For a while, I've been following the work of John Zobele under the aliases Bye-Product and chris†††. His music is ripe with experimentation and is probably the reason I got so into the genre of vaporwave. Figuring it was high time I would prod the mind of yet another music-maker, I went in to have a chat with him.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a creative being, ever since I was very young I'd be drawing or doodling something. In 2007 I got my hands on my dad's old camera and thus sprout my love of film, which has kept up with me to now, being in film school. Music I started making in 2009 after my history teacher was telling me about music programs. Ever since I've changed set ups and styles to a point, but ever since the beginning I've been sampling. Since the only training i had was 4 years of piano lessons, the only thing that really stuck was the ability to read sheet music. I' ve used that mostly in my last 3 Bye-Product albums, to take other songs tones and beats to compose a new piece. As for chris†††, its a combination of nostalgia and finding that perfect sample to loop.
So you've been very involved in music for most of your life. What kinds of music seemed to pull you in the most?
Classical. The loud, the huge, the magnificent orchestra. Something in it is just unbelievable comforting yet cold about it.
How about musical artists? Who would you say has had more of an impact in the way you go about your music-making?
In the early days I'd say Kraftwerk, Genesis/Peter Gabriel, and disco/80s pop tracks my mom had in the car. When I got into sampling stuff, I drew alot from Prefuse 73, that one JDilla album, The Avalanches, and Mylo's Destroy Rock N' Roll. Now I draw from inspiration from the field, VHS Head, opn, Mr. Oizo, and a slue of small time online artists like DR777, blank banshee, MrSimon, and vaervaf.
What is usually your process for creating a new song/album/EP?
It used to be something like clockwork, id get on the computer and mix and mach till I find something that works. now its a little more meticulous to find the perfect sample for a track or a "theme" for an album.
I notice that you call yourself differently when it comes to certain styles of music, such as Bye-Product and chris††† Why is that?
To differentiate the sound. Also not to have too many from one artist at a time. I used to do ALOT MORE stuff and release it closer together. I've learned that people just get annoyed with that and they also can get confused.
Ah, I always thought it was just some sort of fad among electronic musicians. No offense.
Naa, its really a way to release more stuff without having to stay to one genre and to not annoy people.
As Bye-Product, I find myself fascinated by a few of your works and I'd like to start with your Biohazard EP. What was that all about?
I can't remember after I finished my 3rd album I had some tracks left over, that was that.
I'll say this, any the albums/EPs past Dad's Camera, are all old news. I made a change to what I am now with Star. As Bye-Product is concerned, that's what I've been trying to focus on.
So I guess asking you about Religion or the Chapter albums would be out of the question?
Religion was an attempt at a conceptual album. and the chapter series is probably the best thing to come out of that era of my music. They were a little experiment with short form pieces/ mini albums.
Were you trying to make some sort of statement against religion in Religion or was that just making fun of it for the sake of it?
Both. that was a "different time in my life" sorta like the people with fedoras and shit are like now. That sorta time. I grew up a bit since then.
In what way?
I was raw. I was mad. I grew up. I forgave. Shit I'd rather not get into. It's all in the past.
I won't press on. Would you care to tell me more about what you liked about the Chapter albums?
It seemed to be the only thing I had made up to that time that felt cohesive to me.
Was the order of Life, Death and Love intentionally or simply random?
I was going to do 4. But I felt not to push it. It was kinda intentional I guess?
Alright, moving on to chris†††, what first got you to wanting to pursue that route?
I heard of it all over Tumblr I checked out that one mac+ album and felt it was kinda like what I used to do with my old music. So I decided to make another alias. It was really mostly for nostalgia
What made you want to call yourself chris††† to create vaporwave?
This was right around when the new pope was named. I just thought it be cool.
Do you enjoy yourself more as christtt than with the other aliases?
What's your thought process when it comes to making titles for your albums?
That usually comes right after the artwork is made which is the first thing I do. Album artwork for me is almost as big as the music itself. The album names are based on the covers and the music is based on the name, usually.
Which albums as chris††† do you find yourself more connected to?
7 years later and new wounds.
There was thought and love that went into those two. 7yl was more so a album that was hard for me to make. Alot of it is indirectly related to my life over the past 7 years, soon to be 8. new wounds is also indirectly about my recent life. Stress and all that stuff have had a toll on me. Most of it is representative on things that have happened in the past 2 years in college.
Would you care to give a few examples?
Track 9 in 7 years later is about still trying to cope with death.
Track 5 in new wounds is about a new wound has been made where something once was.
How do you feel about your older work as chris††† like 266, WAV and frasierwave?
I love how frasierwave came out as a vaporwave album. 266/wav I felt were ok. Embrace was just a one time album. As for 7yl, new wounds and forgotten, I wanted to push forward with the vaporwave concept but break away from that sound.
I too found myself liking frasierwave. What inspired you to use that theme?
I love Frasier, he is on the complete other side of Seinfeld which alot of people use for their albums. I thought it be a good idea
How do you feel about vaporwave as a genre, in terms of what it can convey, the methods behind it and the community? Which artists do you find yourself more intruiged by in that genre?
I like vaporwave, hell I'm head of a label that hosts a bunch of vaporwave artists, I'm not sure what others might want to convey with their music but there is definitely alot you can do with it. In my opinion, I feel as if it slowly loosing momentum with the similarity of sound and the less effort that seems to go into it, I cant say my vaporwave music is all that grand either. As for artists I'd say Delta Topco, Macross 82-99 and Childhood are some of my favorites and I'd like to see more from them.
I see. What are your thoughts on the music industry?
It's shit really. Lately the best music has been out of small outlets online.
Is there anyone in particular you're not very fond of or is it just a general feeling towards how it functions?
General. The loops you have to go through to get anywhere are insane.
Now I'm gonna get to some less music-related questions. What films do you like?
I can't really say. I like comedies, dramas, dramadies, yeah IDK. I don't like horror or that sorta stuff. You'd think as a film student I'd know this by now. I like feeling. I wanna feel something. Tonight before this I was watching a VHS of Edward Sciccorhands. I was tearing up by the end, and I've seen the film hundreds of times.
How about TV shows? Could be the regular stuff or cartoons/anime, whatever suits you.
Don't watch too much TV, just usually comedies and cartoons. I just watch TV for a quick laugh.
What other projects do you have in store or that you'd like to get out more to people?
rrrecycle bin. It's an online art gallery. http://rrrb.in /// gif films. It's my video editing 'company', I'd like to make more music videos and such for people. http://giffilms.us
What other hobbies do you have?
Art, music, film...that's about it. Oh and web/graphic design.
In conclusion, is there anything you want to talk more about or end on?
I don't know. I'd like to say thanks for your time.
Check out some of his work here: