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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogFuture Funk: A Guide to this Retro Aesthetic

Future Funk: A Guide to this Retro Aesthetic

By Thalia Harris
March 07, 2024
An illustration in the style of future funk, featuring a woman holding a Sony Walkman.

Get ready to immerse yourself in a fusion of retro charm and contemporary flair, where every note carries you to a realm where the past dances effortlessly with the present. Welcome to the irresistible allure of future funk!

Where did future funk come from?

Future funk has a diverse range of influences. Some credit its origins to artists such as Saint Pepsi and Macintosh Plus around 2011/2012. Others argue that the genre is heavily influenced by French House. In 2008, artists like Louis La Roche and The Phantoms Revenge released music that perfectly exemplifies this sound.

When did it become popular?

Future funk gained popularity through various online platforms and communities that helped showcase and promote the genre. Websites like provide a platform for listeners to discover top tracks and artists, contributing to their visibility. Additionally, online forums like Reddit, particularly the r/futurefunk subreddit, played a role in discussing its origins.

An anime woman in a vaporwave style.
This genre fuses 80s anime, French house music, and disco! Image via Yushakobo

In addition, PopMatters’ articles emphasized essential albums such as Saint Pepsi’s “Hit Vibes” from 2013. These albums were critical in defining the genre’s aesthetics and driving its popularity. Overall, the platform’s online presence on music discovery and discussion sites played a significant role in its widespread recognition and appeal to music enthusiasts.

What are the elements of future funk?

Future Funk is characterized by a unique blend of elements that define its distinctive sound and style. These elements include:

80s/90s Anime

80s anime is popular in future funk music due to several reasons. With sweet and funky vibes and a touch of 80’s nostalgia, this genre often incorporates anime elements because it emerged from internet culture imagery and uses city pop samples closely associated with Japan and anime. The early prominent artists used these elements, leading others to follow suit. 

An 80s anime style  illustration of a bunch of people standing outside of a McDonalds.
The cel shade style of *0s and 90s anime serves as the main inspiration for this music genre. Image via Twitter

Additionally, the appeal of anime visuals and the upbeat nature of future funk music create a harmonious blend that resonates with fans. The influence of ’80s Japanese city pop, exemplified by songs like “Plastic Love” by Mariya Takeuchi, heavily shapes the distinct sound of the new genre.

This genre’s aesthetics also draw inspiration from the 80s and 90s anime, creating a solid crossover with Animecore. Overall, the fusion of 80s anime aesthetics with this music creates a nostalgic and visually appealing experience for fans of both mediums.

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French House Music

French house music and future funk share similarities and influences. Both genres emerged from the popularity of dance music and use disco samples. However, this genre takes a more pop-influenced approach to repackaging vaporwave.

Former French house duo Daft Punk against a pink techno background.
Daft Punk is a perfect example of French house music. Image via The Ringer

This genre tends to have more ambient build-up and repetition, with short loops and repetitive structures at 120-128 bpm and longer track durations. On the other hand, future funk is more melody-driven, sample-heavy, and influenced by the psychedelic elements of vaporwave. It features tracks typically under three minutes long and at 100-110 bpm.

Despite their differences, there is cross-referencing between the genres. Music producers draw inspiration from classic French house and disco, adding depth and variety to the genre. This unique blend of influences appeals to a broad audience, especially live music venues!


Vaporwave is popular in future funk due to its interconnected roots and shared aesthetic elements. It’s often associated with vaporwave, described as its “sad, wistful, slower cousin”.

A Roman bust with a vaporwave background.
Vaporwave is an aesthetic that borrows heavily from retro technology. Image via Shutterstock

While vaporwave tends to have a more atmospheric and sometimes ambient approach, future funk takes on a more upbeat and disco feel. Despite these differences, the two genres share common aesthetic similarities like Japanese influences and an emphasis on nostalgia

City Pop

Future funk draws inspiration from city pop, the 1980s Japanese pop music genre. City pop, characterized by its breezy and soft rock styles, found a new audience outside Japan, contributing its global popularity. Moreover, the genre often features new remixes of city pop songs, creating a fusion of old and new sounds that resonate with fans of both genres. 

A colorful keyboard next to a future funk picture of an anime woman.
Have you ever listened to future funk before? Image via Wallpaper Cave

Why should I check out future funk?

You should check out future funk for its infectious energy, nostalgic vibes, and unique fusion of old-school sounds with modern beats! The genre’s upbeat tempo, funky basslines, and catchy melodies make it perfect for lifting your mood and getting you grooving. Have you ever enjoyed future funk before? Let us know in the comments below!

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Thalia Harris

Writer living in Tokyo who likes stories, music and video games. <3

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