Article:THE UNSPOKEN RULES OF THE DARK-ELECTRO-POST-INDUSTRO-NOISE(and neo folk) SCENE
PART ONE: HOW TO BE A PRETENTIOUS ASS AND/OR A FUCKING FAGGOT (and thereby ensure that everyone will pay three digit prices for your records on ebay)
1) be a one-man band with a sideproject.
for the experts: release a CD every six months, each under a different name.
2) be inconsistent with formats.
for the experts: every release should come in a different size of vinyl. i.e. start with a 10", then a quadruple 7", then an LP with accompanying acetate, then a 10"+12", etc.
3) limit each release to an arbitrary number of copies, i.e. 391, 472, 128, etc.
for the experts: make the first 10 or 15 copies a "special edition" that weighs at least 20 pounds
4) always make sure your editions are small enough so that they sell out before they're sent to the pressing plant.
for the experts: don't tell anyone your band exists until your first LP, double acetate, and quadruple 7" have been sold to collectors.
5) use SS and related symbols even though your best friends and most rabid fans are jewish.
for the experts: pretend you know something about the klan, even though you're european
6) give your band a stupid name, i.e. a meaningless combination of unpleasant sounding syllables. if you wish to use actual words in your band name, make sure you're not german, then give your band a german name. remember, this rule applies to all of your sideprojects as well.
for the experts: don't write your band's name anywhere on your releases. just put a bunch of runes on the cover.
7) make sure everyone refers to you as a "powerelectronics" outfit for no good reason.
for the experts: even though your instrumentation consists of a keyboard, a violin, a jew's harp, and your girlfriend, cover your fliers and advertisements with skulls, fascist symbols, scenes of war, and other violent/masculine things.
8) collaborate with anyone and everyone you've ever heard of, insist it's just you two "having fun in the studio", then release it as a high-priced limited edition.
for the experts: in interviews, mention that you're friends with boyd rice.
9) tell everyone your office was raided.
for the experts: become a stooge for the FBI
10) wrap your releases in pieces of an old potato sack on which you have stenciled a picture, and say they "come in a gorgeously embossed textured fabric with one-of-a-kind silkscreens by [insert your sister's name here]"
for the experts: include either a sprig of wheat, or an alpine flower. BY ALL MEANS, make sure anyone who buys all of your releases has to sell all their furniture first so that they have room to store them
YOU'RE ALL GUILTY
PART TWO: HOW TO CONDUCT INTERVIEWS (in such a manner that everyone will know to pay three digit prices for your records on ebay)
1) first and foremost, only give interviews in publications that
a) appear to be created on expensive software by a graduate student at a graphic arts college
b) are published no more than once a year
c) refer to everything as "art", including black metal, which they pretentiously claim they know something about.
d) feature interviews with at least three other buttmunches
whose releases go for three digit prices on ebay.
for the experts: appear only in publications that have been around ten years but are only up to issue #2, are published in hardcover for 20 or 30 dollars, and are compiled by people who do absolutely nothing but publish such things
2) do not consent to be interviewed by anyone who will not write a ridiculously bombastic introduction, refer to your releases as if they were monumental moments in history, and thoroughly lick your ass in every way during the conduction of the interview.
for the experts: rather than saying "thanks" or anything like that for the verbal blowjob you're receiving, expand upon the interviewer's comments. expect everyone to believe that you're really a unique, creative, intelligent person, rather than a scam artist on welfare.
3) do not give more than one interview every two years. if there is more than one member in your outfit, let only one member be interviewed, and let him use the word "we" as if you all think and feel exactly the same way about everything.
for the experts: instead of being interviewed, submit a communique or manifesto for publication
now that you've established the proper criteria regarding when to grant interviews, here are the rules governing what you should talk about :
4) mention at least ten completely useless people from arbitrary walks of life (former lounge singers, your roommate, etc.) with whom you are planning to "go into the studio with." spend at least half of the interview describing
a) how you were listening to or watching something featuring each of these people, how you were then reminded of something you've always been obsessed with, and how you realized you had to "go into the studio with" them
b) how a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend (make sure one of these friends is either boyd rice or adam parfrey) introduced the two of you
c) how this other person was obsessed with the idea of "going into the studio with" you too
d) how thrilled you were when it finally happened, and how great a person they were
e) how you only wanted to do this to satisfy your own personal obsession
f) how interested the world serpent label was in pressing the fruits of this studio encounter onto four limited edition miniCDs, each with the same song alongside a different remix of another song.
for the experts: talk about how you were walking out of the subway one day in some european city, when you bumped into some old guy who had a really special talent (i.e. he can yodel really darn well), so you decided that you had to collaborate with him
5) talk about how you don't plan on releasing any more stuff for the next few years at least, because you've "taken things as far as they can go". of course this is a lie, as plans for your next double 10" picture disc in silkscreened burlap and gauze with rose petals with accompanying honey-laced acetate with etched b-side are well under way
for the experts: announce that you're changing the name of your "project" so that "something new" may be "reborn" from the "ashes" and take you in "new directions" (there is no need to actually make your new recordings sound any different from the old)
6) if you're european, talk about the nearest castle, and how much "history" you have in your area. if you're american, talk about your recent trip to europe (don't give an interview unless you've had a recent trip to europe) and all the castles you visited while you were there.
for the experts: pretend that your ancestors were once lords in the very castle you are describing, rather than the turnip farmers they obviously were.
7) discuss your philosophy of life, no matter what the question is. there are two tacks you can take, either:
a) speak in completely vague terms, as if you possess some sort of esoteric knowledge... despite being, unlike crowley, completely devoid of a sense of humor. repeatedly use words like "essence" and "transcends", without regard for the grammatical atrocities you are undoubtedly committing. refer to people as sheep who are unable to understand the gravity and all-encompassing profundity of the truths that are manifested in your image and your expertly nuanced and sculpted releases. or
b) relate everything to pop culture. talk about famous people and how they're emblematic of the world's present character, how the USA resembles ancient rome, and all sorts of other stupid things that only you could come up with. use the words "society" and "decay" in every sentence, at least once each. insist that the only things that matter to you in your life at this time are your upcoming collaboration with so-and-so and several of so-and-so's friends the first tack is the more commonly chosen among europeans who wish to cover up their clumsiness with the english language. the second tack is usually chosen by americans, who watch too much god damned television.
for the experts: talk about world war one and world war two as if they were the same war, regurgitate communist slogans in languages other than your own while pretending that they're nationalist slogans.
8) use the letter "k" in place of any other hard consonants.
for the experts: "ov"... "thee"... no more needs to be said.
9) when asked about live performances, mention that three years ago you were "engaged" in "activities" related to your "participation" in a "festival" (located in france, germany, or a benelux country). speak in vague terms. be ambiguous about whether you were pleased or displeased with the event.
for the experts: publish excerpts from your tour diary. for example, "with the help of some friends at the FBI, we were able to tour amerika! after performing, we were sure to protect ourselves in a huddle of FBI agents so that no american could approach us and laugh at us for being underfed europeans."
10) all your promotional photographs will be blurry, even if they're just shots of you on a streetcorner rather than the work of a drunken amateur in a smoke-filled, badly-lit venue. but not to worry, as this is expected of you. you've spent far too much time silkscreening your record covers, coming up with names for your 25 sideprojects, and walking to your mailbox to pick up your welfare check to mess around learning how to focus a camera lens.
for the experts: no photos. each band member will be represented by a symbol. if it was good enough for prince, it's good enough for you.
ALL OF YOU, GUILTY AS SIN
PART THREE: HOW TO WRITE REVIEWS OF, AND/OR PUBLISH A CATALOG FULL OF, RECORDS (that will soon sell for three digit prices on ebay)
[thanks to christopher hill for raw materials and legal processing]
[thanks to karen thomas for memory jogging]
1) always use reviewer language, and nothing but. reviewer language is an interesting dialect of english that only exists in written form - no one actually speaks reviewer language. yet the majority of "underground" publications, and at least 99% of such publications made in america, are written entirely in reviewer language. you probably already know this language from hours of perusing "scene" material; if you don't, study a copy of "worm gear" 'zine for a few minutes, and you'll quickly get the hang of it. at its core is an emphasis on unnecessary adjectives, convoluted syntax, and the consistent use of flowery or downright stupid jargon. for instance, CDs are always "sheathed", "wrapped", or "encased" in their covers. they are not albums, but rather "collections" of "recordings" or "experiments" (if it's some neoclassical two-note keyboard faggotry, they're "compositions"). another example of the proper use of jargon and silly adjectives: english: "this CD has 11 tracks and is the band's third release" reviewer: "this disc provides 11 cuts and is the third offering from this intriguing entity".
for the experts: you are undoubtedly the sort of pretentious ass who thinks they know about all types of music, even metal. so you will need to study reviewer language as it pertains to other genres. as a start, remember this : when describing a metal band, always use the phrases "vocal stylings" and "guitar work," even though they don't make sense and sound gay.
2) never, under any circumstances, describe the music. everything is some form of "electronics" or "sonics," that is all the reader needs to know. of course, you may still put your thesaurus to use with descriptive phrases such as "dark sonics", "delicate electronics", "rich sonics", etc., as long as you remain sufficiently uninformative. the layers of sound may "collide", "erupt", "sweep", or "drift." make liberal use of the words "organic" and "textures" and occasionally insert the phrase "interspersed with electronic bloops and bleeps." in your catalog, there will undoubtedly be some shitty releases next to the good ones (if you have any good ones in there), so ambiguity is important-- each item you offer for sale should appear to be of equal value, else you will be left with a warehouse full of malignant records CDs.
for the experts: treat these different "sonics" and "electronics" as concrete objects or living beings in order to expand the descriptive possibilities. this allows for "oppressive electronics," "rampant sonics," "creeping sonics", "dying electronics," "bleeding electronics," "eroding electronics," "corroding electronics," "hostile, palpitating electronics," "oceanic electronics" bloodthirsty sonics," "embryoni electronics," etc. etc. ad nauseam. find the most uninteresting releases in your catalog and put "recommended!" next to them.
3) describe every wimpy, uninspired release in bombastic terms... it is a "harsh, unrelenting assault" of "mayhemic electronics" (or, for a metal band, a "blasting progression of mind-altering riffs"). wallow in masochistic fantasies, tell everyone how you feel like you've been ass-raped and "pummeled" repeatedly by the "brutal, insensitive sonic attack" until you collapsed in a whimpering heap, unable to move, save to press the "repeat" button. if the release is so wimpy that you can't bring yourself to describe it in such a way, talk about how it brought you "to the depths of despair" and had you reaching for sharp objects with which to slit your wrists and "end it all."
for the experts: anything involving a keyboard, or released in europe, is "power electronics" (you will always write the phrase as two separate words, and if you're really an assmunch, you'll capitalize them).
4) pretend you know about black metal (which you faggily refer to as "BM"... just as you faggily refer to "PE"). this is absolutely essential these days. buy a few CDs at the mall... most of them will be gay and not really black metal at all, but the band members' makeup will appeal to you, and you'll praise these bandwagon-hoppers ecstatically for putting out some of the "best black metal" in the world. you might also accidentally pick up a few good CDs from established bands... these you will call "unoriginal" and you'll suggest that "these guys, whoever they are" could take a few lessons from some of the queers you praised "elsewhere in these pages."
for the experts: learn about black metal from scott candey
5) in your world, bands always "travel" down a "path", and that path must "progress" towards "originality." if the CD (er, i mean disc) doesn't utilize some fruity instrument you've never heard of before, it's not "innovative" enough. however, if it is some obscene hybrid style of music (i.e. ethno-techno-rap-metal-ambient-neo-classical-core-jazz-noise-folk with funk influences and polka-tinged martial beats), you will beseech your readers to "have an open mind," and strongly imply that only intelligent, "adventurous," musically ingenious people can "comprehend" the release.
for the experts: bore the fuck out of everyone with your personal experiences, including the wonderful story of your trip to the PO box, finding the CD, putting it on the stereo, how ass-raped you felt afterwards, etc.. childhood and college experiences are a bonus.
6) when listing merchandise in a catalog, always stress that it was released on a certain label. that is how most buttmunches determine what they're going to buy, and why many (if not most) catalogs are organized by label rather than alphabetically. at least 90% of your customers, especially those living in germany or new york, won't buy anything that isn't on tesco, stateart, or ant-zen. if the item comes from one of those labels, don't waste time describing it. even if you say it sounds like abba, the trendies will snatch it up in an instant. but whatever merchandise you have from other labels must be relentlessly compared to merchandise from the abovementioned three if you ever hope to make a sale to these people. make sure they realize that these other releases, too, are limited to a laughably small and arbitrary number of copies, and are encased in some sort of fabric woven somewhere in the alps.
for the experts: never stock more than three copies of any item. if you happen to have more copies, pretend you only have three, and when those have been sold, joyously announce that you've "found an old box" somewhere containing copies of the item, and there are now three copies available for sale (again). you can keep doing this over and over, since no one really pays attention to what you say. once you've sold your last copy, keep the item in the catalog but put "SOLD OUT!" next to it, so everyone knows you were cool enough to have copies once.
7) if you consider yourself an "artist"/"musician"/whatever, and also write for or publish a magazine, hire a stooge. a stooge is someone who writes reviews for your magazine, but only of releases you were involved in. as much as you'd like to review your own boring releases, even you realize how pathetic that would be. nonetheless, many morons are fooled by the stooge routine. astoundingly, of the ten or so releases given highest praise in each issue, six or more will be your projects. your tracks on compilations will be lauded as the highlights of those releases. you will be referred to as a legend and a genius. this will be done ffhandedly, as if the reader already knows what a legend and a genius you are.
for the experts: honesty is the last thing you want in most reviews. you are part of a very touchy-feely, ass-patting "scene" where everybody has to get along. a lot of the stuff you review will come from people you have personal relations with. don't risk becoming a black sheep (or a "james hanna") by saying something sucks. you'll miss out on so much mutual scrotal grooming, and you might even be banned from playing in new york.
8) your catalog should always be out of date. half to three quarters of the merchandise listed should be sold out, and new catalogs should be printed as infrequently as possible (once every three years is reasonable). this applies to any and all catalogs, even if they're nothing but a word-processed list and not a fucking phone book with illustrations or sporting a commissioned cover from a famous "scene" artist. the really cool people will be informed of new stock by email. everyone else will have to settle for ordering from an ancient catalog, and ending up with their fourth- or fifth-string alternates. it's an excellent method of getting rid of your least desirable stock.
for the experts: forget about reprinting your catalog ever again. make it accessible only to those belonging to your family of email list geeks, via a homosexually suggestive internet address. put it in .pdf format to further enhance the gayness factor.
9) when writing descriptions in a catalog, restocks or rereleases must be referred to as "seminal works," "milestones" and so on. a new release is always "their best work yet." when writing reviews, a new release will never live up to the obscure limited-to-20 demo/CDR/7" that first introduced you to the group and that no one will ever be able to find and use to refute your claims.
for the experts: your customers are often extremely stupid, so feel free to provide nonsensical descriptions of your merchandise. for instance, talk about the "orchestral majesty" of a band whose entire instrumentation is a keyboard. or announce that you're releasing a double CD set containing "two live concerts, never before heard."
10) say you're the "sole american distributor" for certain items (even if they're unlimited pressings that any idiot can find in seven other catalogs in the US alone), then charge more for it than it would cost to buy it direct from europe.
for the experts: accept credit cards. it's gay, it's commercial, and it fits your image perfectly.
I THINK EVEN I'M GUILTY OF A COUPLE OF THESE
PART FOUR: THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS (how to run a label, manage your band's personal affairs, and properly indicate that your records sell for three digit prices on ebay)
or, as you would probably call it, TAKTIKAL PROTOKOL GOVERNING THEE OPERATIONS OV A LUKRATIVE ANARKO-KOLLEKTIVIST FOUNDATION IN THEE MODERN AGE OV PROPAGANDA DISSEMINATION VIA ELEKTRONIK CHANNELS, DETAILING ALL NECESSARY AKTIONS PERTAINING TO THEE GENERATION OV KAPITAL AT A RATE RIVALING MANY LARGE KOMMERCIAL BUSINESSES
1) those of you who run newly formed, small labels should post your promo bullshit five or six times to email lists in the span of ten seconds. then post the same shit again a day later, and again three days later. a week later, repeat the process.
for the experts: when you release some stupid 7" of a band no one gives a shit about, attach the rest of your idiotic back catalog at the bottom of your message. that way the names of the nobodies who've released stuff on your label become unconciously imprinted in peoples' minds, and people will be more willing to pay for their next release. don't forget to include your fifty websites, and all the stupid nicknames you've given yourself. your "sig line" should be ten times the size of your actual message.
2) another guideline for small labels: releases must be described using at least three words that have nothing to do with each other, so people will think you're offering something new and original. examples: "folk death electronics," "cold microwave techno," "ambient blood requencies," "black machine exploration."
for the experts: mention that the release features appearances by twenty other names no one's ever heard of (at least two of which are something like "DJ coagulate" or "MC strobelight").
3) if you are an established label, never post anything to email lists yourself. get a surrogate (usually a female) to post your label information for you. the information should be given after a nonchalant little statement like "i realize this is a list devoted to sutcliffe jugend, but i thought some of you might be interested in this," after which the surrogate proceeds to inform us about an upcoming "apocalyptic folk" triple LP compilation you plan to release next year, but which won't actually be released for another four years-- three years and 11 months after it sells out. also, don't ever say what it will cost, as this is one of those "if you have to ask..." situations. all of this adds to the air of mystery about you, although you most likely do it because you can't speak english. if you cannot find a surrogate, just use your sister's email account. if you don't have a sister, use your social worker's email account. whatever you do, make sure the name of the bringer of news doesn't match the name of the email address used. in other words, people will receive a message from "angela hall" written and signed by someone whose name is neither angela nor hall. for the experts: in order to get your label firmly planted in the "scene" mythology, you must have quite a few long out-of-print 10" releases and compilations that no one ever fucking heard of til they appeared on ebay. you can do this by:
a) releasing your and your best friend's 15 projects, sideprojects, and incestuous collaborations
b) filling up several compilations with said projects and sideprojects, alongside many names that no one will ever see again because they're just you pretending to be some mysterious group.
c) releasing each in an ultra-limited edition of 62 copies, 60 of which you will quickly sell to the old ladies at your grandmother's bingo club, because they feel sorry for "such a nice boy" who is obviously "between jobs" (the other two you will sell to some idiot in new york).
4) interview yourself in your own magazine. interview bands on your label, too (be sure to ask them how they got signed). rather than enclose fliers of your band and other of your label's bands with your magazine, give yourself full-page advertisements. everything should be described as a "collection of dark hymns, packaged in an immaculate silkscreened cloth binding designed by the artist and strictly limited to 121 copies."
for the experts: when you ask yourself to name your influences, mention only punk bands. you never listen to other bands who release similar stuff as yours. people reading the interview will actually believe you were listening to a clash record when you hit upon the idea of layering samples of german morticians over a keyboard drone and some thumping noises, and that it's a fucking accident that all the "artists" on your label sound the same. now that you've made a complete and total ass of yourself and annoyed the fuck out of everyone (especially me), your label has become famous and you can proceed to do whatever you want. seriously, you could start a new sideproject called NOVO HOMO and people would actually buy it! but in keeping with tradition regarding pompous asses in this business, you will stick to the following tried and true "scene" guidelines:
5) you are not a label, you are a "foundation," "organization," or "kollektiv." everything you do should be referred to as "operations." although you've never done anything significant in your life, let alone illegal, you can easily cover this up by saying you can't talk about your "operations" because of "legal issues."
for the experts: even though you are a shameless capitalist, provide a list of flaming pink leftist groups that you "support" (and which of course, have never heard of or heard from you). then name all your songs after defunct right-wing groups.
6) fliers are just too low budget for you, so you print postcards. and rather than being a form of advertisement-- a humble offering of your product to the discriminating public-- they will be collectible items in their own right. mail them out to close friends and associates, charge money for them, put them on ebay, etc.
for the experts: if you're from europe, you will always have a guy with a sock over his head on your advertisements. if you're not from europe, you'll have to settle for a skull (and fewer sales).
7) if you are from germany, austria, or switzerland, you have no sense of humor, and your "operations" will always reflect this. if you are from scandinavia, you consider americans too stupid to understand your jokes. if you're british, you're always friendly despite being in a bad mood. if you're american, french, or eastern european, you will pretend to be german. if you're japanese, you're no longer considered "cutting edge" enough. if you're italian, you will babble ("hypertrophic chloromaxillar labia transgressing heteromantic thought processes, freeze frame genitalia retrovinyl praxis alluvial 8-millimetre novocaine deoxyribosexual matriculation" etc.). if you're from anywhere else, no one gives a shit about you so don't even bother starting a band.
for the experts: do something really fucking stupid involving cultures you know nothing about. for instance, if you're from switzerland, release a CD of czech folk guitar with vocals in spanish. if the cultures are far enough away, such as greenland or indonesia, you can simply find a village, record old people mumbling, and release it as a CD (under your name, of course). if you can't come up with anything like this, just collaborate with some fucking useless cunt like jarboe or rose mcdowall.
8) don't answer your email more than once every month, and certainly never answer label-related questions posted to email lists of which you are a member (unless the question is "i want to buy several double 10"s, where do i send my money?"... in such cases, answer the question, but use a surrogate). this gives the illusion that you're off doing something important, or perhaps dealing with "legal issues," while giving you plenty of time to silkscreen 121 burlap sacks in preparation for your next release.
for the experts: every few months, hire another surrogate to post to various email lists to ask what your email address and phone number are.
9) always, whether in press releases or conversation or wherever, remind everyone that on your newest release you are "exploring" (pick one or more of the following): time mortality immortality information propaganda the human experience life death control "cultural terrorism" various enigmas ritual "magick" the sonorities of your girlfriend's voice soundscapes of dark electronic textures landscapes of cold electronic textures synthscapes of harsh electronic textures painscapes of bleak electronic textures or try to come up with something equally stupid of your own. go ahead, you've got plenty of time.
for the experts: announce your soon to be published book, which "examines" in great detail the above concepts, as well as your "philosophy" (as if you have one). it will, of course, be published by somebody on the west coast of the USA, where all the fuckin freaks live. and finally, the best tried and true method of getting your forgettable releases to sell for three digit prices on ebay:
10) put your releases up for three digit prices on ebay. really, that's all you have to do. the average moron will, after seeing these releases a few times on ebay with three digit price tags, come running to bid three digits! they figure it must be worth that much because:
a) they've never seen it before, so it must be a super-limited edition
b) the only times they've seen it, it's up on ebay for three digits of course, you have to grab their attention first. so, ath eyethpark would thay, "here ith what your lithting thould look like" (pick one):
option A: [name] [format] ltd [number] [color] BLUTHARSCH!
option B: [name] [format] BOX ltd [number] RARE ant-zen
option C: v/a [format] ltd [number] RARE tesco JOYAUX!
don't worry, you won't get sued by any of the above names, they're too busy dealing with "legal issues" already. although they might ask you for a collaboration. for the experts: to get this racket working, start off by "selling" several copies of the release to your friends/associates/etc. for example, let's say klaus wants to sell a few of his new double LP compilations (called "sieg homo anthems uber resistancia hoxha l'existence") on ebay. so that the average dark-electro-post-industro-noise bidder knows that this is a very valuable item, klaus's friend helmut volunteers to meet the reserve price of $400 the first couple of times around, although it is understood that no money or merchandise will actually change hands (helmut's got copies of his own anyway, he was on the record). after this, klaus is home free, the money rolls in, and he and his boyfriend otto can finally afford AIDS medication.
GUILTY (UNANIMOUS VERDICT)
PART FIVE: HOW TO ARRANGE CONCERTS, "FESTIVALS," OR OTHER "EVENTS" (at which you can set up a table and sell items for three digits, thus bypassing ebay) since this topic should only be tackled by seasoned "scene" experts, i have for the present discussion dispensed with the usual format of non-expert/expert divisions within each rule. if you have yet to master the principles and behaviors laid out in the first four sets of rules, do yourself a favor and go back to them now before reading further. in other words, if you are not yet a pretentious ass with a useless band, label, magazine, catalog, and ridiculous image, or if you still don't know how to silkscreen a 10" piece of burlap, this is not for you. come back when you're gay enough to handle it.
now that we've got the amateurs out of the way, we shall begin...
SECTION A: PRE-FESTIVAL PREPARATIONS, A.K.A. THEE WAY TOWARDS THEE CREATION OV THEE BLESSED ALTAR THAT AWAITS THEE ARRIVAL OV THEE GREEN GOD, IN SUCH WAYS THAT BE PLEASING TO HIM, AND IN HARMONY WITH THEE WAY OV THEE KOLLEKTIV WHOLE
1) the lineup. 35 different "bands" will play, made up of only about three people total. obviously for this to be possible you will need to invite some europeans to "participate" in your festival. europeans have an interesting culture, part of which is not being able to make up their fucking minds what their band is called. this results in each european having at least nine or ten bands of his own. so pick a good set of several europeans, mix and match collaborations (they are prone to these, it's like a disease, they can't put out two fucking albums under the same name, they have to find a buddy to team up with and start a new band each time they release a record), and you can have thousands of bands available to play at your festival! of course this would be a bit unwieldy, but as most of these alter egos refuse to appear live (like i said, it's an interesting culture), you will end up with a nice figure like 35 bands, and only 3 plane tickets to pay. your festival is off to a wonderful start!
2) the name. by this time you should have come up with a name for your event. if you haven't, simply do some research into past "scene" activity to find out what other festivals have been called. then simply mix and match words until you create your own unique name that sounds like all the others. too lazy to do that? just use some or all of the following:
words foreign to the country in which you are holding your event are a bonus. and as always in this "scene," gibberish is not only acceptable, but generally preferable.
3) the website, a.k.a. the bait-and-switch. now no festival would be in tune with our modern digital age without an entire website devoted to it. so it's time to get online and make yourself a nice internet advertisement, complete with blurry pictures and flashing text. the basic information will probably go something like this:
Les Cold Deadly Organs Festival: A Celebration Ov European Power Electronics wednesday, february 22nd @ The Container in San Diego brought to you by thee yho-wij-izh-GAAYH kollektiv
in conjunction with thee hole of glory foundation
**ai em kwir (harsh homo-noise electronix)
**les joyaux de la princesse (anthems for the dishonorably discharged from WWII)
**albin julius and the nothing good ever came out of switzerland quintet (WWI-era hymns from extremely unimportant kountries)
**boyd rice and shmoigl chaimlwitzenbergenblumblattstein (playing selektions from nazi march music 78s)
**chod-aholiyk (rituall esthetiks and manifestations of male-male sexual energy)
**cazzodio (rhythmic vibrations of apocalyptic magnitude)
**anenzephalia (cookie cutter tesco electronics)
**inade (oppressively sleep-inducing sonics and photonics)
**khumh-coh tidh-tonn-sylz (SPECIAL ONE-TIME PERFORMANCE!! bend over and take it electronics)
**con-dom + grey wolves + resistance + manifesto + libertad (propaganda dissemination for the politically confused)
**peter sotos (reading texts for the sexually omnidirectional)
**eugenics council featuring howard stern (children playing with their own feces electronics)
**genocide organ (ebonics)
go ahead and include bands that don't fit the theme of the festival (i.e. not powerelectronic, not european, heterosexual). in fact, feel free to include bands that have no intention of showing up, or had no idea you said they would. you can even make up names, as no one in attendance will know when one act begins or ends since it's always two of the same three guys on stage.
4) the announcement. now it's time to let other dark-electro-post-industro-noisers know about this "imminent event" via email list spam. make sure you start your message with a catchy phrase like "stop press!" or "achtung!" then direct everyone to the previously created website and inform them of the location of the nearest ticketmaster outlet. tickets are, of course, non-refundable, even if the only decent band slated doesn't show up.
SECTION B: WHEN, UPON THEE ARRIVAL OV THEE GREEN GOD, THOU ART INTENT UPON CHANNELLING HIM MOST GRACEFULLY INTO THY POCKET-ALTAR, THAT HE MAY THUS JOIN HIS BROTHERS PREVIOUSLY CHANNELLED VIA THEE RIGHTEOUS METHOD OV THEE TICKETMASTER OUTLET, AND ARE THUS IN NEED OV A SIMILARLY RIGHTEOUS PROTOKOL FOR THEE IMPLEMENTATION AND ASSURANCE OV SUCCESS OV THY ENDEAVOR
5) the setup. here it is, the big day! make sure you're dressed for success. put on a crisp, unworn t-shirt of some german band. arrive late and make everyone wait for you while you tramp around trying to look busy. send someone out to look for bottled water for the europeans. better yet, complain that you haven't eaten all day even though you live about 15 minutes from the venue, then order pizza. meanwhile, set up that table! whip out yer old limited-to-tens, polish up those fake ammunition tins and gas canisters, line up those 10"s, and get ready to smile (or nod, or smirk) at a lot of idiots. this is the day you've been saving up for. hell, bring along your entire collection in a metal trunk. the stuff you're not selling will make you look cool and bring people over to talk to you and try to pretend that they own the stuff, too.
6) the fat fags. be careful not to offend any fat fags. yeah, they'll probably be sitting outside somewhere where they don't need their earplugs, talking about prog rock records instead of enjoying con-dom's performance, but these are the cyber-geek literati who'll be gabbing about your "festival" on the tumorshit in a couple of days. if you ever want to do this again, you'll need their moral support.
7) the dj. if no one's doing anything, start spinning some of your label's records.
SECTION C: POST-FESTIVAL OPERATIONS, A.K.A. REAPING THEE FRUITS OV THEE HARVEST, SO THAT THEE AND THINE MAY LIVE IN PERPETUAL BOUNTY NOW AND FOREVERMORE VIA THEE INTERMITTENT MILKING OV THEE SURPRISINGLY PERSISTENT PHALLUS OV THEE DEAD GOAT
8) the cleanup. remember, an event such as this never dies. first come the wieners who attempt to review everything, always forgetting half the band names and other important details because they were outside in the fucking hallway the whole time. not that it matters if they paid attention, because 90% of their reviews' content is focused on their feelings, inside jokes, and homoerotic suggestion, after which they blow off the last band or two because they had to go home to bed early after too many fruity chick drinks. after they post their reviews, post a nice big "thank you to everyone who came out (of the closet) and participated in our festival" along with an anecdote or two about what part of your record collection the europeans were impressed with when you took them home after the show (i.e. your hasselhoff sings Christoffersson LP with steel plate cover).
9) the rehash. next comes the limited-to-36-copies multi-cassette set (in empty NATO-issue KY tube with red silk banderole) purporting to represent the "festival", yet featuring only four of the 30 or so bands that played. this item only shows up in two places:
b) catalogs, right next to the words "SOLD OUT!"
10) the last gasp. when those are gone, you can start selling posters for $20 on ebay. no one will question the utility of these posters. no one will say "what the fuck did you have posters for? who in the fuck hears about a powerelectronics concert by seeing posters on a local telephone pole?!?" this is because everyone knows damn well that the posters were made for the
exclusive purpose of being sold for $20 on ebay.
GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY
PART SIX: HOW TO LOOK LIKE A VERITABLE TREASURE TROVE OF USELESS YET IMPORTANT ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE (a.k.a. how to act like you're still an english, art, or music major when you're no longer in college, and use these activities to boost your ebay sales to three digits per item)
1) make sure your band name is impossible to pronounce, and lifted from a source so obscure not even your best friends could figure out where you came up with it. simple methods of doing this:
a) pick up one of the many bottles on your bathroom shelf, then reverse the name of the product or one of its ingredients and add dashes between words. examples: "sredluohs-dna-deah," %13000.0-lomatecanehpolcyc". if this still doesn't look esoteric enough, add h's to the end of each word or next to most of the consonants. examples: "avlevh-auqah," "ehtahflhus-lyhrhualh-mhuinhomhmha." add umlauts to taste. this is the method of choice among rhythmic and/or beat-oriented groups, when they're not naming themselves something unbelievably inane like "iron halo device."
b) choose four consonants, at least one of which is "k", or three consonants and a vowel, and capitalize them. examples: "KFDA," "DKMV," "NKTO." as soon as you do this, your telephone will ring. at the other end will be a german with an offer to release your first two 10"s.
c) if your band sounds like death in june, and/or if you have a habit of being confused as to which major world war you're talking about, you may wish to choose a band name consisting of a four-letter word followed by an exclamation point. examples: "JUIF!," "JUDE!," "HOMO!"
d) when choosing a name for an appearance on your colleague's "Scheisskunst" triple LP compilation (said name to be discarded immediately thereafter), take english words and germanize" them by replacing "c"s with "k"s and normal english word-endings with "heit," "keit," or "ung." examples: "kollektivkeit attackung parameterheit," "klanheit meetingung." if this doesn't sound annoying enough, rearrange some syllables or just invent words. examples: "pidstuheit keitvokal fekeft," "dekenften manheit hohenlotz." one vowel, chosen at random, should receive an umlaut.
e) take two- or three-letter senseless syllables containing several vowels, "h"s, or "x"s, and put hyphens between them. examples: "ahh-oh-oa," "io-eht-xx-iaa." on special occasions (such as the release of your third "work"), one vowel, chosen at random, should receive an umlaut.
f) if you are a "neo-folk" group, and don't wish to be hindered by the suggestion in part c, you may wish to consider choosing a very long band name. this is generally in the form of a sentence describing a past event. examples: "the wind blew hard in the woods while i did the same to my boyfriend," "i cried as the mountains sighed over the spring fields," "wolves were silent as i questioned my sexuality while the moon gazed at my shriveled genitalia," "most of my family died in a concentration camp."
[i]for the experts: try to keep the names of your band, sideprojects, and label as short as possible, so that you can cram all of them into an ebay listing title. if you followed the guidelines in part f, use an acronym, i.e. TWBHITWWIDTSTMB, ICATMSOTSF, WWSAIQMSWTMGAMSG, or MOMFDIACC.
2) dedicate a release to a faggot photographer or painter, i.e. "the mapplethorpe ep."
for the experts: focus on the unimportant, especially when it comes to historical figures. you find WWII fascinating? find out the name of stalin's tailor and devote an entire album to him. compilations should be named after journalists, film makers, and other nauseating scum rather than the leaders and generals they wrote about or filmed.
3) intend your vinyl releases to be heard at a particular speed, but never give the slightest indication what it is.
for the experts: release several full-length LPs, but choose one at random and call it a 12"
4) become a chronic collaborator. this is a great way of creating a shroud of mystery around your otherwise unremarkable self. each release you're involved in has a new name and is done in concert with a new partner in stupidity. eventually even you can't keep track of your own "work", so when anyone comes to you looking for information, you're forced to give them a very vague, esoteric answer. practice saying things like "he who seeks shall find" and "cold meat was selling copies three years ago, i suggest you ask roger if he has any left."
for the experts: your label (which should really be called something like "Geld Durch Scheisse" but is probably called something like "Taktikal Order Ov Produktiv Operations Foundation") consists of a group of bands who sound exactly the same, and who probably contain exactly the same members. should you have the opportunity to release something that sounds slightly different, don't do it on your label. you must start a new "side-label" for this purpose.
5) make sure your band "features members of" at least two other groups, at least one of which has had releases on tesco or loki, and at least one of which has a name that is a meaningless jumble of syllables no one would ever find in any european language, not even finnish. by the way, if you happen to be finnish, there's no reason for you to read these rules. you're already so fucking weird no one knows what the fuck you're talking about, ever. and unless you've done a split with grunt, it's unlikely anyone's heard your stuff either.
for the experts: occasionally do a gig at a club with a gay name like "the landfill," "the black box," "the package," or "the used condom." each time, refer to it either as "live aktion" number somethingorother, or "special one-time performance!!!!" if there are multiple members of your band, make sure a few of them don't appear at the show.
6) in the packaging for one or more of your releases, include a four- or five-line bit of poetic prose dealing with one or more of the following:
the partridge family
make sure to put it in quotes, even though you wrote it. that's what makes it so esoteric-- your fans will be searching for the source for the rest of their lives.
for the experts: pretend you know about science-- any kind of science. use words like "eutectic" and "wavefunction." let your listeners know that you are one of the erudite few who grasp the connection between one or all of the above topics and "theoreticall physicks" or "biokhemikall reaktion mekhanisms."
7) if you're an american, always have at least one long german-sounding word as a song title, like "schlischlichtanzschreckenkeit." this will help you break into the seamy pseudo-goth underbelly of the "industrial scene." this "scene" is full of listeners who find the german language indescribably frightening, yet arousing in a masochistic, extremely homosexual way. the more adventurous among them often branch out into what they call "dark ambient power electronics" (which is, of course, neither darkambient nor powerelectronics), where they may find nonsensical song titles like "death pvlse" amidst gratuitous use of latin.
for the experts: one good way to remain incoherent and/or cover up your stupidity while rambling on forever is to write shitloads of liner notes in a language very few of your buyers understand. include a few pictures of statues and perhaps a rune or two, so no one gets bored.
8) effective use of jargon (the emperor's new robe) is important here. if your stuff sounds like mid-range static with occasional thumping, call it "crushing power electronics." remove the static and it becomes "ritual ambient." if it sounds like folk music played by AIDS-ridden homosexuals, call it "an exposition of pan-europa." if it sounds like nothing's going on, refer to "minimal microtonal variations." if someone's painfully honking a horn on your record, call it "an eclectic fusion of jazz, classical, and electronic music." if you have no idea what the fuck you're doing, wrap it in rice paper, tie it up with twine made from saguaro cacti, and call it "an artifact."
for the experts: release a CD containing "different kinds of silence." how exciting.
9) it's important to remember that you, as a respected pillar of the "scene," are approached with pre-set assumptions as to your intelligence and possession of esoteric knowledge. in other words, you're given the benefit of the doubt. if you do something that makes no sense, rather than assume you're an idiot, most dark-electro-post-industro-noisers will try to understand why you've done it, in order to be more like you. over time, if enough of these sheep-like wienerboys imitate you, you will earn the awe-inspiring title of "originator" of whatever particular idiocy you pioneered. so go ahead and release a 45rpm double 10" set instead of an LP, and call it "Mussolini" even though your band's name is "CCCP." you have my sincere assurance that no one will have the brains or the guts to call you a fucking moron.
for the experts: remember that the key to being esoteric is to leave your listeners with as many unanswered questions as possible. some common questions the inexperienced dark-electro-post-industro-noise consumer may ask include: "these guys are homosexual jews, so why do they have a totenkopf on their record cover?" "the press release said this was powerelectronics, so why doesn't it have vocals... and why does it sound like techno?" "the artwork is archival war photographs, so why is the music just some cunt singing about crops while some pantywaist strums a lute?" "why the fuck is boyd rice on this compilation?" once they start asking these questions, it won't be long before they begin to believe that the best way to find the answers is to buy more of your releases.
10) you need a press release, of course. here are several possible tacks (these are by no means the only options):
a) the ingenious explorer of new realms of electronic music. the new trend here is to make a recording using digital files from your computer, and pretend that a million people haven't done this already. a more traditional press release would look something like this: "[your name here] is an oft-mentioned name in higher circles of experimental electronic and computer music, working for the past 20 years with the likes of [names of other artfags here]. on this release, [your name] has chosen to work with the intricacies of inaudible sound. processed field recordings, homemade instruments, and a sprinkling of electronics are woven into subtly nuanced microtonal structures that defy description... to grasp inaudibility, one must truly grasp the audible... the audibility of sound is simply the expression of interior motion, and as motion is feeling, and feeling is found only in the spaces between objects, and objects are found only in the spaces between spaces, this is a music that explores the vastness of space, as well as the dichotomy between interior and exterior foundations of inaudibility... the dynamics of satellite rotation, decaying weathervanes, the crickets chirping in a bathroom stall at a rest stop in tucson, all these express sonorities channeled through and beyond our audible experience. this record, like a sum of nothings, equals something more than nothing. a private edition of 44 copies with hand-written songtitles
in dirt-smeared sandpaper covers and signed by the artists, each record is unique. we have three copies for sale."
b) the erudite prophet who bringeth light in the form of limited vinyl releases. this is when your music sucks so bad that even the collectors won't buy your shit unless you release it in several tiny batches of different colored vinyl. your press release is either some sort of drivel like: "this album details the life and times of cornelius faust-bismarck, an 18th century belgian alchemist and reincarnator who successfully channeled the spirit of nostradamus before being beheaded without trial in 1798... this green vinyl LP contains an exclusive track not found on the purple, pink, or yellow pressings, along with a booklet of faust-bismarck's treatises," or an absolutely laughable and audacious description like: "traditional bulgarian arrangements of strings and percussion create a frightening backdrop for the enchanting dual vocals of [your mother's name] and [your name]. lyrics are adapted from croatian marching anthems. strictly limited to 167 copies, these will never be repressed. special bonus 7" included with the first 18 copies."
c) the harbinger of the apocalypse. this is when your music is too simple to be considered a "work," too sloppy to be darkambient, too weak to be considered harsh noise, lacks the focus of powerelectronics, yet can still make a tumorlist member shit his panties. since "boring, derivative mid-range snoozery in the gruntsplatter style" doesn't sound very appealing, your press release shall be of the form: "crushing dark evil power electronics and black noize from the new undisputed master of sickening rhythms and torturous cavernous black death torture! bow down as the masterful black ambient noize crushes your feeble body and the darkness of death steals your soul. this shit is so sick and crushing it will make your blood jump out of your veins and attack you and make you beg to die. we mean it, this is sickening torturous BLACK AMBIENT DEATHNOIZE from the caverns of hell. this will fuck you up for good! released in a video box in a limited edition of 100 copies because if we released any more, the world would come to an end!!!!!"
d) the distinguished purveyor of fine goods. some labels behave as though they were selling not music, but caviar. caviar is very expensive, comes in very small quantities, and is sold to a very small group of consumers. what's more, it's not really for eating, but for show-- most people who've tried it hate its taste, so they just serve it to party guests, and the common people would never have heard of it if it weren't for the rich people who talk about teating it so that everyone will realize that they're rich. am i confusing you here? in plain english, then: release only 7" picture discs limited to 40 or so copies. the music on the 7"s doesn't matter-- in fact, you can press absolute silence onto them or just airbrush your design over a bee gees single and no one would notice, as these items are never taken out of the plastic. their existence is announced only to a select few who buy them instantly, after which they are paraded around on ebay and sold from collector to collector at steadily increasing prices until one day, some fuckwit is paying $500 for a piece of purple-colored shit with your name on it. congratulations, you're a real faggot.
for the experts: once you've reached the status of "scene" legend, you will no longer need a press release. there will be enough sycophantic little cunts to describe your releases for you, and you can focus your valuable energy on shitting out vapid manifestoes or penning sonnets for patty hearst.