MusicMusic Features

Getting to Know Vaperror

Vaperror is a newcomer to the world of Athens music. The project hasn’t appeared live much; beyond a lot of praise for its genre-challenging music from Flagpole and elsewhere, not much is known about this mysterious up-and-comer. Ahead of a rush of new music and performances this fall, we managed to track down the man behind the mask. Here are a few things you need to know:

What is Vaperror?

Vaperror is the alias of one Jeff Cardinal, an experimental electronic artist who’s coming up quick in the Athens music scene. He’s only 21.

What does his music sound like?

Cardinal mixes hyper-paced drum patterns with smooth synth lines and the occasional vocal sample to create distinct and heavily relaxing mood music. Vaperror’s body of work is deeply rooted in niche subgenres like future bass and vaporwave. The general musical aesthetic is very warm and seems designed for a wacky summer vacation playlist.

Where did he come from?

Cardinal is originally from Michigan but arrived at UGA in January to complete his bachelor’s degree in computer science. After spending time in various garage bands, he started to explore electronic music at the age of 17. After a lot of starts and stops and a brief hiatus, Cardinal formed Vaperror as the culmination of what he “really wanted out of electronic music, and music-making in general.”

Why should I care?

Almost immediately upon arriving in Athens, Vaperror began to receive heavy local airplay on WUOG 90.5 FM, as well as a lot of shoutouts from resident good-guy and Flagpole columnist Gordon Lamb. Also, the project is signed to premier vaporwave label Dream Catalogue.

What should I listen to?

The best place to start is Vaperror’s December 2014 release, System Delight, a heady concept album about an out-of-this-world love story that Cardinal describes as “a short narrative I wrote when I was about halfway finished with the album. It seemed to fit what I was going for. Basically, two computer programs spawn from a central AI unit, ‘System Delight.’ The album is their journey experiencing newfound sentience [as] expressed through music.​” There are also two excellent compilations of past Vaperror material and collaborative efforts at If you just can’t get enough, Cardinal also makes experimental ambient music under the name Useless.

What’s his live show like?

In Cardinal’s own words: “My live show is a DJ set where I play underground dance, trap and other genres of music. I want to spread music I like that hasn’t been played out. It’s all very ‘dance-able.’ I enjoy a good rhythm and melody. I might attempt to bring up the skill level in my sets by adding instruments, but it just takes more time to create a set like that.”

What’s next?

Vaperror’s next album, Polychromatic Compiler, is out via Dream Catalogue on July 23. Cardinal is playing a rare (to this point) live show at Flicker on July 20.

WHO: Vaperror, Navigateur
WHERE: Flicker Theatre & Bar
WHEN: Monday, July 20