What happened to the scene that had its peak in the mid 2000s? Houston export and internet sensation Ashton Traitor gave the genre a facelift and honours it in his very own way.
Faces hidden behind dyed hair and hoods, extravagant appearances for introvert minds. A community, a scene. Music full of emotions, most of them very intense. A place for pain, and sadness, giving hundreds of thousands the feeling of being understood. The emo music scene was massive in the late 90s and early 00s and then – it disappeared.
But everything comes back around and music genres are no exception. Emo put its foot back in the door of popular music when the late LilPeep and XXXTentacion both broke stigmas in hiphop opening up about personal issues such as depression or substance abuse. Both surely aware of their pioneer work, it takes that person to continue and make the real breakthrough to change an industry and its limits long term.
Ashton Traitor, the artist that moved from Houston to Los Angeles might be that artist for emo music in 2020.
Not only his lyrics full of emotional struggle with the society he finds himself in, the pain and emotional hardship found in his songs, but also the soundscape makes a fitting comeback for a genre.
Whether it’s long dark bass synthesizers, piano melodies or even distorted guitars, we find a modern reproduction of music that we know. This, to be clear, doesn’t lack any creativity at all. But behind the rock elements that were clearly swapped for a much more contemporary mix of synthesizers, samples and most of all 808s and MPC hi-hats, we see a reviving scene.
And over all of that, Ashton Traitor’s vocals that tear through the autotune, one of those artists, that knows how to use it properly.
Melodies that remind us of the pop rock we enjoyed 10-15 years ago. Surely no coincidence this resurrection of a genre seems to happen a generation after its origins.
Maybe just as important as Ashton Traitor’s music might be his character. The figure that has always hidden his face and real identity. That dresses to stand out just as much as we did in our emo years. The person that leaves so much space in its mix of effortless coolness and rebellious imperfection to be what we call a teenage icon – someone to identify with.
And as contemporary and no conformist as he is, he obviously doesn’t just drop albums. Yet to release a full body of work, he constantly feeds his fan base with new singles. And we are sure, those are going to keep rotating higher and higher into our playlists and charts.