Urban tribes in Spain
Language Resources

Urban tribes in Spain that originated outside the country

Spain has had its own home-born urban tribes (remember the “bakalaeros”), but there are still plenty that have arrived from other countries. Take a look below to see which ones have made the biggest impact on Spain’s “street culture”:

Goths: black clothing and somber makeup are associated with this subculture, as is a preference for listening to groups like The Cure and the Bauhaus and reading authors such as Poe and Lovecraft. The culture has adapted to new times while many of its most celebrated figures and artistic achievements have become timeless classics, such as The Cure’s stirring and lyrical Lullaby.

Rockabillies: 50’s era clothing styles seem to be making a comeback and rockabilly style is popular again: tight blue jeans, white t-shirts, red lipstick, and peeptoe shoes. Also keep an eye out for a curious offshoot of this subculture; ever heard of the pyschobillies? If you haven’t, imagine blending rockabilly style with old B movies for an idea of what it’s about.

Hipsters: back in the days –okay, I’m just talking about 10 years ago- in Spain hipsters were called “gafapastas”. Not an exactly respectful term, it referred to the thick-rimmed glasses worn by many within the subculture. Today, “gafapasta” culture is fully accepted and it has adopted the English name. Curiously, many Spanish hipsters who rejected the Spanish name used to describe them are big fans of Spanish pop music from the 60s.

Foodies: in Spain there are legions of these gourmet fans of fine foods who always keep themselves up to date on the latest cooking methods and culinary trends. Considering the quality of Spanish cuisine, what Spaniard wouldn’t be a foodie?

Mods: the Spanish mod scene is complex. It appeared around the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, although it grew along with the punk scene given that Spanish music from the 60s was associated with the Francoist dictatorship. Mods became the forerunners of modern style from the UK. In the 90s they were associated with followers of Brit Pop and the alternative music scene. Some self-described mods have joined the ranks of today’s hipsters, which in a certain way has benefited the mods, converting the scene into something more authentic and closer to the real movement that emerged in England.

Metalheads: known as “heavies” in Spain, they wear leather jackets, spikes, long hair, and are truly devoted to the electric guitar. The “heavy” scene is alive and well in Spain, proof of which can be seen in the vast crowds of “heavies” of all generations at AC/DC and Motörhead concerts. The only problem here is that it lacks a truly “authentically Spanish” identity since there just aren’t that many heavy metal groups anymore. There are some, but they don’t reach the same level of intensity of older groups like Barón Rojo, Obús and Leño.

What does the future hold for these urban tribes? Will the most popular ones disappear? Only time will tell.