Children of Goth: On the Fringes of Wave-Gotik-Treffen

Goth is hardly the wild beast it once was. It’s certainly had an interesting ride, though, from its early days of ’80s glammy punk weirdnessvampire rock-and-roleplaying in the ’90s on into futurepop and misogynistic bro-dustrial in the ’00s (with a resulting old-school revival backlash, naturally). On top of this, there are all the post-modern, Internet-led aspects which the more stodgy parts of the scene won’t admit exist but that bring in new kids and keep le darq scene shambling about in the underground.

Of course, it’s good to step into the light once in a while. That’s what the giant festival Wave-Gotik-Treffen is for: a chance to gather in large groups with friends, purchase expensive black clothes in massive halls, and then wander up and down the main streets posing for photos all day. Okay—that’s a bit uncharitable. WGT often has a killer lineup, including this year which had a bunch of great stuff. Orphx and Youth Code, for example, topped my must-see list. But the fancy-dress aspect is not really my vibe. I get it, goth these days is mostly a social/fashion scene for a lot of people, but a hot’n’horny EternaTeen like myself needs something less capitalistic and more apocalyptic.

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I’ve been frequenting the WGT on and off for the last ten years, but I tend to stick to its bastard offspring—the parties that have sprung up at the fringes, enticing festival-goers with promises of dancefloor delights. If you’re looking for something different at the I’m Different Festival, here are three highly recommended alternatives that I stumbled into drunk at 3 am, each of them showcasing different sides of the dark music scene.

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Glitter + Trauma

Leipzig’s most decadent queer-wave party embodies the glam side of goth, with plenty of leather to go along with that lace. From the body-jacking EBM of DAF to modern party bois Schwefelgelb, the music is prime-cut electro with a distinctly European edge. G+T organizer Zacker No wanted to give the queer community a WGT headquarters, where dark hearts could dance to the heroes they loved in a welcoming environment. “It’s a cliché that all goth people are open-minded, tolerant and thoughtful/profound,” Zacker told me. “Not to mention the absurd sexism that pops up here and there with some bands. I think it is still important to provide a kind of ‘shelter’—not encapsulation, but a place where you can smooch safely and flirt and dance without any risk whether you’re male, female, homo, hetero, trans or above and beyond.” Glitter + Trauma lives up to its name—expect to leave covered in glitter and sweat, not all of which will be yours.

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Institut fuer Zukunft

Not a party as such, but the last two years have seen this relatively new Leipzig club elevated to a must-visit location for fans of power noise, industrial techno and generally evil electronic sounds. 2015 saw a collaboration with Berlin’s Sabbat that brought together powerful modern acts like Monica Hits The Ground, Shaddah Tuum and Phase Fatale with the transgressive synthpunk drag of Petra Flurr. The DIY community vibe of the venue (it was basically built from scratch by punks) combined with their tasty Kirsch Audio soundsystem and labyrinthian floor plan make IfZ the perfect stage for dark debauchery.

GPP

Gothic Pogo Festival

GPP is almost as much of a Leipzig institution as WGT at this point, having existed in various forms since 2000. This multi-day mini-festival is loosely based around ‘old-school’ aspects of the scene: deathrock, coldwave, minimal and so forth ooze across the fog-shrouded dance floor as strobes illuminate a sea of backcombed mohawks and painted leather jackets. As much as I enjoy a good Bauhaus bounce on occasion, it’s been some time since these sorts of sounds and styles excited me—but as lovingly as the lineups are curated, that’s not really why GPP is exciting. It’s the queer, OG punk ethos that fuels it, the camaraderie that runs deep in both the attendees and the staff. The sense of danger exists alongside the kind of close-knit community rarely seen in parties, much less festivals. It’s more powerful than anything you’ll dose your body with over the weekend, and it’s what keeps me coming back. No expensive wardrobe required.

Photo credits (in order): Viviana Druga, Pusteblume/Leipzig, Martin Jung

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EB Radio Special: Bronze Teeth

Late last year, we tapped Bronze Teeth to compile a mix for us. They had recently released their debut 12″ on Diagonal, the noisy label run by Powell, a staple at experimental festivals like Atonal 2014 and CTM 2015. The duo, a collaborative project between Richard Smith and Factory Floor’s Dominic Butler, sent back one of the best sets we received all year. It was a gritty and punk-influenced trip through tightly-wound acid lines and busted-up mechanics from the likes of Hieroglyphic Being, Metasplice, and EBM icons D.A.F., but we couldn’t post it because the stellar tracklist caught the attention of SoundCloud’s copyright detection algorithm. At long last, we’ve found a workaround, which explains why this EB Radio special is available on YouTube.
Update: You can also download the mix for a limited time, here.

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Audioccult Vol. 54: Tips for the ’90s Fashionista

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. Illustration: SHALTMIRA

 

All fashion from all times is terrible. If you like fashion from 100 to 30 years ago, you’re a damn fool. But if you like fashion from 20 years ago? You’re on top of the game, my friend. That’s probably why you walked in, to check out some of the most up-to-date style reporting based around rising trends formed around the opinions of what the 13 year-old you saw on the subway this morning thinks of what his friends’ Instagram feeds think about fashion. Sit back and enjoy the in-clinic soundtrack while I present the latest in what’s to come in stores, your teen’s closet, and the runways (which I like to call funways, loudly and frequently and usually in a Beavis voice).

STAR POWER

Everyone loves a celeb, right? Nothing to do but look cool by the pool, hork on some hoggs, and star in sick films like Mrs. Doubtfire. This summer, all the best fashion cues will come from the best fashion spews—that’s right, mom and dad, your rowdy youth will be looking to actively void their stomach on their clothes after the projected success of the upcoming Mrs. Doubtfire Returns. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” and render unto your teen a line of oversized floral dresses based on the one Mrs. Doubtfire (played by a shockingly alive Robin Williams) wore in the now-viral vomit scene. You’re a good parent and you care about your child.

THE DIAPER TEEN

It’s not any more complicated than that, really. Teens are going to wear diapers. Change my gross teen.

COOL COLLARS

I’ve seen the future of buff+tough fashion, and it’s beautiful rose-petal name is multi-collar. Remember the confusing entity that is bunches of collars, like you see on guys who look like they were grown in vats behind Armani? Guess what, that Jokémon is back and it’s evolved into even more collars. Picture this, asshole: It’s Monday morning. You have a bunch of shirts but only one ripped chest to slam ’em on. You splash your pits with some incredibly abrasive cologne called Zeus Juice that comes in a bottle shaped like a heavyset man jacking off into a sink. Damn, brother. Who’s the baddest guy with the most sex? Now picture strutting into your office and popping your collar.. then popping the OTHER SIX?!?! Unspeakable game.

 

 

SKATEBOARDS

The verdict is in: skateboarding is not a crime, but being caught dead without one is—a fashion crime, that is! School officials have made it legal and also fun to bully anyone caught in class without their wheels and a general idea that Thrasher exists. You think math was hard before, try doing it while you’re ripping sick grinds on teach’s desk and supine body. Caught so much air on that last triple-kickflip that now I can’t stop kickflipping or looking insanely cool. Very hard to type.

INDUSTRIAL TERROR

Speaking of bullying, the hottest retro-buzzword on the playground lates is EBM—or should I say EFM (for “Fashion”)! The only way to rep the illest wards and sigils is to go straight to the source: you gotta harass and beat up those old musicians and take their trousers. Slap Boyd Rice’s belly ’til it’s swollen and inflamed, sloppy tears run down his cheeks all, “Ungh. Please stop slappin’ n whackin’ my tummy and guts.” What Pink Boyd doesn’t know is that he’s dealing with the roughest customer of all: an informed one. Next dinner with meemaw and peepaw you can point at your camo-clad kinder and say they joined the army—and you’d be right.

VAMPIRE YIN-YANG BEANIE

What if Dracula… went to a rave?!?! Hahaha that would be pretty **random**—well, think about that for a while.

We’ll be bringing you more of the fre$hest fa$hion tips in town next week, just as soon as we get our new website up and running. We need to find more flashing UNDER CONSTRUCTION .gifs before the secrets can be spoken, however; already maxed out on the bandwidth usage of jimcarreysaysmoebodystopme.gif.~

 

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Nitzer Ebb’s Douglas J. McCarthy shares his Depeche Moment

In the latest installment of our series assessing the impact of Depeche Mode through personal narratives, EBM innovator Douglas J. McCarthy recounts why being forced to tour with them was one of the best things to ever happen to Nitzer Ebb.

 

When Nitzer Ebb first signed to Mute Records in 1987, one of the first things Daniel Miller wanted us to do was tour with Depeche Mode on their Music For the Masses European tour. Being the obstinate, snotty little upstarts that we were, we baulked at the idea of doing something so ‘mainstream’ and popular’. We actually had a genuine fear that it would ruin our nonexistent career. Daniel insisted and got his way. Once on the tour the penny finally dropped: “Oh, that’s what being in a band is all about…”

Not only were we blown away by DM’s stage performance and attention to detail, off stage they were extraordinarily kind and generous… and an awful lot of fun. Things went so well, in fact, that they decided the show must go on, and we were invited to tour the US, too. US immigration had other ideas, and our work visas were denied, citing that we “lacked musical merit”—in some ways, a point well made. Sad though it was, the bands remained fast friends and whilst we were recording our third album Showtime, at Swanyard Studios in London, DM were mixing the 101 soundtrack in the room next door. We introduced them to Flood and made every effort to get him to produce their next album. It ended up being the masterpiece Violator, and once again we were invited to tour with them. This time, visas in our sweaty palms, we were actually let in.

The “World Violation Tour” that took place in the US over the summer of 1990 was an incredible experience for everyone involved. There was a magical element to it, which sounds straight out of the Rock and Roll Bullshit Handbook (I always keep a copy handy in my back pocket), but it was just a very special time full of excess, tears, and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.

The tour established Nitzer Ebb as part of the history of American alternative music and sent us on a trajectory that only we could hamper. As it turned out, hamper we did. Then, after a near ten year hiatus, we reunited and in the blink of a bleary eye we were on the road and making a new album. Whilst touring Europe we happened to be in Berlin for the Olympiastadion Depeche Mode show, which of course we leapt at the chance to attend. Given pride of place on a platform in front of the house mixing desk, we watched in awe as the boys did what they do to a capacity crowd of nearly 70,000 people. Then, and this is where my rambling finally gets us, Dave Gahan dedicated “Never Let Me Down” to Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy. I am, admittedly, a sentimental fool, but I truly wept. With that one gesture, those few words, and that song, Dave summed up over two decades of love, happiness, heartbreak and sorrow. What a bastard. ~

 

Douglas J. McCarthy will be supporting Depeche Mode on their European tour; click here for dates. For more Depeche Moments, click here.

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Audioccult Vol. 47: YO! Goth in tha club!

 

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. Illustration: SHALTMIRA  

 

I was frantically running around the room this morning trying to find a pithy quote or bizarre monologue, only to keep tripping over my feet (potential failure allegory) before an email notification sent me scrambling to my computer. Had the Pope choked? Someone do a thing that I could use language to suggest that it was another thing done in a humorous way? In fact it was Tamara Sky, sending me a link to her latest mixtape. In my article covering the rise of EBM in the non-specific ‘dark’ scene that exists somewhat outside the more longtime ones, I’d mentioned LIL DEATH and their skillful blend of clubby bass, witchy weirdness, and industrial-dance. This mix is a perfect example of that ideology, effortlessly linking Mr. Oizo to Blvck Ceiling to Xmal Deutschland and Dimmu Borgir. Few recent files (outside of Kahn‘s smouldering new cut, perhaps) are making my body move the way this one does.

There were quite a few topics and artists I’d like to have covered in that culture piece that I just didn’t have room to, one being this outsider scene’s embrace and incorporation of hip-hop—particularly in SALEM and White Ring but also including newer acts like Mothman and Valhall, whose latest edit is a mashup of their haunting “Reaping Time Finally” with Waka’s viciously screamed chorus on J-Lie’s “Throwin’ Money”. It’s probably the best thing since Sisters of Mercy toured with Public Enemy, and without the chore of having to listen to Andrew Eldritch talk. The Carpenter-esque synths combined with bellowed braggadocio fit perfectly together, making me wonder when rolling 808s are going to be overtaken by CS-80s.

 

 

Bestial Mouths‘ latest sonic excursions seem to be edging more into the bass-heavy side of things as well, most likely thanks to the producing skills of member Gustavo Aldana of WMX. “Hollowed”, off their new Sweating Tapes split with Deathday, still retains much of their noisy post-punk feel, but with a booming, lurching beat that’s still not strong enough to overpower Lynette’s grandly wailed vocals. It’s their remix for Mater Suspiria Vision‘s “Spiral Chamber” that shows just how much beastly fury can be unleashed from Aldana’s mind. Such a heavy revelation combined with their upcoming collaborative album with Night Slugs player Egyptrixx lends a metallic tang of excitement in the air for evil clubbing, as well as a solemn prayer to Peter Murphy’s DUI ticket to ensure we don’t get stuck with next-gen Cruxshadows.

On a rather more pop side, the beautiful Butterclock has just released a new single from her recent EP. It floats closer to electro than any of her previous work, but still packs plenty of charm. I typed that last sentence while staring across the coffee shop, and what I typed initially was “Your pinstripe hat makes me puke.” The job of barista should be one of dignity. Coffee is important—like a well-crafted mixtape, it should slide down easily but memorably, and with a minimum of pinstripes. Total Freedom‘s new mixfile for VERSUS TOKYO handles that action nicely, with all of the expected weirdness Ashland is known to provide condensed into an hour of mutant club… and when it comes to spending time in clubs, mutation is exactly what keeps a body moving. That’s the real secret of the ooze.

 

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