“Prom King” Skylar Spence Brings His Vaporwave Empire to Green Label Live: Las Vegas
Lauded as the, “Ambassador of Vaporwave” by Billboard, Skylar Spence is at a very interesting time in his career. Moving from Keats Collective to Car Park, along with a new alias, the artist has reinvented himself both from a musical stand point, and personally. With the current project representing the artist’s “gross re-imaginations of the past,” Skylar is the most comfortable he’s ever been, and rightfully so. His new album, Prom King, will be out in September, and we were able to connect with the artist to talk about his past work, current mindset, and his home town before plays Green Label Live: Las Vegas this weekend at LAX at the Luxor.
As a Degrassi superfan you must be super happy. I heard it went from cancellation to renewal on Netflix, so I know you’re probably stoked about that.
So stoked! I freaked out when I heard the news of the impending cancellation. A lot of people think Degrassi died with Drake, but those people are foolish and wrong. The later seasons are so good. I really hope Netflix got the whole series for syndication.
I saw in an interview that you used to play Duran Duran covers on drums when you were little. Somehow that’s not very surprising with the aesthetic feel of your music. Are you a new wave fan?
Yeah! I listened to my dad’s record collection pretty exclusively before I figured [torrenting] out (which was still pretty early). Duran Duran was my favorite, but I also loved New Order, ABC, Erasure, Depeche Mode, and all of them.
Do you still see yourself as a part of Vaporwave? A lot of people look at World Tour and Hit Vibes as some of the genre’s defining pieces; Billboard even branded you as the genre’s ambassador.
The music I make now is definitely structured like pop music. If anything, I’ve definitely retained some Vaporwave influence in my production. I’ve always liked music that makes you feel like you’re dreaming, and I really want to continue exploring the science behind that.
Since your move to Car Park, your career’s really hit some mainstream coverage. “Fiona Coyne,” actually ended up being featured on the show, Nashville, recently. How did this bridge from Vaporwave to one of your songs being featured on prime time television happen?
No idea! I couldn’t believe it when I saw that on the air. It was like over 45 minutes into the episode and I was so scared it wasn’t actually going to air and my family would think I was a compulsive liar. Thankfully that was a road we narrowly avoided.
As a fellow Long Islander who’s invested in dance music, I feel that Long Island has always gotten short shrift in terms of culture. The only thing musically we really have going on is pop-punk and hardcore, but that has always been the case for a long time and decent dance music is pretty much non-existent here. What is your relationship with your hometown? Do you think a change will ever happen?
Long Island has been my primary source of inspiration for songwriting to this point. I was never super into the music scene (besides the pop punk as you said!) and was finding music on the Internet pretty early in my life. But I would absolutely love to bring a DIY scene to LI. I love the band Mr. Twin Sister. They grew up in a town ten minutes from mine!! I think there’s fantastic music all over the world just waiting to find an audience.
You made Hit Vibes when you dropped out of college while battling bouts of depression. It makes sense, when listening to that album. It’s super uplifting, almost triumphant in a way. I can see that the project was cathartic for you. With that said, where does Prom King come from?
Prom King comes from a pretty different mindset, lots of gross re-imaginations of the past, on that one. I’d like for people to think it’s uplifting, too. I like the visual of a little kid putting his dad’s shoes on and he magically grows to fill them—only I am the little kid and the shoes represent EDM, if that makes sense.