Five Music Subcultures Spawned by the Internet You Probably Don’t Know About (And Maybe Need to Stay Away From)

The Internet is a strange place where an endless series of self-organizing communities come and go. Music fans who might have otherwise remained alone and alienated find like-minded people who then–well, that’s where the fun begins.

This is especially true with music. The Internet seems to spit out an endless series of new sub-sub-sub-genres, the lifespans of which might be measured in just months or even weeks.  Andrew points us to this article at High Snobiety which highlights five of these music styles that may have escaped your attention. Let’s begin with “Health Goth.”

The latest subcultural trend to be seized upon by the fad-thirsty masses – landing second place in the most Googled fashion trends of 2014, no less – is one whose meaning and origin has been so modified and misconstrued that its creators could easily give up the fight out of sheer exhaustion.

With a genesis that dates back to a Facebook page created in 2013 by video artist Chris Cantino and Portland-based musicians Mike Grabarek and Jeremy Scott (no, not that Jeremy Scott), “Health Goth” was first formed purely as an aesthetic curation of images that were meant to “[reference] evolution and relate it back to subcultures, things like bio-enhancement technology, anti-aging medication, and how it all feeds into this ideal of ‘pursuing perfection’.”

Frequent themes of the page were BDSM, sterile net art graphics, visions of cyborg-like physical idealism, and monochromatic technical sportswear, with interests in trans-humanism and accelerationist theory driving the overall credo. Running contrary to the original health goth agenda, however, is the widely misappropriated notion of “gymming for goths,” which has been frequently credited to a rival website launched by Chicago-based producer and party promoter Johnny Love. According to health goth’s actual founders, Love cashed in on their aesthetic (via branded apparel and a “Health Goth Fitness Bible”) once it started to gain traction, spawning the idea that many attribute to the name today.

Now parodied, plagiarized and plucked from its cyber-generated petri dish by mainstream media outlets, health goth has gone from being a niche community of abstract art enthusiasts to a full-blown fashion trend. Everything from muscle-bound gym heads donning head-to-toe Rick Owens at Planet Fitness, to Alexander Wang’s H&M collaboration, to an inverted Nike Swoosh began appearing under the #HealthGoth hashtag. Even OG health goth pioneers were being summoned by the head honchos at adidas’s Portland HQ to consult about the look. Though still retaining a pulse in the current trend circuit, like many of its social media-fueled forerunners it will only be a matter of time before health goth’s momentum wanes and its mesh-lined bionic suit begins to stagnate.

And then, just like all those that came before it, this “hottest new trend” will find itself consigned to the depths of a desktop “inspo” folder, while eager eyes and index fingers search elsewhere for new ideas.

Fascinated? Go here to learn about “soft grunge,” “vaporware,” “seapunk” and “witch house.”


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38165 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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