George Clanton Hopes They’re Playing Seal in Heaven

George Clanton

George Clanton, photographed by Anya Houghton.

This is SOUND ADVICE, a weekly destination for playlists curated by Interview’s friends, enemies, and lovers. Over the past few weeks, we’ve gathered playlists from WispVegyn, and Isaac Dunbar. This week’s guest is George Clanton, the trailblazing DIY artist behind the psychedelic album Ooh Rap I Ya and founder of indie record label 100% Electronica. After reveling in the Virginia punk rock scene as a teenager, Clanton began experimenting with in a slew of genres and has since produced music under numerous monikers (Kid’s Garden, Mirror Kisses, ESPRIT 空想). Since collaborating an album with his childhood hero Nick Hexum in 2020, or singing happy birthday to your son for a cheeky fee of $69, the king of vaporwave bought himself a massive SUV for interstate travel. “After the extremes of the show, I require peace and quiet for some time in a giant metal womb,” he told us. Ahead of his set at the grassroots music and culture festival Shabang next weekend, Clanton assembled a playlist of songs he’s been listening to and took a stab at our Sound Advice questionnaire.


Where do you dance? On stage only. Elsewhere, the music is either not loud enough or not good enough, or the lights are too bright. I’m more of a structureless gesticulator.

What song do you have on repeat right now? Seal – “Prayer for the Dying.”

Wired or bluetooth headphones? Wired primarily because I cannot be trusted to keep up with charging and charging accessories.

What’s your music taste red flag? “I listen to everything except…”

The set just ended. How are you getting home? I invested in a massive SUV with le*ther (sic) seats for touring in peace and quiet and I love it. After the extremes of the show, I require peace and quiet for some time in a giant metal womb.

Three things you have to have with you at a music festival: “Flushable” wipes, sack to carry my wipes around in, Airtag to put in there with my wipes.

You grew up going to punk rock shows. Which one was the most memorable? Most of the shows that I went to in the era you’re referencing were just super local bands, sometimes they only had one show. It was more about the environment and a lot of the specifics were not memorable. But Buck Gooter, another local Virginia act, was always memorable and inspiring.

You’re curating a music festival. Who’s headlining? I have curated my own festival several times, called “100% ElectroniCON” in New York. I am headlining of course.

What’s the backstory behind your past aliases (Kid’s Garden, Mirror Kisses, ESPRIT 空想)? Kid’s Garden was my first “solo” project after my high school band. It was an experiment in making lightweight shoegaze music when I was 18 and continued for several years on from that. Mirror Kisses started off as a joke experiment to make authentic 80s synth-pop music as I understood it at the time, starting when I was about 20 years old. That project evolved over many years and a few albums into something more serious and nuanced. I discovered vaporwave music when it was a brand new movement and just for fun I wanted to try my hand at it and created the ESPRIT alias when I was 23. In the small world of vaporwave, that project blew up and I kept at it. Like the other projects, it slowly evolved over a few albums to be more of a serious artistic expression. At this point, under my real name George Clanton, the music I make is an amalgamation of all of those things.

What song is playing in heaven? Seal – “Prayer for the Dying.”

What song on this playlist makes you cry? Nothing, I went out of my way to make sure that none of the songs are cry inducers. You would have to be on something and be moved by the beauty of “The Sunshine Underground” (Chemical Brothers).

Name a song that reminds you of your childhood: Seal – “Prayer for the Dying.”

First song you ever downloaded from the internet: Vertical Horizon – “Everything You Want.”

Collecting records: in or out for 2024? I hope it’s in. Billie Eilish needs to calm down. If records are out, I hope we get a UBI soon.

The world is ending. What are you wearing? The world is ending, sweetie. I’m wearing my Marni leather motorcycle jacket. Slay.