Clubbers' Decktionary: Seapunk
A guide to the myriad genres of clubbing, from Trouble's DJ Hobbes
Seapunk proper noun: varied tempos, mixing 90s rave, techno, house and jungle styles, R&B vocals, even speedier beats from Chicago juke/footwork, often cheap, 8bit-style synth melodies and, you guessed it, aquatic sounds. The aquatic theme is actually much more explicit in this micro-genre’s visual style than its sound per se, with the Seapunk look characterised by turquoise/coral hair/lipstick/clothes etc, sea creatures such as dolphins and mermaids, yin yang insignia and other retro 90s fashion ephemera and symbols.
Origins Much the same as previous internet memes turned flash-in-the-pan musical trends chillwave and witch house, Seapunk started with a tiny clutch of musos discussing niche styles via social networking sites such as Tumblr and Twitter, while mixing and matching them with increasing ferocity and making up joke names to complete the package. Fast forward nine months and the scene’s originators claim it’s already been adopted by the pop cultural mainstream.
Key figures Albert Redwine, aka Fire For Effect, aka Ultrademon, and Shan Beaste, aka Zombelle, a couple from Los Angeles, via Kansas, but now based in Chicago, are the pioneers, their Coral label now six releases in. Pop stars such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Lil Wayne and Azealia Banks are all alleged to have been biting Seapunk’s style of late, although Banks is the only figure who has actually credited the scene on record. Bar the immediately recognisable fashion style, Kevin Heckart’s sumptuous, airbrushed graphics give Seapunk its most unifying motifs, visual aesthetics thus superseding a truly unifying sound. And Richmond, Virginia’s Chino Amobi, aka Diamond Black Hearted Boy, has already moved on to Slimepunk, although apparently this term was also originally a Redwine invention/joke.
Leith’s own Unicorn Kid is an early convert/champion as is Aberdonian DJ Giles Walker (Origin). Many thanks to Giles for his help with this feature.