What is Antifolk?

Antifolk (sometimes incorrectly spelled as anti-folk) is a musical genre that promotes song-writing over technique and personality over polish. Some see it as the evolution of folk, others as a combination on punk and folk. Others believe the musical genre is so loose and difficult to define that in reality it is more of a scene.

Here are some attempts at answering this question:

“Maybe the real definition of Antifolk is simply the willingness to follow your muse wherever it leads; imagine if the diehard folkies who booed Dylan at the Monterey Folk Festival back in the Sixties (simply for playing an electric guitar) could hear this crew! Folk music ain’t what it used to be, and that is a good thing indeed.”

Jim Testa

“I think it’s a cool title. The fact that no one knows what it means, including me, makes it kind of mysterious and more interesting than saying that you’re a singer/songwriter or that you play indie rock.”

Jeff Lewis

“Antifolk is a re-discovery of folk ethics and a reaction against the rigid genre that folk became in the 60s. Its about using whatever you want to tell everyday stories, valuing humour over sorrow, storytelling over technique, and personality over polish.”

Filthy Pedro

“Antifolk was and will always be an opportunity for anyone to get up and make a ridiculously holy racket, whatever that entails. An opportunity to become you on your own terms with all the rewards and consequences.”

– Grey Revell

“It didn’t have to be folk, which was boring and lame. It didn’t have to be rock, which was increasingly a cliché. It could be somewhere in-between, and it could be good. It could be AntiFolk.”

– John Berger

“It’s hard to describe antifolk. As a musical style, some would say it would have to be songs filled with wit and/or honesty, while playing an acoustic guitar in a folk-punk style. But, that definition doesn’t include many of the acts that are considered antifolk. Some artists play electric guitar, for instance.

…but what we all have in common is that we’re doing a our own thing, and each person seems to have their own unique take on folk music (music OF and FOR the people). Being somewhat innovative is at the heart of antifolk. There’s no bullshit in antifolk music… well, some of it is semi-bullshit, but underneath the bullshit, there’s always something that’s there to hit a raw nerve. Antifolk is raw, honest, and unrelenting in its rawness and honesty. This is what real music is and should be about. Musically, it’s a combination of traditional folk and punk rock ethos.”

Randi Russo


5 Responses to What is Antifolk?

  1. BILLORDO says:

    listen my new album
    BILLORDO “REVOLTOSO ANTI FOLK” https://billordo.bandcamp.com/album/revoltoso-anti-folk

  2. We are sending this to you in hopes that you will take the time to listen to “…the madman that whispers in your ear…a new hope for American music” and consider our project as an addition to your roster of artists, and worthy of the antifolk genre.

    Below is a link to download a selection of music – somewhat idiosyncratic – a connection between the enduring vibrancy of tradition and a visceral expression of the avant-garde.

    If you prefer, see the link to our website, http://www.doomcountry.org/fear-for-the-dust.html

    Thank you for your consideration,


  3. I had labeled myself “Alternative” under duress when I set up http://reverbnation.com/DroningEnvelope since I really had no idea what to call it. Now that I have discovered “antifolk” defines an actual genre, I have no doubt that I’m one of you, and apparently in good company. Dig it, cheers to you all.

  4. brenda says:

    Sigh of relief…i am always asked what kind of music I create and i just said roots music for lack of any definition. And I wouldn’t discuss it any further. I can’t look at any of my songs unless i am playing it so there’s this odd void when talking about my “stuff”. But from the description above my songs definitely reside in this realm… somewhere.

  5. Flewmanchew says:

    Antifolk or antipop for that matter has a strong “do it yourself” feel to it. Something that wouldn’t likely be found on mainstream radio or even the indie scene mostly. Personality definitely over sound quality absolutely. .. Yeah everyone wants great recordings but even a bad / amateur recording of a excellent performance still sounds better to me than their studio version. Give me the musicians themselves recording in their small basements and make shift studios.

    Trial and error. It’s really not hard to produce a decent quality demo nowdays and really. .. that’s the sound I prefer. More intimate. More personal. Give me the Kurt Cobain – with the lights off ( mostly solo acoustic stuff recorded on an old tape recorder.) Or the Brad Nowell & friends (acoustics) or “robbin the hood” – alot of those songs were produced by Brad Nowell at home with a analog 4 track. Even their studio tracks on that album seemed different. Not to mention the genius that is Raleigh Theodore Shaker. :))

    Now days anyone with the right connections and the right help can go into a studio and make a “radio quality” song. Sometimes even a good one…And anyone can climb mt. Everest with a whole crew of sherpas, guides and gear…. but the idea is to do it yourself. With the least amount of gear possible. Climb that mutha with some rope and a pick axe. That’s how it should be done.

    Record labels don’t really know what to do with people who take it upon themselves to record themselves and put it on sites like #soundcloud #tumbler and the many others. The record companies are like damn… that’s supposed to be our job. So they still build and create radio and video stars but now the public knows how it’s done. .. shit they make stupid t.v. game shows about it. #antipunk #lofi #antifolk are against all these things.

    If you call yourself antifolk, and you don’t even record yourself, in even a demo sort of way… then you are a studio folk “musician.” Record yourself anyway possible…and if you pay for studio time you’re an even bigger sucker. At that point you are paying them to “be a musician” least get them to do it for free. Hell… I would do it for free just for the fun of it.

    I have spent the last 15 years recording myself and others in many different places with many different outcomes. I’ve recorded #punk #blues #lofi #acoustic #gypsy #experimental #poptrash. It has become a part of my style. Gorilla style recording techniques like when people don’t even know they are being recorded. Most of my tracks.were all recorded in one or two takes… if it takes more than that… something is wrong and you need to rewrite.

    It is so very hard for an unknown band to be recording themselves and get any exposure. Unless you tour like crazy and my drummer Chilli has a newborn baby, wife and 2 daughters. It’s soo amazing we get to play at all.

    So please have a listen. We are different from what you would normally hear. #poptrash #trashpop #trashed #thrashed #assed #flewmanchew



    We accept the fact that there is to be no money in this. And that is ok. We still record cause we have the drive to find new sounds. And we are always on the look out for fellow d.i.y. musicians who are interested in collaboration. Don’t matter if we got to send tracks by email…. let’s do this

    #lofi #suckit #record #labels #punk is more than a #sound or #haircut. #punkethos is the ability to create far from the norm…the first punk rockers were mostly hated by the masses. Cause they had an attitude of “we gonna do this shit like it’s brand new…. forget what you think you know about music… ”


    Thanks for reading sincerely,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top ↑