Artist Interview: Shadley Peterson

Shadley Peterson is a South African electronic, vaporfunk, and tech artist active on Keats Collective, Winter Club Records, and a score of other labels in local and Internet scenes. A few months ago, we featured Peterson’s track “Daddy’s New Car” as a part of the Winter Club Records Vol. 2 compilation album, from which our interview stemmed! Here, we discuss Psy-Trance music in South Africa, recording equipment used in vaporfunk production, and how memories are tied to music.


S: What inspired you to write vaporfunk?

P: I have always been fascinated with the sound of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. My uncle would always play the Stylistics and Earth Wind & Fire first thing every morning. I’m also a big Michael Franks fan. SAINT PEPSI would be the first artist that directly inspired me to dive into a more nostalgic frame of mind when writing music


S: As a South African producer, what unique events have you experienced?

P: The Psychedelic scene in SA is quite big. My best friends are Psy-Trance producers and DJs. We have hosted events at the top of Signal Hill on Table Mountain in Cape Town. We also have the Long Street festival which is loaded with EDM artists all night once a year.


S: Psy-trance in South Africa? That’s awesome! What albums/artists should people check out if they’re interested?

P: You should definitely check out my mates Zezia and Final Flash!


S: Which projects are you busy working on?

P: I am currently working on a Pop EP with a vocalist in London for commercial release. I am also working on more vaporfunk but I’m also exploring G-funk and a cross-genre leaning to a 90s RnB feel.


S: Can you talk to us briefly about your earlier work?

P: My earliest work was inspired by techno and electro. While studying at SAE Institute I released an EP called The Superhero on Red Bull in 2011. This was the first time I had a more hip-hop/trap feel to my music.


S: What is the state of Vaporwave in South Africa?

P: Vaporwave in South Africa is still quite underground. Most people on the street hardly know it exists I think that the only way its gaining recognition is within the deep house community. Opening DJs usually find themselves getting some Keats Collective stuff to play out early.


S: How do you think the genre is progressing in 2016?

P: I think it has so much room for interpretation that everyone has their own take on it and its a good thing. The cross genres are getting very interesting and despite the number of artists now getting involved with vapor I think the standard of quality is getting better. I personally enjoy more traditional/authentic sounding productions containing all the magic I miss from my childhood. A good example would be “Vanilla” on Keats Collective Vol 6.


S: Which labels and artists do you follow?

P: On Keats Collective: Vanilla, and Saint Pepsi. On Winter Club Records: Beerlover


S: What was the inspiration behind “Daddy’s New Car”? What about other tracks that you write?

P: I remember my dad coming home in a new Toyota Twincam in 1994 and as a kid I was mesmerized by it. I interpreted the nostalgia I feel about that day into “Daddy’s New Car”


S: Which of those albums to which you listened with your uncle particularly interested or inspired you? A lot of my memories with music and arts are tied to family and friends as well.

P: The Stylistics – “We Should Be Lovers”
Quincy Jones – “What Good Is a Song”
Michael Franks –  Blue Pacific


S: What’s an example of a track that’s tied to a particular life experience or memory?

P: These tracks and albums are heavily tied to my memories:
Jamiroquai – “You Give Me Something”
Daft Punk – Discovery
Mauro Picotto – The Others
Lisa Lashes – “What Can You Do for Me”


S: Any other genres, scenes, styles of art, or other events/ideas that inspire you?

P: I love hip-hop and RnB (big Mac Miller fan). I also enjoy a good BBQ 🙂 An art as good as any other.


S: What recommendations do you have for those who are interested in exploring future funk? What about those who are interested in making their own?

P: I would recommend loads of research into music of the past three decades to update your music library and think back to the moments you miss most in your life. I started writing vaporfunk because it helps me get closer to the moments I miss in my life. That’s what makes it special for me, and I can only assume that most vapor enthusiasts feel the same. The key to the genre is heart making sure you don’t lose that feeling in your tracks.


S: What plug-ins and such do you use in your set-up?

P: I recently purchased an 8core Mac pro as i have been without a production workstation for the past three months as my original setup was unfortunately stolen. As always, I’m using my Focusrite saffire 56 interface my sampling and monitoring and the 1992 SPL Vitalizer for quality restoration and finishing touches. (I guess this would some of my nuances 🙂 )

Some favored plugins:

  • Dada Life Sausage Fattener
  • Fab Filter Bundle
  • Xfer Serum
  • Arturia Jupiter 8

I also used a sample pack for some future funk, which you can download here for free.


S: Which of the “cross genres” of vaporwave do you find most
appealing and/or interesting to explore?

P: Most definitely like the funkier side of vapor and even the genres leaning more to house music such as “Hidden Crush” by Flamingosis & Tendencies. I’m not personally involved with the more housy vibe. But I do listen to it 🙂 Also! Check out HIPSTERDISCOBLOG and NOSKOOLBLOG. I’m sure you will enjoy the playlists 🙂 More to come in the next few days.


Check out some of Shadley’s tunes on his Soundcloud below:


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