Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Hotel Pools - It's a Vaporwave Kind of Summer (Interview)

By MATT HANSEN // Local electronic artist will play Twilight Cafe on July 13th after releasing the new album 'FiLo'

With two new albums dropping and some hometown shows booked, Hotel Pools (Ben Braun) has many reasons to celebrate summer. Braun is able to take the emotions of your favorite summer moments: traveling, camping, or just exploring, and capture those times in song. With bright synth lines of twinkles and tingles against atmospheric patterns of ebb and flow, Hotel Pools is the perfect vibe to feel illuminated by the sunshine or to enjoy stargazing under a moonlit sky.

There are a lot of artists who are labeled as ‘vaporwave’ in the world today, but with its unique ethereal sound, Hotel Pools stands alone as an innovator and as a representative of the Portland electronic music scene. We sat down with Braun on the eve of his new album release to talk about his inspirations, upcoming shows, and where to find the coldest drink in Portland.  


Oregon Music News: You're definitely one of the bigger names in the chillwave/vaporwave scene here in Portland. Can you describe what that's like for you?


Hotel Pools: It’s awesome having people support me and my music so I appreciate it all. I’ve pretty much grown up in Portland so any love I get here feels even that much more special. 


OMN: You have an expansive catalog. What genre of film would you like to score if you had the opportunity?


HP: Sci-fi would be cool. I love horror and thrillers so something in that realm would be fun. I’d love to take a shot at a series or something where I could create a collection of pieces. 


OMN: Your most recent album 'Nature’ is a very cinematic and visual album compared to the two albums you did in 2023, 'Fall' and 'Evenings, Vol.1' Can you tell us about what inspired the sounds on 'Nature'?


HP: ‘Nature’ was a dedication to my little brother Franklin who passed away late last year. It was inspired by our weekends at Govt Camp growing up. I was trying to do something special for him and it also helped me heal a bit during the process. The songs were all written during winter break of 2023. Mostly first takes and without much editing.


OMN: I’m very sorry for your loss. What are some other things from your past that inspired you to play synth music?


HP: I’ve always been drawn to synth sounds and electronic music in general. I started in hip-hop when I was a kid but my style slowly morphed and evolved over the years as my tastes changed. I think having a large pool of music that shaped me as I grew up has helped form where I’m at now. I love music, so I listen to most genres and find new songs that inspire me all the time.


OMN: Are you a person who is big on nostalgia or is your music a reaction to present time?


HP: I think it’s both for me but I’m not very present in those thoughts when I write. Music brings out all sorts of emotions for me so whatever comes out, comes out, and I just roll with it. There are moods or sounds that might inspire a song but it’s usually pretty abstract and not too specific


OMN: Your name makes me to think of the days it's so hot in Portland that you have to find 'creative' ways to stay cool without air conditioning. What is your favorite way to stay cool during the hot PNW summer? 


When it’s that hot out here, you can’t escape it and you have to try and be creative. A cold drink served in a pineapple at Tropicale, cold showers, ice cubes on the head. Go run in the sprinklers man! Do what ya gotta do.


OMN: Is summer a good time to be enjoying your music or vaporwave in general? The aesthetic seems perfect for warm weather. 


HP: Sure, I think so. I made an album like ‘Palmscapes’ that I intended for summer listening. But albums of mine like ‘Still’, which was my first HP album into the pandemic, feels more like winter listening for me. I do have an album called Fall as well so that speaks for itself.


OMN: And you have a new album coming out this week?


HP: My new album 'FiLo' will be out this Friday, July 5th via Stratford Ct.


Well congratulations, what we can expect from your upcoming set at Twilight Cafe?


I’m there to support my buddy Frank Javcee coming to Portland and to a have a good time. I’ll be playing songs from up and down my catalog, so hopefully you’ll hear something you enjoy. I’m also playing a headline set on Aug 22nd at Holocene. 


SHOW ALERT: Hotel Pools / Frank Javcee at Twilight Cafe on Saturday, July 13th, 2024. Doors 7:30PM / Show 8:00PM / (Tickets) 21+ Show

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