Get Refreshed: The Bloodhounds Say Goodbye

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here

Main Cover by Brixton Yorker // Special Cover by ddertbag


Editor’s Note

I feel as though it’s important that I acknowledge why this week’s column is slightly different. This is a special edition of “Get Refreshed” where – aside from the below trio of notable releases I intended on highlighting before the present news hit – I take a backseat and let the people whose voices are most important to the week’s online music discourse be focused on and listened to as they deservingly should. 

Those voices come in the form of past and present members of the integral, impactful, and illustrious online music collective called Bloodhounds — the aforementioned news surrounding the group being the sudden and shocking announcement of its conclusion this past Wednesday. As one will see by the end of this piece, the amount of space I’ve reserved for reflecting on and chronicling the legacy of the digicore-purveying collective is entirely appropriate given just how remarkable their legacy has been and forever will be in regards to the continuing era of online music. 

Below these few releases from the prior week, you’ll find a brief overview of the collective’s history and further thoughts on what has just transpired in my own words. While I do share my thoughts on their legacy and what their presence has meant to me, personally, for all these years, what’s most important is reading the anecdotes provided by a number of their former members.

Please take the time to read about their perspectives on the matter, and take what they all have to say into a higher model of thought as well. What I mean by that is to use their words to better understand just how remarkable their contributions as a group have been to the present state of online music, for one, and the entire present music landscape as a whole. More on that below, of course, I just felt the need to begin everything here as such. 


dazegxd + exodus1900: “2fast”

The last words written on my tombstone will go as follows: “digicore does not have a distinct sound.” It’s a notion I’ve had to repeatedly remind the entire planet about for some time now, and to be honest, I have no problem in doing it whatsoever given the scene’s nuanced place in today’s landscape. It gets a little tiresome after some time, but it’s worth it for me. 

But tracks like dazegxd and exodus1900’s latest collaboration “2fast” should honestly stand enough on their own as exemplary evidence to the above fact. On its own, this track has the potential to be jungle music’s best entrance into the masses since Smackdown!’s first-ever theme song back in 1999. Though the lyrics are pretty much unintelligible in both of these songs, I guess it makes sense why that connection can be made? 

Regardless, this stands among my favorite singles to drop yet this year — which is more of an inevitability than anything else given how much I adore these two acts by themselves. Daze’s production is always magnetic and stimulating no matter what genre they take up on a given track, and their take on jungle does not even come close to straying away from that. In fact, it goes above and beyond here as being one of the most impressive instrumentals in their entire discography; Exo’s equally manic performance on the mic just adds the utmost substance to what would’ve already been a standout listen on its own. 


Merely’s “Trance 4-ever” Playlist Is Flawless… and a Necessity 

I have quite a lot of random and seemingly outlandish interests and hobbies alike, and for someone like me, that’s nothing but a good thing. But for as niche as I find myself coming off from time to time, it’s nice to know someone else does the exact same thing as me despite how, well, niche it may be. At least it helps me feel a little better about the things I like…

With that being said, the simple fact that Merely enjoys the tried and true art of trance playlist curation fills me with all the joy in the world, because after discovering the genre as everyone else born in the year 2000 did – through YouTube and other pre-2010s Internet escapades – I’ve probably made over a hundred separate playlists for both my friends and certainly my own enjoyment. 

But Merely’s work here trumps anything I could put together in a moment’s notice. The Year0001 standout has blown us all away before with her defining pop prowess, but she’s almost matched it with her curating abilities all the same. This playlist gives you the best of what trance’s limitless pallet of sounds could ever represent in one cohesive package, and as Merely herself points out, is the perfect listen for the blissful spring season.


“Green Kid” Now, Even Greener Kid To Come Tomorrow

Any and all discussions surrounding the most enigmatic performers of today’s online music landscape absolutely have to involve Kasper Gem. There’s simply no doubt about it — we’re dealing with someone who doesn’t just give commanding performances each time they touch the mic, they steal the entire show as a whole. With all the controlled chaos that their all-too-unique inflection could ever bring, any song featuring Kasper gains itself a new, unmatchable element to it that shifts its entire dynamic directly into their hands.

So what happens when Kasper is already the main star of the show from the jump? Well, judging by their nearly-flawless string of singles to drop thus far in 2021, we’ve been blessed with nothing short of the most exhilarating collection of hip-hop offerings the online landscape has to offer. When Kapser finds themself all on their own, their forceful presence is elevated to the highest extremes imaginable. 

The latest addition to this hot streak comes in the form of “Green Kid” — the 4am-produced, self-titled single to their coming EP that drops tomorrow — fittingly enough on 4/20. Both this single and the beloved holiday may share their “green” facets about them, but they could not be further separated as far as their content is concerned. The thunderous, non-stop delivery that Kasper so effectively jam-packs this track with throughout its entirety is more so reminiscent of… different… types of drugs, or at least those not associated with pure tranquility, at least. 

Regardless, this is just another outstanding single from Kasper themself, and one that sets the absolute highest bar imaginable for the coming project it appears on.


All Dogs Go To Heaven, But Bloodhounds Live Forever

Celebrating the recently-concluded collective’s history, legacy, and meaningful place in the online music landscape — as told by a select cast of its wholly influential former members.

Cover by ddertbag

To BH, From Bill

I’ll try to keep this brief; my voice matters the least at this very moment. I just want to make a few things crystal clear. Bloodhounds was responsible for changing quite a lot of things in their wake — most prominently, and I say this with no hyperbole whatsoever, the future of popular music from the grandest spectacle imaginable. And somehow, that’s not even the change that matters most to me.  

Because Bloodhounds changed my entire life. 

Something I feel the ongoing discourse surrounding digicore, and really any other online-centric music scene today, fails to realize time and time again is the following sentiment: we’re really living through the most personalized era of contemporary music. The music that has come to define us adolescents and young adults from about 2019-onward has taken on a never-before-seen nature about itself; it’s music that has forgone the act of “attempting to speak to the culture.” Today’s scenes – digicore among all others in this respect – have no need to make an “attempt” any longer, because why would they? They are the culture. They are the community. Essentially, they are their own audience. 

Bloodhounds represented that notion from its earliest inception to its final moments last Wednesday. They weren’t some collective like BROCKHAMPTON, who speaks to their youthful fanbase out of a detached, yet completely realized attempt at relating their own adolescent experiences to the ones of their fans. They weren’t a collective like The Native Tongues, who reflected the ideals of their audience and culture alike, but still stood among their own respective fanbases due to their heightened status in the music world.

The members of Bloodhounds were fans of themselves, fans of each other, and fans of their… fans. The digicore community is not defined by its “artists,” it’s defined by its people. A performer is just as much of a fan and a friend to others as they are an “artist” in their own right. The sheer amount of collectives that make up this scene reflect that belief to this very day and will continue to do so moving forward, but none will ever be as prolific in this regard from the very beginning as Bloodhounds were. 

It’s here where it becomes obvious how they changed my life. They were among the first to introduce me to this unfounded simultaneous sense of community and peer-admiration. I’m not going to get into my history and experiences with the collective here; they matter quite a lot less than those who are about to speak below me. But the above statement is best symbolized on my end by one life-changing moment of realization. 

Sometime last year, I was listening to “RED” — a track that brought together the future of music in one early, single setting as though it was “Scenario.” At the end of the song – a song I had heard so many times before – the following phrase entered my head, and it’s never going to leave.

“My best friends are the future of music… I’m really best friends with the people who are defining the future of music.” 

Speaking of those people, below is a list of anecdotes provided to me by some of the collective’s past members. Please take the time to read about their history, experiences, and personal meaning in regards to one of the most influential music collectives to ever form in our modern age.

Chach

Vocalist (2019-2021) | SoundCloud

If two words could describe what we accomplished with Bloodhounds, they would have to be “the first.” Me and my bros laid the groundwork for the digicore scene and I can happily say we all made history. Every background move, every song, every moment… we all were dead-set on moving our sound forward and reaching new heights with every song, and it worked every single time. 

Now that I’ve talked my shit a little bit… I’m just happy to have ever even had the opportunity to be surrounded by such great artists and my best friends at the same damn time. I think the chemistry we shared was pretty much the sole reason for any of the success we had, constantly bouncing back and forth ideas on what to do next, deciding who would sound great on what and just sharing ideas to help our own music individually — all of this just sped up the grown at an insane pace and helped us leave an everlasting impact on the scene. 

The first song to ever have the tag on it – which was “meangirls” by Saturn – was the blueprint for the digicore sound and set the entire community on its head I also feel like our second group track, “Rack It Up,” was the inspiration for many collective posse tracks, and for what I feel like was our biggest moment, “RED.”. I remember just bouncing ideas back and forth with Quinn in Twitter DMs when we both realized that this song could be the one thing that finally pulls the community together and puts us on an entirely different level — showcasing the vast talent from every group on a really large scale, and it worked. 

I just want to thank every single member and anyone who ever cared to support us. It’s sad to see it come to an end, but I’ll always be so proud of the fact that me and my bros made history and, in my own opinion, changed music forever.

Orchid

Vocalist (2019-2021) | SoundCloud

My introduction to Bloodhounds: I worked with Kayla on the beat for the very first cypher – “hellhounds” – they uploaded, but we never thought that format would become such a huge influence on the community with many subsequent cyphers across other pages leading to artists careers starting up out of almost nowhere. Right after Kayla and I made that cypher, I was added to the collective and I got on the next, at the time, biggest release with “Rack It Up” — a hugely influential song Chach had come up with the idea for when collaborating with Ginseng

The amount of impact some members have had can’t be understated. Uly’s delivery and mixing style has been massively influential on a vast majority of artists in the community; Chach has helped shape the digicore sound with songs like “Talk Shit”; Quinn experimenting with various different sounds to push this style of music to incredible success. I made a lot of great friends through Bloodhounds and I’ll never be able to thank everyone in there enough for supporting me. I sincerely wish everyone from bloodhounds a wonderful career in music or whichever field you guys decide to pursue, all love to you guys forever.

Kuru

Vocalist/Producer (2019-2021) | SoundCloud

Okay, so about Bloodhounds, I think it’s like… super fucking crazy that we were able to pull off something that big from something so small. When we came up w the idea we were just a small friend group and everyone had only like, 500 followers and at the time. The only other collectives that were somewhat bigger within the scene were groups like NOVAGANG, IcedOutAngels, Radiation, and a couple of others, too. I think our show was probably our peak, and I really hope that the sound we tried for a year and a half stuck along with some people. Because it was really surreal watching Bloodhounds grow to about 8,000 followers from being a bunch of fucking nobodies. I’m super grateful for my time there because I gained very cool friendships as well as the ability to help influence the newer generations of musicians to come; that makes me incredibly happy.

One Year

Vocalist (2019-2021) | SoundCloud

Bloodhounds took a while to get rolling at first; we couldn’t all come to an agreement on a name and the account just ended up being made and we went from there. We would hop on Discord and play Minecraft together after school pretty much every day, and we had been sending collabs to each other and making some really interesting music. We worked that whole summer on various different songs and got a release schedule going. People were loving it. 

Eventually in December that same year we had a show booked for a decent portion of our collective. The turnout was great, but personally, what I think tied the whole event together was the Instagram lives from the venue. Everyone was in awe watching everybody perform, it brought our whole community together for a period of time and it was amazing. 

After all that’s gone on, I’m proud to say that I was a part of this project and it really really sucks to see it go. I can safely say that hundreds and thousands of people truly connected with the sounds we were putting out, and that means a lot to me.

i9bonsai

Vocalist (2019-2021) | SoundCloud

When I joined Bloodhounds I was just starting to get more consistent with making songs that I enjoyed and felt were finished ideas. I was able to collab with them on beats and stuff, and it was nice to naturally work with the people in the collective at the time. I wanted to keep our movement up and add on by posting songs on our page, which helped me release songs freely while at the same time hoping that it would help progress the collective. The team didn’t really have a direction at the time, and I spent that whole time space learning more and becoming more consistent. It definitely impacted my music and gave me more steadiness in my progression, and collective-wise, it allowed me to contribute and grow my team. Bloodhounds had such an impact on my path and direction back then, which has played a part of adding onto everything that’s come together today; it helped me flourish a little bit more towards my current state. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for that experience and I wish the best for everyone that was a part of it and I’m hopeful for what comes next for us.

Kayla Luvassi (FKA idxl)

Engineer/Management (2019-2021) | SoundCloud

I joined Bloodhounds right when I graduated high school and was about to start university off a full merit scholarship. This was at the start of June 2019 about a week or two of the collective’s inception. I saw a group of people who were young and could benefit from the knowledge that I learned from my mentor, Orchid, who later joined. 

I was sort of a mother figure for Bloodhounds, trying to grow these young artists not only musically but as people. At first, we were small and rough around the edges, I took the initiative to annoy as many people as I could to get on this beat Orchid and I made which later turned into “hellhounds”. This took a long time to get together and I was very adamant about mixing everyone’s vocals. The process was anything but painless but to this day I am extremely proud of the song and felt like this is a group of people I would love to be with. 

It wasn’t long until we started to see success which felt unachievable after years of making music and gatekeeping. As we began to establish ourselves it was clear people were beginning to look up to us which felt super inspiring. As a child of two Iranian immigrants, I always had trouble finding a place where I felt like I could belong. Bloodhounds gave me the confidence to start looking into not only growing others but myself. This is how I came to realize I was transgender and started to really find a footing in my identity. 

Six months into the birth of (the collective), we were on our way to Austin for our show. This was my second time performing live but my first time coordinating and DJing. To say it was stressful is an understatement, but to this day I consider it one of if not the best days of my life. After the show is when covid started, and all future plans for more shows just had to be canceled which really hurt the momentum we had going. This isn’t to say it was all gloomy; we added Quinn to the roster who found her own success, and Chach spearheaded “RED” and got us a ton of recognition. We started aiding in helping emerge more new artists into the scene and it was just amazing to see. 

At the same time, I was stressed out of my mind from university and covid so I started to take a backseat role in the collective. This continued my trend of just being an engineer for everyone, but it helped artists like One Year to grow. The end of the collective is sad, but we all grew from our experiences. I still talk to many of the old members to this day. A lot of the people in my life grew so much from this collective and I couldn’t be prouder. A part of me is happy that it ended this way rather than some petty drama as I can still happily call these people my family even as our paths drift away. Bloodhounds will always be something special in my life and I hope that can mean something to people.

Angelus

Vocalist/Producer (2019-2020) | SoundCloud

I remember when we made “Rack It Up” with lil wintr in 2019. That was one of the first “team songs” that we did, and it ended up being one of those moments that’s gonna stay in my heart forever. Bloodhounds was responsible for having one of the biggest team songs in the scene with “RED.” That was the start for a bunch of artists who are now huge; a lot of people got put on just from that song. I remember being in the VC when glaive was making the cover art… he literally wrote “sex” in the middle.

Kiryano

Vocalist/Producer (2019-2020) | SoundCloud

Before I joined Bloodhounds, I had known and kept up with some of the members through social media, and just around the time I started finding more about the community, there was the show down in Texas, which not only introduced me to a lot of the great artists that were involved with Bloodhounds, but gave me the motivation that one day I’d be able to do something like that too. Following that, it was just a matter of everybody in Bloodhounds just working together with the sole goal of creating crazy music. I’m grateful for my opportunity to have been a part of it, “lastplace” with bonsai is one of my favorite songs I’ve produced, and I hope that this group and songs like “RED” show other artists that they are capable of the same things if they work and grow together.

Lorenzo McKissick

Manager (2019-2021) | Twitter

While Bloodhounds is over, the impact left in the community is something that can never be taken away. The fact that the community came together to make one of the biggest songs in the scene – representing some of the best in the scene – is something I don’t think could ever happen again. Songs like “hellhounds,”  “Rack It Up,” and “RED” are things that I hope are well-documented and stay relevant for the future of the underground. A huge thank you to all of the members – past and present – who made this something I loved dearly.

Crusifye

Vocalist (2020-2021) | SoundCloud

Bloodhounds picked me up about 8 or 9 months ago when I was a smaller artist coming into the scene. They helped me improve my music and also gave me opportunities. For that, I’ll always be thankful, and I’ll always be thankful for the love that Bloodhounds had within. It was a family.

Saturn

Vocalist (2019-2021) | SoundCloud

When I started music, I had minimal support besides my friend group at the time – who are still with me today – and I was heavily inspired by everybody working in the community. So after meeting One Year, making friends with everyone in the original group chat that we’d spend countless nights talking in, and actually getting into Bloodhounds, it felt like I had found a home.  That time was essential to where I am today, and I’m thankful for everyone it helped me reach. I’ll never forget where I came from.