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Oceanfront Online Founders Daniel & Aaron sit down to chat about Groovy Kaiju! Aaron's Vaporwave & FutureFunk musical alias, and we learn about the man behind the monster!
Groovy Kaiju is an Oceanfront Online artist who makes Vaporwave, Vaporfunk, & Future Funk! Check them out on their Oceanfront Online artist page!
Outline, Timestamps, & TL;DR Transcript
- [0:50] NetNavi: Who is Groovy Kaiju?
- Groovy Kaiju: I kinda think of myself like, DJ Screw, if he made Anime and liked Vaporwave! Haha! But for real, I’m a Vaporwave and Future Funk artist that's been making music since like 2014.
- [1:35] NetNavi: What is Vaporwave, Future Funk, and Vaporfunk?
- Groovy Kaiju: Vaporwave is the main genre, Future Funk and Vaporfunk are sub genres. But really, Vaporwave is more of an art movement, since it has multiple elements of music and visuals and things. Lately, I’ve been thinking of genres more about how they make you feel. And Vaporwave makes me feel nostalgic. For example, since I was born in 1995, things like the Nintendo 64, and Gamecube! Future Funk does this by using a lot of retro anime visuals. I grew up with a ton of Kaiju films, hence my name. Future Funk started off as sampling a lot of soul and jazz, but now Future Funk is going more of a house direction. So, my style of Future Funk is now coined as Vaporfunk, which is mostly that old style Future Funk, that focuses more on Soul and Funk (and ESPECIALLY City Pop)!
- [3:40] NetNavi: Does your music have Hip Hop Influences?
- Groovy Kaiju: Definitely! I actually got my start making Hip Hop Beats. I actually have a Hip Hop alias called Aviscerall, which has spun into a Lofi Hip Hop alias of mine. Because really, I was making Lofi Hip Hop before it was actually called Lofi Hip Hop as Aviscerall has a ton of influence from Nujabes music that I was listening to in the 2010s, and artists like them! Then, Future Funk came around and I wanted to try it! So I approached it from a soulful, beatmaker approach, while also staying true to the early genre by making it really dance-y with a ton of anime influences (especially anime I was watching at the time)! I also would inject a lot of nostalgia with anime clips, video game clips, and Godzilla roars, because it would remind me of being 7 years old watching Kaiju VHS’s. So if you like VaporWave or Future Funk, but also love Hip Hop, I like to think that I’m a great middle ground between the two genres.
- [5:40] NetNavi: How do you find and use your samples?
- Groovy Kaiju: I found a lot of my original samples on Youtube. But, I eventually would make the trip down to Ameoba Hollywood with my other Hip Hop head friends, and I started sampling from vinyl. I would go to the world section and find City Pop vinyl, and just judge on the album art if it’d be some good, sample-able music haha! Some of my most popular songs on Soundcloud are samples from Vinyl actually! However, these days I use Tracklib. They allow me to sample, while handling all of the copyright and legal stuff for me, but also they will pay the original artists I am sampling from. Which ethically, I never felt comfortable with so I never charged any actual money for my music! But now, I actually own my music, and I can give back to the artists that I am sampling! I also am starting to use my own vocals and instruments lately, which I’ve had on a few songs, and on a few songs on my new exclusive album!
- [9:24] NetNavi: Who is the man behind the monster?
- Groovy Kaiju: Haha! Hi! I am Aaron Turner! I’m 26, my birthday is July 18th, 1995, so I’m a cancer haha! My hometown is Moreno Valley, California. I currently live in Long Beach, California. For work, I’m a full time software engineer. For Fun, I do a lot of open source coding, music (obviously), and I play video games! (Rocket League, Halo 3, and Hearthstone Battlegrounds).
- [11:01] NetNavi: What draws you to coding?
- [12:55] NetNavi: You've been skating for half of your life?!?!
- Groovy Kaiju: Yes! I’ve been skating since I was 12, and I’m 26 now. Skateboarding even falls into my music. Songs like “For My First Love” has a bunch of audio clips of me and some long time homies skating in the background. If you are ever trying to skate and I’m in the area, hit me up haha!
- [14:13] NetNavi: What kind of Video Games have you been into?
- Groovy Kaiju: I used to be a big gamer, but the last game I ACTUALLY got into was Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Best game ever made)! But again, Rocket League, Halo 3, and Hearthstone Battlegrounds. I also play a lot of skateboarding games on mobile and PC. I’m also super into retro games, and I play a lot of emulated, and real hardware, Gameboy games! Like, I played a ton of the original Zelda: Link’s Awakening!
- [18:15] NetNavi: What music did you grow up around, and how did you start listening to music?
- Groovy Kaiju: I really got into music from Guitar Hero. And also, my family & friends: Ken, Tara, and Kevin, we’re all HUGE metal heads. So they took me to a ton of concerts! My first concert, Metallica Headlined. But I’ve also seen Tool, System of a Down, Scars on Broadway, etc… . But also my Dad is literally straight outta Compton. Like he grew up in Compton in the 70s & 80s. So he played a lot of Gangster Rap. But since he was a bit older, they’d also play a lot of Soul, like the Whispers, which has a direct influence on the type of music I make.
- [19:52] NetNavi: What influences your music?
- Groovy Kaiju: Everything honestly! Everything and Anything can influence my music. Sometimes, I can just be hanging out, and hear a weird sound, and realize I want to throw it in a song. Or, I’ll be watching anime, or a Kaiju film, and just hear a specific phrase, and my ear will tell me I should throw it in a song. But in terms of specific Vaporwave influences, people like: Saint Pepsi, Tupperwave. But also, beatmaker artists like: Vanilla, Knxwledge, & Mndsgn. And the legends like: Nujabes and J Dilla. But! I’ll also say, my fans and stuff! Fans are the reason why I play music live in the recording that goes on the album, and MintyFreshKyle helped me come up with the name Groovy Kaiju! From making music, I’ve found and helped curate this awesome community of people, who are a huge source of inspiration for me, and we influence the music together!
- [28:00] NetNavi: WHY are you Groovy Kaiju?
- Groovy Kaiju: Hahahaha! Probably like strong musical influences? Like when I first heard Future Funk, I really enjoyed it. But I felt like I could add something of myself to it, and it became this Future Funk with a Hip Hop twang that myself and others enjoy! I also am Groovy Kaiju, because it’s music that I want to hear, but again, it’s helped me find this awesome community of people that I really vibe with! It’s been awesome to meet these people in person at shows, or to work with them on things like album covers (Shoutout @Mickeyn163)! So yeah, you get to meet awesome people who became a huge part of the music, I get to make music that I like, and at the same time I get to make music for other people who happen to like my little twang of Vaporwave!
Links & Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Learn more about Groovy Kaiju, find all of their music platforms, and join their Kaiju Club for a FREE exclusive EP! https://oceanfront-online.com/collections/groovy-kaiju
- Aviscerall, Groovy Kaiju’s Lofi Hip Hop alias: https://oceanfront-online.com/collections/aviscerall
- (Not Sponsored I swear haha!) Tracklib, a record store for sampling: https://www.tracklib.com/
- Mickeyn163, the artist who made the “Destroy All Monsters” cover: https://www.instagram.com/mickeyn163
- Musical Influences:
The Whispers: https://youtu.be/N3ZTILIpyXs