Growing up we’ve all tried to emulate some aspect of a band that we’ve fallen for. Even our parents would’ve gone for a hairstyle or wardrobe that echoed that of their musical infatuations(as much as we like to disagree, they were cool once, too).
It’s a fact that music and aesthetics are two things that go hand in hand. Just look at the number of bands/artists who have their own fashion brands: Music is a format that allows freedom of expression, and when you want that to go beyond just your headphones, you wear it out loud.
So it’s no surprise that there are many layers to this side of the game. Where some opt for a more direct approach—brazen symbolism/wardrobe/costume choices (see; Slipknot, KISS, Rammstein, Ghost, Hollywood Undead, etc.), there also are those who bring a more accessible approach with style.
They have that standing which puts them on a different plain to those you see walking down the street. Bands such as the Hives with their recurring album-cycle changing uniforms or Interpol bringing suave sophistication, all the way through to the Dickie shorts laden early years of pop punk and the gothic styling of Marilyn Manson and co. There was always a way to determine somewhere you belonged.
Of course, they both offer this escapism, but one is entirely removed, a beast of its own, while another allows you to express yourself without feeling separate from the rest of society—which is perfect, especially for alternative music. The trouble is, there seems to be fewer and fewer bands recognizing this important aspect.
So where are the new class of style, fashion and, most of all, substance? It’s not completely removed, but it’s becoming more of a unique sight.
As a starting point, aesthetic is an easier beast to tame. The reality is band members can each put on a similar look and all of a sudden it’s a “thing,” but there’s more to this beneath the surface.
With said look comes an attitude, a style and substance that holds the glue together. Take for instance, Creeper. They create a world of their own in which their albums and fans come together in the ideals of friendship and just being you. The unifying symbol lives in the callous heart, a gothic calling card that pretty much guarantees you a friend on the street. Just look at the number of tweets of fan gatherings they often retweet.
just on the train back from 3 days of allnighters, 6am coach rides, early morning snowfights at service stations, pals, gigs and pits. it feels like an amazing dream now. @creepercultuk are forever reminding me how special this thing is. #creepercult pic.twitter.com/eqbmhc8PVt— gayden ☄ (@jekylls_reject) December 11, 2017
Certainly leading the charge of this new, albeit dwindling wave, Creeper are by no means the only ones. The likes of PVRIS, with their dark, and smart, clothing keep to a moody aesthetic that is both incredibly accessible and stylish. Brit-indie icons the 1975, on a similar wave to PVRIS, incorporate color to juxtapose their style, yet perfectly match up with their sound. Twenty One Pilots are even getting in on the action with their punked-up take on the White Stripes famed black, red and white scheme.
It’s obvious to see why costumes/complete immersion has severely fallen in number. With such mammoth acts having spearheaded the extreme, it’s all but guaranteed that you’ll be drawn up in comparison.
Currently reigniting our love for the outrageous and fueling our lust for the over-the-top displays of non-conformity, there’s Black Veil Brides who fully commit to their influences. Somewhat looser are BABYMETAL who have a fully formed backstory to their pop-metal fantasy world.
When once being able to really spot a band from a mile away was an easy feat, the stylistic immersion is something that’s seemingly missing. There’s probably a good reason that we want bands to be themselves (which generally means jeans and a T-shirt), but there’s that yearning for future escapism.
Who doesn’t love being a part of something? Shorts and a band shirt are cool, but nothing hits home like being able to self-identify specifically with a subgenre.
Bands, give us your culture. You’re the future.