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Audioccult Vol. 24: What is Goth? Baby don’t hurt me…


Light a candle. Draw the required sigils. Now, raise your arms above your head and slowly, gently, exhale your soul. You won’t need it here. This is Audioccult, and it’s time to get low.

Right now this is me: one two and three. Life and various things got my stress peaked, and between you and me, computer screen, it feels a bit like unraveling. This, my blackblacknails chillin’ on the front page of and the rainy Berlin sky makes me feel like it’s the perfect time to talk about goth.

Last year I was asked to do an interview for a book about goth. This was very weird to me. Even as a goth I never called myself goth (which of course made me even more goth); most of the people around my age that I knew in my big-hair days were deathrockers (oh yes, that’s loads cooler), and I sort of was as well. It’s where a lot of the good dark underground rock music was in 2003. Most of these same young people also hopped right back out of deathrock, because, though it pretends to be cooler than the rest of the goth scene, it’s just as stifling, restrictive and backward-looking (and also tends to deify poor dead Rozz Williams in a bizarre way). As a post-goth I’ve been either apathetic, dismissive or downright hateful toward the mainstream goth scene (yes, that is a thing), and I was being interviewed about my blog Gucci Goth, which was, in part, a reappropriation and dissection of goth. So I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The author was a very sweet woman, though, and since I’m not a dick for the sake of dickishness I was happy to do it. Today, I was asked to once again to give an interview on the same subject, leading me to wonder if I’m generally perceived as a goth even now…if there’s something inherently gothy about me. It’s a strange idea; I certainly don’t perceive myself as such. Just because I wear a lot of black, and Docs, and creepers, and really really like Coil and fog machines and occasionally painting my nails black and vodka-cranberries…fuck.

But what does goth even mean anymore? My tagline for GG was ‘Fake Goth is the Real Goth’ because, while many legit goths hated Gucci Goth, the ideas, images and music I promoted were tied more closely to the original goth scene than ‘real’ goth has been in years. What was OG goth? Just kids dressing fucking crazy and fabulous, partying at clubs and exploring new music. It was punk with a death-glam veneer, jacked-up and jacking off. Most people were poor, and everyone was hungry and excited. Somehow that spun into a 30+ year subculture with giant festivals and progressively lamer sub-groups…most of whom are just super normal bitches with a different outfit and a false mental veneer of ‘outsiderness’ to make themselves feel special. I would consider both of the following tracks by Ethelwulf & Chris Travis and Bestial Mouths equally perfect to play in what I would consider a modern real goth club, which is why I make the parties I do.



There are two goth scenes right now: the goth scene and the goth scene . The former is, indeed, the former: the Wave Gotik Treffens, the Whitby Gothic Renfairs, the multitude of soulless and stagnant parties where people pretend to whip each other to EBM tracks they’re not even listening to. This is Mainstream Goth. The latter is what I consider ‘Whatever Goth’. Which is not meant to be a genre tag, because WHATEVER, fuck it—it’s not one thing. It’s just music for freaks. It’s the parties where you show up and Flocka is transitioning into White Ring and there’s fashion people and art kids and poor weirdos and just general mutants, regardless of dress code. It’s the oddball blog darlings reconceptualizing sounds: the Mykki Blancos, the Grimes and the Death Grips. It’s noise and pop, a dissolution of genres rather than the embrace of it. Why is it still called goth? Well…I do like those black clothes…


Published October 05, 2012.