Somewhere in the abyss of Shenzhen, China there lies an artist names Vill4in ( 暗号零, 암호, Ghoul, C1PH3R, H a z e) that produces music such as electronic, ambient, cyberpunk, and vaporwave.
He has made many popular albums in the community such as Mother-暗号零, VOID-004 – 암호 , and my personal favorite Internet Explorer – h a z e. You can read my review of the album here.
Today I had a chat with Vill4in and it is my first review ever! So I may be a little rusty but hopefully there will be many more to come!
Agora Road: How did you get started making music?
Vill4in: I've been making music since I was 14 (15 years ago), I started with trying to learn classical guitar in elementary school way back in the day slowly progressed into electronic music after discovering Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, U-Ziq, and more nerdy IDM music through soulseek and edonkey.
After high school I transitioned into neurofunk (a emerging style of drum n bass at that time) with my brother Boris Segal (also known as Project Lazarus) under the name Eleventh Sun.
The project itself had a good run we ended up doing shows in canada, mexico and colombia.
I loved the underground aspect of drum n bass at its golden years, it kind of got ruined for me when the scene basically collapsed into itself with everyone rushing to be the next best and most popular artist / label.
This was the case of the soundcloud era, I think nobody knew any better, it's only til now people are realizing that this was not the answer.
After that I dabbled in different genres, did some multimedia work for TV not really sticking to anything except maybe film scoring which I still love.
Agora Road: How did you discover vaporwave?
Vill4in: I heard the infamous 2814 album I don't remember where probably youtube and later got into the whole Dream Catalogue discography.
I was really impressed at the time that there was a demand for experimental non-dance like electronic music as I thought that side of music was dead and I was incredibly happy to realize I was wrong. I loved in general how Dream Catalogue marketed themselves at the time, no one really did it right quite like them at the time.
Later I basically started buying any vaporwave vinyl related as I think as many others have, I think people in general really wanted that scene to be a thing that's why there was such a demand for it. I feel things have cooled down now and the quality of music is speaking now vs the artificial marketing and scarcity that people are slowly stopping falling for.
Agora Road: Hey that's cool that you did shows under eleventh sun. I dont think many people knew that (or at least me) will you ever do shows under any of your pseudonyms?
Vill4in: I don't like to perform live because my mind gravities towards the aspect of making albums and the art creation side of things but given the opportunity I will do it of course.
I prefer to stay behind the scene and enjoy watching others play and not have the feeling I have to do something but that's just me.
In terms of eleventh sun, me and project lazarus have been discussing how we will relaunch this project and this will happen one day for sure.
Agora Road: How did you come up with the name Vill4in Records?
Vill4in: So it started actually with the logo. I have had this obsession with ASCII art because of the history of it and the internet, before we had jpegs, gifs and such people would only be able to post text on the net so ASCII art was one of the first forms of art on the internet.
The skull logo was quite popular back in the day with piracy, and hackers and I actually had tattooed it on my arm before forming the label.
I personally really miss the wild west of the pre-social media internet with random warez & apps and geocities / angel fire sites and a code of honour among internet users towards the freedom that we seem to have lost so this that symbol was what I wanted to bring back alive sort of aesthetically for myself and others.
One day me and my buddy GH0ST were basically driving around talking about how it would be cool to make a record label during a road trip and we came up with VILLAIN records. We later switched it to VILLAIN and later to VILL4IN (for better searchability and classic 1337 speak aesthetics)
It was supposed to be a techno label at first as we first released our first vinyl record ‘C1PH3R – TH30RY' but I later decided it would be better to go towards more experimental music as this is what I was familiar and interested plus more exciting overall anyways.
Agora Road: Now my favorite album of yours is Internet Explorer by h a z e and I even reviewed it on my website. Will you make any more albums like that one and what inspired you to make it?
Vill4in: I really love the h a z e project in general. The majority seem to prefer my other projects but there is something about digging into the past of the 80s – 90s computer era that really excites me.
I love the underground, niche, small development team and hacker aesthetic. Thinking and making music for it is the same feeling I will ever get to reliving that past. It is my favourite project to make music for as I feel I can dig out different more avantgarde ideas though I struggle to finding the motivation to sit down and work on it at the moment but there will come a time for it.
Agora Road: Will you do any live shows in the future?
Vill4in: There is actually a show coming up on march in Chicago featuring many artists from the scene including Sangam, Kagami Smile, Kuroi Ame, and others that I will be coming down for. So if you guys are around the area please check it out: View: https://www.facebook.com/events/1002471293456315/
I would like to end this interview and say thanks to Vill4in for doing the interview! If you want to check out his music you can look through his bandcamp below!