Whatever, Dad


Casting Light On An Underrated Musician

“Last night / I dreamt we did our laundry together / And we were singing the same song / while we folded our clothes.”  It was for this line – and the rest of the following verse – that Whatever, Dad received a small amount of online recognition during autumn of 2021. A very small amount of recognition – in fact, it was only a few TikTok videos using the sound that gained a semi-substantial amount of likes. However, it was enough to catch my attention and lead me to take a closer look at the artist behind the song.

Through gently delivered but utterly heartbreaking lyrics, New York-based musician Z Santos creates music that resonates deeply. Their sound has a distinctive and pleasing style achieved through fuzzy and unclear home-recording production. Soft, almost jazzy drums, clean guitar, gentle synths and keyboards, bass that you can feel in your heart, and quiet vocals combined with the occasional spoken-word sample all come together to form music that seems almost personally delivered. 

Z’s music could be characterized as a mix of lo-fi and slacker rock. Lo-fi simply means that there are deliberate imperfections in the production process kept as a stylistic choice. In the case of Whatever, Dad, this manifests itself most as grainy, low-quality instrumental and vocal recordings as opposed to crystal clear audio. Slacker rock is a more relaxed, calmer version of standard rock that is generally considered more “authentic” than regular rock.

Z has posted music under other aliases, including Aro, Bimpo, 100%, Ough, and pluperfect. They were a member of multiple bands as well, including Crying and Real Life Buildings. There are 6 albums and EPs under the Whatever, Dad name alone, though they have substantially less active since 2017. In fact, besides a single called “TV Wrestling” released under Ough in 2021, they haven’t posted any music at all. 

Overall, Whatever, Dad is the perfect artist to listen to during night-time drives on cold days, or when you’re lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. Their music is for those who enjoy “Bubblegum” by Clairo and are looking for similar quiet sad-girl music. Listening recommendations: Warsh_Tippy And Zelda, O.K (2015), Waffles (2015), Chiot, The Death Of A Phone Call, Stalemate_Spud.