Recently I conducted an interview with Chemical Hypnotist, another up and coming face in the vaporwave industry. I’ve been intrigued by his work for a while and I thought I would talk with him about his work in vaporwave in recent years.
Cardian Matsu: First off, just tell me who you are and a little about what sort of music you make for anyone who doesn’t currently know about you
Chemical Hypnotist: Okay well, I am Chemical Hypnotist. I do make Vaporwave, but my main focus is Vaportrap. The kind that makes you feel like you’re playing an old n64 game and stumble upon a secret area with a crystal that’s gonna teleport you to an alternate dimension. At least that’s always how I think of it.
CM: Definitely. I feel that quite a bit too about the Chemical Hypnotist aspect of the music you’ve been working on, but you do a lot of other vapor works outside of your main artist name.
CM: Tell me a bit about Gadantech. It’s been hanging around as just that single for quite a while, and then Biospheres 1 just came out on Power Lunch and is already almost sold out. How did you come up with the idea for Gadantech and the design?
CH: Well it started as sort of a parody to Vektroid’s whole Prismcorp thing.
CH: I wanted to create an almost soulless entity, a company without a face to run it by, one that sold a particularly odd product. Namely biospheres that are designed for an impending apocalypse or nation wide tragedy that would resort you to take shelter.
CH: Then it sort of evolved into its own brand name for merchandise, and then finally a whole separate alias for weather/nature themed vapor music
CM: It’s definitely taken off.
CH: I’m surprised how much it has, yes.
CM: Another project you did more recently was chlorinemist, and if you don’t mind me asking, why did you feel that it was necessary to separate Immersion from the Chemical Hypnotist alias?
CM: It’s quite similar in design to a lot of your work under Chemical Hypnotist, so I was a bit curious about that
CH: Well I think some context to the album might be important for releasing under that alias.
CH: You see, when I was about… around 3 years old or so, my dad worked at a YMCA. Those were probably the most fun summer memories I have as a kid, before I even made the album.
CH: I was really wanting to make a concept album about all the time I spent at the YMCA as a little tyke. As you may or may not know, when I make a Vaporwave LP, it usually refers to a certain place or timeline of my childhood.
CM: I actually didn’t know that, I’ll have to relisten to a couple [albums]. Please do continue though.
CH: The sole focus of this album was to reflect on all the hours I spent as a kid in all of the pools in this particular YMCA. I don’t know if many of the franchise’s complexes normally have multiple pools, but this one had at least five or so different ones, not including the jacuzzi.
CH: I would spend so much time in those pools that I probably could’ve become a pro swimmer by now
CH laughs a bit
CM: I had similar experiences back in those days too. The YMCA was a magical place
CH: It certainly was… before the penny pinchers came in and thought [they could] improve on an area by wiping it clean of a well established business that brings tons of families happiness and health.
CM: At least you were able to pay some sort of tribute to it
CH: I guess. It’s not much of a movement or whatever, but I do what I can manage for what I love.
CM: That’s what vaporwave is best at these days, and you did an incredible job
CM: Regarding albums you’ve released as Chemical Hypnotist though, you’ve explored a lot of styles, from lo-fi weatherwave in Current Conditions to almost retrofuturistic bitcrushed vibes in Utopian Dream Window
CM: Throughout all this, why would you cite vaportrap as your primary style?
CH: It’s simple really. Although I crank out lots of Vaporwave, I put my most thought and energy into the Vaportrap I make.
CH: I can easily crank out an entire Vapor LP within a week, that was the case for utopian dream window. But as far as Vaportrap goes, it takes me the better part of a good couple of days just to finish a single tune
CH: I do my best to audibly create an alternate world full of holographic and iridescent colors, crystals, portals, and floating isles. It takes the most thought, but it is the most fun to create for me.
CM: I agree, there’s a very consistent, hazy purple vibe to a lot of your album covers that I’ve missed from that sweet period in vaporwave
CM: Speaking of your vaportrap, you’ve cited Delta as your most ambitious project so far, almost as if its your opus thus far. While I personally enjoyed the mix of the the liquid synths and the surprisingly complimentary vaportrap beats, what makes you think of it as your best work so far?
CH: How do I put this exactly… Have you ever gone on vacation with the woman of your dreams, and you were able to do literally anything you could think of?
CH: Well, that’s delta to me. A brand new adventure. A sort of new beginning, and a promising future.
CM: Yes, even with everything you’ve done as Chemical Hypnotist, it surprised me. It’s definitely very different from even the vast range of sounds you’ve done so far
CM: You said that these albums relate to points in your childhood. How does Delta fit in?
CH: I think a good way to start is from my earliest memory: playing Super Mario 64 in my living room floor on our old CRT TV in my childhood. I spent lots of time playing adventure games such as Super Mario 64 that would be so familiar to the things that are common in everyday life, but separate itself from everyday life by adding in the elements of being able to teleport… floating islands in the sky… secret collectibles that grant you certain powers… and other things such as that.
CH: I sort of built [a] world that contains all of those extraordinary things, and that world is Delta.
CM: Yeah, a lot of the titles on Delta do evoke older themes and ideas from older game styles.
CH: Exactly. Even down to Ethereal Emotions, the melody was taken from a Kirby level.
CN: Every answer you give me just makes me want to go back and re-listen to each album. On that note, it is great to see vaporwave artists dig deeper these days, building a world with their albums.
CM: While we can never really recreate the older days of vapor in their innocence, it’s almost as if this generation of artists has come up with something even more better, and it’s great to see you join this group of artists.
CH: Thanks my friend, that means a lot. I love this community. I’ve never been a part of a culture that was so accepting, helpful, and friendly.
CM: Absolutely, there’s nothing like it. This may be a bit off of the topic, but were you making music before vaporwave?
CM: The vast majority [of] artists come to the genre from other music they developed. And it’s always interesting to hear the stories behind artists
CH: Of course. I’ve been playing the keyboard ever since I would actually allow my dad (who passed away) to guide my hand, and help me pick out a small tune with a single finger.
CH: I really have to say I got into production when I was 11 though I started with an obscure flash game that would just help you to play and assort loops, but I guess we all have to start somewhere though huh?
CH: I think why I decided to start production then though was because at that point, I went to see Tron: Legacy. I don’t think that movie necessarily went down as Disney’s finest, but the soundtrack literally blew my mind back then.
CH: I guess my entire aspiration to produce rooted from my first experience listening to Daft Punk and the opening theme to the movie. I couldn’t speak for hours after I watched it
CM: Back in the realm of your current vapor career though, in our previous talks, you’ve noted Sunset Grid as sort of a ‘home label’ for you. How did you start your connections with Sunset Grid and bluescreen?
CH: It’s a funny story really. I was in Spanish class one day [and] I was really bored, so I just tooled around with my phone to kill time. Out of nowhere, I get a message from the sunset grid on their Instagram asking if I wanna release with em.
CH: At first I was thinking “this is a scam… right? Who actually wants to release some weird kid’s Vaportrap?” But the more I talked with them the more I realized it wasn’t a scam.
CH: And so I decided to send over a track I made for my unnamed project at the time, which wound up being Delta. I figured it wasn’t that long, so if they didn’t like it, or if they weren’t legit it wasn’t like they were getting much from me.
CH: But then, I saw they released it that November. I kept going back to look at the supporters. It seemed to grow substantially by the day, and before I knew it, it became the most supported release of my entire career!
CH: I’m pretty sure it still holds that title too.
CM: Absolutely, as I look at it now, it’s at about 120 supporters. Absolutely amazing.
CM: You’ve also managed to work with bluescreen just a couple months after Delta released with your split, Corridors In Time.
CH: Yes sir!
CM: What was it like working with another person on an album? I’d assume it was your first time in the vaporwave scene having that happen.
CH: It was my first split of my career, yes. It was a very easy and enjoyable process, especially working with one of my best friends in the community.
CM: It must have been. You’ve also been releasing a lot of your works on tape recently too. Will we be seeing a lot more physical releases from your works in the near future?
CH: Oh, I really hope so! I’m dying to get my entire discography on some form of physical media! I have an album in the works of getting pressed currently on Night Light Tapes. They’ve been nothing short of helpful and easy to work with.
CH: I’ll go ahead and say this. If it gets approved, it’s absolutely my favorite Vaporwave LP, and I’m gonna be ecstatic to see it get put on cassette!
CM: I’ll have to pick it up when it does!
CH: But I’m not saying any titles yet. Gotta keep a certain essence of mystery to make people’s mouths water
CM: Of course.
CM: You say you’d want everything in your discography on tape, but on second thought, is there anything you would prefer to stay digital?
CH: Very good question. I’d have to say my first Vaportrap endeavor, just because of the fact of how poorly it was mixed, arranged, and executed.
CH: If I still had access to all of its song projects, I’d fix em in a heartbeat and see if anyone wanted to put it out as well. But because the computer died that had everything I needed on it, it is virtually impossible
CM: Before we wrap up the interview, are there any artists or producers in the vaporwave scene that you’d like to give thanks or call attention to?
CH: I have a decent amount, yes. I love making friends and helping em out in any way I can!
CH: Firstly, Bluescreen and Acid.rar for being some of the best people to work with in the scene! I never would’ve made it here without you guys!
CH: My amazingly bearded friend who goes by many aliases, but I’ll call him mewt8 for the sake of saving time.
CH: QuadratoX. He’s been awesome to work with, and great friend.
CH: I’d like to shout out to Pad Chennington for putting out such amazing content and reviews. He’s gonna be the melon head of the Vapor community.
CH: I don’t know how to pronounce his alias, but Canyon Kafer. He’s a bass player with a bunch of awesome, vintage tech that he uses to make his vaporwave.
CH: And lastly, I just wanna give major props to my special lady, Vivian. She’s helped me through some really tough times, and she’s been the most caring person I’ve ever talked to. I love you, sweetheart!
CM: And big thanks to you for your time for this interview!