Seriously, stop using Internet Explorer. It's slow, insecure, and doesn't support all the things which make the internet cool.
Until then you'll see this annoying message.
20 April 2018
Way back in 2012 Dunedin local Jamie Dickson started releasing music online.
He was inspired by a bubbly, aquatic-themed aesthetic called seapunk, which emerged in online communities such as Tumblr. He called his project SPLASH CLUB 7 after the highly influential 90s pop group S-Club 7.
Fast forward to 2018 and SPLASH CLUB 7 has hundreds of thousands of fans from all across the globe. But for those fans SPLASH CLUB 7 is synonymous with one thing only, and it’s not music.
I somehow convinced the elusive Jamie Dickson into an interview to try explain this post-internet tragedy.
“I originally had a music page for SPLASH CLUB 7 and I got about 2,000 likes somehow” he begins. He’s referring to a Facebook “page” which is a profile made to represent a non-person entity that fans can “like” to receive updates.
“And I can’t remember exactly how it happened”, he continues, “but I lost access to that page. So I created a new page and obviously it’s very hard to rebuild likes and stuff so I just posted a few memes…”
I ask him how many likes he has now.
“151,000? That’s what I remember off the top of my head.”
Actually it’s 153,000 and grows by about 1,000 every week. Dozens of my friends like SPLASH CLUB 7 on Facebook without knowing who he is, and when I first discovered the page in 2015 I had no idea it was a musician either, let alone that he lived in Dunedin.
The reason for the page’s popularity is obvious: people desire bite-sized pieces of funny content for their newsfeeds - memes are the creative currency of the masses. His are post-ironic, often satirizing memetic structures or satirizing satire of memetic structures, or simply “celebrating being shit”.
“It’s a lot of effort to get into a certain artist that you’ve never heard of, like you have to make an effort to listen to a whole album sort of thing.”
“It’s a lot easier just to like scroll past a meme and be like ha that’s funny and share it.”
After his seapunk releases he started to take on aspects of vaporwave, another internet micro-genre defined by its obsession with 80s aesthetics and exotic hyper-consumerist imagery. It highlights the hollow promises and “nothingness” at the heart of capitalism.
But that nothingness holds great nostalgia for the millenial for whom the mall, now a dying relic, was the cultural and social centre of their lives growing up. SPLASH CLUB 7 takes the depthlessness and superficiality of malls, dance music, trash, and shines a spotlight on it, celebrates it even, with titles like “Late Night Infomercials” and “MIDNIGHT VIRTUAL PLAZA”.
And then after half a dozen successful releases he stopped. His latest release titled BORN TO DIE / WORLD IS A FUCK after a popular meme dropped quietly in February this year and is the first since his new page got big. The factor that unites all his music is its ability to evoke a certain, sometimes undefinable mood and his latest is no different. It feels like drinking cough syrup at 3am. It’s disorienting and nauseating. It’s like staying at a party for too long.
I ask him why he hasn’t harnessed his new meme audience to help promote his music and he shrugs.
“I dunno… I was actually thinking of releasing all my music stuff under a different alias.”
I ask him whether he’s bitter about it, but he seems more bemused than anything.
“I kind of like having a page to post shit on I wouldn’t post on my normal account”
There’s a beautiful irony to the story of a musician who made music celebrating superficiality and had his musical identity stolen by something even more superficial than the music he made. I don’t think he’d have it any other way.
Obscure and unofficial media from gigs in Dunedin, New Zealand since 2014.