DJs Steve Aoki and 3LAU form the CryptoPunks Supergroup
by James · December 6, 2022
A couple of popular electronic musicians who are also featured NFT supporters join forces – and draw inspiration from their respective ones CryptoPunks Profile pictures (PFPs).
Steve Aoki and Justin “3LAU” Blau announced today that they have formed a supergroup via their Ethereum NFTs and will release new music under the name Punx. Although both are seasoned producers with their own respective sonic signatures, 3LAU tweeted that they plan to deliver a new style of electronic music through their Punx collaboration.
Although Punx will exploit the artists’ CryptoPunks NFTs, they will not launch their own NFTs for this project – at least not at first. The couple previously released their first song together“Jenny“, as an NFT in 2021.
“This is not an NFT,” 3LAU so by Punx. “But that doesn’t mean there won’t be future moments where our music and our blockchain technology [will] be intertwined.”
In a statement, Aoki-who said earlier this year that he’s made more money from NFTs than a decade of record label advances – explained that a shared passion for Web3 inspired the creation of Punx with his longtime friend.
“Punx is a forward-thinking, conceptual musical art project with a nod to the music we love and the music that shaped who we are today,” said Aoki. “Using our own CryptoPunks in the visual is just the start of how we plan to bring the incredible Web3 community into this project.”
Since the announcement was made Tuesday morning, Aoki changed his Twitter profile picture to CryptoPunk #6748– So it could be PFP that Aoki will use as his avatar and alter ego in the duo. The avid NFT collector bought Punk #6748 – which features a purple cap and burglar-like eye mask – for 89.95 ETH or $147,000 in September.
3LAU’s CryptoPunk is Punk #6708, who has white hair and black sunglasses. 3LAU bought NFT back in March 2021 for 29.99 ETHwhich was about $51,000 at the time.
“Over the last few years we’ve navigated the crazy world of Web3 together,” 3LAU, also co-founder of NFT music marketplace Royal, said in a statement about his friendship with Aoki. “We can’t wait to share with the world a new sound and all the crazy ideas we’ve been creating in the studio.”
CryptoPunks holders are able to use the artwork from their owned NFTs to create derivative works of art and products, pursuant to an IP commercialization rights grant from project owner Yuga Labs. The firm first popularized the concept in 2021 with the release of Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Other artists have used their NFT avatars to release music, but usually via Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. After today’s announcement, 3LAU told Decrypt why he and Aoki chose to use CryptoPunks for this collaboration.
“It hadn’t been done on the Punk side that [much] compared to how many Ape projects were launched,” 3LAU said. “And that’s kind of how Steve got into this space in the first place. I told him about all this towards the end of 2020, so Punks just made the most sense.”
On the Bored Ape front, EscapePlan is a DJ duo composed of two of the project’s NFT holders. Earlier this year they announced a collaboration with an artist Dillon Francis to produce music together – and inspired Francis to get his own Bored Ape as part of the payment for a residency deal.
Meanwhile, Universal Music Group’s 22:22 label has assembled a virtual Bored Ape band called Kingshipwith music from Grammy-winning producers Hit-Boy and James Fauntleroy, while the legendary producer Timbaland launched his own production company in 2021 to release music from Ape-based artists.
Punx also joins the growing trend of established electronic dance music (EDM) artists banding together under a common moniker. Most notably, deadmau5 – who is also into NFTs—started releasing songs with Kaskade this year under the name Kx5.
Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication to include comments from 3LAU.