Vaporwave, The Music Scene Of The Alt-Right?
I hesitated to write about this because I don’t want to give any publicity to this disturbing phenomenon, but it’s too important to ignore. I won’t give any link in the post, again, I don’t want to advertise that kind of music by any means, and if you are interested, you can always do some research yourself.
We already had the chillwave, the darkwave, but there is a new trend in electronic music and it’s called vaporwave, which appeared in the early 2010’s. Nothing disturbing so far, except that this new genre, which is described as ‘post-apocalyptic mall music’, ‘warping muzak, smooth jazz, and dated adult contemporary into airless, warbling soundscapes’ attracts fascists!
Rave News reported that producers had an emergency meeting in Montreal in February 2016 to discuss ‘creeping fascism’ in the scene…. Is the far-right, the alt-right appropriating electronic music?
‘It’s getting a little ridiculous,’ declared DJ Karoda Night, ‘Vaporwave has a good chance of becoming the future of techno, but not if we let fascists co-opt the genre.’
‘Neo nazis across the internet decided to make Vaporwave the music of their people,’ added anti-racist activatist Pericles Fox. ‘No one knows exactly why it’s so popular with fascists, but if you go on youtube and search for their videos, odds are they’ll have a vaporware soundtrack. They can’t get enough of it, and that understandably pisses off Vaporwave producers.’
I did exactly this and I effectively found many videos on YouTube, with names as obvious as Cybernazi, Ivory Nation, Fashwave, alt-right songs…. they even have tracks on bandcamp or soundcloud (the artist Xurious has a whole album called ‘Rise of the Alt-Right on Bandcamp), although some other artists have apparently been removed. The comments below so videos are so openly racists I thought we were transported in Germany under the Third Reich,… what happened?
Nobody knows and these creeps are even appropriating other artists’ tracks as DJ Karoda is complaining about: ‘I love making music, but if neo nazis keep using my tracks in their propaganda videos, I might have to stop releasing more albums. I don’t want to help enable their hatred. Music should be about bringing people together, not about establishing a 4th Reich under God Emperor Trump, lord of the Americas, or whatever the fuck it is that fascists are trying to do.’
And he is not the only one to complain as music producer Ariel Hoganswarth explains: ‘I want you to imagine pouring your heart in soul into creating something, like a painting or a statue. Now imagine if half the people who show up to appreciate your art have little red swastika bands on their arms and tiny Hitler moustaches on their face. That’s what’s happening to Vaporwave right now. It’s terrible. We don’t want fascists to listen to our music. Most of our tracks don’t even have lyrics, and the ones that do aren’t singing the praises of National Socialism. There is no bloody reason for fascists to like Vaporwave over dubstep or psytrance or happy goddamn hardcore. But we’re the community that gets stuck with nazis. What the hell.’
Of course, none of these tracks have lyrics, they are totally instrumentals and could often be the soundtrack of whatever your imagination find appropriate, although I have spotted a few tracks with the Trumpwave hashtag, which are incorporating excerpts of Trump’s speeches…. And this means we are really witnessing a new dangerous trend, closely following politics.
At the end, there’s nothing new here, just rehashed swastikas and Hitler’s vocabulary over throbbing synths! Look at the pic above, it looks like something from the 80s, a pastiche of a Tron/Xanadu poster with a Trump pic pasted in the background. These Nazis have zero creativity! But why is this happening? Why is this vaporwave becoming the soundtrack for the new alt-right scene?
Cybernazi, who is the most popular fashwave artist (more than 560,000 views so far) declined to be interviewed by BuzzFeed News last December, which means they are not ready for mainstream exposure yet. ‘Synthesizers have become nazis,’ he writes under his YouTube channel. May be one explanation is about ‘cleaning’ music from anything that may remind them about the African roots of most music – there’s a awful amount of talk about ‘degenerate music’ in the comments. So may be synths are the cleanest Nazis can go, plus this music is neutral, even triumphal with often a military vibe… and they like this a lot. I can only encourage Vaporwave anti-nazi musicians to get more diverse, to incorporate more ‘degenerate’ beats in their productions, and they certainly should get more vocal about this dangerous and disturbing trend.