Cooler still making a splash

Way back in 2012 Dunedin local Ferris Cooler started releasing music online.

Inspired by a bubbly, aquatic-themed aesthetic called seapunk, which emerged in online communities such as Tumblr, he called his project Splash Club 7 after ’90s pop group S-Club 7.

Ferris Cooler, the man behind Splash Club 7. Photo: Supplied
Ferris Cooler, the man behind Splash Club 7. Photo: Supplied

Fast-forward to 2018 and Splash Club 7 has hundreds of thousands of fans from across the globe. But for those fans, Splash Club 7 is synonymous with one thing only, and it’s not music.

I somehow convinced the elusive Ferris Cooler into an interview to try to explain this post-internet tragedy.

"I originally had a music page for Splash Club 7 and I got about 2000 likes somehow," he begins.

He’s referring to a Facebook page, which is a profile made to represent a non-person entity that fans can "like" to receive updates.

"And I can’t remember exactly how it happened," he continues, "but I lost access to that page. So I created a new page and obviously it’s very hard to rebuild likes and stuff so I just posted a few memes ..."

I ask him how many likes he has now.

"151,000? That’s what I remember off the top of my head."

Actually it’s 153,000 and grows by about 1000 every week. Dozens of my friends like Splash Club 7 on Facebook without knowing who he is, and when I first discovered the page in 2015 I had no idea it was a musician either, let alone that he lived in Dunedin.

The reason for the page’s popularity is obvious: people desire bite-sized pieces of funny content for their newsfeeds - memes are the creative currency of the masses. His are post-ironic, often satirising memetic structures or satirising satire of memetic structures, or simply "celebrating being s***"."

"It’s a lot of effort to get into a certain artist that you’ve never heard of, like you have to make an effort to listen to a whole album sort of thing."It’s a lot easier just to, like, scroll past a meme and be, like, ‘Ha, that’s funny’ and share it."

After his seapunk releases, he started to take on aspects of vaporwave, another internet micro-genre defined by its obsession with ’80s aesthetics and exotic hyper-consumerist imagery. It highlights the hollow promises and "nothingness" at the heart of capitalism.

But that nothingness holds great nostalgia for the millenial for whom the mall, now a dying relic, was the cultural and social centre of their lives growing up. Splash Club 7 takes the depthlessness and superficiality of malls, dance music, trash, and shines a spotlight on it, celebrates it even, with titles such as Late Night Infomercials and Midnight Virtual Plaza.

And then, after half a dozen successful releases, he stopped. His latest release, titled Born To Die / World Is A F*** after a popular meme, dropped quietly in February and is the first since his new page got big.

The factor that unites his music is its ability to evoke a certain, sometimes, undefinable mood and his latest is no different. It feels like drinking cough syrup at 3am: it’s disorienting and nauseating. I ask him why he hasn’t harnessed his new meme audience to help promote his music and he shrugs.

"I dunno ... I was actually thinking of releasing all my music stuff under a different alias."

I ask him whether he’s bitter about it, but he seems more bemused than anything.

"I kind of like having a page to post s*** on. I wouldn’t post on my normal account."

There’s a beautiful irony to the story of a musician who made music celebrating superficiality and had his musical identity stolen by something even more superficial than the music he made. I don’t think he’d have it any other way.

- For more from Fraser Thompson go to dunedinsound.com.

See it

Check Ferris Cooler’s releases at splash-club-7.bandcamp.com/ or visit www.facebook.com/SplashClub7Official/

Add a Comment

 

Advertisement

postanote_header_620_x_80.png

postanote_620_x_25.jpg

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter