- Courtesy of Chazzzy’s Bandcamp page
- Chaz Allen isn’t Health Goth, but he’s connected to it.
Internet-born phenomenon “health goth”—which in simplest terms is a fashion concept that recontextualizes black-colored corporate sportswear as an expression of a vague sadness or darkness somewhat related to goth—has been the focus of a slew of trend pieces from New York magazine, Huffington Post, and the Guardian in the past week. Among the many subtle details missing from much of the recent coverage I’ve read is that the two main, divergent strains of the culture are driven by musicians who run in concentric circles.
Mike Grabarek and Jeremy Scott, of Portland R&B outfit Magic Fades (who are releasing an album called Push Thru on Saturday), started a Facebook page called Health Goth one year ago and developed their ambiguous version of the style just by adding photos to the page. Yesterday they posted an image of a drum pedal with an Adidas logo placed next to a broken picture frame with the following description: “We started health goth to develop an aesthetic Healthgoth .com is not us, we aren’t here to sell you shirts.” The pointed jab referred to local producer and party-thrower Johnny Love, who releases dark, postindustrial tracks as Deathface and is the man behind healthgoth.com. In late August Love launched his debut line of #HealthGoth (yes, there’s a hashtag) clothing, which subvert corporate sportswear logos and are dark as the night; he also made a “workout bible” to go along with it, one in which the tips on how to get fit actually make sense.
Despite the differences between the two health-goth camps, there is some common ground: Tinychat-based music festival series SPF420. Magic Fades performed in the casino-themed third installment of SPF420, which threw an IRL-and-URL BBQ bash this past Memorial Day featuring Teen Witch and Starfoxxx, both of whom help throw the newish “pansexual dress-to-sweat” party with Love called Soft Leather (which returns to East Room this Saturday). SPF420 is where a lot of different, unusual musical worlds collide and collaborate. The Internet-based event that was once briefly synonymous with vaporwave has welcomed a fascinating array of artists into the fold including chiptune rockers Anamanaguchi, Japanese footwork producer Foodman, and genre-hopping electronic wizard Ryan Hemsworth.
SPF420’s been an incubator for some fascinating ideas in just a couple years, and it’s got a reach beyond the confines of Tinychat or even those involved in its immediate circle. With that in mind I’ve decided to make today’s 12 O’Clock Track a bubbly experimental dance cut called “Resort”; it’s a collaboration between SPF420 cofounder Chaz Allen (under the name Chazzzy) and SPF420 coproducer Saint Pepsi. It’s not health goth, but it’s worth a spin.