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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 musical come up of the kaiju!
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
- [0:54] NetNavi: When and how did you realize you were good at music?
- Groovy Kaiju: It was probably around the Soundcloud days in 2014. My Soundcloud was poppin’ off! I was like "woahhhhh" whenever I would get thousands of streams on my songs haha! And people would reach out and let me know that they love my music, and it was always super heart warming and would cheer me up on a bad day. And then, I would post on the Future Funk subreddit, and started making friends, and I got invited to the Future Society collective which was pretty respected back then! I made friends with legends like Lordsun, AEONMEMBER, and Cerulean cerise. Collaborations within Future Society ended up being a huge way I exploded my growth. But, Independent musicianship wasn’t really ready for Vaporwave then, because of samples, and Spotify was still kinda new for independent folks. However, my programming career took off, so I took a bit of a hiatus to focus on that. And what’s wild is, people who liked my music really kept my music alive, even though I was gone for a few years, which I SUPER appreciate them for! As the numbers kept growing, I kept thinking Vaporwave was a small thing, and my music wasn’t a big deal. But some really good friends convinced me at like 4AM to start making music again. That same day, I saw Pacific Plaza was throwing Vaporwave shows! So I reached out, and they instantly let me be a part of the Pacific Plaza crew. Shortly after, I changed my name to Groovy Kaiju, Still Groovy dropped, and so on! And speaking of keeping the music alive, I want to give a HUGE shout out to MisterJoeStar (it’s their Internet handle) for getting a Groovy Kaiju tattoo! I want to get a matching one on myself haha!
- [6:54] NetNavi: Will you take another hiatus?
- Groovy Kaiju: I don’t think so! I really want to take a very serious try at music. My priorities have shifted now that I’m older, and the musician lifestyle is something I’m more into. I’m also starting to realize that even though I love coding, I think I love both the process, and the results of making music. Because I can help people, or be a part of someone’s life in such a more direct and impactful way. Also, I want to figure this music thing out, just so I can help other musicians also get their music career off the ground! Which is a big reason why we started Oceanfront Online haha!
- [11:15] NetNavi: How did you organically get your music out there?
- Groovy Kaiju: Posting on Reddit, using tags correctly, etc… Following general Social Media best practices, as it does make a difference. And make sure you do what’s best for your audience and do releases around the time they are most likely to listen. And most importantly, be active in your community! Be a nice person, be kind, make awesome musician friends, and do collabs!
- [13:53] NetNavi: The story of VTEC (A collab with Tupperwave)
- Groovy Kaiju: I hit up Tupp, and I was like hey, I’m a fan, can we collab? And they were down! So I found some samples, because I clear my samples through Tracklib, so I wanted to make sure we could clear it. And I let Tupp choose one of the samples out of 3. After that, I like to run my collabs like a tennis game of back and forth. So I chopped the sample and arranged it, Tupp put down some drums and some dope impacts and risers, I modified the drums a bit, etc... But then Tupp sent back a version with the breakdown, which REALLY surprised me. But I was like, let’s go for it! I modified the breakdown to flow a bit better timing wise, got some feedback from friends, and sent it back to Tupp! And Tupp said it’s good to go! We uploaded the song, and it did really well because it showed up for both of our Spotify audiences. But then, Spotify had recently made their official Vaporwave and Future Funk playlists, found the song, and playlisted it! And now, it keeps getting a TON of streams, and I guess people like it haha!
- [17:46] NetNavi: Are you a confirmed Future Funk artist by Spotify?
- Groovy Kaiju: Ummmm I don’t know haha! Pitching to playlists is kind of a black box. But! I do have 3 songs on the official Future Funk playlist now! Chillin’ with some Koi Fish, Take Me Back to Shinjuku, and VTEC (feat. Tupperwave)! And the first two were independently made by me!
- [18:45] NetNavi: Do you consider yourself a Future Funk artist?
- Groovy Kaiju: Ummmm yes and no! I think my older stuff is more Future Funk-y, but Future Funk today has evolved into this more House-y type sound. And again, that older Future Funk that’s more soulful is now considered Vaporfunk. And that’s really what I make! And again, I’m kind of a Future Funk artist with that baked in Hip Hop sound, since I approach things with like a L.A beatmaker mindset. Which other people in the scene notice, like my friend Daydream Deluxe! They did a video of their “Top Albums of 2020 (so far)”, and they mention how Still Groovy could even be considered a Hip Hop record in some sense! And one last thing, another thing that I do that not a lot of Future Funk artists are doing to my knowledge, is that I’m playing my songs live for the recording. So like all of the filter sweeps and delays and things on my more recent albums, are all done live. So, yes and no, I’m probably more Vaporfunk now, but at the same time, I guess I am haha!
- [21:23] NetNavi: What's your Vaporwave history that's not on Spotify?
- Groovy Kaiju: Yes! So I’m kind of like a first or second generation Future Funk artist. We would all mostly put our music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. And at the time, Spotify didn’t allow anyone to upload if you weren’t a big artist. But even when they did, I didn’t want to make money from streaming when I couldn’t pay the original artists that I was sampling. But now that I can by sampling with Tracklib, I’ve started uploading there!
- [23:34] NetNavi: How do you decide how much your music is worth?
- Groovy Kaiju: That’s a golden question! I’m independent, so I just do the best I can. I usually do pay your own price for samples I didn’t clear. Because legally, and ethically I wouldn’t want to directly make money. Now that I am clearing samples, it isn’t free haha! So I started charging like normal prices that I see in stores, or from labels in the Vaporwave scene. So songs for $1. Cassettes for like $8-$15, CDs for like $15, vinyl for like $25-$30. To help me decide, I usually just value things by how many Arizona Green Teas ($1) I could drink to get the same amount of value haha!
- [26:43] NetNavi: Do you think people still buy physical music?
- Groovy Kaiju: Definitely! I mean I do it, and I have a lot of friends that do as well! I think there is something special about holding physical music, and supporting an artist. I’m also a bit of a collector, I have a pretty nice modded Gameboy collection. I also try to collect vinyl and cassettes from artists in the Vaporwave scene, or even artists that I listen to on Spotify (since artists earn a lot more money from album sales than streaming revenue). In fact! The last vinyl record I bought was MNDSGN’s rare pleasure, and I love it haha!
- [30:13] NetNavi: Where and how do you sell your physical music and merch?
- Groovy Kaiju: Lately, I’ve been doing limited run physical albums with Pacific Plaza. I want to shout them out, because they do amazing work on making physical releases, and are awesome people I am glad to call friends! I’m also doing my own Shopify store with merch, physical albums, stickers, and things on https://oceanfront-online.com (You are here right now!). That way I can start doing exclusive albums like Monster Tape Zero, and make merch that’s really personal for me and the Groovy Kaiju community. But, I’d say also keep an eye out on Pacific Plaza Records, because we will also keep releasing stuff through them. If you really want to stay in the loop, make sure you join the Kaiju Club, and you’ll definitely know when something drops!
- [32:21] NetNavi: Is your music money only for fun?
- Groovy Kaiju: Even though I’m a programmer, I’d say no! Because I’ve been re-investing all of my music back into Groovy Kaiju, since the beginning of Groovy Kaiju! So I can clear samples, buy FL Studio, and buy plugins! So, you may have noticed my music sounds WAYYY better because I’ve been able to invest in my music making tools haha! I also push some of my day job money to keep Groovy afloat. But I also want to start exploring taking more of my day job time to doing music, and see what can come from that!
- [34:23] NetNavi: What would you do, if you were a full time musician?
- Groovy Kaiju: I’d LOVE to give a more behind the scenes look into my music. I’d be stoked to do a Youtube Channel where I can do song breakdowns, or how I play my music live in FL Studio. Also, I could help out other artists get started with their music stuff. I’d also be stoked to do livestreams! Like I used to tech deck on Instagram Live haha! But I’d be stoked to stream some games with my Groovy kaiju Discord Server on Twitch! Which, people have already asked for, but I just don't have the time for it right now sadly! I’d also be stoked to be able to host servers and stuff, to give extra benefits to people who are in the Kaiju Club. Like, perhaps make a Groovy Kaiju vault with all my music and live sets? And of course, I could invest more time in the quality and the amount of music! Like I wish I had the time to do monthly Spotify singles, as well as Concept albums that I don’t have to drip feed and spoil as singles!
- [38:38] NetNavi: What are your proudest musical achievements?
- Groovy Kaiju: Probably my songs that have over 1 million views on Youtube! It’s wild to see Space Dandy, and my collab with AEONMEMBER have so many plays. Also, one of my favorite Youtubers, Scamboli reviews, commented on my Space Dandy song saying they liked it haha! Also, probably my Flamingo Fest set, because it did so well. 300 People watched my live set, live on Twitch. I also saw someone in another country played the whole Flamingo Fest in a bar, like it was a sports event! Another one is probably my first show at FTG. Because a good amount of people showed up, and it was a really fun time to meet people who have found my music! And lastly, probably that my music is on really high quality physical mediums. Pacific Plaza always kills it with their quality, and attention to detail, and it’s rad to hold my own music in such an amazing way.
- [41:43] NetNavi: Do you think you are famous?
- Groovy Kaiju: Definitely not! I will admit sometimes I can be too humble. But I also try my best not to be too egotistical or anything. At the same time though, I definitely recognize that my art has value! And Patreon kind of showed the world that if you make it easy for someone to support your art, they will definitely pay you for it, because it has a lot of value! In terms of people, from making music, you tend to just meet other people who like music like you, because they like your own music. So really, I’m just a normal guy, and just multiple people can find themselves in Groovy Kaiju (myself included), and I’m just trying to vibe with everyone that I’m lucky to be on the earth with at the same time haha!
- [45:20] NetNavi: Who are your dream collaborators?
- Groovy Kaiju: Vaporwave artists, probably like Saint Pepsi (since they were one of my original inspirations, it’d be really “full circle”), and Tupperwave. It’d also like to go alllll the way back, to some of the original City Pop artists Vaporwave samples! Like my personal favorite, Takeo Ohnuki, or the legend, Tatsuro Yamashita. And my most DREAM artists like Thundercat, or Flying Lotus. As well as other independent beatmakers like Bad Snacks!
- [47:47] NetNavi: Have you ever been on tour?
- Groovy Kaiju: I wish!!! That’d be super cool, but that'd definitely be a thing I do if I get the ability to do music full time.
- [48:40] NetNavi: What could fans expect from a tour or live show?
- Groovy Kaiju: Ummm well my friend FrankJavCee was taken aback by the sound quality! My music has a lot of bass, and it sounds wayyyy better when big speakers can pump out that bass haha! Also, I love to meet fans in the Groovy Kaiju community! Both long time fans, or ones that learn about my music at my show! Like, my favorite moment at one of my recent shows is when one of my fans (who quickly became a friend of mine) told me: “Dude, I knew you would be cool, but I’d think you’d be this cool” hahaha! It was some very nice words on my cool-ness haha! And not that I think that, oh I’m so cool! But more in that, I’m just very extroverted, so I like hanging out with new people! So to wrap it up: Really dope sound quality, a really fun show, and then we could hang out haha!
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
- Old Friends & Collaborators in the Future Funk scene:
- Lordsun: https://youtu.be/1w3JtkjJj9k
- AEONMEMBER: https://youtu.be/mJDg2iU9aKQ
- Cerulean Cerise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mS9TY2dNRk
- Pacific Plaza Records: https://twitter.com/PacificPlazaRec // https://pacificplaza.bandcamp.com/
- VTEC (feat. Tupperwave): https://open.spotify.com/track/6oCqimPPtCdcCtIettP6v9?si=e6ac5c662ae24c55
- DayDream Deluxe Still Groovy Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwrtvrGa8_g
- DayDream Deluxe also makes awesome Future Funk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4ShFgwO0TM
- My top songs on Youtube (They are really bad quality, because I was still learning music haha!):
- Space Dandy: https://youtu.be/zuhQ7m-HZP0
- When I Fell For You (feat. AEONMEMBER): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I66GmoB_Le0
- Dream Collaborators:
- Saint Pepsi: https://youtu.be/3r2zleGxv7w
- Tupperwave: https://youtu.be/j2kC4W-b36c
- Takeo Ohnuki: https://youtu.be/98fqXx-KFgI
- Tatsuro Yamashita: https://youtu.be/AeAJX3yeIig
- Thundercat: https://youtu.be/ormQQG2UhtQ
- Flying Lotus: https://youtu.be/0ScYz9sNaQk
- Bad Snacks: https://open.spotify.com/track/4X15tFOo3wnlO6pKHrJJ9H?si=4d04c46171df40a2
My amazingly talented friend FrankJavCee: https://open.spotify.com/track/2JmKUraYV4vDo6urq0Kucp?si=95517d0d5a094b6b