Speeding Up Tunes: How Nightcore Went From A School Project To A TikTok Sensation

Speeding Up Tunes: How Nightcore Went From A School Project To A TikTok Sensation

It's by no means unusual that a trend in the music industry takes time to ignite, but no one would have expected that the sheet music of the night would burn more than 20 years after the Norwegian producer's first attempt. But what is nightcore and why has it suddenly found a new audience?

If you had to guess, you'd probably say it had something to do with rock or heavy metal. In fact, nightcore is primarily a subgenre of trance music with some subtle differences; for the most part, the songs are sped up versions of popular songs (35 beats faster on average) and are often accompanied by anime artwork. If you've ever accidentally played a 33rpm record on a 45rpm turntable, here's an overview of what to expect:

Nightcore's roots can be traced back to two students, Thomas S. From Nielsen (DJ TNT) and Stefan Ojala from Soderholm (DJ SOS) from Alta, Northern Norway. Influenced by the soaring sound of German techno band Scooter's The Logical Song, the duo who called themselves Nightcore, experimented with sound and wood for a school project in 2001. "There are very few artists like this," they said, "we thought we would love to mix music in our own style."

They've released five albums, but it's still hard to find Nightcore's back catalogue. Initially distributed among family and friends, some of his work eventually found its way onto the Internet in the early days of file sharing. Nevertheless, they made a vivid impression. In the 2010s, nightcore as a genre reached a much wider audience (including the Eurovision 2011 entry Estonia, the wildly popular Rockefeller Street remix) – albeit online and largely as an underground movement. .

Recently, everything has changed. Like many musical trends in recent years (2021 Hype Song of the Sea/ Wellerman was thankfully short-lived), TikTok has proved to be a significant force in disrupting trends, artists or movements in music. When a user recreated Jenna Ortega's famous Netflix Wednesday dance scene and set it to a faster version of Lady Gaga's 2011 song Bloody Mary , it increased her popularity on the platform. Modern nightcore strays somewhat from its original formula and trance-based roots, but a search for the hashtag "#spedupsounds" (the word has become an acronym for the genre nightcore) yields TikTok videos with millions of views.

The trend has also spread to Spotify, where you'll find an officially curated Speed ​​Track playlist featuring songs from SZA and Madonna to Lana Del Rey and Sam Smith (all Warner Music Group artists) all playing up to 150 pieces. faster. their normal speed.

It may seem surprising that these major artists (or their labels) don't complain about significant changes to their work, claim piracy violations, and issue immediate takedown notices, but why are millions in monthly streaming revenue filling their chests? Could it be? After all, a remix is ​​a remix. Will we soon see sped up versions of artist-written songs released alongside the originals? Strange things have happened.

However, as it has grown over the last year, it seems that it has been a thorn in the road overnight. This is especially noticeable in the same Spotify playlist. "Sped Up Song", a more mainstream song that fans already know, has 1.4 million likes, but on Spotify's curated playlist, "This Is Nightcore" has only 83,000 likes and few, if any, hits. .

Another thing you'll know about this latest playlist. Like many genre creators, it had animated graphics, while many of the night's YouTube videos also featured anime placeholders instead of music videos. The origins of the pair have never been fully explained, although there have been many theories, including one that points to the simple fact that night and anime voices have high-pitched vocals. Others suggest that the influence of several J-core (Japanese hardcore techno) artists played a role, or that nightcore became a popular background soundtrack for players of the online game Ossur. , which is very much related to anime culture.

Regardless of the split, there's no denying that there are nocturnal or sped up versions of just about every song you can think of, from Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata to Bob's The Times Are A-Changing Dylan Meanwhile, nightcore Look for Ireland and you'll be presented with an array of hits. there's a nightly version of Ireland's Call, The Wild Rover , and even a nightly version of Ireland's newest Eurovision. Come in, we are wild youths. One

The same search for "nightcore ireland" brings up another odd result. Many proponents of the style work under pseudonyms, and Damo Furlong is no exception. The Kilkenny-based musician doesn't want to share his 'other' name, but he founded Scaldwave Records out of Wexford and released Nightcore Songs in 2019 by a group called the Whiteboys, which were released on an independent label and are now available on Bandcamp. . .

"To be honest, Night Itch stems from the classic Eurodance record and mixes the genre with hardcore and trance, a bit traditional," he explains, "but the approach can be applied to any type of music."

Furlong first discovered the genre around 2009, before becoming familiar with the Norwegian duo and particularly their album Caliente . "I like that it ended up being a more intense version of the original," he said of Nightcore's appeal. "It's not dissimilar to the approach used in old hardcore, jungle, and gabber techno, where samples of R&B and horror movie vocals were edited and reworked into one song."

He said the genre had mainstream potential, and in many ways has, as hyperpop (a genre closely related to game night) has influenced artists such as Shirley XCX and AG Cooking. "[But] nightcore, which is associated with a more experimental, dark or niche style, could become more popular," he says, "if current trends lead to a broader understanding of genres such as trance, upbeat hardcore or Eurodance for these genres. to raise public awareness.

However, there's a bit of an underlying feeling that changing the pitch or tempo of a song should require a bit of skill. Can nightcore fans really be considered artists?

Furlong acknowledged that critics of the genre were at least partly right in this. "That's a big part of the appeal," he confirmed. “While there are versions of nightcore that focus on sample songs or sped up to a certain degree, it is entirely possible to compose and release this [type of] music without any formal proof of skill. But like a cliché, I guess. Duke Ellington's quote, "If it sounds good, it's good music," carries weight.

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