy shifting parameters on a Gameboy while dismissing the popular Daft Punk notion of house music. For me, the stewards of sample culture were Zulu Nation and Afrika Bambaataa, and nobody’s helmet was going to change my mind. Nods to that same hip hop culture are how Daft Punk transmitted the secret invitation for me to finally open my eyes and inhabit their world. I went from denier to inspired. They left the gates wide open, luring me in with acid, techno, electro, indie rock and beyond. Their staple sound twisted me into their orbit despite my ungenerous stance against whatever imagined agenda I projected on them. I will never claim to have the deep love bestowed by true Daft Punk adherents. However, it was not long before I was attempting clumsy “Around the World” remixes on that Gameboy. Their tide has elevated us all and their like will never be seen again.
As a young child, the only music in my life was my parents’ James Taylor and ‘70s cock rock, whatever was on the radio when my mom took me and my brother on errands, and the Weird Al tapes my friends had convinced me to buy. It was pleasant enough to listen to (minus the ‘70s rock), but it was all just a way to fill time on long car rides and boring family visits when I’d rather have played video games. Thankfully, that changed one night in 2001 when a cartoon robot named TOM (you might have heard of him) played a bunch of animated music videos at midnight. For the rest of my teen years, Discovery was a pillar, alongside Gorillaz and the collected soundtracks by Yoko Kanno. Though they fell out of regular rotation some time in my early-to-mid-twenties, I’ll always remember sitting in the glow of the TV, fighting sleep as I finally discovered how it felt to be excited by music. Thank you, Daft Punk.
As the years drag on and new eras are ushered in, we have to come to terms with the fact that eventually all things must end; nothing gold can stay. Daft Punk exemplifies this fact. I will elect not to repeat what others have said (aside from the fact that “Robot Rock” is amazing and anybody who disagrees can fight me) for they can do much better, but now is an appropriate time to reflect on the past and ponder the future. Daft Punk is — Daft Punk was — larger than life, and their absence feels leagues larger. But at the same time, Daft Punk is but a small part of a bigger collection of artists, a part that we have appreciated for many years and will now mourn for many more. As the rate of turnover exponentially increases for the artists we have appreciated the most, new wounds will form. Some may scar over while others may never heal. It is important now that we maintain the memories of those who have stood unwavering at our sides as we venture through each new chapter.
With each loss, a fresh wound forms, but each new scar is a testament to what the artist means to us. Losing an artist can be likened to losing an old friend or beloved companion in that the end is cold and absolute. The bitterness poisons life, and the emptiness can hit like a truck. But, as the famous quote goes:
When I first heard Discovery in high school, my eyes lit up as I thought “If only I could do that! This is Digital Love at first sight! I finally Got Lucky and awoke something Beyond, Within me.” I ran out and bought MTV Music Generator and tried to make my own tunes, selling my first album to fellow students and teachers, hoping to make my friends’ heads spin Around the World like a Phœnix. Later in college, I discovered that Daft Punk was using Ableton to make music; I did everything I could, even Short Circuiting my situation, to get a copy of the High Fidelity digital-audio-workstation they used. It was time for me to start Doin’ It Right, and Give Life Back to Music. Diving into their Technologic approach, I felt so Alive, Da Funkin’ with my record-plunderin’, samplin’, loopin’, mixin’, and glitchin’, imagining Guy-Manuel and Thomas giving a Robot Rock thumbs-up approval as I created tracks on my Motherboard. Throughout all of my 회사AUTO creations, Daft Punk has been the Steam Machine standard of Emotion; they were the guiding light of music, Superheroes of creation to strive towards. They had to call it quits at some point and have a grand Finale; they are Human After All. I only wish I got to see them Face to Face. I’m forever grateful for the inspiration they gave me during the Prime Time of (My) Life.
Probably one of the earliest recognizable memories I have of dance music is hearing Daft Punk. I had never paid much attention up to that point. There was something about it that stuck with me, though. Later, these dudes were how I learned what filters were capable of. I probably learned a lot of other stuff from them without even realizing it, and for that I’m immensely grateful. They impacted so many others in the same way and their music will continue to live on and inspire. I’m sure of that.
While the duo may be no more, we will always have the music they unleashed upon an unsuspecting public. In the most magical of ways, they accomplished one of the greatest feats of all: they Gave Life Back To Music. And from the bottom of all of our hearts, now and forever, thank you Daft Punk.
We are backstage at Disco Forever, a livestreaming future funk and vaporwave URL event, streaming on Twitch on February 13th 2021, presented by Utopia District & ED., with some of the hottest musicians and visual artists in the game! Featuring unique ‘director’ commentary on the delightfully unexpected results of the matching of vaporwave visuals to dancy vibes.
We are thrilled to sit down with Discoholic, FIBRE, Mere, ED., Pan!c Pop, Cobalt Road, SleepPattern, All Hell Breaks Loops, Nicoquota, Gbanas92, Prenoko, SquizzkleKop, and Moirebender! Join us as we take you behind the scenes into the green room of Disco Forever and discuss the nitty gritty behind the event, production intricacies, performance stories, and a whole heap of laughter along the way.
Check out the full Disco Forever event details, our artist and musician profiles and more, on our event page:
While this new self-titled release may technically be the third album under Male Tears’ belt, it does in many ways represent a debut. What originally began as a solo act — under which the albums Endless Tears and Artism reside — is now a duo as Mister Mellow joins up, and the sound of the group has shifted and changed to reflect this new formula. While Male Tears remains at its core a synthpop outfit, there is now a greater representation of sounds, of styles, and most importantly, of personality.
Right out of the gate, the opening track, “Chained Up” is able to evoke the greatest acts of the new wave. If that’s a genre or sound you’ve grown up on or just grown fond of, the influence is immediately apparent. But this is no mere copy. The music doesn’t exist merely to pay homage to that which came before. The tandem has something of its own to say. Between the many music videos that have been released for tracks off this album, as well as the artwork itself, there is a cohesive vision at play. While sonically things scream New Order, visually we are met with something a bit more malleable. Think more along the lines of the chameleonic nature that helped define the career of David Bowie and you’re in the ballpark. The album elicits a fiercely androgynous sex appeal that permeates every layer of the release. The masks of these two personae –lipstick, eye shadow, hairstyling- are no better represented than on the album cover, with a version for each member of the group. Even the instruments contribute to this, as the tones and choices made culminate to help you peer at the world through the lens of Male Tears.
After the opener, things get even more energetic, with the intriguing “Let’s Pretend,” an uncannily catchy tune that revels in hypotheticals. In a world still reeling from the ongoing pandemic, the idea of viewing love or romance as an idea to be solely indulged in hypothetically is an especially intriguing concept. After the opener, it’s the first real moment where the album “locks eyes” with the listener as well. While the gaze may grow ever intense as the release wears on, here it’s teasing, playful.
But as we dive deeper into the release, the darker side of things starts to show up. While the tunes maintain their airiness thanks in large part to tinkling synths, the subject matter gets more concerning. Even the track titles themselves start to paint this picture. Playing pretend was fun and all, but “Good in the Dark” starts to take these fleeting fantasies further. While on the surface, this is the best Pat Benatar track in decades, the manifestations of those casual glances are getting more intense. Things are heating up, but what happens when the dark gives way to light?
“Creep Distance” is the answer to that question, which carries a far less peppy melody. The drums cut that extra bit harder, the vocals croon more, and the fantasy seems to be over. The most frequently uttered line in the track is “don’t stand so close to me.” A divide in the earlier dreams has formed. This is further reaffirmed by the lyrics explicity, saying “now that we’ve grown far apart.” If that doesn’t spell things out enough, the next track, “Human Errorz,” unbelievably gets more sinister. While the lyrical content is more pensive and less dramatic, the synths in this one are downright sinister. And that’s to say nothing of the punctuating, downright propulsive percussion.
But things can’t all be grim, can they? Surely you’ve got to be able to turn a corner eventually, right? Well what if we just fast-forwarded right to that? That’s what “Future X” decides to do, jumping forward past the dour ruminations of the last couple emotional tracks. We have a more peppy beat again, the synthesized strings are back, and the lyrics talk about not wanting to “think about any time but the future,” before repeating “take me to the future” in the chorus. A future where things are looking up perhaps?
But not so fast. “Adult Film” hasn’t had its say just yet. Opening with a solo bass line that sounds handmade for a keytar, this track probably has the most dramatic vocals of the release. The rigors of singing are more evident than ever, with the emotional strain of the subject matter being most evident. Really, the whole track feels off the rails. The dizzying arpeggiated xylophones represent the nucleus of the tune running through basically the whole song. But this manic pace was never going to last.
“She Lives in the Pipes” tones things back down a bit, bringing the tempo to a calmer, more controlled level. While the subject matter on the surface might sound, well, strange, sonically, this is one of the standouts on the album. While it’s a little trickier to find a place for this in the “story” we’ve crafted here, it’s got maybe the best chorus on the whole album. So let’s think of it as a narrative interlude or the infectiously catchy commercial that interrupted your regularly scheduled programming.
The respite doesn’t last long though, as the penultimate track brings an incredibly important revelation both in the context of the album, and more broadly, in everyday life. “I Should Feel How I Feel” may attempt to tackle the ability — or inability — to accept oneself for who they are. The song appears to deal with some pretty troubling subject matter, almost as if not being accepted is deserved for someone being the way that they are, and trying to come to grips with that revelation. After all of the events that had come before, this track may represent some kind of resigned acceptance to one’s role or purpose in the world. But understanding and acknowledging that is an important step in being able to move beyond it. It’s pretty bleak stuff, so what comes next is rather surprising.
Whatever you were expecting next, it’s probably not a brilliant Rick Astley-esque tune, is it? Well with “Take My Picture”, that’s what we get. The drums carry the expected crisp gated reverb that defined much of ‘80s drumming — and don’t get us started on the synth tones! Given how bleak some of the past few minutes have felt, it’s perhaps encouraging that the album ends so optimistically. It affords us some hope for the future. And it’s a wonderful closer on an album that has us as optimistic as ever for the future of Male Tears.
If you’re anxious to get your hands on the album you won’t need to wait long, as it will be dropping on Pacific Plaza Records Sunday, February 14th –yes, that’s Valentine’s Day- at 12PM PST.
gbanas92 Score:4/5 Favorite Track: Good in the Dark
A low level buzz heralds the start of NYX. A little glimpse of the general hue of warm feedback that follows pretty much throughout the release. There’s a sound like some unfathomably large freight train peeling out of a gnarled, gothic station; but as the atmosphere settles a similar sound emerges at a different pitch, clarifying that what we hear is a melodic sequence rather than a sound effect. The hybridization of fizzling static and muffled angelic pads was the cause of such a shocking and intense beginning, but the two aspects separate fairly swiftly. What proceeds from this point sounds something like footage from the rapture spewing from an old television set. Instead of sounding grand and palpable, the pad strings leak out of an unstable and non-grandiose set of speakers. It is almost like awakening from a dream, there was a fleeting moment that felt as though we were experiencing this strange celestial event first-hand. However as we come to understand what is being presented, we realize it claws over toward us from a tired old screen.
As if the old hardware has been on too long and found a way to connect with the spiritual plane. Needle-like euphoria pierces through the unpredictable waves of fuzz, at points the melodies even seem to push through like a hand of pure light desperately trying to permeate its shoddy, fizzling encasement. Throughout this, Zer0れい remains unafraid of leaving the listener in moments of silence. For some artists, music of this style would cause a nerve-racking pressure, where it might feel as thought the artist must always be presenting the atmosphere explicitly. This would cause an overexposure to the fascinating atmosphere. But with Zer0れい there are gaps peppered about, moments without the guiding light of the euphoric ambience, and also where the feedback ceases to spit out static as well. In these brief periods of silence, it almost feels as though your soul is recuperating after being set upon by a strange and entrancing experience.
These fleeting respites end with a reiteration of the desolate and decrepit aura that controls NYX. There is also something incredibly unique about the melodies Zer0れい utilizes. They are unrelenting tendrils that sneak past the grainy fugue; long drawling laments. When it feels as though a melodic episode has concluded, the artist finds another combination of notes to keep the sorrowful performance going. In this way the track limps at points, with breaks in feedback and melodic narrative. This serves to amplify the fragmented and heady nature of the music as a whole. At certain stages, it almost sounds like there are voices meshed into the slow-attack notes. Noises like bells can also be heard throughout, before the onslaught of melody is enveloped in waves of heavy distortion. Toward the end, a swirling pool of the euphoric ambience begins to build. The lashes of harsh feedback continue, but every time they hit they disappear, more swiftly than before, into the burgeoning sea of beautiful noise. The opening side to Zer0れい‘s NYX is truly haunting. The atmosphere submerges everything from the very start, everything happens through this heady, violent sludge. But even in such torrid audio conditions, Zer0れい sneaks in moments of pure beauty.
The narrative takes a darker turn still as we enter the second half. The same large sweeps of metallic viscera appear, but this time do not often relent in any meaningful way. Instead, gargantuan shrouds of noise crash into slowly descending whistles. The falling tones are unsettling, as if the music has buckled from the pressure and now hurtles downward like a faltering aeroplane. The feeling is one of overarching disorientation. At least the first half of NYX had a safe space in its sheepish melancholy. In this second part, the listener is completely on their own amidst screaming tunes and violent walls of muddy, metallic nothingness. Even when the melody gains a little bit more of a footing and certain notes are sent across the listener’s bow, they are completely bested and beaten down by the constant monotony of the void. Low notes begin to coo patiently against the tide, almost choral in their delivery.
At a certain point, a deep bass sound begins to enmesh itself in with the dissonance, allowing for melody to inch its way into focus without being hindered by the relentless din. Here we find a little ballast upon which to try and weather the storm; we hear muffled ghosts of notes pulse through a thick fog. After throbbing feedback, all sounds begin to falter. Only certain crackles and flickers have a volatile feel to them, the rest of what we were hearing seems to have hurtled far away from us now. This is one of the only times it seems we are able to hide away from the atmosphere Zer0れい has created. But it is in no way comforting, it feels as if we are mere yards away from this strange ghostly tower in which the noisy struggle rages on. A heavenly chorus emerges through the grayscale rage of sound, its tune bending and screeching. The conclusion to NYX is not the rapturous recalibration of light and dark that we may have hoped for. Rather the two sounds slowly simmer down and stop, the pause is so sudden that it almost feels as if it could just be another swift intermission before the roaring shrieks back in. It fills the listener with dark wonderings about the sounds, which harbored so much power and rage that they could easily burn on forever past the project’s runtime.
Zer0れい assembles defunct sounds and feedback, pitting them against each other and occasionally fusing them together. This is a fairly basic methodology. But, in NYX the artist instills an incredibly harrowing atmosphere, an incapacitating journey through a volatile and alien landscape viewed through rusted old machinery. In the first part, one might imagine a lone TV set, spewing sick light into a living room and entrancing an unaware subject with visions of angelic beauty. The second part sounds like what would be playing when the police break down the subject’s door a few weeks later, finding the apartment’s contents vaporized and the owner driven to madness by the indescribable dark energy enshrined within what was playing.
The famed nu disco / future funk artist with a disco ball for a head joins the Disco Forever lineup to bring their brilliant sound to this rockin’ festival. Between the deluge of phenomenal remixes to their name, or the myriad of original tracks, Discoholic always delivers where it counts: catchiness. Look no further than recent singles “Discadance,” or the remix of Mere’s “Draw The Line” if you don’t believe us.
Owner of Montaime, the disco-centric label, as well as being one of the most recognizable names in future funk, Fibre is responsible for many of the genres very best. With appearances on their own Montaime, as well as Business Casual, and Coraspect, they’ve been involved with many of vaporwave’s best and brightest labels. With tracks dating all the way back to 2014, Fibre represents one of the elder-statesmen of future funk, and for good reason.
With appearances on Fibre’s Montaime, Tiger Blood, and Business Casual, the Boston-based Mere Notilde has accrued quite the following. Look no further than their patreon for proof of this, where they release a track a week to a devoted fanbase. With a unique, more eclectic chopping style, Mere’s music is particularly adept at getting up in your face, and encouraging you to dance. And in future funk, there’s no higher compliment than that.
Music producer, co-founder of the Skyline Collective, and co-presenter of Disco Forever, ED. (also known as Elektric Dreams) is a well known figure in future funk. Hailing from Miami, Florida, ED. has been dropping fresh tunes since 2015, and their latest album Enter The Night released on My Pet Flamingo in mid 2020. They’ve also inspired countless others to begin their musical journey by sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience with the community via a sizable number ofvideo tutorials on YouTube.
Tampa based Future Funk Monthly is a DJ and curator of (surprise!) future funk music. True to their name, they’ve been releasing mixes of what they consider to be the best future funk tracks produced every single month since 2016. No stranger to live performances, they’ve DJ’ed at events like Aessential and Flamingo Fest, and are sure to bring the heat as usual to Disco Forever.
A member of Kawaii Bass and Nightfall Collective, this Toronto based DJ/Producer is a relatively new addition to the future funk scene. Their debut album, 5!ve 5tar -featuring collabs with the likes of DUCAT and Tokyo Wanderer- dropped on cassette via Neoncity Records earlier this year, and has made a strong showing. Infusing the sound of vaporwave and future funk with elements of trap and hip hop, it’s clear that Pan!c Pop has a bright and funky future ahead of them.
With instantly recognizable branding, (the titular “Mélon”) the Scottish-based Mélonade offers some impressively unique takes on future funk. With their heavy emphasis on driving rhythms and chops, Mélonade’s the creator of some truly one-of-a kind future funk. This includes releases that dabble in genres you don’t often see overlap with future funk, such as mallsoft on the brilliant Dream Plaza. This experimentation allows for brilliant soundscapes you can’t find anywhere else in the scene.
Between their deluge of releases, booming patreon, or written pieces for the now defunct Private Suite magazine, Strawberry Station’s name has been plastered all across the scene for years. Between appearances on First Class Collective, Coraspect, Gulf Audio Company, My Pet Flamingo, and even more, it’s an understatement to describe Strawberry Station as prolific. And that’s to say nothing of the now legendary video that closed their WAVEPOOL set in 2020.
Living and working in Mexico, Rhodes Rodosu has been putting out infectiously dance-able future funk singles and compilations with their signature chopping technique since 2016. Rather than define themselves by a single genre, though, they’ve also recently branched out with their latest self-released EP Aeris, full of sample-free compositions. Whatever the style, you can be sure their music will get you moving.
Though they started out with a focus on vaportrap in 2015, Cobalt Road has since evolved into an accomplished future funk and disco producer in the intervening years, appearing on labels like DMT Tapes FL, Business Casual, and Montaime Records. From their home in Orlando, Florida, they appeared in some of 2020’s biggest live events, such as We <3 DMT and WAVEPOOL. With plans to showcase all new music for Disco Forever, it’s clear that the best is yet to come.
Catch us as we raid All Hell Breaks Loops’ Twitch channel around 12:30PM EST on Satuday. He’ll be offering up some excellent visual material to be sure! Follow on Twitch below! He’s also open for commissions at the below email. email@example.com
All Hell Breaks Loops takes an analog informed workflow to digital media. The “ghosts in the machine” are put to work using techniques spanning machine learning, networked video transmission, bespoke shaders and upscaled visualizers. These techniques are combined with an aesthetic that acknowledges the legacy of the past, the promise of the future, and the reality of the dystopian present.
SquizzleKop is a Multimedia Artist currently specializing in Audiovisual work. Based out of Tampa, Florida, their work utilizes a mixture of creative coding techniques as well as traditional video editing to try and tap into the heart of a subject, regardless of what it is, in order to make it flow on screen. From the very big projects down to the super small edits you can tell there’s a
little kiss of love in there.
SleepPattern is a Seattle-based cursed image curator and analog / digital hybrid hardware visual artist with a concentration on found footage, glitch, and video synthesis. Performing for just over three years now, they first fell into the art form after finding old public access television equipment while rummaging at an estate sale. It was all downhill from there. Aside from creating moving images and other TV Wizardry, they enjoy creating DIY hardware, collecting older cameras for use with their work, and pushing for a VHS revival. If they were a hot dog, they would indeed eat themselves.
A visualist that lives for the thrill of finding that which has come before and making it brand new again. Look no further than Carbon Copy’s Youtube channel, to get a look at an extensive number of visual experiments and more recently, music videos, as proof of this. Between their use of distortion and visual sampling, Copy’s visuals are sure to be a boon for Disco Forever!
You need look no further than Moirebender’s instagram to get an idea for what their visuals are all about. With a particular emphasis on hypnotic swirling vistas, the only thing more impressive than their magnetic visual style is the array of incredible colors they are able to imbue in each and every piece. Just make sure you don’t stare at any of the pieces of art for too long!
Producer, dirtector, journalist, audio engineer, video artist, and more, Indy is the founder of Utopia District and is an irreplaceable member of the vaporwave scene. He’s produced / directed award winning short films / documentaries, worked as an editor for MTV Canada, and regards storytelling as the most important asset in the filmmaking toolkit. This love for the medium and a keen eye carry forth in the incredible, meticulous visuals he crafts for sets.
A digital artist, M▲XΣMUS is able to weave fantastical visual landscapes out of recognizable faces. Between the utilization of clip art, and a natural sense for marvelous color schemes, M▲XΣMUS is able to turn familiar images or ideas into almost completely alien concepts. This transformative nature is especially well suited to vaporwave, providing a brand new means of exploring nostalgia.
Prenoko is a visualist all about the “here and now.” To this point they have preferred to creat visuals live alongside the performance, so as to capture the visceral nature that music affords. Disco Forever will actually represent a first for Prenoko, as this event represents the first time they have crafted visuals for a pre-recorded set. Join us in our excitement to see how this change in approach translates to the festivities!
Music producer, co-founder of the Skyline Collective, and co-presenter of Disco Forever, ED. (also known as Elektric Dreams) is a well known figure in future funk. Hailing from Miami, Florida, ED. has been dropping fresh tunes since 2015, and their latest album Enter The Night released on My Pet Flamingo in mid 2020. They’ve also inspired countless others to begin their musical journey by sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience with the community via a sizable number of video tutorials on YouTube.
Vaporwave culture, art, and community website. Showcasing the wonderous offerings the vaporwave community has to offer. Complete with Podcast, Art Exhibit and Index, Events Tracking Page, Articles and Reviews, and much more.
After ravenously listening to as much vaporwave as he possibly could for years, gbanas92 eventually decided to do something with all that passion, contributing a number of articles to Private Suite Magazine before its unfortunate closure.
This led to his joining up with the Utopia District team, to continue to writing about vaporwave about as much as humanly possible. Reviews, news, and anything in between. When he’s not listening to vaporwave, something that happens admittedly rarely, he is probably playing PlayStation way more than he should. Either that or watching hockey.
3D Artist, video artist, and DJ. All Hell Breaks Loops is quickly gaining a reputation for the best vaporwave afterparties and livestreams around. Time and again raising the bar in the vapor visuals community! They have worked with countless vaporwave and future funk artists bringing their music to life through the visual medium: Sound Market, Tupperwave, and Saint Pepsi
They are also the resident VJ at Pacific Plaza Records’ VIRTUAL MEMORY events, and host their own Twitch channel you should definitely check out.
Creator and collector of vaporwave artifacts; formerly lead editor at Private Suite Magazine; editor, writer, & admin at Utopia District and Arcology Online. On a mission to drift and compile across the wide and deep wave.
A netizen since Web 1.0, cerulea_d.lux seeks to illuminate all the corners of vaporwave and bring its treasures and their creators into the spotlight. As a long time fan of all things chill, utopian, and lo-fi, they proudly lend their support to Utopia District in bringing Disco Forever to life.
An experienced DJ and future funk enthusiast, icelevel’s passion for obscure music knows no bounds! A new member of the team, he has opted to leverage that passion into managing Utopia District’s social media. And he even chips in some writing with the occasional review.
You have arrived at Utopia District, the premiere destination for vaporwave & future funk art, culture, and community! Please visit our website for full details: https://utopiadistrict.com
Cruise on in to the Utopia concert space for a showcase on Flamingo Fest 2020 and meet the artists and visualists behind the massive two-day URL festival. A whopping 20 interviews with your favourite performers and visual artists await you. Settle in for our longest podcast episode ever — put your feet up and sit back with us as we explore the minds of these incredibly talented musical and visual artists.