Back in October, I conducted an interview with 17-year-old producer/vocalist Laptop Funeral. The musician who is "telling stories the only way they know how" communicated their interest in the ongoing column I had built known as First Time For Everything. Simply put, the column showcases artists who have never been interviewed before, asking them to tell their story. Although this interview was finished back in the fall, we decided to hold on to it until Laptop Funeral's project, Pretty Punk, saw a release date. Today is that date. It's an emotional and organic release, one that acts as a proper follow-up to Cross My Heart & Hope to Die EP. So without further ado:
Hey, how’s it going? Can you describe your surroundings right now?
Hey! I'm loving life, livin' it big! I'm in my room right now listening to an Alt-J record I just copped from my local record shop.
For anyone unfamiliar reading this, explain yourself in a few sentences. Icebreaker shit.
Hey! I'm Laptop Funeral aka Raul Valerio but you can call me Ray! I'm just a small boy telling stories the only way they know how.
What's a normal week look like for you?
Go to school, listen to music. Go home, make music. Maybe eat a couple burgers here and there. My life pretty much revolves around music and burgers.
This interview is part of a series of first time interviewers who have a story to tell. So, what’s your story? You can answer this as precisely or as abstractly as you like.
Last summer I had this crazy idea to play a show, even if no one knew who I was. After countless unanswered emails I decided to put matters into my own hands and do it in my garage and oh boy did I work to make that happen. All my friends that I knew who made music and I got together and worked super hard to make the show a reality. We designed our own visuals, we bought a fog machine, we bought lights from Ikea to turn on and off with the music and everything. It was as official as a DIY house show could get. When the big day came, we were all super nervous that no one was gonna come, but holy shit man, we somehow crammed 40 people in my small garage. The show was a success, even though everyone was melting from the heat and we didn't have enough food, everyone had a good time. When I started making music, it started as a self therapeutic way for me to deal with depression and anxiety and I always told myself, "I hope this helps me and if it just happens to help someone else out there, I would be more than happy." Well, I've been getting emails and DMs of people telling me that my music has helped them out and its been such a great feeling.
What's the process been like for your newest project?
I really waned to create something different, so i decided to make every song as organic and earthy as I could. Almost everything that you are hearing was recorded, and I only used digital synths if it was 100% necessary. The idea behind this record was to try to create something that was pretty but at the same time feel punk and that felt like the best way to go about it.
What’s the rest of 2017 looking like for you?
Just trying to work as hard as I can with my music and try to get out there I guess. I don't really know what I'm doing still [laughs]. Oh! And to graduate high school and go to college of course!
What have you been listening to recently?
A bunch of lo-fi and bedroom pop stuff! Specifically Ghost Orchard, Katie Dey, Alex G, Moving In, Bedbug, Doubleu and Fox Academy.
Quick survey: favorite movie / favorite book / favorite video game, go!
Movie: Submarine. Book: I haven't read a book since like the fifth grade. Video game: Tony Hawk American Wasteland. I haven't played games since then [laughs].
Do you have any advice for artists working on their craft?
Don't ever try to force yourself to make something just because it's what other people like. Be the best you that you can be! Try making music that feels like you and only you! Also, toy pianos are cool.
Do you have any final words/thoughts/shout-outs?
If you wanna hear some sick lofi beats you can
Rauliay on me.