All photos by the author
Listen, teenagers. I know you think you're hot shit with the sexting and vaping and Supreme clothing and lean, but you’re not. You’re trash. Whoever and wherever you are, you have either just done or are about to do something incredibly embarrassing, because that is all you know, because you’re a teenager. Newsflash: your parents will always be cool as hell, and certainly much cooler than you.
I know this because Pitchfork Music Festival just turned ten and Wilco is still dope [Ed. note: Jury’s still out on that one], while the greatest cultural contribution anyone under 20 has ever made is an indecipherable and racist Vine video. There is no such thing as a cool teenager. Even cool teenagers—Lorde, Tavi Gevinson, Kiernan Shipka, et al—act more middle-aged than not.
For ten blistering summers, the young have lorded over the fields of Pitchfork, confident they remain the bullish heart of what’s cool in America. No longer. Youth is out. Old age is in. Children are cool. Teens are now also-ran has-been squares. If you’re not under 12 or over 23, you’re about as cool as BP in 2010. Today, parenting is the hottest look in the universe and babies are the bleeding edge of culture. Ask Kim Kardashian.
I scoured the crowds of Pitchfork to learn what’s cool among the only cool demographic there is: Adults with children. My paralyzing takeaways? Nine-year-olds already have better taste in music than you. Moms are in. Dads are out. Two-year-olds are on fire; every toddler I met felt like locking eyes with an Ace Hotel Trendspotter at a Southeast London rave. Parents have been mommy-shamed into feeding their babies all-natural superfoods and allowing them free-range YouTube access. As a result, children are smarter, funnier, and trendier than any generation ever before. These kids know more about new wave by Kindergarten than you will by your funeral. Get off the Internet while you can still drop off your own Google results before some newborn subtweets you into bloodless shame.
I hope you have enough self-confidence to get through the following conversations. Just remember that our daycare could be your life.
Courtney and Sloan, 11 months
Noisey: Who’s trendier, moms or dads?
Courtney: Moms are always trendier. Easy. Dads are just in T-shirts and jeans.
What’s trending with moms right now?
This mat, it’s clutch. It’s called “Let’s Playground,” it’s bonded leather so you can hose it off. My husband found it and thought it was either for babies or geriatrics. It’s awesome today at Pitchfork, so don’t judge. It’s trending among my friends. Sloan hates these earmuffs, that’s why we’re back here, but they’re called Baby Bandz.
Any shots to fire at dads?
No, I don’t think so! I’d say dads are down. They get a bad rap. This is my thing: Don’t call it babysitting when dads are with their kids. It’s parenting. Dads get a bum rap in it. I think people kind of let them get off too easy, but I also think dads are very into it, and no one expects that.
Ivonne and Dustin, five-years-old
Ivonne: I’m a cool mom, I took him to to LCD Soundsystem’s last shows! He did the Meet and Greet, I could send you a photo. He met James Murphy, before the wine bar and all that BS. He’s carrying last year’s Pitchfork bag. He’s real.
Who’s your favorite artist?
Ivonne: We love Canada.
Who’s trending, moms or dads?
Ivonne: It’s moms. Dads are too busy drinking at the pub. We look so much better with a kid on our hip. Dads don’t know what they’re doing.
What’s trending with moms today?
Ivonne: You know what’s up? Eating everything you’re allergic to. Exposure. Spit that shit out. He’s got peanut allergies, he’s never had a problem with spitting them out.
Is it hard bringing a kid to a music festival?
Ivonne: You know what, I’ve been doing it for years. At four months old he went to Vampire Weekend at the Vic. He’s seen more Radiohead and Atom for Peace shows than people my age.
Lucy and Ben and unnamed, unborn child; Toronto
How has the festival been so far?
Ben: I think it’s been pretty easy.
Lucy: Yeah, there are loads of families with little kids. It’s hot as hell but other than that it’s okay.
Ben: People are queueing for toilets and washrooms—I’m from Belguim and festivals are usually way more crazy. The lineup is usually bands nobody knows about at festivals over there.
Belgium probably has better parental leave than Canada, right?
No, Canada is a year. Two weeks for the dad. Belgium is 3-4 months for the mother and that’s it.
Shots fired at Belgium them.
Ben: [not understanding] Yeah. Shoot them. I left for a reason.
José, Janice, and Joaquin, one-year-old
Noisey: What’s been Joaquin’s favorite act so far?
José: Viet Cong.
Janice: No, Madlib. He loves hip hop.
Rap is hot among the kids.
José: They get into it.
Who’s trending, moms or dads?
Janice: I’m a cool mom so I’d say moms.
José: I say moms too. I don’t want to get into trouble.
What’s tremding among parents today?
Janice: There’s all this organic baby food that everyone likes to say they buy. But it’s expensive. And talking crap! Other parents talk crap if you don’t have organic baby food, and it’s so hard because it’s not cheap.
José: And you don’t even know what to choose from!
Janice: This package of happyyogis? $4 at target.
José: More than this beer.
Any words for the other parents out there?
Janice: Be chill, because people have some… opinions about parents who take their kids to music festivals. Like, I posted a picture of us and I’ve already heard crap on Facebook—”why are you taking him to that?”
José: Kids can come here, it’s fine! Just don’t get in the front row.
Janice: Parents need to live beyond having children. We’re not going to hibernate ourselves in the house all summer because we have a child.
Jay, Steve, and Bernie, nine-years-old
Noisey: What do you listen to?
Bernie: Rock. The Beastie Boys. Beck. We just saw Run the Jewels.
Steve (Bernie’s dad): This was his idea to come today. I was done, he was like, I wanna go.
Dads. What’s cool among parents?
Steve: Man, I don’t know. Maybe I’m not cool. We like baseball? Baseball is super cool.
Jay: That’s something, though. When you have kids, what’s cool changes drastically. Our other friends were here and they’ve got an 18 month old son. Their priorities are completely different, having an 18 month old versus a nine year old.
Steve: What’s starting to happen for us is, for the first time, they’re starting to think the stuff we thought was cool is cool. So there’s a little bit of an awakening happening.
Like kids of my generation and the Grateful Dead.
Steve: Yeah, but I never thought that was cool.
So you’re actually cool. Who’s hotter right now, moms or dads?
Jay: Moms. By far. Always.
Steve: They’re definitely hotter.
Jay: Yeah. Way hotter.
They have their game together.
Steve: Yeah. I don’t know what the fuck is going on.
Jay: My wife played Chvrches for me three weeks ago. Which isn’t unreasonable. My daughter is four, and her favorite things to listen to are, for some reason— because she didn’t get it from me—Led Zeppelin and Annie Clark, St. Vincent. She’s really into Anne. She likes Andrew Bird and Hum. She really likes to listen to Hum when we’re driving. It’s not as abstract for her as it for some other people, but she’s definitely got opinions on that stuff, which is crazy. I wasn’t culturally aware of what was going on on the radio until I was 10 or something like that. I’m impressed Dustin’s all like Beastie Boys and Beck at nine. My daughter’s like, “Annie Clark’s a really good guitar player.” I’m like, you’re… you can’t write your full name yet. You don’t even weigh 40 pounds.
Steve: It’s so obvious though.
Jay: Hey, if you want idol worship and it’s not Barbie, Annie Clark is great.
Maybe kids are just naturally in tune with what’s good, music-wise? And then their friends get them into Justin Bieber.
Jay: And that’s what’s made for 13-year-old kids, and it’s fine. You listen to that and then you grow out of it and realize the errors of your ways and you go onto something else.
And you guys, as dads, are okay with whatever is popular then, because that’s just how it happens, right?
Steve: Well, I’m trying to be okay with it.
Jay: I keep getting cited by my wife—there’s an Onion article from a year or two ago, “Cool Dad Raising Daughter On Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out Of Touch With Her Generation.” I mean, Remain In Light is one of my top five records of all time, but not what I’d impress upon a nine-year-old. They should be listening to—maybe not Run The Jewels, but something.
Pitchfork itself, this festival, is ten years old. Final words?
Jay: Raising kids, it’s a two way street. Who was it, Crosby Stills, and Nash, who said teach your children well but teach your parents well too? You can keep young by not having kids and going out and staying on top of music, but you can also stay young by having kids and having them be like, dad, you should really listen to 1989. At first I’m like, I’m not going to listen to them—and then I am.
Tiffany, Dan, and Mia, two and a half
What’s hot among parents right now?
Tiffany: She’s really into rap, obviously—her shirt is Lil Wayne. She met Ferg yesterday. Shoes are always cool, too. She’s got a pair of Timbs on right now.
Dan: And Lil Wayne on her shirt.
What music does Mia listen to?
Tiffany: Indie rock.
Dan: And hip hop. Drake, Kendrick Lamar. Her mom loves hip hop in general, Wayne and all that stuff. Vic Mensa, Ferg.
What’s trending among younger parents?
Tiffany: It’s going organic, cloth diapering and all that stuff. I mean, I’m for it, or whatever, but I’m not going to cram it down anybody’s throat. I’m not going to start some Facebook post and get angry at other people. Like, mommy shaming—it’s so annoying. I’m just like whatever. I don’t want any mom friends.
Dan: The only time you should tell somebody else what to do with their kid is vaccination. Outside of that, nobody should say shit to anybody, because your kid’s your own problem. Like, I hate when other people are like oh, make your kid behave or you’re a helicopter parent or this or that—it’s like, screw you, it’s my kid. I raise my kid the way I see fit, you will raise your kid the way you see fit, and hopefully they’re not assholes. Just vaccinate your kids so you don’t kill anybody.
Is there dad shaming?
Dan: Nah, girls are just more hyper-critical of each other. Dads that I know are just like, hey, does your kid like you yet? Yeah, mine does, didn’t really before. Now they’re into me so I’m into them. Being a dad isn’t as well-documented as becoming a mother. Mom is the center of the universe for a really long time. Dads have to wing it and figure it out. Moms instinctively take over and things go really smoothly and organically, and the dad’s just kind of, there. You get the instinct that you’re responsible and you’ve got to provide and all that. The weird things for me was my daughter? I did not exist for six to eight months. It’s just mom. It makes sense but it’d be nice if somebody was like hey dude, just a heads up, don’t take it personally, but your kid doesn’t like you. And now she loves it.
What else is hot right now?
Dan: Go on YouTube, you can see what’s trending. Mia knows how to use technology, she knows how to use an iPad and iPhone, even Samsung phones. Give her anything with the vibe of a smartphone, she’ll figure out what the buttons are and navigate it. She knows how to find her own apps.
Tiffany: She can turn the Playstation on, all that stuff.
Dan: If you give her a phone, even if it doesn’t have her YouTube videos in it already—she doesn’t know how to read, but she can navigate and find the video she wants to watch regardless.
That’s insane. YouTube is its own language.
Dan: It’s through related videos. She pushes the video, looks through related videos, pushes it, and she’ll be watching some lady unwrap eggs in a minute.
Tiffany: The egg thing is very weird, by the way. You know Kindereggs? You get them at Easter and stuff? There are these 30 minute videos of hands unwrapping the foil and opening the egg and being like oh! You got a sticker! And the kids are just, like, into it.
Dan: They fucking love it, man.
Tiffany: I talked about it with some of my mom friends, who were freaking out, like, oh my god. Those damn Kindereggs! I tried to explain it to my friends that don’t have kids and they’re like, what the fuck?
Dan: They find those videos on their own! They just show up. Like, kids are just into it.
Tiffany: They want to know what’s inside of it.
Dan: A very quick mystery. It starts off and three seconds later the mystery’s solved, instant gratification. There’s a million little babies watching these things, because no full-grown adult is going to watch that. There’s a lot of weird stuff on the Internet for kids. Weird YouTube channels like that, but there’s offbeat apps and stuff, too. There’s this Fingersong series on YouTube. It’s just terribly-produced, all unlicensed Disney characters and stuff, and each finger is a different character—it’s just, like, that kind of weird shit.
In unison: Mommy finger, daddy finger, brother finger, sister finger, baby finger.
It’s like a cult?
Dan: It’ll be like a million different characters playing those roles. Sometimes it’s computer animation, sometimes it’s bad drawing animation—sometimes it’s really well-produced. It’s just a bunch of videos, a million knock-offs on a bunch of different channels. Just another one of those weird things she found and loves.
So they don’t even have Arthur or Zoom or anything.
Dan: The weird things is she finds these things on her own. It’s these dark corners of the Internet for children. That’s how big the Internet is. Things you would think would be known aren’t known, and then your daughter pulls up some song and it’s like, what cobwebb-y part of the Internet did you just find?
Any final words?
Tiffany: Just keep doing what you want to and don’t listen to anyone else. Do whatever feels good to you.
Dan: Yeah, don’t let people tell you how to raise your kid.
Tiffany: Let them eat dirt and roll in the mud at Pitchfork.
Dan: Just try not to screw it up.
Tyler Trykowski is not a parent, thankfully. He's on Twitter.