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Drain (also known as Draincore or Drainer (a term referring to people who listens to Drain Gang)) is an aesthetic / subculture that is heavily inspired by the Drain Gang music collective. It is best known for its “trashy” or noisy visuals with dreamlike feelings since it has a lot of Y2K-cyber inspired themes.
The group collective consists of Bladee, Thaiboy Digital, Ecco2K, Whitearmor and Yung Sherman — you can find drain aesthetic images tagged with the member’s names. Not only music, they were also the trailblazers in visual sense, fashion and lifestyle. Bladee and Ecco2k, are also visual artists, making most of the group’s album covers. In addition, they collaborate with Yung Lean and Sad Boys Entertainment, producing songs together and creating merch designs.
Drainers gained popularity through the internet, coming off of a wave of post ironic fashion and music enjoyment. The subculture is said to have started on the 4chan boards /fa/ and /mu/ as well as Reddit, back then the subculture was ironic/a meme and probably just a part of Sad Boy culture.
- 2000s styled edits inspired by Emo, Scene, Mallgoth, and Y2K.
- Chains and skeleton gloves along with rhinestone clothing and baseball caps.
- Interest in cloud rap/hyperpop/tread artists and bands such as Drain Gang, Sad Boys, Goth Money, Working on Dying, and NOVAGANG.
- Emo-inspired tattoos.
- Black nail polish.
- Asymmetrical earrings.
- Split-dyed hair.
- Long bangs that cover the eyes (for boys/masc people), and Ramona Flowers-inspired bangs (for girls/fem people)
- Androgynous fashion.
- Punk ideologies. (though this is more of something set in stone for most alternative subcultures and not so much a trend)
- Drain Gang merch, thrifted clothing, and Hot Topic merch.
- Using Reddit for r/sadboys.
(It is important to note, that not all of these visual creators listen to or enjoy the Drain Gang music.)
They are typified by the heavily distorted collage drawings. One inserts several pictures, and then overlays them, inverts the colors, blurs the image. Basically, using all methods available on editing software to get the Drain Gang’s album-inspired images. Commonly, these experimental artworks consist of chroma, cyber overlays, chrome type, black metal fonts, sparkles, lens flare, Y2K media, clip arts, and anime.
Commonly, the edits are in black and white with minimal use of other colors, while some others incorporate colors to spice up the look. There are also some simple edits, only by giving blurs, little use of blending modes, and making it low resolution without overlaying plenty of images.
According to Dazed Digital, Drain Gang also embrace the bright and childlike aesthetic. For instance, Bladee (real name: Benjamin Reichwald) made a Drain Baby design that is based on Chao, a character from Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.
A specific aesthetic depicting fairies, pixies, and flowers as an counterpart to Drain is called Cyber Fairy. It may share some similar whimsical feelings to Cyberdelic. You can also find related images with the keyword "Cyber Y2K".
Some edits, especially the anime and sanrio related ones, are also known as Cybergoth or Cyber Grunge aesthetic.
(Not to be confused with the true Cybergoth; this aesthetic combines cyber elements and the dark tone of goth. Maybe this happens due to mislabeling).
External links to learn more about the aesthetic:
Introduction to the Drain Gang, their influence, and the aesthetic.
- Hyperpop, Draingang and the Y2K Aesthetic by PINKAS
- Ｓ Ａ Ｄ Ｂ Ｏ Ｙ Ｓ ／ ＤＲＡＩＮ ＧＡＮＧ by Gattsu
- An Idiot's Guide To Drain Gang by Bloo Dragoon
- Drainer meaning - Urban Dictionary
- Inside the Cathartic Bliss of Drain Gang, Gen Z’s Emo Torchbearers - Rolling Stone
- How would you guys describe the drain aesthetic - Reddit, r/sadboys
- What's your guys thoughts on the drain aesthetic? - Reddit, r/sadboys
- The age of innocence: when did everything get so cute? - Dazed Digital