None of this is to say the tactic is new, of course.
"It actually used to be more prevalent in '90s when indie rock was at its height," Frazier says. "My first artist was Will Oldham, and he turned down very large pieces consistently... From Will into mysterious acts like Autechre and artists we have now like Daft Punk, there has always been this reaction that press want more what is unavailable to them."
Indeed, rejection of press has been the M.O. of present-day legends ranging from Lou Reed to Prince. But the shy or ornery stance that may have once seemed like principled eccentricity is now often part of a marketing plan, set in place before a band achieves even a smidge of fame.
"The Internet pummels everyone with so much information that things arise and pass with a fury," Frazier says. "I think there is some sophisticated thought going into when to stop and start press so that you can stay relevant, wanted and viable in the public eye. It seems more calculated now and frankly I think it can be smart if done well so an artist can survive."
Maintaining a covert image won't work for every act, however. There needs to be some kind of initial spark, be it incubation on message boards (as was the case with L.A. shock-rap newcomers Odd Future) or the co-sign of a more popular artist (Drake endorsing the Weeknd through his blog/vanity label, October's Very Own).
"If no one is looking to you, then saying you won't do press is like the question of the tree falling in a forest," Frazier says.
And most importantly, the band needs to possess some actual talent behind their carefully sewn emerald curtain.
"The group can't suck," Schnipper says. "You have to be good, and have some kind of confidence that what you're doing will speak for itself. But I think you probably also have to either, one, be completely naive, or two, have a pretty decent marketing plan. Because I know for a fact that these people can't be secretive forever. Like, I mean, Salem dressed up in fancy, straight-out-of-a-Dali-painting, gilded costumes for T Magazine. At some point, it doesn't work anymore."
Perhaps that's part of the tension that makes this phenomenon so alluring—deep down, listeners know that ultimately there will be some sort of reveal.
"It seems like the watershed moment is always, 'Are they going to start playing live,'" Richardson says. "Once that happens, the mystery kind of has to end. Once you start sharing a physical space with people, it dissolves very quickly."
From that point on, there has to be enough substance to the group to sustain them through the post-hype phase. Look at Die Antwoord. The South African rave-rap duo baited the media for months with a lewd web art, bizarre videos, scarce information, and exotic promise. Once people learned that they were a satirical act helmed by Johannesburg performance artist Watkin Tudor Jones, who had released music under other personas in the past, excitement for the group largely vanished, right on time for their Interscope debut, $O$, to debut at 109 on the Billboard 200—a flop by major-label standards.