One to one with US Golf 95:Talking [PlayStation] jungle & the future of Vaporwave

A year on from its release, US Golf 95’s [PlayStation] jungle.psx album gets the platinum reissue treatment. We caught up briefly with the Scottish producer in advance of its re-release, which sees 50 cassettes available with a fresh new design from Pacific Plaza Records. 

We talked about the VGM revival, translating the sound to the live realm, and what the future holds for the wider Vaporwave movement.

First of all, congratulations on the re-release! The album,along with Pizza Hotline’s Level Select, seems to be a statement record in this VGM revival movement – it literally bears the name of the genre (PlayStation Jungle). Can you talk about your gaming and game music memories?

“Many thanks (and shout out Pacific Plaza Records for releasing the cassettes). This project has always had the serenity of old golf video games at its heart, even as it evolves and the reference is less explicit. Since the Sony PSX was released worldwide in 1995 (Japan 1994) I felt my style of music went hand in hand with the style of golf games from that era, and progressing into the millenium.

There’s something about the warm ambient pads and lush reverbs of this era of games that has always resonated with me and makes itself apparent when writing music.”

What is your process for producing this stuff? How is it different to making more club-oriented jungle tunes?

“The EP came about very naturally. Pizza Hotline was also a massive influence on this release, particularly the liquid dnb breakbeats. I felt at first it was a departure from my typical style, however it’s really just the ambient pads, plucked synths, cheap sounding acoustic guitar emulation I always use with a different drum style.

I did something similar with trap style drums on my album Serenity and it’s nice to build up an arsenal of different drum patterns that eventually build together across a discography to create a cohesive sound. I’m currently working on a new album that incorporates jungle drum patterns, ambient work, polyphonic reverbed guitar – but with the introduction of ethereal vocals/harmonies.”

What, if anything, makes this kind of thing ‘vaporwave’?

“Vaporwave is in a really interesting place right now. I’ve been making it for 9 years – with the genre being around for just over 12 – and the hype has definitely died down. I see this as a good thing in a way. It’s allowing the envelope to be pushed in many different directions.

“I feel a sense of established artists trying to “jump the shark” into many other genres which is having this really interesting effect of vaporwave casting a much wider net. Vaporwave is now a general feeling. So with [PlayStation] jungle.psx, and similar releases, the nostalgia, artwork and sum total of inspirations for the release keeps it under the vaporwave umbrella.

“I’m really interested in seeing where vaporwave goes in the next 5-10 years – It could potentially be unrecognisable to the core albums that established the genre.”

Was there a particular game/franchise that inspired the track ‘Acclaim Sports’? I have a personal connection to that company and it sent my nostalgia receptors into overdrive.

“Each track is titled after a different video game publisher from the era (some now defunct). I looked through huge lists of publishers for the PSX, studied their logos and the type of games they put out. For the tracks on this release, I often selected the title first and built the music around the logo/games/artwork from the company’s releases.

“Some of my favorite PSX games came from Acclaim Sports – namely WWF Attitude, Dave Mirra BMX and NBA Jam. I must have spent hundreds of hours with their games. Plus their logo is just excellent typography/design. It felt very rewarding paying homage to them and I really enjoyed putting the track together.” 

Any desire to perform these tracks out in clubs/venues?

“I’ve thought of putting together a live show – particularly across the past 5 years. It’s just the logistics of how to perform this style of music in a way that’s engaging to the audience and enjoyable for myself. I definitely don’t want to just be hitting play on a laptop, nor building everything from scratch. I’ve experimented with a live set that incorporates some live drumming on MPC drum pads and I hope I can build that into something more concrete.”

Grab your copy while stock last over at Pacific Plaza! HERE

Written by Thom Hosken

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