Bet no one ever realized that the hipster label “chill wave” started out as a joke on the Internet, and was earnestly followed up by every single blog in America. Thanks, Hipsterrunoff!
The blog A Kid Who Tells on Another Dead Kid is Dead traces its history here.
Though the term “Chillwave” is tagged in an earlier article
that talks about Neon Indian on 4/20/09 (Carles gives Neon Indian's
album a 7.267 out of 10), there is no appearance of the term in the
text of the post. Chillwave's first appearance in print looks like 7/27/09, in which Carles is searching for an appropriate name for musicians that…
…have a chill project, that is somewhat 'conceptual' but
also demonstrates that ur band has 'pop sensibilities' or something.
Not sure what the 'ceiling' for these types of bands are. Seems like
they will probably have to build their 'live brand' as being something
that is 'artistic.'…
Carles then goes on to bulletpoint possible genre labels for such bands, which included…
Kewl Boring Music
Music 2 smoke weed 2
Synth Computer Pop Atmospheric Wave
Conceptual Blog Core
After the hilarious brainstorm, (WaveWave being my favorite), he settles on the now-eponymous Chillwave…
Feel like I might call it 'chill wave' music in the future. Feels like 'chill wave' is dominated by 'thick/chill synths' while conceptual core
is still trying to 'use real instruments/sound like it was recorded in
nature.' Feel like chillwave is supposed to sound like something that
was playing in the background of 'an old VHS cassette that u found in ur
attic from the late 80s/early 90s.'
And with Carles' hilarious jab at sub-sub-genre categorization,
“Chillwave” itself became a sub-sub-genre. And that's just where the
story starts. Since its unlikely birth, the c-word has come to
represent a slew of self-aware bands, cloying affected imagery, as well
as other cultural underpinnings. I'll talk a little bit more about the
genre, its bands, and its fans in the upcoming days.