If you’re a fan of modern Vaporwave you probably already know the name TUPPERWAVE. Responsible for one of the must-listen to albums of 2018, 'To you baby, with Love', the Vaporwave artist from Australia is proving himself one to watch. To celebrate the release of 'To you baby, with Love' on vinyl we sat down with TUPPERWAVE to discuss his breakthrough album, his inspirations and his future aspirations.
You use quite a few media and film samples on the album. Do you mind telling us what movies they’re they from? Is there a specific type or period of movie which inspires your work?
For the album, I based the theme on the movie Better Off Dead. Starting with the album cover you can see a still from the movie where Diane Franklin was being introduced to Ricky. You’ll notice the Roblox OOF sound in Style, that was for no reason at all I just felt like it hah! The track Leisure was a song directly from the movie soundtrack with the quote, “I used to go out with this girl named Beth, and I really thought I loved her… and she dumped me and I… I guess I just thought I couldn’t live without her or something.” This track was designed in such a way to give the feeling of uncertainty to the listener using the quotes and the distinct changeup in the middle. The positivity drives into the ultimate question of “Do you have a boyfriend…?” (A quote from The Last American Virgin to Diane Franklin's character). I added the ‘No.’ to the very end of the song to leave it open to even more questions from the listener. And now, we have the next album 'Baby, I miss you' coming out September 2019.
The album cover has become something of a modern Vaporwave icon, can you talk a little about how you created it?
The TYBWL album cover was created on my lunch break at work. Originally, Dianne Franklin wasn’t on the cover it was Phoebe Cates. But for lighting reasons, I switched it up before the release. Heavily inspired by DDS.wmv I went for the ominous aesthetic. The picture is supposed to imply longing, a woman looking to the distance in search of someone who is lost, but technology lights the way. Incorporating the grid to the side incorporates the future draped over the 90s NYC skyline.
Where did the album title come from?
I named the album for my Wife. She has always been my number 1 fan and I wanted to dedicate something to her. The title is direct and to the point! It was also written that way so that other people could relate and feel as if the album was written for them.
How does it feel to have created one of the Vaporwave albums of 2018?
I’m still in shock at how well it has done! To see people liking something I have created really warms my heart. Some of the comments I have received from the community really has inspired me to do my best!
What’s your recording process? How do you create a song, is it inspired by a particular sample first or an idea that you want to capture?
When I create a song it usually starts with an idea or inspiration. The first place I start is YouTube, the countless hours of hunting for that perfectly perfect obscure sample.
'To You Baby...' has a nice blend of you solo but also features quite a number of other artists. How did these come about?
I think initially I had 2 or 3 tracks already complete and got into contact with MELTNET via SoundCloud. We got chatting and decided to do a track together, I was so stoked at how it came out I put it as the opener. The song excuses really set in stone the style I was going for and the rest of the album followed the same aesthetic. After the first successful collab I reached out to a few others and the rest is history!
How did you work with your collaborators on the songs? Did you write them together, did one person write the structure and the other add their own twist?
The process was generally the same each time. I would pick a sample; they would flip it and then I’d flip it again. The main difference was Fast Ethernet, that track was already a collab between II nøthing II and 4KAPAS – I found it on Soundcloud and decided to remix it, came out nice!
I know this is something people are always interested in. What programs and hardware do you use to record? Software, mics and such
The programs that I use the most now are FL Studio and Reason. The great thing about FL is that there are tons of tutorials online on how to do things, ED Boy helped me get some ideas!
When it came to TYBWL the sound was heavily reliant on finding the perfect samples. Basically, all I did was chop them up, beef them up and serve them up. It sounds a bit rough here and there, but I never expected it to do so well!
I very rarely do any recording and I don’t own any mics. I do have a Celviano Midi piano, Casio keyboard, a 1968 Stagg and some acoustic guitars. Most of my instruments remain dusty as I use a LOT of samples, specifically with this genre of music.
What’s the Vaporwave scene like in Australia? It seems to punch way above its weight for its size.
Australia is a huge country, when compared to the USA it is basically the same size but 300,000,000 fewer people. The scene is scattered but strong! We have a great bunch of artists here and we are starting to do more live shows but what I realise is that Australia is still 30 years behind the rest of the world in many respects.
Australia is usually the worlds testing ground when it comes to new things like apps BUT I feel like if we can make Vaporwave & Future Funk known here, we will be onto something great.
What's next for TUPPERWAVE going into 2020?
2020 will be the year that I step outside of my comfort zone and do more live shows. I have only ever done one live show and it was a fantastic crowd. I also would like to try and solidify my sound by attempting new things, experimenting, collaborating and just seeing where this amazing vaporwave takes me.
Are there any shout outs you'd like to give out just to wrap up?
Shout outs to everyone who has supported me through the years! I’d love to name you all, but the list would go on forever! So, here are some honourable mentions in no particular order: Evie, Stef, AJ, Eleanor, Simon, Ginny, Paddy, Liam, Meltnet, Kurdtbada, KiLaMDaPro.
Sam L. Barker is a freelance writer and marketer living in Cambridge, UK. He writes about music, technology and memory.