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SXSW 2021

Death, Sobriety, and Heavy Metal

What do death doulas, sobriety influencers, and listening to heavy metal have in common? Enter the next era of wellness, where heavy metal is the music of the intellectual and death is the hot discussion at the dinner table. Coming to terms with our own mortality, finding peace in chaos and cleansing our bodies have become coping mechanisms for overwhelming anxieties in an age of political, environmental, and economic uncertainty. While these methods may appear darker or counter-culture, they’re closer to the likes of Goop, hot yoga and Headspace than you might think. Death, sobriety, and heavy metal are no longer fringe. They’re undergoing a cultural reframing, going mass and becoming positive.

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  1. The what. The rising popularity of Death, Sobriety, and Heavy Metal in culture reveal how they’re all elements of the new wellness.
  2. The why. As COVID deepens the global mental health crisis, Death, Sobriety, and Heavy Metal can create a new way forward.
  3. The how. We’ll address key implications for businesses that will be affected by this cultural shift, and discuss how disruptors can accelerate change.



Dana Fors, Business Director, TBWA\Backslash

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