Vaporwave's newest label reaches for the intercom
A ‘Vaporwave Label’ might seem like a bit of a contradiction. How can a music genre mostly released via the internet for free need an old-fashioned label structure? Wasn’t this what internet distribution was supposed to break? But most Vaporwave labels aren’t granitic gate keepers- they’re partners to artists. While Vaporwave is a decidedly ‘by the fans for the fans’ genre, the legwork and logistics labels undertake, whether it’s facilitating physical releases, shipping, recording or live shows, deserves respect. Some labels, like Fortune 500 or Dream Catalogue, have even passed into scene legend. Bywords for the dedication and scope of the genre.
First Class Collective are an up and coming Vaporwave label with a steady string of releases already under their belt. I spoke to founders, Yungyoshibae and Middle Class Comfort. What does it mean to be a Vaporwave label in 2019 and where are we headed to next?
What sets First Class apart from other Vaporwave labels?
We have yet to release a tape, but we have a system for deciding whether to release a tape or not. We go on our Twitter page and ask everyone through a poll. So basically Qrates but for cassettes and without putting your card into it.
How did the label get started?
We both had separate ideas of starting a label. MiddleClassComfort wanted to make a digital collective with the possibility of doing a physical alongside a fellow label. Zico wanted to start a tape label born from his passion of making cassettes.
We both joined ideas and First Class Collective was born.
What are your ambitions for the label- what role do you see it playing in the Vaporwave scene?
One of our biggest ambitions is to set a role model for future labels, or even the existing ones. We are run by two teenagers, in which our PayPal account is co-run by trusted adults (parents). We also pay the artists 100% of digital profit, while the share of profit with physicals are negotiated, which seem to be something that not a lot of other labels do…
We also are pushing our goal of doing weekly releases every Tuesday.
Can you talk about some of the artists on the label- what kind of sounds are they producing and why do people need to hear them?
To kick off the start of the label, we called the Vaporfunk community to give them an opportunity to jump into our compilation named First Class Collection: Volume One. The outcome of this turned out to be a hit!
Matt Mathers, (or Bito) is a Classic Vaporwave artist who has previously released with a multitude of labels. Having his chill sound as our first full-album release was absolutely surreal!
Dropbassline is our most recent release. We definitely like this fresh style as it reminds us of if J Dilla went through a Vaporwave stage, haha.
As of now two artists have released a full album with us, and we have more coming soon. We want to establish ourselves with a wide variety of sound. We want some classic Vaporwave or Late Night Lofi, but we also want to take part in some experimental, genre-bending styles too.
Or with our Future Funk side, which is also allowed! We wouldn’t mind working with artists who want to add their own vocals and instrumentals.
Talk about the aesthetic of the label, the aeroplane, the sky, what feelings do you want people to associate with First Class?
Our aesthetic is still taking shape, but seeing where we are going as of now. We see ours taking shape as more of a chill vibe. But we still want to build up a danceable vibe with it!
How do you see Vaporwave developing in the future?
We see Vaporwave growing more and more every day. We are in the perfect time period for our community, the memes have left (mostly), and we are thriving. We don’t see Vaporwave or it’s subgenres dying in the near future.
Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?