Hello wannabe. You want people to think you have a cool music taste, right? You want them to be jealous of your cool music taste. You’re convinced that having a cool music taste is an essential facet of cool, mysterious, and intellectual people. You know, those people that apathetically browse old Americana records in their upcycled vintage jeans and tiny little woollen beanies. Don’t try and tell me that “taste is ultimately subjective,” and that “coolness is simply a concept bestowed by the self-congratulatory underground hipster hegemony.” You’re lying to yourself.
Allow me to get this out early on, buddy. You can’t just have a cool music taste, alright? That’s reserved for people who are already, and have always been, cool. My apologies. But, do not despair yet – there is still a tiny chance YOU can be cool. All you have to do is follow this 5 step bluffer’s guide to pretending you like cool music, and the world of grimy indie club nights and blogosphere fame will be your oyster.
STEP 1: Identify the trendiest underground genre of the moment by conducting a detailed survey of the obscurest blogs in the music blogosphere.
The first step, bluffer, in convincing people that you have a cool music taste, involves literally hours of browsing. A simple google search of cool music 2015 isn’t going to cut it, though. You’re going to have to dive headfirst into the murky waters of the blogosphere, following links, reading comments and noting share counts (if it’s above 1000, abort. It’s already gone mainstream.) Once you identify a genre that keeps cropping up and sounds dubious, you’re onto something. If it’s been unconfidently inserted into a guest-written Noisey article within the last fortnight and hyped without any identifiable evidence for said hype, you’ve found your genre. Let’s say you’ve just discovered “future-folk.”
STEP 2: Get to bandcamp as soon as you can and order every cassette-only release you can afford tagged with “future-folk.”
If you’re not sure what bandcamp is at this point, you’re probably a lost cause. But, if you’re a first time bluffer, I’ll excuse you. Bandcamp is a website where literally thousands of small-time bands, producers and DJs host their music. It’s a veritable gold-mine of trendy tunes and the virtual haunt of anybody who has a cool music taste. Using the discover page, locate “future-folk”. Click on artists solely on the merit of their minimalist artwork, and buy their cassette. Then, segway to their Dalston-based record label, and buy everything else on there. Don’t worry if you don’t own a cassette player. As a bluffer, it’s obviously not required that you actually enjoy the music pressed at considerable cost onto magnetic tape reels.
STEP 3: Return to the blogosphere and start your own blog.
In order for your bluffing to be successful, it’s crucial that your friends, acquaintances and your campus crush arrive at the realisation that you have a cool music taste by themselves. If you start mouthing off about future-folk and its “creation by such-and-such who got bored of the rigid compositional confines of folktronica,” then you’ve blown it. Start a blog, and share it around in an offhand manner on social manner. Don’t come across as enthusiastic. Keep your blog content irreverent and tangential. Post pictures of your vast cassette collection and write about each band as if you know twice as much as anyone else. It really doesn’t matter what you write, and whether any of it is correct. You’re bluffing, remember. The less your friends understand, the cooler they’ll think it is.
STEP 4: Consolidate your new persona and step out into the real world, revelling in the jealous, admiring gazes levelled at you across the street.
It’s time to leave the internet behind and face the (cool) music, but, first of all you’ve got to look the part. Taking note of what garments constitute the future-folk look, scour local charity shops, vintage stores and Etsy and purchase them. Mix your new outfit with one item from your uncool, unstylish past, to ward off accusations that you’re pandering to a fad, and step out into the world (e.g. cramped coffee shops with book-swap policies) in scuffed, metallic-silver desert boots.
If the tragically mainstream individuals who you used to associate with accost you with questions about your cool music taste, they are probably trying to copy you. But, make sure you can talk the talk. The three golden rules are as follows:
- Everything a band releases besides their first demo and second album is terrible. It’s too predictable to like the first album, and, all third albums are a sell-out, man. Demo and second album, nothing else. B-sides are sometimes allowed.
- You’ve got to convince them that you’ve liked future-folk for a long time. If they start to suspect something, namedrop incredibly niche record labels or just make some stuff up. Intimidate with your coolness.
- After a month at most, claim that future-folk is dead. See below.
STEP 5: Abort. You no longer listen to future-folk, and you probably never did.
Once something gets hot, it’s no longer cool. Like, duh? You’ve come far, bluffer. You’ve pretended that you like cool music so convincingly that people actually think you possess a cool music taste. Because of this, you’ve now transitioned from being a tragic, uncool and embarrassing mainstream loser to a enigmatic, stylish figure, admired both in the virtual and real world. Perceived as an authority on albums and bands that wouldn’t be seen dead in HMV, you’ve bluffed your way to social admiration. You’ve worked hard, but, just as you’ve reached your zenith, it’s time to take things back to square one. Frankly, future-folk is no longer cool. Ditch any association you have with it the minute you glance it on your friend’s “recently added” iTunes playlist.
You may feel uneasy hopping off the bandwagon that you shamelessly boarded to reach Coolsville USA, but don’t worry. You’re a bluffing pro. Re-read this guide, get right back on the internet and wait for the ambient-dark-trap 12:05 service to pull into the station.