To say that George Clanton has been pioneering a vision of the future of music through its connections with technology and the virtual world would be a severe understatement. Keenly, the musician, co-founder of the 100% Electronica imprint, festival director and host of several VR concert experiences has been spearheading a blueprint for the future of how we consume, make and celebrate music.
Towards the end of one of the most tumultuous years of uncertainty and frustration to date, EARMILK spoke with the multifaceted artist about Virtual Utopia 4, his label, ideas and perceptions surrounding vaporwave and the symbiotic relationship between technology and music.
As soon as Clanton jumped on the Zoom call, his presence was as energetic and playful as you may expect from his online presence. "I like your hair colour", he began, before spiralling into his history of colour and aesthetic experimentation. Despite the intensity of the pandemic in the US at the time, his liveliness punched through the screen despite being a million miles away.
This vitality has resided within Clanton since he was a child, manifesting itself into an innate thirst for creation. He began as a child using "one of those keyboards with 100 patches on it," making "terrible songs" before that turned into an obsession with the MTV Music Generator PS1 game during middle school. Though, while Clanton would love to consider his current success as a combination of these two youthful hobbies, he notes that the big moment he decided to commit to electronic music was in 2017 when he was writing a pop song for his friend. "I realised that I really liked the demo with my voice on it the best", he explains, "it was at that point that I switched my focus from shoegaze rock to electronic music because of the limitless nature of what I could do with just my computer".
Since that realisation, Clanton has gone on to release several records as old monikers ESPRIT 空想 and Mirror Kisses before reverting to his given name, launching his independent record label 100% Electronica with partner Negative Gemini and founding the first vaporwave festival — 100% ElectroniCON.