Alexander Graham’s Iacon blends seemingly incompatible genres: heavy metal, techno and dainty ‘80s Christian music. Graham describes his music as vaporwave, an almost entirely indefinable genre. “A short description of vaporwave would be slowed down weather channel music that has been chopped and screwed,” he said. “I grew up listening to the softer stuff and went into my teen years and adult life listening to the heavier stuff,” he said. “Vaporwave is different because it takes that soft sound and tweaks it, slows it down, down-pitches it, then adds a bunch of stuff to the original song to make it sound fuller to the point where a metalhead can engage with it too.” Graham said he considers himself a huge fan of heavy metal, and he draws heavily from the genre. His songs are typically upbeat and contain more vocals than what you’d usually find in vaporwave music. “Due to my influence in drums and metal, I started picking up a bit of a following,” Graham said. “People were like, ‘Hey, this is different, this is new. I don’t know what this is, but I like it.’” Once he completes the routine process of pulling music samples from YouTube, usually mixed with Japanese funk/disco and obscure American oldies, Graham blends them together using the program Ableton. Although he plays several instruments, including drums and guitar, Graham considers Ableton his primary instrument, which he uses to digitally manipulate his contrasting musical interests into a very specific, ambient feeling. “My kind of vaporwave snaps you back into reality and keeps you there, so you’re in this weird place between reality and materialism,” he said. “Your mind is trying to drift away from it and relax at the same time.” Graham found inspiration not only in his musical taste, but also from life’s unexpected events. After a sudden breakup, Graham found solace in his music, which he allows his listeners to experience.
“I had just went through a breakup with somebody that I dated for three years, and the first album that I released completely healed me from it in seven days,” he said. “Vaporwave really brought me out of it.”
Graham not only recovered from this experience, but continued to produce several albums, totaling 11 in one year. “Every experience I have is poured out into these albums,” Graham said. “And you can actually hear it if you really listen.”