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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Music Sucks. Should I Hate the DJs or the Club People?

I wrote this after wasting about three hours of my life at The Shelter in Denver on a Wednesday night... I am really fucking tired of how stupid the ebm scene became. It is not what I had in mind at all when I became "industrial".

This was origionally posted in a personal blog. I wasn't going to put it here, because I thought it was too angry/negative, but Dan insisted, and a lot of people have commented on it, so it seems to be worth saying, and something that some people enjoy reading.

What do you all think of your club scenes? Good things? Bad things?

How can we change them? Should we even try to?



* * *

I don't know if I should rant against the djs... they play terrible terrible music... but people danced to it.

After a set of generic new wave 'industrial', where every beat is EXACTLY the same for 30-40 minutes, and there is no interesting message in any lyric, I go up to the guy playing this stuff and politely ask if he ever does requests...

"Hey, you play a lot of new-school industrial. Do you ever play old school industrial, like puppy, or leatherstrip, front line assembly, front 242 or something?"

"Sure, yeah..."

The guy plays the hit off "Tyranny for You"... which is great. I dance to it. I dance to it and THREE other people dance it it also.

Afterwords the next song is "Dead Stars Still Burn".

And the floor is packed. I count 22 people dancing. It is a small club.

My god....

DJs, you really piss me off when you play "Dead Stars Still Burn", "This Shit Will Fuck You Up", that "supersonic overdrive" song, those two obnoxious Wolfshiem songs, or that VNV Nation song with the filtery clicky drum sound in it off their new record that I refuse to buy...

But people dance to that crap! They dance to it and it fucking sucks... it all sounds the same, is repetitive as hell, and EVERY drum pattern is the same BPM and, yes, repetitive as all hell...

These club people know nothing about the hard, industrial rage and anger of "Capital Punishment", "Torn Skin", "Atheistic Sermon", "Don't Tame Your Soul", "Adrenaline Rush".... track 6 off "Hard Wired", "Tin Omen", "Fascist Jockitch", "Satan Complex", or "Speedball OD"... You take that away and you kill all the emotion and all the energy. You're left with about all the energy and romance of a "magic the gathering" circle.

Platform boots and dance techo ONLY, at EVERY night... is a fucking joke. Do you know what is not a joke? "Infra Red Combat", "Rivers", "Love in Vein", "Candle", or "Circling Overland"... that is some dark, serious, post apocalyptic god damn nightmare of industrial wasteland right there. That is music to contemplate the end of the world or the end of your soul or whatever to.

Why is it that FIVE and TEN years ago, they were playing the same songs that were already overplayed and boring as hell, and they are STILL doing the same thing? "I See Blue Lights In Your Eyes". Congratu-fucking-lations. I see a DJ who has ZERO interest in actually going online, learning about some new bands with new sounds and new ideas, and getting them exposure, opening people's ears, and making a real name for themselves...

Yeah yeah, I know what you're going to say already... You're going to say that "people dance to this crap, and I only get more dj gigs if I can prove that people dance to the stuff I play, so I'm going to keep playing it, so that I can get more dj gigs".... Fine. Fucking say that. Enjoy your inability to play new material, or to help anyone who hasn't been signed to metropolis for at least half a decade. Be content with your mediocre fashion show of conservatism. The only difference between you and Top 40 radio is that Top 40 radio plays new artists every couple of years.

* * *

Do you know why I became a "rivethead" in the late 1990s? It was because I was fucking weird, or at least I appeared "weird" compared to everybody else. I was angry, my mind thought about dark things, how fucked up the world, politics, and people all were. I was punk rock but punk rock enough that I didn't feel I had to wear a uniform and speak the right language and drop the right names and know the right people to feel part of someone else's imitation of someone else's scene and thus feel validated...

I was tired of all the dumb shit around me in that puffed up bubble of a superficial economy before it imploded and I wanted to scream in my voice and with my words and with my clothes and in my hair. I wanted to remind everyone in their cookie cutter suburbs with their "friends" re-runs and their boring parties and their funding for the School of the Americas and their blockade of Iraq that things like death, and war, and people sleeping on the street on christmas eve, kids kicked out of their houses for being gay, prostitution, abuse, and hypocrisy, war and intolerance, exploitation of the working class, suicide, and sexual violence, are all REAL and HAPPENING. The world outside was making the most terrible sound and Fox News, CNN, my teachers, the church, Bill Clinton, and the Teletubbies were doing the best they could to drown it all out.

Industrial music came to me with an energy, creativity, edginess, and talent, that was utterly lacking everywhere else. It was darker and harder than punk and freer, more individualized than the punk scene was. It wasn't fake and corporate like Marilyn Manson, or the other pop stars for confused teenagers... It was the world in a burnt out tv image on the "Aint it Dead, Yet?" video. It was impailed on Bryan Erickson's hair. It was the samples about apocalypse on track five of "Hard Wired". It was in the death of Dyawne Gottel. It was in the Cling-Clang-Boom-Crumble of the Test Dept. music videos. It was in the impatience, fear and anger of the passenger in my car when I put on "Swallowing Scrap Metal". It was Claus Laursen's moog synthesizer. It reverberated throughout that electrified metal stuff Neubauten was playing live with.

It was "INDUSTRIAL", as in "the industrial mode of production", i.e., noise, pain, clangy sounds, sampling sounds the industrial world makes into music, recording or recreating the ambiance of the industrial environment into music, oppression, resistance, drugery, hope, spirit, and spirit crushed, the struggle and the pain of modern life...

I was a rivet head in the late 90s and early 2000s and I believe in pushing all these things up the hill and rolling them down the hill and the train rolling it over and smashing into a million pieces. I walked over it in my boots to set it on fire and film it and make a music video with samples of the sound it made. That was fucking industrial.

If I want to hear generic, upbeat synthpop all evening I'll go to an 80s night, which is actually what I am about to start doing, because at least there they have some basic musical difference in structure from one song to the next...

* * *

I don't invite my friends to "industrial" music nights these days. I don't because it would embarrass me. Do you think you are tough, or dark, with your platform boots, your make up, and your pathetic, repetitive, synth pop? I'd rather go to a cowboy bar and talk to real people who want to talk about real life...

It's DJs who add nothing that wasn't already there... and it's people who (apparently) seem not to care, and just want to go out every week and dance to THE SAME exact songs they danced to last week, and the week before that, and the month before that, and the year before that, and now.... yes... the decade before that.

Well... here's an "Aliens" sample for ya.... "You can count me out".

2 comments:

wee said...

Amen

Brad said...

Old-school electro-industrial had some cool dance tracks, but the truth was that a person could find a lot of enjoyment in that kind of music without having any interest in dancing to it. I know I don't need to dance to listen to Skinny Puppy. My relationship to industrial music is probably more like a metalhead to metal, than a typical electronic dance music fan. New-school electro-industrial seems to be made exclusively for the dance crowd, unfortunately. I guess you can blame the DJ for using the dancefloor as the sole measure of the success of a song.