Witch house (music genre)

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Witch house (also known as drag or Haunted house) is an occult-themed dark electronic music genre and visual aesthetic that emerged in the late 2000s. The music is heavily influenced by chopped and screwed hip-hop soundscapes, industrial and noise experimentation, and features use of synthesizers, drum machines, obscure samples, droning repetition and heavily altered, ethereal, indiscernible vocals.

The witch house visual aesthetic includes occult, witchcraft, shamanism and horror-inspired artworks, collages and photographs as well as significant use of typographic elements such as Unicode symbols.[1][2] Many works by witch house visual artists incorporate themes from horror films such as The Blair Witch Project,[3] the television series Twin Peaks,[4] and mainstream pop culture celebrities. Common typographic elements in artist and track names include triangles, crosses, and other Unicode symbols, which are seen by some as a method of keeping the scene underground and harder to search for on the Internet as well as references to the television series Twin Peaks and Charmed.[5][6]

Influences and style[edit]

Cover art for "Frost"/"Legend" by the band Salem

Witch house applies techniques rooted in chopped and screwed hip-hop – drastically slowed tempos with skipping, stop-timed beats[7] – coupled with elements from genres such as noise, drone, and shoegaze.[8] Witch house is also influenced by hazy 1980s goth bands, including Cocteau Twins, The Cure, Christian Death and Dead Can Dance,[9] as well as being heavily influenced by certain industrial and experimental bands such as Psychic TV and Coil.[10][11] The use of hip-hop drum machines, noise atmospherics, creepy samples,[12] dark synthpop-influenced lead melodies, dense reverb, and heavily altered or distorted vocals are the primary attributes that characterize the genre's sound. The concept started out as a joke, with Travis Egedy (commonly known by the stage name Pictureplane) and his friends coining the term in 2009 to refer to their style of music.[13][14][15][16] Shortly after being mentioned to Pitchfork,[14] blogs and other mainstream music press began to use the term.

Many artists in the genre have released slowed-down remixes of pop and rap songs,[17] or long mixes of different songs that have been slowed down significantly.

Bands and artists[edit]

Notable bands and artists with music described as "witch house" include:


  1. ^ Necci (2010-08-09). "Witch House: Listen With The Lights On". RVA Magazine. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  2. ^ "Witch House Esthetics". Synconation. 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  3. ^ "Murder Dog Magazine - Volume 17 #3 - Special Feature:Witch House (Page 87)". Murder Dog Magazine. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  4. ^ "Witch House And Okkvlt Guide To Twin Peaks". Welcome to Twin Peaks. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  5. ^ Baxter, Jason (2010-12-20). "What is the "Witch House Font?" | Line Out". Lineout.thestranger.com. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  6. ^ "How To Be a Witch House Poser". Flavorwire. 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  7. ^ Lindsay, Cam. "The Translator - Witch House • Spark •". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  8. ^ Watson, William Cody (2010-09-12). "Slow Motion Music". Impose Magazine. 
  9. ^ Wright, Scott (2010-03-09). "Scene and heard: Drag". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  10. ^ Marshalek, Russ (22 September 2010). "Haunted: A Witch House Primer". Flavorwire. Retrieved 2013-06-17. 
  11. ^ Maness, Carter (2010-08-25). "Brooklyn's Vanishing Witch House: White Ring and CREEP burn your trends and have real music to show for it". Nypress.com. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  12. ^ Sokol, Zach (2011-02-01). "The Witch House Debate: Is †he Music Genre Wor†h ∆ Lis†en? · NYU Local". Nyulocal.com. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  13. ^ "This Is Witchhouse". Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Nguyen, Tuyet (2010-12-30). "This is witch house | Music | The A.V. Club Denver/Boulder". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  15. ^ "Weird emergence | San Francisco Bay Guardian". Sfbg.com. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  16. ^ P.J. Nutting (2010-12-30). "Which house for witch house?". Boulderweekly.com. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 
  17. ^ Caramanica, Jon (4 November 2010). "DJ Screw's Legacy: Seeping Out of Houston, Slowly". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ Gieben, Bram E. (November 5, 2012). "Crystal Castles – (III)". The Skinny. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Rodgers, D. Patrick (25 August 2010). "‘New’ ‘Genre’ Alert: Which House? Witch House". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 2013-06-17.