Building on the success of his Kingdom Hearts inspired 2019 release Door to Darkness rising Vaporwave star Crystalpep64 talks about his upcoming album Nova Sixty-Four. A Synthwave tinged adventure back into his inspired realm of Technology, Nostalgia and Video Games.
Could you talk about some of the musical influences on Nova Sixty-Four? You mentioned there’s a Synthwave influence?
Seeing as most of my releases draw from video game soundtrack, it’s not a surprise this one kind of does too. Delving into these PC-Engine and NES role playing games often feels like rummaging through an old cardboard box in the attic and it always gives me intriguing new ideas I want to implement in my style of music. That’s when the clashing begins. The synthwavey aspect of the ep certainly stems from games like Hotline Miami or Slipstream, but there is no denying the fact that HOME played a role, too. Translating those influences into a coherent sound is difficult but also very interesting.
Conceptually the release is about a utopian society which is decaying and facing collapse. What kind of ideas are you looking to explore with this setting?
Starting with sentimental, nostalgic sounds and then slowly plunging them into a darker sphere was the first idea which culminated in the final concept of a decaying society. And while the synths build up to be the tracks they now are, my head canon build up as well. In the end there was just really a lot to work with and almost half of it fell by the wayside, but I’m confident I got the very best out of the different ideas.
Is there a particular story to the album (characters and narrative)? Or is the setting more abstract and conceptual?
There is no real story taking place in the ep. The tracks are supposed to paint a large picture in which each listener can interpret a narrative themselves. But it is no coincidence that the tracks at the beginning of the ep are still very light and are slowly becoming darker. In that way, yes, there is a story. And there is also the artwork on the cover with the lady staring at her hologram, looking for answers it probably can’t give to her.
You’re getting one of your friends to play guitar on the record right? Could you talk about the instrumentation on the album and how that might be different from past releases.
Exactly, one of my friends lend me his guitar-skills and his singing talent, which I used to make a track called “Dataquest 3000”. He’s a talented musician and gave me good feedback when working on the ep. The instrumentation heavily relies on synthesizers, the guitar part actually is an exception. But while “Door To Darkness” consisted mostly of samples, I’m really proud that this release contains almost no samples. That is an achievement for me, although I kinda miss recontextualizing already existing music and I think I will definitely work sample-based again in the future. At least for some of my music.
In our previous conversation we talked a lot about nostalgia and memory (kingdom hearts especially) are you looking to explore these ideas again with your new release, or are you trying to look more into the future then the past?
I hope that “Nova Sixty-four” delivers that certain nostalgic feel for people who crave that but it was a decision made early on to not fall back on the same themes, my last release already dealt with.
Following on from that question, how do you see nova sixty-four within your discography? Is it a culmination of all your work up until now? Are you drawing influence from past releases or is it a new departure and experiment?
I’m doing this whole music thing for a relatively short time span, I would say. And I wanted this release to be something, I could pour all my insights and learnings of the last few years into. And of course there are old influences that shape the way this ep was made. Even though it is a culmination of my old work I could have probably done Nova Sixty-Four under another alias. I know that many artists in the scene have a range of different identities to do exactly that. Trying different things and making it easier for the listener to grasp the artists respective vision. But I’m not at the point where I can pinpoint the exact road we’re gonna go with all of this and I’m super excited to explore new possibilities with my music in the future.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
There is so much output nowadays and time is always limited and new and exciting content just waits around the next corner. That’s why every minute someone spends with listening to something I made is precious to me. So thanks to every human being who gives this a chance. I appreciate you.