Seapunk is a music and visual art genre that utilize imagery from the 2000’s Cyberpunk culture, including dolphins, pyramids, bright colors, beach scenes, and dreamscapes. The music often incorporates ocean sounds and electronic beats. Seapunk was extremely popular in the late 2000s and early 2010s until it started to get mainstream too quickly, culminating in the infamous (to the scene) Rihanna performance on Saturday Night Live of her hit song "Diamonds". After this incident, Seapunk fell in popularity and was eventually replaced by the very similar Vaporwave (which, admittedly, has had an easier time enduring popularity due to how all-encompassing it is compared to the very specific Seapunk)
The term "seapunk" was coined by Brooklyn-based DJ Julian Foxworth, better known as Lil Internet. He claims the term came to him in a surreal dream, which he tweeted to his followers on June 1st, 2011. The next month, the first seapunk record label, Coral Records Internazionale, established by Chicago-based producer Ultrademon, launched a Bandcamp page and Facebook fan page where they shared links of other unaffiliated artists that exemplify the music they wanted to release. One of the earliest releases that were specifically classified as seapunk was Zombelle and Myrrh Ka Ba’s five-song EP "Tropicult", made available to download for free on July 26th, 2011. That October, Coral Records held the first Seapunk showcase in Brooklyn, coinciding with that year’s College Music Journal Festival, featuring Lil Internet and five other DJs and performers.
Like Witch House and Vaporwave, seapunk is a microgenre steeped in nostalgia for that not-so-distant time known as the nineties. Rave, R&B, and dance music constitute major elements of the seapunk sound. There’s also an undercurrent of spookiness that comes from 2000's mall goth music and the parts of the ocean that sunlight can’t reach, although that aspect of seapunk is downplayed compared to Witch House. Lyrical topics include dancing, partying, hooking up, and the ocean. Always the ocean. Musicians in the genre include:
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The style originated in 2011 as a trend on the micro-blogging platform Tumblr. The music is an edgy mix of modern-day electronic music, with heavy influences from the 2000s. This crossover continues into the fashion, which is generally uses nautical/aquatic imagery, such as marine life and palm trees composed of pastel and/or neon colors, primarily variations on cyan/teal, lavender, and pinks, and contains many symbols prominent during the 2000's such as yin and yang symbols and smiley faces. Other seapunk stapes include:
- 3D computer imagery from the 2000s, often geometric with reflective surfaces
- Vibrant depictions of water, both surface and submerged
- Circle-lens sunglasses
- Goth/Pastel Goth influence (crosses, spikes, etc.)
- Bright/pastel-colored hair, often worn in styles popular during the 2000s.
- Vibrant lip color
- Holosexual aesthetics