Read an excerpt from the cover story below, written by Natty Kasambala.
Despite her self-imposed moderation, a huge part of PinkPantheress’ rise has been down to her digital fluency — something that’s a pattern among this new generation of emerging international stars, including Lil Nas X, Doja Cat and YUNGBLUD. They’ve grown up on a diet of fandoms and hyper-online communities that allows them to effortlessly access the mindset of their own fans and cater to them in ways labels and agencies couldn’t replicate with all the money in the world. It was speculated for a while during Lil Nas X’s rise — and eventually confirmed by him — that when he was younger, he was an active member of Nicki Minaj’s famously impassioned army of fans known as “Barbz,” running a hugely successful Twitter fan account.
Subsequently, when it comes to how artists can harness momentum and humor to generate virality, his own campaigns are widely seen as a masterclass — whether that’s the pregnancy shoot he dropped for his debut album announcement, or roping in Tony Hawk as a skating body double. PinkPantheress totally agrees: “I feel like stan Twitter and fan pages, for someone like myself, really do teach you things about fanbases that you couldn’t get from watching from afar. That’s probably the reason that Lil Nas X is so good at marketing and selling himself as a brand, but also as a musician. We know what we want to see, so we can just do it.”
For PinkPantheress, after emo came the K-pop universe, where she went as far as making her own fan edits, “and actually, that’s a usual transition that a lot of people will make. If you ask someone now that’s a K-pop fan what they listened to before K-pop, they’ll probably name emo bands.
“There are some people that are just naturally aligned to online communities, because maybe in real life they don’t socialize very well or they’re from a place where they don’t really fuck with anyone. But those people that find a great way to communicate online with communities are usually the people that are drawn to this type of music. And it’s so interesting because I myself, even though I have friends in real life, also definitely preferred the comfort of online.” Scrolling through the comments section of any PinkPantheress video or post, you’ll find the same: hoards of people speaking in their own language of memes, humor and dramatism, stanning unabashedly and begging for new music.
You can read the full cover story in issue 406, available here or above.
Also in Issue #406:
- Coheed And Cambria oral history: Since their 2002 debut album, Coheed And Cambria have built upon the conceptual world of The Amory Wars, a labor of love that requires immense attention to detail and imagination. With 10th album Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind fast approaching, frontman Claudio Sanchez dives deep into the band’s extensive history.
- Post Animal: With their third album, Love Gibberish, Post Animal are returning to their roots in more ways than one. In the conversation, the five-piece reflect on reconnecting at Jake Hirshland’s family farm to make their most captivating record yet.
- Halestorm: Can you believe Halestorm have been a band for 25 years? Ahead of the band’s return with fifth album Back From The Dead, Lzzy Hale shouts out the women who’ve inspired her, expresses her desire to time travel and tells us why she wouldn’t change a thing about the past quarter-century in Halestorm.
- Silverstein: While the world experienced devastating lockdowns, Silverstein were right along with them. Naturally, the band harnessed their collective frustrations and turned them into art. The resulting album, Misery Made Me, is their most transparent and experimental work to date.
- Uffie: Uffie will be the first to say that a lot can change in 12 years. With her highly anticipated second album, Sunshine Factory, in sight, the artist explains why she’s feeling more inspired than ever — and why her new record is for the misfits.