What is hyperska? Eichlers shares 10 songs that inspired the new subgenre
We've teamed with Eichlers in a limited-to-100 electric blue vinyl variant of his new album, which you can also get as part of a Bad Time Records bundle with exclusive variants of two other BTR titles.
Eichlers (Russ Wood) is gearing up to release his Bad Time Records debut, My Checkered Future, later this month (3/25). It features collaborations with Tape Girl, Omnigone, JER (aka Jeremy Hunter of We Are the Union and Skatune Network), and BOBOSO (aka Bob Vielma of Shinobu and Fuss), and it seems poised to introduce the world to Eichlers' self-proclaimed subgenre "hyperska." If you're wondering, "what is hyperska?", Eichlers has put together a 10-song playlist of songs that inspired the subgenre, including a vast array of artists from SOPHIE to The Chinkees to Brockhampton to Algernon Cadwallader. He wrote a bit about each pick, and his commentary is infectious as his music. Read on for what he had to say.
Eichlers also has upcoming shows, including a short Northeast run with Kill Lincoln and The Best of the Worst this month (including NYC's Trans-Pecos on 3/18), and West Coast shows with We Are The Union and Half Past Two in April. All dates are listed at the bottom of this post.
Pre-order our electric blue vinyl variant of Eichlers' album here.
10 SONGS THAT INSPIRED HYPERSKA
1. "The Placebo Effect" by No Service Project
No Service Project's 2009 project Return To Paper is such a unique record. It sounds like nothing else that was happening at the time: songs that morph and flow through various genres, great vocal and instrumental hooks, cutting-edge production, and RIFFS! This one is a huge reason why I wanted to add a dash of twinkly emo guitars to my HYPERSKA concoction (more on that later). The way this song's breakdown goes from sparkly almost RnB influenced driving SKA chords to a quasi-funk breakdown that ends in a "guitarmonized" almost country-lead riff. Before joining the NEW TONE movement / modern SKA scene / unlearning the "wave" rhetoric, I was *convinced* that Return To Paper was the "fourth wave" we were all waiting for. Silly now, considering, but it made hella sense at the time. My friends Drew and Bailey (guitarist and bassist for hardcore darlings SPY and Scowl, respectively) got me into this album when we were in high school and it's been a true underrated SKAsterpiece to me ever since.
2. "THUG LIFE" by BROCKHAMPTON
In 2017, I discovered BROCKHAMPTON through my friend Jeremy (he plays drums in this awesome SJ band Star 99) posting about Saturation II on twitter. I looked up the video for "SWEET" and was mesmerized by what I found. I have always loved hip-hop & rap, but BROCKHAMPTON's approach to the genre grabbed me in a way that nothing else really ever has. I immediately went back, devoured their earlier output, and waited patiently for their continued rise to superstardom. The release of 2018's Iridescence marked a period of my life where I was OBSESSED with modern rap. "THUG LIFE" perfectly encapsulates their influence on HYPERSKA: the unyielding trap hi-hats, the proto-hyperpop kick / snare pattern, and the formant-shifted vocals I loved so much that I absolutely had to use them in my own music. The album came out the day after my birthday and I was enamored with this track right from the get-go. I would not be doing what I'm doing if it wasn't for BROCKHAMPTON's music.
3. "LEMONADE" by SOPHIE
SOPHIE is the definition of hyperpop. This song has all the weird, unexpected sounds and sugary hooks that would go on to be a staple of the genre. It embodies the genre. You can hear the through-line from her music right to 100 gecs and every hyperpop artist their rise spawned, myself included. In her tragically short career, SOPHIE managed to do it all well before (and often better than) everyone else in the scene. This song came out in 2015! How?!?! An absolute icon, well ahead of her time and gone from this world far too soon. In the words of my dear friend Val, "stan SOPHIE."
4. "Needy" by Scootie
Scootie's In-Flight Service was an album I found in spring 2018. I was freshly into my modern hip-hop obsession (thanks again BROCKHAMPTON) and immediately latched onto this album. "Needy" is the album opener and is a perfect pop-rap song. The hook is so sugary and catchy, the beat drops out and returns in all the right places, and it has the cool DJ Screw influenced slowdown at the end. You can definitely hear this influence in songs like "MISERY - Remix" and "2 OF US," specifically. Scootie (as part of production duo Social House) would go onto produce some of Ariana Grande's biggest hits and I would go on to spin this record while working on my HYPERSKA album My Checkered Future ;)
5. "Big World" by The Chinkees
Mike Park is a legend, obviously. I've gone on record saying that Skankin' Pickle is my favorite 3rd wave band, but it was revisiting those Chinkees records that really shook my world. I got Peace Through Music on CD from Mike as payment for packing records at Asian Man Records one day as a high schooler, and I listened to it on repeat in my car for months afterwards. The verse groove in this song is essential to how I write my SKA parts, with the skanking, upstoke guitars against half time drums. It creates a unique groove that's dancey, while still distinct from the usual "snare-on-the-2-and-4" SKA grooves you hear. It works perfectly with hyperpop 808 drops and those sizzling trap hi-hats we all know and love. "Big World?" big fan.
6. "Basic Starkist" by Vantana Row
I'm just gonna say it: Jamey Blaze is my favorite producer. My friend Ian and I always say that she's been at the cutting-edge of electronic & aggressive music for so much of her career, and her current band, Vantana Row, was my introduction to her music. While I got into the band after the release of their album 4ourIVer, it was this album, Vagina, where they really go for it. "Basic Starkist" sees them at their most chaotic and charismatic. It showed me that you can have crazy 808 drops while still keeping a melodic and aggressive edge. Vantana Row taught me that you can do whatever the fuck you want and as long as you think it's sick, so will other people. Just like Jamey says at the beginning of the song, "this a hit."
7. "BANANAS" by Cali Cartier
What a fucking ride this song is. Just one crazy hook the entire time with eardrum shattering bass and blown out post-SOPHIE snares that sound like an elephant trampling Cali as they deliver the song's title over & over again. This song is the key to the "fat bass drop blows out vocals" technique that I've employed on a bunch of my HYPERSKA songs. That's pure Dylan Brady x Cali Cartier worship! Dylan is half of 100 gecs and even though my music draws a lot of comparisons to the gecs, Cali's music is really what inspires me to keep producing and creating with the energy and aggression that HYPERSKA is known for.
8. "Evil Plans" by David Shawty
I'm pretty convinced that David Shawty and Yungster Jack are responsible for the Soundcloud scene's transition from emo rap to hyperpop. Or at least that's how it looked from where I was standing, ankle deep in my GBC playlists and w3bcam mp3's. David's vocal production is so weird and cool. I do a lot of my vocal chopping & stuttering as a direct homage to his style, which you hear in full effect on this song. Dude's put out so much material and while not all of it is great, you can't deny that he's got his own lane & style.
9. "see u in the ashes when i cash out" by 93FEETOFSMOKE
This person is my favorite emo trap artist, hands down. I would have never started pursuing electronic music & learning to produce if it weren't for 93's production and songwriting. Their output from 2016-2018 is untouchable in my eyes and just encapsulates visceral sadness through the use of autotune in a way that I didn't know was possible. Coming up from the indie/emo/punk scene, 93 made me a believer in the post-Lil Peep emo trap stuff. You can hear 93's influence all over HYPERSKA, especially when I go "full emo," lyrically and musically.
10. "Look Down (Because the Ground Is Easier to Understand and Doesn't Take So Much Work to Figure Out But I'd Rather Not Know Where I'm Standing and Have An Idea of What Life Is All About)" by Algernon Cadwallader
Big emo strikes again! Algernon was a gigantic band to a young emo Ike in my college years. I was watching a live set of theirs from 2011 and this song brought me to tears. As a guitar player, Joe's twinkling and shredding is mind-bending and beautiful to me. He's never shredding for the sake of shredding, always with a focus on melody and to further the progression of the song. These are the guitars I am trying to emulate whenever you hear any sort of "tumblr emo twinkling" on a HYPERSKA song. Plus the chorus of "Look Down" is perfect. It's catchy and energetic, balanced with skill against the same emo guitar riffage that I love to incorporate into my music.
Listen to a playlist of all 10 songs:
And listen to the Tape Girl collab from Eichlers' upcoming album:
Eichlers -- 2022 Tour Dates
3.18.22 - New York, NY @ Trans-Pecos w/ Kill Lincoln + The Best of the Worst
3.19.22 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery w/ Kill Lincoln + The Best of the Worst
4.1.22 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill w/ We Are The Union + Half Past Two
4.2.22 - Anaheim CA @ Chain Reaction w/ We Are The Union + Half Past Two
4.3.22 - San Diego, CA @ Voodoo Room (House of Blues) w/ We Are The Union + Half Past Two