The Origins of Indie
April 17, 2023
My radio show theme this week was indie rock. While I was DJing, my friend Olivia texted me: What even is indie music?
That got me thinking, then researching, and then coming to this conclusion: Indie is fake!!
Indie: the term is used to loosely describe fashion style, music taste, and overall aesthetic. This word is especially thrown around here at AU. What does the word really mean, though? Is it just a word we collectively decided has this elusive connotation that cannot really be put into words? I’ll try my best to demonstrate my interpretation.
“That person is so indie!” my friend remarks to me.
I look over. The person is wearing a low-waisted, long jean skirt, platform Mary Jane Doc Martens and a white, vintage sweater. I hear Mac DeMarco pour from their retro headphones.
“So true.” I respond to my friend as we pass by them.
How has the word become a concept to be personified? How has it evolved into categorizing a genre of music?
After a quick Google search, I found out ‘indie’ is not what we have created our entire identities around. The term originates from independent music record labels that were not affiliated with commercial or mainstream record companies (The Conversation). Some of you insufferable people out there may recognize The Smiths as being one of the first “indie” bands out there.
What made independent artists “indie”? When did the term become an aesthetic for songs? To top it all off, college radio shows did! So, WVAU radio show hosts like myself, how does it feel to be a part of the gen pop who coined the elusive “indie”? Somehow, since the 80’s, indie has become less about the production of music and more about the genre, sound, and overall vibe of music. It’s grungy, alternative, and rock.
The next time someone calls you ‘indie’ I hope you think of this article and the origins of the word. Truthfully, being indie is not a real, tangible thing. Knock yourselves out, though, AU students!