taste for electronic and industrial music stems from two things: One,
I've always had this desire to seek out something "different" to entertain
me. And two, there's something really appealing, for some unknown reason,
about sounds that are generated by a computer.
My desire for something different is perhaps what really got me into industrial and electonic music. As far back as my early teens, I would often go to bed with my radio headphones on, and just scan through the stations for something "weird" (that's the term I used for alternative music in the early 80's). Living in a rather small city, far from any large metropolitan area, my choices were limited. There was one top 40 station that played nothing but the most mainstream of music, and a bunch of classical channels. One night I found the local University radio station while they were playing their weekly alternative show. I had finally found my "weird" music, and I liked it. I felt like I was part of something different and far away, and for an average, impressionable teen like myself, that meant alot.
This station, for 2 hours a week, played stuff ranging from noise, spoken word, and audio collages, to the Sex Pistols, Love n Rockets, the Cure, Jesus and Mary Chain, Skinny Puppy, Yello, Art of Noise, Anne Clark, Kraftwerk, the Exploited, Lydia Lunch, and a ton of stuff I had no idea who. Asides from the obvious grandfathers of alternative mentioned above, bands such as Yello, Art of Noise, and Kraftwerk definitely had an influence on my current tastes. These bands all had very distinct and unique sounds, made up of electronics and sound samples organized into rythms and melodies. It fascinated me just as much that music like this could be created with computers.
A few years went by, and I really wasn't exposed to anything "new". I bought alot of mainstream tapes, because I was still a young teen, and felt a need to buy tapes based on single catchy songs I couldn't get out of my head. Then I moved to a big city (Montreal) in the late 80's, where I went to alternative clubs and was able to listen to my preferred music styles, and also be exposed to some new ones. In Montreal back then, alternative meant The Cure, Depeche Mode, Ministry, The Cult, 808 State, The Smiths, etc... and a band who's name I didn't know at the time, KMFDM. And it really WAS the alternative, because Montreal's only english radio station played nothing but top 40, metal, and classic rock.
Then I moved to California, and the fun began. Alternative actually got airplay in LA thanks to KROQ. I loved hearing the bands I loved on the radio, but quickly, I grew tired of the format that was itself becoming rather mainstream. My spiralling descent began like many others; Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails. Then I met a guy who these days calls himself "Alien8" (he's in the band Idiot Stare...) Thanks to him and club called Kontrol Faktory, I finally found that most obscure of music styles that really did it for me. It started slowly, with bands like Lords of Acid, KMFDM (of course), My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb... Once hooked and tried finding more bands (there wasn't much back then) so my search lead to bands like Chemlab, and Sister Machine Gun, and thankfully I ended up getting into Leaetherstrip, Front Line Assembly, Psychopomps, and, well, the rest is history as they say. (Throughout this time I was also into techno, to a lesser degree.)
It's in my Chemlab / Sister Machine Gun phase that I met our reviewer Dan, and I recall him being amused at the music I listened to. He just couldn't get into it at the time. Though honestly, he didn't give it much of a chance. Over time I converted him. He was sucked in by the more metal industrial, and was slowly converted to the dark electro side as he learned to appreciate the creativity that goes into this music style. Now, he's as much my guide to new bands as this website is to you. Dan finds and buys so many CDs it's unbelievable.
And so here I am. I run this website for the sake of the genre and its miniscule following. The amount of traffic this site gets is testament to how small the audience really is. Unfortunately that's the pitfall of an underground music genre. Its followers are quick to adopt elitist attitudes and want to keep it underground, but at the same time we're keeping our favorite bands from making a living off their music. The local HMV store in downtown Toronto is the only chain store I know of with an industrial section (labelled "industrial/ambient"). A year ago that section was about two "displays" wide. (Imagine it about as wide as 16 CD columns). Back around christmas, what with all the fuss over electronica, that section expanded to three "displays" wide, and I had less difficulty finding CDs I wanted. I really thought electro industrial might get some recognition and an increased following. Well, now that section is back to two displays wide again.
I think the quality of the music is improving greatly, and I wish more bands got the exposure they deserved, especially when their music is almost mainstream. A great band like Covenant plays a live show and the turn-out is pathetic. A band like Steril, who's last CD was equally high-quality didn't even get american distribution. Also troubling is that there may even be too many bands now. With such a small audience, the dollars spent are being split more ways than they used to.
This ends my rant (read: bio). Thanks for reading...
|Rabies - July 23, 1998|
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