The Cover Story

Jazmin Bean, Deijuvhs and Cody Frost are redefining what it means to be alternative

Genre is dead. Punk fashion is mainstream. And even rock’s most esoteric bands are headlining arenas. But there is an alternative, a real alternative. Connected not by sound or style, but by community and attitude, a new generation of misfits are reinventing the alt. scene for those who are craving something to call their own – get on board…

Jazmin Bean, Deijuvhs and Cody Frost are redefining what it means to be alternative
Rishi Shah
Megan Winstone

Out of nowhere, there’s an ear-piercing bang heard inside Hackney’s Moth Club to break the Tuesday afternoon hum. Cody Frost is racing around the stage, hellbent on a mission to pop every last one of the black balloons that have taken over the scene of their Kerrang! cover shoot with Deijuvhs and Jazmin Bean, both of whom are watching on from the sidelines. As the final balloon is dispatched, it signifies that the party at Moth Club is well and truly over, despite the ever-present, glistening gold background so synonymous with the venue. The trio dress down into more comfortable clothes and make the short walk over the road to the Cock Tavern, where K! joins them for a tucked away afternoon drink.

While the occasion marks the first time the trio have met in the flesh, there’s a strong mutual respect underpinning the conversation, with all three aware of the wild creative trajectories that they are each carving out. “I already knew about you two, ’cause I’ve playlisted both of you,” Cody beams, jumping into the conversation with a pure excitement that balances Jazmin and Deijuvhs’ calmness. Indeed, what they may be referring to is none other than misfits 2.0, Spotify’s signature alternative playlist that boasts over 500,000 followers, despite being founded just three years ago.

To celebrate this emerging generation of misfits, Spotify’s Anti-Prom is set to return to London for its second edition on Thursday, October 26, featuring a line-up of live music that – naturally – includes Cody, Jazmin and Deijuvhs. Joining them will be ALT BLK ERA, Tokky Horror and WARGASM – who will play at Allhallows Lane the night before their long-awaited debut album Venom is finally released.

Of course, given we’ve gathered these three stars-in-the-making together in celebration, we’re all-in. But if you need a little more convincing on the kind of company they’re keeping, last year’s inaugural Anti-Prom included performances by Cassyette, Nova Twins, lozeak, GIRLI and Lynks, all of whom have gone on to release ground-breaking music. Nova Twins’ BRIT and MOBO Award nominations speak for themselves, whilst Lynks’ queer-pop anthems with full accompanying choreography have made for one of the most memorable, loose live shows in the UK right now.

This time out – whether it’s Cody’s rave-laced punk, Deijuvhs’ fusion of nu-metal and trap or Jazmin’s alt.pop catharsis – the night will showcase a range of creativity that underlines just what the alternative music scene represents in 2023. Fluidity is the name of the game, where even the concept of genre is becoming hazy, as artists like this drive soundscapes forward into previously unimagined horizons.

“I’ve been following ALT BLK ERA for a while,” says Cody, who begins by once again showing their excitement at the prospect of witnessing Deijuvhs and Jazmin’s live show for the first time. “As soon as they started on TikTok, I just had an inkling they were gonna be cool… I [also] love Tokky Horror. We kind of already knew each other, because me and [vocalist] Ava look a little bit like each other so we always get pictures together!” Deijuvhs nods his head in agreement. “I fuck with Tokky Horror. I’ve been following Ava on the internet for maybe a couple of years. Tokky Horror are just tough.”

This scene prides itself on established artists uplifting the next generation, which was especially true in Deijuvhs’ (pronounced day-you-VHS) case. Bringing nu-metal into 2023 with his raucous track Seraphim, a short TikTok snippet was stumbled upon by none other than Fred Durst, with the Limp Bizkit frontman inviting the east Londoner and his band – The Lameboiz – to sensationally open their massive Gunnersbury Park show in August. Having dabbled with trap and R&B in the past, he’s now garnering a cult following across the alternative sphere, with no barriers in the way of where his sound can go next.

TikTok has proved to be a resounding success for Jazmin Bean, too, who already has just under a million followers. A quick glance explains why they are becoming one of the UK’s buzziest visual artists: look no further than their make-up brand Cult Candy Cosmetics.

Wearing their iconic, sharp eyeliner with wrap-style sunglasses over their hair as we chat, there’s a similar level of colour and ingenuity to their songwriting. Whether it’s the industrial introduction to Saccharine or the hardcore-esque verse of Hello Kitty, there’s a dirty-pop element to Jazmin’s sound that can speak to alternative fans, now it’s successfully taken the internet by storm.

Existing in both the live room and on the internet is a prospect that intrigues Cody, they K!. “I think with the rise of TikTok and streaming, through those playlists like misfits 2.0, you are susceptible to learning about so many different artists. With the rise of so many different niches and aesthetics, there’s gonna be a point where each individual artist stands for something different in themselves. But that doesn’t matter – we’re not closing you into a box like there used to be.”

Jazmin agrees; there’s no room for gatekeeping in this day and age. “There’s this new life being swept into artists, who are less eager to make sense. Although we are not exactly reinventing the wheel at this point, we’re all breaths of fresh air.” Deijuvhs jumps in to acknowledge that innovation isn’t anything particularly new. Rather, we are just witnessing the present-day manifestation of it. “The internet is an amalgamation… everything is being taken everywhere. We look at the old, steal it, make it new. Everyone’s been doing it forever. In 20 years, people will do the same to you.”

Looking back, one of UK heavy music’s greatest success stories over the past 15 years is the originality of Enter Shikari. Indeed, their identity is a foundational principle for Cody Frost’s vision in particular. “Their fearlessness with genre but also having a message – a political message – was really important to me at a young age,” they begin. “It set my brain on fire. I love artists that get shit for not knowing who they are initially, but then become these big bad boys.” With the band enlisting Cody’s vocals for enormous 2022 single Bull, it’s a full-circle moment that fully unleashed them into the alternative mainstream. Balladry and belted vocals characterised their earlier songs, a pop space Cody is keen to leave behind as they traverse into heavier waters.

“The alt. world is a lot more forgiving than the pop world,” they explain. “I’ve never felt comfortable [there]. I didn’t really like being in the pop scene myself, because I always felt I wanted to be seen by people who understood [me] a bit more.” Alternative culture has always been a defining part of their life, they explain to Kerrang!, decking out their room with posters and painted murals from floor-to-ceiling while growing up in Burnley as a teenager. Listening to a My Chemical Romance song that they discovered on their mum’s computer at the age of 10, the floodgates opened, setting Cody on the road towards the empowered artist that we see now.

Empowerment is at the core of this new generation of misfits, inspiring the youth of today to wear their identity on their sleeve. For Deijuvhs, the resonance of the word ‘misfit’ is simple. “A misfit is just being yourself, it doesn’t matter if everyone else is kind of the same,” he grins. “It’s cool to be yourself unapologetically.” For Jazmin, a unifying principle is heavy emotion, expressed in its purest, raw form. “I think it’s very cool to be on a playlist that is emotional. I love music that portrays a wide set of enhanced emotions.”

For Cody, it’s a term of solace that can extend top-down from artistry all the way to fans who are just discovering alternative music for the first time. “I was heavily bullied for a really long time. I feel like my whole life, I’ve always been ‘other’. I think alternative people as a whole can all resonate with it and understand it. If you’ve been alt. even a little bit, you know what it’s like to be picked on.”

So, what exactly is it that defines this new wave of misfits?

Unashamedly being yourself is a part of the answer, which, for all three of these artists, runs in their blood. “I think I’m kind of immune to the screams”, Jazmin tells us, having first started experimenting and innovating with their sound and visuals at just 15 years old. “Maybe I’m just immune to it, ’cause I’ve been doing shit for so long. I really just feel emotionally outside of this inside joke of the world.”

It’s a similar sentiment for Deijuvhs – his own universe is all he’s ever known. “I wouldn’t even say I was born weird, I wasn’t even born different,” he shrugs. “I was just born the way I am. I’ve always been a bit different and weird, but when there’s people like you” – he points around the table – “you guys are kinda normal to me. The other people are a bit weird. They’re the misfits, really. We’re just alternative, but like, alternative to what? I’m not alternative to alternative people, I just feel normal.”

This is telling of the culture that the contemporary alternative community prides itself on: actively trying to foster an environment that’s both welcoming and inclusive. For a scene that has been dominated by white male artists in the past, widespread representation is more important than ever – which is where this new generation of misfits is beginning to thrive. The mere term can be an encouraging one, a means by which to make sense of your individuality – as it is for Deijuvhs. “If I go to a rock show, I’m still looked at as being different, ’cause I’m a bit dark. So I resonate with the word ‘misfit’ – it’s a cool-ass word.”

While the misfits 2.0 playlist may be a newer entity, who are the original, founding misfits? For Cody, Deijuvhs and Jazmin, the answers are as widespread as you might imagine. Cody brings it back to Enter Shikari, as well as praising The Skints and My Chemical Romance. Meanwhile, Jazmin’s face lights up as they tell Kerrang! about one of their heroes: the inimitable Lady Gaga. “She’s fucking amazing. I love somebody who is throwing themselves into the universe that they’re creating, they’re not afraid to just leave behind whatever they were doing the month before. It doesn’t matter who listens or doesn’t listen, if they gain money for that in the long run, they’re committing their life to the bit.”

This is something of a mission statement for this trio, who have all undergone a radical change of genre already in their short careers – in some instances, multiple. It’s representative of the genreless world we are closing in on, where artistry, passion and unconditional personality can transcend buzzwords and boxes. “I appreciate that we’re losing [the concept of genre]”, Jazmin says. “I think the most depressing thing would be if I died, someone shuffled my Spotify and they wouldn’t be able to differentiate the albums.”

It’s something Cody feels very passionate about, too. “I feel like we’re in a really exciting point in music history where genre is becoming less and less of a thing,” they say. “We’re getting so many niche micro-genres and I feel like we really can be as free as we want… It makes me feel a little more brave.”

Growing up the child of both a raver and musician in their mother, it was happy hardcore and breakbeat that characterised their upbringing, a core part of their childhood that marries the alternative and has found its way into their music. There’s no doubt that dance music is part of Cody’s DNA, as they reel off the sounds that could be incorporated into upcoming future projects. “I like being genreless because there really is no limit to where I can go with it. There’s elements of dub, rave, nu-metal, punk. When people ask me, ‘What do you sound like?’ I never have an answer!”

Looking around the room, it’s just as challenging to pinpoint an answer for Jazmin or Deijuvhs, as they enthusiastically nod their heads in agreement. It’s perhaps something that is particularly prevalent in the UK scene, Deijuvhs observes. “Maybe in England, in our little set of people I think there is something going on, but you could never put a name or a sound on it. We don’t sound the same and we don’t sound the same,” he gestures, using the microcosm of the room to prove his point.

“Before, you could say, ‘This is the punk scene, this is the rave scene, this is the hip-hop scene,’” he continues. “I couldn’t say that for our generation – it’s all kind of melded into one. You might listen to some trap, then some drum’n’bass, then some pop, then you’re listening to Michael Bublé.” We don’t probe further into the latter example – leaving the door wide open to see if Deijuvhs does have a Christmas surprise up his sleeve. At this point, you wouldn’t put anything past him.

The Cock Tavern has got significantly busier since the start of our conversation, as the background hustle and bustle of London levels up a notch, the blaring sounds emanate through the walls. It’s nothing more than a quick pit-stop, however, with Jazmin and Cody heading out on tour the same weekend. It’s a string of sold-out UK shows for Jazmin in the build-up to their debut album Traumatic Livelihood, which is set to arrive in February 2024. Cody will be supporting ragga-metal titans Skindred before a run of dates with emerging pop-punk starlets Meet Me @ The Altar. Elsewhere, and quite literally on the other side, Deijuvhs is jetting off to Jamaica for a week, to spend some time with family in the Caribbean before zapping straight back into the pandemonium of London, just days before the misfits 2.0 Anti-Prom.

As the trio split off and revert back to daily life, they’re as motivated as ever, an iron-clad part of the present and future cohort of misfits. Born to be making music and inspiring creatives around the world, this life chose them – there was never another option.

“I feel like it’s my life’s mission to be as honest as possible”, Jazmin says, a sentiment matched by the relentlessness of Cody. “I’m kind of addicted to making music – it’s not necessarily that I want to all the time. If I don’t, I have no other way to let [my emotions] out.”

Deijuvhs has the final word. “If there was an apocalypse, and there was nothing going on in the world, we’d probably still be making music, d’you know what I mean? It’s just embedded in us. Sometimes it’s a bit of a curse – fucking hell, I just wanna chill out! Smoke a cigarette in peace, without thinking about music.

“I think it’s just in our DNA,” he concludes. “It’s all we can do.”

The misfits 2.0 Anti-Prom takes place in London on October 26 – get your tickets now.

Jazmin Bean’s debut album Traumatic Livelihood is released February 23, 2024. Cody Frost is on tour supporting Skindred and Meet Me @ The Altar throughout October. Deijuvhs plays London and Manchester on November 28 and 29.

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