AN INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO INDUSTRIAL MUSIC
You know,I’m sitting here in my room reflecting exactly how I became so involved in the industrial music scene when my first outing to a show was in Philadelphia this past weekend. I saw Youth Code with opening acts Void Vision and Psychic Teens and it was wonderful. But, that’s getting off subject. The topic at hand is: How did Steve get involved in the industrial scene? I’m an introvert. At least I would like to call myself that without sounding like another internet user who self-diagnoses their self. But, no, I enjoy eating out, going to the local movie store at the mall, but that’s about it. When it comes to bigger crowds, carnivals, or anything dealing with a mass of people centered in one location or another, I tend to avoid them. I don’t know why, really, I just don’t enjoy the phenomenon. But, in a sense, that’s what industrial is all about, or any music scene is all about really: Getting out there, seeing your favorite bands perform, supporting the scene, meeting people, and the like. But I used excuses.
I always said, “That band is playing an hour and a half away, I don’t want to do the drive.” But I did want to do the drive. I was just nervous about actually going. Again, the whole introvert thing showed up. Yet, here I am; I run an industrial centered web-zine, helped start a print zine, and I’ve talked and bonded with countless of musicians, and now I’m here as a guest writer on 925Rebellion. And the reason I’m writing out this article is because a lot of people newer fans and guests who get into industrial don’t know where or how to get into the scene. And I want to help those people who either A) Live in the middle of buttf#ck nowhere yet still either want to contribute to the scene or just find out more about it or B) are more comfortable in their own home rather than going out and partying. I guess you could call this a guide, so in standard guide format, I’ll list numbers as I go on. Here’s to it.
1.) IGNORE ELITIST BULLSHIT ATTITUDE
This is possibly the most important point on this list. There are so many fans within the industrial scene who are quick to strike down a newbie for listening to a band that they despise. There have been plenty of times when I’ve seen someone go, “Oh, I like this song by such and such,” only for someone else to go, “Oh, you like them? You fucking suck,” or something along those lines. That’s a discouraging attitude and should be immediately ignored; gravitate away from people like that and find the ones who encourage you to listen to something else or don’t necessarily make fun of you for your own tastes.
2.) EDUCATE YOURSELF
Exploring industrial will take some time as there is a huge history behind it and a lot of underground acts that came and went. However, the industrial scene is bristling with self-proclaimed historians who are willing to help you find information or tunes on older artists. Obviously, it’s easy to follow the careers of artists such as Skinny Puppy and Throbbing Gristle as they are FAMOUS in the scene, but their dozens of side projects and one-offs are countless. Don’t be afraid to ask. Get out there, explore, use discogs, read up on a couple of zines, get in the know. Also, the book “Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music” written by S. Alexander Reed is a fascinating read on the history of industrial music, so get it if you’re serious about understanding the original movement.
This may seem like something that doesn’t need to be said, but it does. Explore the genre as much as you can. Industrial is a movement that encompasses so many different experimental genres that to list them all would be futile. It’s easy to start off with bigger named acts such as Skinny Puppy and Suicide Commando, but it’s always good to find small, independent bands and support them as well. Exploring Bandcamp or Soundcloud and just looking under music tagged as Industrial can help, as well. There are also countless amounts of Facebook groups dedicated to Industrial and the like. Join them, follow them, look at their posts. One of the biggest communities I’ve seen would be “Industrial Music” on Facebook. Just check them out here.
4.) TALK TO THE MUSICIANS
Okay, industrial is a really small scene. We have dedicated groups worldwide and MOST of the time we click well together, but it’s still small. You know what that means? The musicians in this field aren’t doing this for millions of dollars; they do it because they have passion for the music they make and the fans that listen to and buy their music. That also means that shooting a message or two to a musician in this field will not result in a, “HEY, FUCK OFF KID,” response. Eight times out of ten, if you shoot them a message asking a question or two, or just saying that you really enjoy their songs or albums, they’ll respond with something nice. Don’t be greedy, though, these guys and gals also have lives outside of this realm. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
5.) READ FROM DIFFERENT ZINES
Another great source of information comes from the various online zines that strive to report on the modern industrial movement. As with any media source, there is usually some bullshit articles here and there that really shouldn’t be posted, but you’re going to have to deal with that. It’s all a matter of opinion. The biggest industrial zine out there would have to be Side-Line Magazine which has been around since 1989. Other notable zines include (and I’ll do some shameless self promotion in here) are: ReGen Magazine, Peek-A-Boo Magazine, Brutal Resonance, and I Die : You Die.
On the side of print magazines, there aren’t too many dedicated to industrial anymore. However, you do have Auxiliary Magazine and the newly formed industrial/dark-electro magazine Aggressive Deprivation, as well as German magazines Orkus and Sonic Seducer.
6. WRITE FOR THE SCENE OR MAKE MUSIC
The last and two easiest ways to get involved in the scene is by participating in it. If you like making music and wanna give industrial shot, then why not do it? The worst that can happen is that people won’t like your music. But, hell, it’s a fucking learning process. You’ll get over mean comments and work yourself up the latter to become something better. Plus, if you make music in the scene, you’re going to meet other musicians in the scene, which means you’re most like going to find more friends in the scene. So, there’s that.
And, if you’re not a music maker, then try writing for a magazine. You can’t go wrong in just approaching an online web-zine that does their shit for free and say, “Hey, can I write for you guys? What do you need from me?” I was eighteen or nineteen when I started writing for the industrial scene with little to no knowledge on it. I just started doing this for the fun of it and now I’m the co-editor at one zine and, from what I hear, we have some respect in the scene (which I find hard to believe). If not, then you’re stuck on the fence wanting to do something but can’t. Get your ass in gear and do something.
So, there you have it. My guide to getting involved in the industrial scene without ever having to actually do anything that’s considered all too sociable. It’s easy, really, and quite fun once you get in the groove of things. As with anything else, you might find it hard to find a place in the scene, but once you get rolling, you won’t stop. Industrial is fascinating, fun, and incredibly addicting music to listen to. You just need to slowly crank open that floodgate until you can handle all the pressure.
-Steven Gullotta. (Brutal Resonance)