Written by: Groovy Kaiju, December 2021
Yo! Aaron (Groovy Kaiju) here! Thanks for being rad and stopping by this beginner's guide I wrote up for you! This guide is essentially me introducing my music to you. I'll go over what Vaporwave is, and why I'm associated with it. Then, I'm going to point you to some of my most popular music, and cool things I've put out over the years. Lastly, we'll will end on what I'm up to these days! 😎🦖
Introduction to Vaporwave and Groovy Kaiju
(If you don't feel like reading, and just want to hear some jams, scroll down to the next section!)
So I think understanding Groovy Kaiju, and the music from my project, makes the most sense if we talk about Vaporwave, Future Funk, and Vaporfunk first. Vaporwave is an internet art movement that started around 2010, that's main purpose is to invoke the feeling of nostalgia. 🤩 That nostalgia is usually accomplished by incorporating retro anime visuals, flipping old songs that sound like you would hear in your parent's car as a kid, or receiving the art on a dead retro format (like a cassette or VHS tape)! Well, that's at least my definition of it, as many people in the scene will give you different answers! Anyways, Vaporwave, like most art movements, have multiple mediums such as visual arts (Ex: r/VaporwaveArt), audio arts (Me), and the communities and labels that makes up that art (Ex: Utopia District, Business Casual). Vaporwave was traditionally heavily sampled slowed down 80s music with interesting chops and things, kind of like DJ Screw if you are familiar. 🤔 The heavy sampling brings up a lot of questions of copyright, and the idea of adding a unique name to a song that could be considered a remix can be off putting to some people. However, many people see the true art and transformative nature in these Vaporwave songs. Interestingly these days, many amazing Vaporwave artists are incorporating their own instruments, performing their songs live for the recording, and clearing the samples they are flipping (myself included, and I've even lead some of these new techniques in the scene). 👨🎤 Eventually, people in the Vaporwave scene put this technique in reverse, and started speeding up more dance-y soulful Japanese 80s dance songs, with some interesting edits to invoke stronger feelings for the listener. Which is how the subgenre of Future Funk was born (and this is where I enter the picture in about 2014). However, as Future Funk evolved and iterated, it started going more into a House direction (think like Daft Punk and other French House artists). Future Funk, today, still has it's roots in sped up Japanese inspired music genre (Using 80s Japanese Pop Samples, and Anime visuals), but with a lot of house style drums and very intricate rapid chopping techniques. 🕺 This evolution kind of took the Future Funk name with it, so all of the folks who made this old style Future Funk, got moved into a new subgenre Vaporfunk. Vaporfunk is considered the middle ground between old-style Vaporwave, and new-style Future Funk (which is where I am now)! 🦖😎
Next, let's talk about Groovy Kaiju in particular, and how I approach my Vaporwave / Future Funk / Vaporfunk. In the spirit of the art movement, I've always tried to rebuild feelings, spaces, or worlds that I'm nostalgic for in my music. Such as, watching Godzilla VHS's as a kid, watching Space Dandy on Toonami, listening to my Dad's music he would blast on a Monday night, or watching my uncle modifying his car trying to figure what was going on haha! 🏎️ Technically, I approach Vaporfunk from a Los Angeles Beatmaker mindset, as I started making my music as a Hip Hop Beatmaker back in like....2010? I try to blend that skill set, with the heavy sampling and chopping techniques of Vaporwave and Future Funk. All in all, I think my sound is best described by a friend in the scene, Daydream Deluxe, in their review of my album Still Groovy: "Groovy Kaiju rejuvenates that classic Future Funk [Vaporfunk] sound, meanwhile sticking to his own signature sound where he incorporates little trinkets of Hip Hop, Soul, and R&B". 🙏😃
I think that's plenty enough talking about the music. Let's go ahead and just dive right into my catalog!
Groovy Kaiju Music Essentials
Destroy All Monsters
Released in 2021, this is probably my most popular modern Groovy Kaiju release. Multiple tracks from this album have made it onto the official Spotify Future Funk editorial playlist. Such as: VTEC (feat. Tupperwave), Take Me Back to Shinjuku, and Chillin' With Some Koi Fish. These tracks have earned hundreds of thousands of streams from the amazing support of my fans and community. 🤯 This album is kind of the prequel to the Groovy Kaiju lore, as demonstrated in the first title track. Which then hits you in the face with soulful, nostalgic, hip hop-y dance track that hopefully gets you moving in your chair! I cleared all of these samples on this album, as well as added things like my own vocals on songs like Meant To Be. I also feel like I added unique (black) cultural nostalgia with the song Baby Powder Incense, which is more of a fan favorite, through the use of 2000s R&B Samples, mixed with vocals cuts from "Baby Boy" (A cult classic movie in the African American community. I am black myself so I've seen this movie like ten times haha)! If you like this album, feel free to dig through the rest of my Spotify catalog! 👀
Godzilla Got Remastered
Released in 2020, This project is a remastered collection of my most popular and favorite songs since I started the Groovy Kaiju (Groovy Godzilla) project in 2014. 🦖 This has remastered versions of songs like: Space Dandy (over a million YouTube views on the Triangle Music channel), No Worries (~300k streams on Soundcloud), and Mighty Morphin' (Intro Track to my popular 2016 release, Godzilla Saves Earth). A lot of these tracks were made in my EARLY days of Future Funk. Now that I'm a much better producer, I kinda cringe listening to the original versions haha! 😅 But people love them, so I thought giving them a fresh coat of paint would be dope! I also remastered them (with the help of my friend Augnos) to make them playable for my live shows. This album had multiple physical releases (on cassette) through Pacific Plaza Records. This album is also only on the Oceanfront Online Youtube Channel and my Groovy Kaiju Bandcamp, as I am not able to clear the samples that I used to used back then. Thus, this album is available for free (Pay your own price) on my Bandcamp! 🎉
Monster Tape Zero
Released in the end of 2021 (after Destroy All Monsters), this is my first exclusively released Groovy Kaiju album. If you are a member of the Kaiju Club you already received an EP with a few of the songs from this release! If you aren't in the Kaiju Club, sign up here to get a sneak peek! 😃 This album is similar to Destroy All Monsters, in the sense that, all of the samples are cleared, and the album incorporates songs with my own vocals and things. But, it takes things a step further! This album does not follow the Groovy Kaiju Lore, and is a collection of my favorite bangin' singles that I kept in my back pocket, that are a little more experimental, and I had a feeling would be fan favorites (and they are!). Songs that usually get people groovin' are: Monster Zero, Final Boss Theme, She's Focused on Being in Love, and Never Ending Dandy Baby. Going forward, I plan on doing more exclusive releases like these, as Monster Tape Zero has gotten a TON of positive response from people in the Kaiju Club. And, If you're REALLY diggin' all the tunes so far, you can only get this album through Oceanfront Online, in both physical and digital formats! 💿
Keeping Up with the Kaiju
Let's wrap things up! First, THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading through this beginner's guide of my music. I hope you found it helpful, and the fact that you took the time to read through this means so much to me, THANK YOU! If you want to keep up with all the stuff I'm doing, all of the relevant links are on my website / linktree 🌲 :
Here you will find things like:
- The Kaiju Club: My free e-mail fan club where you get exclusive music (like an EP of songs from Monster Tape Zero), free or discounted merch, song breakdowns, and more!
- Spotify (And other major streaming services): Where I release singles every other month or so!
- Youtube: This will bring you to the Oceanfront Online Youtube. Where I upload recorded live sets of my music, new singles, full albums, and other music by my other musical aliases and friends!
- Bandcamp: This has pretty much my whole catalog of releases. Including the older stuff I can't clear the samples for. All of my old stuff is free (Pay your own price), so if you want to literally hear my music get better with every release, here you go haha!
- Merch: This will link to Oceanfront Online, where I sell Groovy Kaiju CDs, shirts, stickers, and more!
- Live Shows: You can see if I'm playing a show near you (and you'd get an e-mail if you were in the Kaiju Club!)
- Instagram: Great for staying up to date on music releases, live shows, and watch clips of me skateboarding or playing shows!
- Discord Server: Probably the second best place (Kaiju Club being the first) to get notifications about everything going on with Groovy Kaiju. I'll do @everyone when I'm going live for Twitch Live Stream live music set, or you can be the first to nab physical releases (sometimes they sell out fast)! We also have a small community in there, where we share music and talk about anything cool going on from time to time haha!
Thanks again for reading through this guide, Stay Groovy dude! 🦖😎