[I]n 2005 feeling sad, anxious and talking to strangers on the internet meant you were probably an emo, but now it’s just straight-up how we live.
In this new (and mostly online) space of hyper-stylised feelings some post-emo waves began to ripple. Riding these waves and collecting an enormous, ardent fanbase along the way is Lil Peep. Resembling mallgoth Justin Bieber and singing lyrics that explicitly refer to suicide, he and his crew, Goth Boi Clique, are the aestheticised leaders of the emo revival. His last mixtape Hellboy is tempered with romantic dejection and sung over woozy cloud-rap beats from his frequent collaborators Lil Tracy, Horsehead, Smokeasac and Nedarb.
Peep spends a lot of time in his apartment and doesn’t really like going outside, he stays up late and gets out of bed at 2:30pm. If we consider the idea of him staying in, posting tracks and selfies online we can easily imagine that we are all Lil Peep right now. With his videos surpassing one million views, his music resonates with fans of hip hop and pop punk alike.
We hooked up with photographer Angel (@AlmostDecent) to hang out with him in Echo Park, Los Angeles. He tells us about hating haters, #GothBoiClique and how he really just wants to look like an anime character most of the time.
Hey Peep, your past is mega mysterious. Honestly what were you doing a few years ago?
It’s mysterious because it’s pretty boring. I just sat in my room. I didn’t relate to anybody around me. I grew up in Long Island and I couldn’t really relate. I sat inside for like six years.
That’s kind of sad.
Yeah, it is. It’s one of the roots of my sadness. I’m very reclusive actually. I don’t like to leave the house much. It takes a lot for me to put myself out there in public and actually do something.
You sing about feeling sad a lot. How are you feeling?
At the moment? I’m feeling pretty good. But that’s because I’m on anxiety medication. I have really bad anxiety.
You tweet a lot about anxiety, dying or wanting to die, do you think posting these thoughts on social media helps you cope with them?
Yeah I think it helps a lot of people. I don’t know why. I’ve even said that on Twitter before, “I don’t know why this helps but it does.”
Does the same go for your music?
Yeah definitely. If I wasn’t making music I would be hurting myself. Making music is nothing but beneficial to me. It’s therapeutic and my career at the same time. It’s everything.
Cool, how come your music disappeared off Spotify?
Oh right that was actually someone else. Nothing to do with me. It was like a hack and someone else was making money off of it so I had it taken down. It’ll be back up there soon though!
Tell me about GothBoiClique, who’s in it?
It’s a family. It was started by an artist called Wicca Phase and Cold Heart. Wicca Phase is the ex-singer of Tiger’s Jaw and he started this little collective, which is kind of like a new sub-genre of hip hop, emo, pop punk and a bunch of other shit. It’s a weird subgenre.
Haha, I have no name for it yet. I’m waiting for it to be named honestly. But I didn’t actually invent the genre, the first person who I think I found most of my influence from was Horsehead. He’s the first one to really sing on these beats that don’t sound like your average radio beat. I found all their shit on the internet and I made music that was similar to it already without ever having known about them. When i got to LA, and I forget when that was, I was added to the group.
Horsehead did the production for your track "Girls", the video was praised for its diversity, how intentional was that?
Very. That was the point of the video to fuck gender roles, spread positivity and let everybody know that we’re all people. There’s too much hate.
You have some haters, how do you feel about them ?
I have a lot of haters. They just can’t see the same shit that I can see past. My haters suck – they’re racist, they’re sexist, they’re just not cool people so they can have fun hating.
They don’t like me for all the worst reasons. So it doesn’t really bother me. If they were saying shit to me that I agreed with then that would get to my head. Most of them are just homophobic hilbilly fucks. Fuck my haters.
Although I do think it’s cool when they hate because then they expose themselves in front of everybody.
You have a lot of fans too. What are your thoughts about them?
Yes they are very very supportive. I definitely stay really active on social media for them. They get upset if I leave them alone for a few days.
Does that create pressure on you?
It’s not really a pressure. I was in a similar position to them too once except I didn’t have someone like me to relate to. I know I’m not the best role model, but it’s good to have someone who can make you feel less alone.
Who are you listening to?
Future. He’s a rockstar. I could go on all day about him. I relate to him a lot – I love how open he is and how he spills his heart out on the track. Super emotional. I love it. He has a song for every mood and emotion. I love Kid Cudi too. Who doesn’t? If you don’t like Kid Cudi then I don’t like you.
You’re working on your next album, can you tell us anything else about it at this stage?
It’ll be out sometime in the spring. It’s more of a rock album than my last stuff has been. It’s almost like a band. I’ve been sampling my shit, but now i’m starting to use original guitar and piano and stuff.
The only concept of it that is really hip hop is maybe the rhythm and the percussion because it was done digitally on a computer.
Cool, well thanks for coming out of the house for our photoshoot
Oh yeah, I thought it was fun, it felt natural. I mean I wanna be a model also. I’m gonna make clothes. I mean some people are big into fashion but I like my own fashion. I recently bought these big snowmobile boots that Chief Keef has. I like to wear them with skinny jeans so I look like an anime character.
What is your favourite Anime?
Bleach, Deathnote and Shiki. I love when my fans draw me as Anime characters.