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What Is Steampunk Music?

Steampunk Music

So what exactly makes a type of music “steampunk”?  Is it the look of the artist, the ideals they stand for, the instruments they use, or the type of sound they produce that puts them into the steampunk music genre?  Can they be steampunk only some of the time or must they live and breath the genre?  For the most part these are highly debate questions but in many cases steampunk artists devote much or all of their careers to creating what they feel represents the true sounds of steampunk.

Artists Dedicated to Steampunk Music

While steampunk may not always describe a certain type of sound when it comes to music, an artist or group of artists may label themselves as such when said artist has dedicated their career to realizing the steampunk dream.  They may pursue this style through reinvented musical instruments or by performing solely in steampunk inspired outfits.  Some groups who have dedicated their talent to the steampunk style include Abney Park, Doctor Steel, Vernian Process, and Clockwork Dolls.

Instruments and Appearance

Steampunk artists usually sport a steampunk type look.  As many other types of artists stick to certain looks that they feel support their style, steampunk musicians likewise style themselves in the wardrobe and accessories of the genre the represent.  This style will depend entirely on the individual artist but will usually contain aspects of Victoria fashion along with some technologic additions and accessories.

Their instruments, as well, may be in the style of the Victorian era or might be completely handmade and reinvented in that artist’s idea of a futuristic piece of Victorian music equipment.  In some cases the instrument might be an entirely new invention pieced together from parts of other instruments while in other cases an artist may just add a customized appearance to their guitar or keyboard to give it a more authentic steampunk look.

Singles with Steampunk Inspiration

Not all artists need to dedicate their lives to the steampunk movement to be inspired by its magnificence.  Some may experiment with an industrial sound and others might incorporate Victorian types of instruments into their modern style.  In recent times a few steampunk themed music videos have made their way into the mainstream media, one of which being The Ballad of Mona Lisa by Panic! At the Disco.  This video featured a steampunk themed wake and was produced with the help of the steampunk performance group, The League of S.T.E.A.M.  David Guetta and Nicki Minaj’s video for Turn Me On featured steampunk technology in the form of human robotics and Justin Bieber also recently released a steampunk style video of a remake of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

For the most part, the level of “steampunkness” is all in the eyes and opinions of that particular artist, their peers, and their fans.  Just as with steampunk fashion, what one person may decide is steampunk another may be inclined to disagree or call it just simply “Victorian”.  Being a fantasy-filled genre, the decision of what falls into this category will always be open for debate.

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