Every subculture has their own style. There are specific visual markers and ways of wearing clothing and acting that define a group. Because of this, you can look at a person and taxonomize them into the cultural group he or she belongs to.
While this has been something percolating for a while, this past Saturday night I was able to pin down the style of a very specific, very small subculture: the Hi-Techno Boy. I was at a James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never show, two acts I very much like a lot but very much do not “look” like a fan of. I wore an oversized AMI sweatshirt and short navy shorts and I quickly realized that I was the lone shorted male, perhaps the only gay one outside of my boyfriend in attendance. This was a very unique crowd with a very unique style. As I watched them hang out and slow dance to overly agro nu-electronic, I realized I had seen these people before. They were the same people at the Holly Herndon concert and the same people at the Andy Stott and Tim Hecker show. They are the Hi-Techno Boys.
Who are these dudes that listen to overly intellectual, “nerdy” electronic music? How can you set them apart? It’s quite hard, actually, because they have the ability to pass in the bro group, the hipster group, the college kid group, the normcore group, and the health goth group. If these dudes (and dudettes) were to be photographed by James Mollison, you would find that they were fuzzy reprints of Daniel Lopatin.
Thus, here is a study of the styles and the personalities and the general feel of this new group. Be on the lookout for them, everyone: they are a dude you will see more and more of, if you haven’t already seen him already.
• They love vintage athleisure coats. Think Columbia jackets and Starter jackets in jewel tones, all oversized and sweaty. This is their idea of a blazer.
• There is always a hat. Typically a sporty baseball hat, for a team they actually do love. The hat is matting down lots of greasy hair. It is cocked to the side or backwards.
• They like old t-shirts or loose polo shirts. They don’t do sweaters nor do they wear anything fitted. They’re relaxed, okay?
• These t-shirts can also be ironic: dark death metal depictions, nineties hardcore bands, upside down symbols, characters from eighties and nineties sci-fi films and shows, technology products long since dead, old logos for sports teams, etc.
• Some wear Bernie Sanders paraphernalia.
• They are almost always dirty, too. They smell like cigarettes, too.
• Black is the color of choice.
• Their shoes are white and athletic and very worn in. They are either Air Jordans or something orthopedic.
• Some wear button-up shirts. They are always one color and buttoned down halfway, exposing fleshy chests without any definition.
• Their pants are somewhere in between loose and skinny khakis. Jeans are not as typical.
• These men are more than happy to travel alone. If they have friends, it is one or two that look identical to them. Usually, they are alone and squinty, trying to seem occupied by boredom in a way that masks their wanting company.
• Of course there are glasses—and they are milky clear acetate.
• They drink beer. Lite beers. PBR, Corona, whatever: these dudes love beer.
• A large amount of them do have girlfriends. Most dress similarly: dirty, vintage, post-tech, etc. Many of them have faded neon dye jobs. They look like they are big fans of Grimes. They also wear baseball hats, too.
• These guys (and girls) are totally cool with sitting on the ground during a show. Not that the venue is seated, no, but they will plop down whenever they want.
• They “dance” by a side-to-side rock. Some get too excited and jump in a spasm, hands clipped to the sides, their head making a sharp bang left or right.
• To release energy or express emotion, they can and will interject moments of silence during a show with yelled phrases like “FUCK YEAH.” or “THAT’S THE STUFF.”
• While I do not have proof, these men are actually very much into sports. They have suppressed their emotions and energy into the self, releasing it at a show and through music like 0PN’s.
• They are not manly. They are not alpha males although they could be if they tried.
• They are a new evolution of nerd, aided out of their situation by the Internet.
• For the most part, they believe they look European and cool and like this but more accurately look like this.