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“I’m Just Obsessed with Pop Culture, and Myspace Was the Beginning”: A Talk with 6arelyhuman

Nina Interviews

Going deep with the scenecore linchpin.

By Eli Enis


Talking to Toby Hamilton is like time-traveling back to 2010. The 22-year-old who releases music as 6arelyhuman (pronounced “barely human”) has long black hair, swoopy bangs, and an accessorized streak of blue with a racoon-tail pattern. He drops words like “random” and “YOLO” with the frequency of a 13-year-old playing Doodle Jump on their iPod Touch and speaks with an exaggerated vocal fry that paints over his Texas accent with a Jersey Shore inflection. For anyone who was of age during the Myspace years, it might be staggering to know that young people like Hamilton still exist. Even more shocking is just how popular 6arelyhuman’s music is. 

His songs have accumulated hundreds of millions of streams across platforms, and his rawring club thumper “GMFU,” a 2023 collab with fellow “krushclub” breakout Odetari, was certified Gold back in March. 6arelyhuman has over a million TikTok followers, and he’s had several songs go legitimately viral on the app. But unless your algorithm transports you there, you probably aren’t even aware of the “scenecore” milieu he sprung from. 

6arelyhuman is by far the biggest name to emerge from that world, a loose collection of Gen-Z artists who first positioned themselves as a darker, edgier counter to hyperpop during the COVID lockdown era. His sound—flamboyantly neon yet also feisty and jagged; his bitcrushed beats earned him the “krushclub” tag—is an updated take on the scene kid electro-pop that artists like Millionaires and Breathe Carolina pioneered in the years bracketing 2010. An emo-inflected brand of proudly sleazy dance pop that was even more eccentric than Kesha, the style found a home within the Warped Tour industrial complex but never quite broke into the mainstream. 

6arelyhuman’s sound is firmly rooted in that bizarre Myspace-era subculture, but he’s popular enough now to have broken beyond it. Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, he relocated to LA a few months back and now finds himself rubbing shoulders with Machine Gun Kelly and Jojo Siwa at parties. Is that realm of Hollywood pop ready for a figure who knowingly looks like Jeffree Star, titled his debut album Sassy Scene, and sings about flip-phones and poppin’ bottles while sampling Pitbull? That's unclear, but 6arelyhuman’s thriving either way.

Before you started doing 6arelyhuman, what were you doing for work after high-school? 

I worked at a lot of places, too many places. I worked at Panera Bread the longest and I was a manager. 

Did you drink the Panera Charged Lemonade that’s killing people? 

I did and it was so yummy. It was so good. I used to have it every day. But it didn’t do anything to me because I knew what was in it. 

Did you go to college at all? 

I went to college with a scholarship and I dropped out the first semester because I was not feeling it. 

Were you trying to do music at that point? 

I don’t know what I wanted to do at that point. My major when I was in college was art, but what the fuck is an art major? You can’t do anything with that, that's not a job. I was working full-time at this place called Velvet Taco, but I thought I was slaying down because I was making pretty good money. I was making music on the side, but it sucked. 

The music sucked? 

It was like punk music but I couldn’t even scream and the beats sucked and I didn’t know how to mix yet. It was just not good.

Were you self-producing? 

No, I was using YouTube beats. That was before I even knew how to make beats. 

Did you start doing anything musical in high-school? 

I did it for fun in high-school. I was in [school] band in middle school, I played the saxophone. I was also in choir, but those were just for fun. I hated band, I hate playing instruments. I didn’t like reading sheet music and the competitions were super stressful, so I quit that after middle school. 

Once I graduated [high-school] I was like, “What the fuck am I gonna do?” Once I dropped out of college I was like, I literally don’t know what I’m gonna do. I think after I dropped out of college, a little bit after that is when COVID happened, and I was so bored but I was locked in. That was when I was grinding like crazy [as 6arelyhuman]. I was making music with my friend and I think that's when we stopped being friends and I started making solo music. 

What type of music was that? 

I guess punk music, but it was just really crazy distorted 808s with weird beeps and trap drums. The only person who still makes stuff like that is Nascar Aloe. 

Very early 6arelyhuman songs like “Pretty Lil Bitch” and “Luv My Drugz” have sort of a digicore sound. Were you inspired by that world at all? 

I still have songs that are way older than that, I just deleted them. But those songs were right when I learned how to mix. I was making “hyperpop,” but I only made like three hyperpop songs because nobody cared. Whenever I dropped hyperpop songs, nobody cared at all. But then when I posted “Luv My Drugz,” it was night and day. I literally had no followers and it got 10,000 streams in a month. The dude who produced it is Syris, and I’m still friends with him today. He produced “Death city,” too, which was my first song to get more than a million plays.

How did the 6arelyhuman name and character come to be? 

I had two names before this and they sucked, but because I was making punk music, I was trying to think of something cool. Something that sounded weird, and the only reason I put a “6” is because I thought it was my life number, or whatever. You know numerology? It’s either my life path number or something like that, so that's why there’s a 6 in there. But 6arelyhuman? I literally don’t know. I looked like a freak, so it added up. I was like, OK, this is tea. But no one can pronounce it so I’m kind of regretting it. 

When you put on the 6arelyhuman outfit and sing the songs, does that person differ from Toby? 

Kinda. I feel like I slay more when I’m 6arelyhuman. It’s still the same person but obviously there’s a little extra oomph when I’m 6arelyhuman. The same bitch but not the same bitch. I can do whatever I want, because I’m already looking crazy. I’m a man in a wig. Who’s gonna stop me from doing anything? So I’m gonna go talk to whoever, I’m gonna dance, I don’t give a fuck. But when I’m like this [undone] I’m like, “let me be mindful.” 


I’m not shy, but it’s definitely easier to open up when I’m all fierce. 

How did you come up with your whole aesthetic? 

I used to do liberty spikes and stuff. After I realized the punk thing was not for me, that's when I found the “scene” stuff. I already knew about Jeffree Star because of his makeup and he’s famous as fuck. I already knew about Millionaires. Then I found the scene aesthetic and low-key got kind of obsessed with it. I don’t know why I started doing the makeup that I do. It’s a combination of being inspired by Jeffree Star and being really addicted to drag. I used to want to be a drag queen. But then when I realized it’s a lot of work, I quit. Music is a lot of work, but I’d rather do music because it’s fun. 

Even though you basically do music and drag now, in a way. 

Yeah you’re right. I taught myself how to do makeup and I taught myself how to do the hair and stuff. Doing the scene hair, you have to cut it yourself because barely anyone can cut it, or you can just buy a wig but wigs are expensive. Whenever I was in my punk era I shaved my eyebrows off, and it actually worked out because when I switched to the scene aesthetic, a lot of the makeup is just really big eyeliner. I didn’t have any eyebrows so I had hella space to do crazy, huge eyeliner. 

You were kind of coming out of hyperpop, but I don’t remember anyone doing a scene kid look in that genre back in 2020/2021. Were you seeing other artists who were obsessed with that look? 

There were so many artists, a whole giant scene. And there was so much drama and everyone hated each other. Nobody dressed “scene.” There were a lot of people that made [scene] music, but no one showed their face. I was one of the only people actually showing my face. 

You keep referring to “the scene.” How would you describe it? 

Everyone calls it “scenecore,” but nobody likes the name. They're in the scene but they're like, “if you call it scenecore, that's so fucking cringey.” Which I understand. 

So you were like, “I like the look of this scene, but I’m gonna do my own thing.” 

A lot of people making the music were not showing their faces but they were taking Pinterest photos of scene people and using them as their [single] cover art. Which I started doing, and I actually showed my face. I was the only one on TikTok trying to push this type of music, and everyone thought I was cringey for it. They were like, “Oh my god, you’re so tryhard.” This was before anyone in the scene thought it would work. I was making videos and I had this song called “Goth Topic” and it randomly did good on TikTok. And they would be like, “You’re a TikTok artist.” Little did they know I was gonna do way better than them. But once I blew up they were like, “Oh my god, you’re so smart, we never doubted you.” 

You mentioned Millionaires and Jeffree Star earlier. Are those the sort of artists you were channeling when you got to the TikTok era of 6arelyhuman? 

Not yet. When I first started with TikTok, my music had literally no backbone. It never made sense, it was so random. When I first started making music I was getting all my beats from YouTube, so I couldn’t choose exactly what I wanted it to sound like. I just had to find a beat on YouTube and get lucky. At first I was YOLO-ing it. After some of them did well I tried to learn how to produce, and that helped a little bit. 

I think when I first started the scene stuff it was a random change for me. I was still trying to find what music I wanted to make, but when I joined the community, I started learning a lot more about everything. It took me a while to catch up to everything. But then after a couple months of being in the community, I really started to be inspired by them. And that's about the time that I had more friends who were producing, like Pixel Hood, who could send me custom beats. 

Also, everyone on TikTok was saying that I looked like Jeffree Star, so I started playing into it. I was just being messy. I was like, “can Jeffree Star rap like this?” I don’t have to do that now, I was just doing it for engagement. But it worked. 

Was there a specific moment when it felt like, “Oh shit. People know me.”? 

I think “Hands Up” was the first one that really did crazy. But also, “Hands up!” was giving, “Oh my god, you’re the ‘Hands Up’ person.’” I don’t think people were like, “Oh my god, 6arelyhuman,” until “GMFU” came out. They were like, “OK, that is 6arelyhuman, and they also made ‘Hands up!’ and also ‘XOXO.’” That's when I feel like my name was established. 

I was in the conversation with Lumi Athena and Odetari, because we all had viral TikTok songs at the same time. It was this weird time where we were the biggest artists on [one part of] TikTok for a bit, and we were talked about a lot because of our songs. I had “Hands up!” go viral, Lumi had “Smoke It Off!,” and Odetari had “Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” and everyone kind of pushed us together. They were trying to figure out what the fuck to call my music, and they couldn’t figure out what the fuck Odetari and Lumi were making. So they were like, “They all three make the same thing,” and squished us together into krushclub. 

Do you feel like you’re on the same wavelength as those artists? 

We all do different stuff, but I feel like we’re on the same level. Odetari always has a bajillion hits, he’s really good at making catchy songs.

I’ve seen you talk about how your music is inspired by Kesha and Fame Monster-era Lady Gaga. Is that right? 

I say that, but kinda sorta. I loved watching Kesha and Lady Gaga, their music videos were crazy, their songs are amazing. But when I try to sing on a Kesha beat it sounds horrible, it's just a vocal thing. My beats are more aggressive. They're more clubby than pop, and it fits my voice better. Kesha was more pop. I don’t really think my music sounds like that at all, so I definitely was inspired by them, but not musically.

I feel like energy-wise, lyrics-wise, Animal-era Kesha shares some similarities with you. 

I think my inspo is Jeffrey Star. But every time I do interviews and stuff, they cut that out. 

Because he’s problematic [laughs].

Yeah [laughs]. They're always trying to protect me but I’m like, Uhh, I’m not lying though. 

Yeah, I was surprised that Jeffrey Star or Millionaires weren’t brought up in your Billboard interview. I hear Breathe Carolina in your sound, too. 

Oh, I love Breathe Carolina. 

No one seems to be connecting you to that era of scene pop that was so obvious to me the first time I heard you. 

Nobody really brings it up. But also because they probably don’t even know. Millionaires were popular, but if you weren’t looking for them you probably didn’t see them. Unless you were on Myspace or already knew about scene [aesthetics]. The thing I notice is that they got so much hate back then, so I feel bad. Because now it’s popular.

Do you get hated on that much? 

I get hated on like crazy. I get a lot of love, people are really nice. But there are moments when, especially when I collab with people, I get dogpiled. They go crazy on me. It’s more just trolls. No one’s ever been mad at me, I never did anything to deserve it. People just want to be mean. 

I was actually around during the Millionaires era and it was interesting how that sound was in close proximity to metalcore. That was all part of the “scene” world. Does it still feel that way to you? 

I wouldn’t say metal because it doesn’t have any breakdowns or anything, and I don’t scream. It’s kind of intense dance. It’s dance music but it’s also hard as fuck. There’s some dance songs that’re pretty. Mine is more intense. I feel like scene music is a gateway into metal. You could start listening to Kesha and then you’ll start listening to 6arelyhuman and then start listening to Pierce the Veil. That's the pipeline. 

You know that Breathe Carolina had songs that were dance-pop and others with screaming. Do you think you’re gonna go there? 

I can’t scream, but I could sing. I want to try to make an electro punk song, but I’m gonna take it slow to metal. I’m trying to add guitars and stuff to my dance songs right now. To give it more Metro Station vibes. But it’s gonna take a second for me to go fully guitar. Unless I make some nu-metal shit that has synths. But I think one of my biggest inspirations that I never talk about because they’re really problematic—like, it’s not a game—is Mindless Self Indulgence. They're metal but they also use weird-ass synth noises. I love their music because nobody makes shit like that except for them. 

That's what I’m trynna do. I want to make something that's so crazy that I’m not gonna be the biggest artist in the whole entire world, but people are gonna love it ‘cause they can’t get it anywhere else. I don’t give a fuck about being “big,” because I know that unless I start making basic-ass pop music, I’m not gonna be big, big.

You’re 22, so you were like eight years old when all the scene music was coming out initially. How did you get into this stuff? 

When I was in middle school my sisters were in high school and they were on Myspace, and they were into the Apple Bottom Jeans. They were more like Snooki girls. They were like Y2K girlies, but that's close to scene. The scene girls and the Y2K girls probably didn’t get along back then, but it’s still a subculture from the time period. I was an emo in middle school, but I had the weirdest music taste. I listened to Adele, Skrillex, and Deadmau5. But when I got into high school I was way more into rap music and punk stuff, and I was listening to Pierce the Veil, Sleeping With Sirens. Junior year [of high-school] was the year I dressed emo and started making music. 

To be honest, I get asked a lot by people who were in the Myspace era, “How do you do the look so well?” They're just surprised I wasn’t alive—or didn’t know it existed—when Myspace was eating. I don’t know [when I got into scene music]. I just YOLO’d it. People get mad when I say I’m “scene” so I try not to say I’m “scene.” 

Again, it’s interesting that you got into this scene pop music after it was really popular. In the late 2010s, that stuff was very outdated, those artists weren’t making music anymore. Do you just think that era of music is better than a lot of the pop being made today? 

I just think old music is better in general. I don't listen to new music that much unless it’s girl rap.

What’s your favorite old shit? 

Mindless Self Indulgence [laughs meekly]. I love the Millionaires. I love this one girl Princess Superstar. She’s so fierce. I love listening to Nadia Oh. She’s the best. She’s a deep cut. There’s this producer Space Cowboy and he used to produce for Lady Gaga, but he found Nadia Oh and he produced a whole project for her, and it was the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. That shit is crazy

Do you go in the Brokencyde direction of scene music? 

Ugh, no

You have to admit, though, it’s not that far afield from the other stuff you like.

Yeah, crunkcore. I just can’t scream so I can’t do it. 

What about Hollywood Undead? 

Fuck no. Is that the one that's like, “When I start drinking, my liquor does all my thinking?” 

Yeah [laughs].

Ewww, that's brother music. That's for the dudes. That's for the emo boys. I like the “dance like a slut, and I don’t really care.” I love the girlie pop. 

You already mentioned problematic artists, so the door’s open: What about Blood on the Dance Floor? 

They suck ass

They're terrible, but their look is very similar to yours. 

I love Jayy Von, he was tea. He’s the gay one that was skinny and had side-bangs. He’s actually a drag queen now, and he won a TV show called Dragula. 

The other members of that band are horrible people, but in that era they were one of the biggest names in the world we’re talking about. 

Oh, Dahvie Vanity. I hate him. Their big song, “Sexting,” my friend sampled it and called it “Cutting.” It did numbers and got taken down by Dahvie, and there was big drama. The scene is messy, which makes sense. If you look at the alternative scene on Myspace, it was disgusting, horrible. People were rude, mean, the lyrics were controversial, there was just drama all the time. It’s the same thing [now]. People are a mess, people are crazy, people say stupid things. There’s this one scene song that's kind of big and it’s literally about being skinny, it’s pro-anorexia. 

I’m just gonna focus on my music because the scene is a freakin’ shit-show. I don’t want anything to do with them, and they all bullied me when I first joined the scene so I don’t give a fuck. When I first joined, everyone was so mean to me because I was gay, and I was like, “Ya’ll are making gay-ass music.” And you’re saying I’m weird because I’m gay? You’re moaning on a mic. 

Do you feel like you’re in a way reclaiming this sound as queer? So much of this culture back in the day was very misogynistic and homophobic. 

I think it [never was] really a queer thing. There’s a bunch of straight people doing this alternative thing, and that's fine because I feel like it was more popular for straight people to do it. But I realize that people like Jeffree Star, the way they did it was different enough for them to be more noticeable. Just the fact that they're a dude that wears crazy makeup and then also does the music, it catapulted him. And I feel like it kind of did the same thing for me. I’m just more out-there than what the other people are doing. Some people are really good at making music but they don’t know how to put the image together. That's really hard, that's one of the hard parts of being a musician nowadays. You have to have a whole entire look already figured out. 

In terms of other electro-pop stuff that was popular during the Myspace era, what do you think of Crystal Castles? 

I like Crystal Castles, but I don’t really stream them. I never really took inspo from them. Their music is so specific, and they were the only ones who were really doing it. So when you do take inspo from them, it’s literally like, “Oh, that's Crystal Castles.” The way that Snow Strippers are doing it is really cool because you can hear the inspo but it’s also something totally different. They're doing it really good, and I’m not gonna compete with them. 

Snow Strippers feel like the Snooki-core to you being the Millionaires. Especially since their new song has that Paris Hilton style music video. 

Yeah, they're killing it. I love them. 

Would you do a song with them? 

I definitely would. Hopefully that happens. 

Who are your dream collabs? 

I have them in my notes app. Cupcakke, Rico Nasty, Snow Strippers, Slayyter, Ayesha Erotica, Millionaires, and Cobra Starship. All of those are attainable. They're not really dream collabs, these are ones that I really, really would love. And I feel like I can do it and it’s gonna happen because I’m manifesting it right now. 

You said you listened to Skrillex when you were young, do you have any lingering influence from the dubstep era? 

The funny thing is I actually have some dubstep songs, but people don’t like them. Everyone’s like, “bring back 2010.” And then I make a dubstep song and they're like, “Ew, this is cringey as fuck.” I’m like, bitch, what? Were ya’ll around in 2010? Because dubstep was it. 

Speaking of songs from the early 2010s, you obviously love “Like a G6.” Why did you want to put your spin on that? 

I did it because I love the song, and I was going on my first tour where I was supporting someone, and I wasn’t sure if people were gonna know who I was. So I was like, Let me just whip out a cover that everyone’s gonna know. And also I’m friends with Dev. She was really happy that I made the remix, and I was really happy she was happy. 

We’ve talked about the sound of the Myspace era, but what is it about the culture of that time period that you’re so fascinated by? 

The fashion is what got me first. But also the lore. They were doing what they wanted to do, and a lot of them got a lot of hate, or into drama. I’m just obsessed with reality TV shows, but that was just reality. So I’m even more obsessed. I’m obsessed with stories and following people being friends, and they stop being friends because of this. I’m just obsessed with pop culture, and Myspace was the beginning … Now it’s TikTok, and it used to be YouTube, and it used to be Myspace. But it’s all kind of the same thing, just different eras. 

You called your last EP Internet Famous, and you are internet famous at this point. What has been the most dramatic shift in your life since you became internet famous? 

Moving to LA. Living with my parents in Texas is when I made all my bops, and then I got management, signed to a label, moved to LA, and started living by myself. And I couldn’t take my cat with me so I don’t have a cat, I left all my friends. I kind of gave up everything when I didn’t even have to, but I did it anyway. 

Are you gonna stick with it? 

Yeah. I was sad for a little bit when I first moved to LA because it was such a huge change and I had to meet so many people all the time. I met 3OH!3, I did a session with them. I performed at the same show as Melissa from the Millionaires, Brokencyde. I’ve met most of the ones that did this shit, so if they fuck with me then I know I’m doing something right. 

TikTok was such a helpful engine for your career. Do you still like being on there? 

I lost touch with it a little bit when I was sad, but now I’m kind of back because I’m like, There’s people on here who really like my videos. I actually really like making videos. If I think of it as a job, I’m like, Ugh I have to do my makeup and make TikToks. If I just do it, it’s actually really fun for me. 

This is a random fact, but before it was TikTok it was called, and I was actually really famous on I almost had 2 million followers, and I was crowned—it was called crowned back then, not verified. I just made lip sync videos, but my account got hacked and they sold it for $10,000. So I had to restart as 6arelyhuman, which now looking at it … We’re so back. I’m verified and I have a million followers. It definitely helped, though, because I already knew how to do all this because I was on since I was 14. 

Where do you envision your sound and your music going? 

I want to add more guitars to my music and make it a little more alternative. I feel like I’ve made a lot of club songs, but I do want to add guitars and make it a little more unique to me. And you never know, I might just do something random like a jerk song. Maybe I’ll make a crunkcore song. 

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