If there was an official peer-reviewed encyclopedia of musical sub genres, it would probably be really lame. It would probably also have a lot to say about the word “emo” -- how it started as a hyperemotional offshoot of hyper-aggressive hardcore music, extended to radio-friendly bands like Jimmy Eat World, and eventually gave way to emo rappers.
People want to call lots of things emo, but just about exactly zero musicians have ever wanted to be called it. What gives?
Tom Mullen started a site called Washed Up Emo in 2007, as an outlet for spreading knowledge on the genre’s forefathers at a time when artists like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance were bringing the word to the masses. That site has turned into a podcast, a regular DJ night, and another site called Is This Band Emo? Mullen knows an awful lot of things about emo, and he came through the Billboard office to discuss them with Alt In Our Stars host Chris Payne.