"Lo-Fi Bedroom Music": The Emo Music You've Never Heard Of
Now, more than ever, a cultural revolution is needed. Political scandal, global tensions rising, race relations growing worse by the hour, police brutality, etc; all of these contribute to a declining America, a Divided States of America. Personally, I’ve always found solace in music. An escape away from the problems of the world, my problems, and knowing that there is someone else who feels the same way as I do.
These “someone else’s” tend to be the people you’d least expect. Kids, typically in their late teens to early twenties, making music in their room, on their acoustic guitar given to them from a family member, recorded on their Macbook, and put out on music sharing sites, like Bandcamp and YouTube. “Bedroom Music” it’s come to be called. These are not kids writing music in hopes of being noticed and signed to huge labels such as Fearless or Hopeless. These are not kids writing about the girl that sits two rows ahead of them in class that won’t give them the time of day. These are kids writing about very intimate and personal things; they write about addiction, mental illness, body dysmorphia, and yes, sometimes heartbreak.
I corresponded with a couple artists who turned out to be friends, that encouraged one another with their writing and their art. It was truly wholesome and this music genuinely means the world to them. Those artists are Annabeth Hopper, also known as scattered showers, based out of Alabama, and Josh Allen also known as things not worth fixing, based out of North Carolina. I’ve noticed that a lot of these artists are typically from areas not really known for the kind of music they make. Josh is on the East Coast, where a lot of hardcore bands originate from, two completely opposite ends of a spectrum. Annabeth is in the south, known mostly for country artists and the like. We all spoke and discussed a wide range of topics, you can find those conversations below:
Why do you make music? What does it mean to you?
Josh: I make music because when I started writing poetry, I expanded my genres and found various artists who would write the same way as me and I always wanted to do more stuff related to it so I figured I’d learn a few chords and release some stuff and I’ve released more and more since then.
Annabeth: I developed really bad depression, and I got super into emo music because I related to the lyrics and it was comforting to know that other people felt the way that I felt. I decided I wanted to make music one day that people would listen to, relate to, and enjoy. I got my first bass guitar and other instruments followed, and within a few years I was writing and recording my own tunes. It’s like therapy for me.
J: Yeah, music means everything to me. Without artists like The Wonder Years, Tigers Jaw, etc, I don’t know where I’d be. The lyrics that they’ve crafted have helped me through so much in high school and everything else. I’m thankful for music and even getting to know the artists that I love now.
Would you say you take inspiration from other “lo-fi” artists, i.e. teen suicide, flatsound, etc?
A: Definitely! If it hadn’t been for other artists in the genre, (like flatsound and Salvia Palth) I wouldn’t have known any of this eve existed. My biggest influences aren’t even lo-fi bands. Brand New is my number one inspiration, but lo-fi bands have definitely played a big part in my musical process. Josh is actually the one that inspired me to finally put my music out there.
J: I’d say musically yes, but not always lyrically. I can sometimes see why people are like “You remind me of flatsound.”, but whatever.
[Talking to Josh]
Does that make you mad? As an artist, would you rather people listen to your music and think of you or think of flatsound? I know you personally and know that you’re a huge Mitch Welling [flatsound] fan.
J: Oh definitely not, I like being compared to artists like Mitch. I’m somewhat pals with him and he’s a really cool dude and I’m a huge fan of the music so being told I sound like him is pretty neat to hear. I mean I’ve done a couple covers of his songs so of course I know people know I’m a fan of his and I understand why people lump us into the same category.
Just a couple more questions guys, thanks a ton for this.
Have you met any other artists (apart from each other) doing what you do? Do you and your fellow artists ever talk about the scene and what it means to you to be a part of this rapidly growing genre?
A: I’ve met a few. I initially started interviewing lo-fi artists before I came one, so through that I met Mitch [flatsound], Dandelion hands, Salvia Palth, and a few others. We haven’t talked much on that specific topic, but I can think I can speak for all of us when I say that everyone is glad to be part of this rapidly expanding genre and to be in the first generations to do so. The internet era has been the main source of all of our traffic as far as I’m aware, so it’s really cool to be able to take part in this and utilize technology to grow when local people aren’t as interested in my music and be able to connect with people around the world.
J: Sadly, I haven’t met too many local artists that are like me. A few people I know that are lo-fi, I played with last night. My pal Lizzie of WORD? and my pal Jonah Canepa. Most people I know live in other states but are very talented lo-fi artists. Unfortunately not a lot of scenes include genres like lo-fi. The one I live in is mostly hardcore, pop-punk, etc., but that doesn’t mean mixed genre bills don’t exist. Last night we played with a pop-punk band and an indie band. It was a fun show too. The genre is definitely growing, but mostly online.
One more: What’s your main goal? What do you hope to accomplish doing what you’re both doing?
J: I want to write something people relate to. When someone actually says something like “Wow, I know exactly what you mean,” it means a lot to you because it’s a reminder that you’re not alone with whatever you’re going through or went through.
A: My main goal was originally to make music that spoke to someone, anyone. That’s always been the root of it - to help someone the way other musicians helped me, and based on fans reaching out to me, I’ve already accomplished that. So from here, my goal is to get to a point where I can support myself on music and do what I love for a living.
Thanks guys! Incredible, truly. I’m stoked we got to talk and learn about why you do what you do!
A: Thanks! No problemo.
J: You’re very welcome bud!
Josh and Annabeth are just two of the dozens upon dozens of lo-fi bedroom artists that have been influenced by bigger acts like flatsound, Salvia Palth, and the like. All making music to give back what they were given: hope, love, and understanding. As the genre continues to expand its rapidly growing online presence, hopefully it begins to picks up traction outside cyberspace, and scenes develop where these kids can go and share their music to real, living and breathing people, letting everyone in the towns they grew up in know that nobody is alone and that there is always someone who knows what you’re going through. Music and hope for mutual understanding inspired these kids. Hopefully these kids inspire the next gen of lo-fi bedroom artists.
things not worth fixing is based out of Forest City, North Carolina. Their music can be found online at https://thingsnotworthfixing.bandcamp.com/ and on YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes.
scattered showers is based out of Fairhope, Alabama. Their music can be found online at http://www.wordswithoutmeaning.com/, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, and iTunes.
by Lucas Capps