MOSH: music and anger for the new punks

di Matteo Monaco

Stop what you’re thinking. We are not speaking about rock music, or anything connected with McLaren aesthetics and some kinf of purity behind the punk movement. We are talking about Mosh, young musician from Edmonton, Canada. An obscure talent, rather than a growing star. His last Monarchy (according to us, a black diamond made up with creativity and technical know-how) has been released in November, partially ignored by big music magazines. But don’t forget the point: Mosh means “mosh”, and ultimately it seems to be a proof of the connection between electronic producing and past, guitaristic era of ’77 punk.

We asked these and other things to Adam Bignell, the man behind the project.

This is the real sense that “Monarchy” and other records like it seem to borrow from the aesthetic of punk, and a lot of the ideals that go with punk music. All these electro musicians (myself included) inject a hefty amount of anger into music, and these are the same kind of people who were writing punk music 30 years ago. The music has changed, but the people haven’t. It is absolutely true that this is a new language of punk, but it certainly is not the only one. There are plenty of really great punk bands out there now, and no way I think they are out-of-date. The electronic producers just found some new toys to translate their discontent with.

Monarchy seems to be a big “single” album, full of potential anthems, like Skrillex or past hard-rock albums. Is there a philosophycal connection with that “killer” kind of production?

This sort of happened accidentally actually. ‘Kingpin’ is probably the closest thing to a ‘valley’ in the excitement of the record, but even then, I ended up bringing the tempo up in the middle of the song. I end up just getting too attached to my tracks, and I always am thinking about how they would sound live. If I think the track I’m writing is the one where everyone leaves to get a drink, I ended up changing it. This resulted in an album with very little relief from the bangers. This isn’t necessarily good though. It’s like watching a movie where every scene is an action scene. The people seem to like it though so I’m not complaining.

Today, most of electronic producers have to play dubstep to get trendy. Monarchy for us is a black diamond of electro and industrial, two genres that (generally speaking) are getting older. Is that an answer or maybe an aggression to the recent discographic system?

Well I didn’t intentionally write the album as a rejection of dubstep. I just wrote music that I would enjoy, and to be frank there isn’t much dubstep I really enjoy (save for some of the more understated dubstep like SBTRKT). I guess my goal isn’t to be popular. I write the music for me mostly, so I can try to define myself in a universal language. So, it just happens that my sounds ends up very industrial sounding, but I didn’t sit down and think “what genres am I going to use today?”. The things that sound good to me just happen to be an ‘older’ sound. It probably has something to do with my huge respect for guys like Trent Reznor. He does a good job of portraying violence in such a way that people take it seriously. When you have a robot voice labeling the part of the song where the “b-b-b-bass drops”, it removes the audience from the atmosphere you’ve created and reminds them that they are just listening to a song. This works for a lot of people a lot wealthier than me, but it just doesn’t rub me the right way. I guess what I’m saying is that my music isn’t a rejection of dubstep; it’s a support of industrial and electro and whatever other genres I happen to produce within.

What do you want to share with your music? A vision of the world, sensations, or meta-linguistic ideas?

I am really just trying to create myself through sounds. I have all these thoughts and feelings and music is a great outlet for me. I’ve always been into concept albums too though, so I try to tie it back to a theme (in the case of ‘Monarchy’, it’s this idea of a very stoic and overbearing empire). The great thing about music is that it’s a mean to share emotions without words. I find words often actually taken away from the emotion you are trying to convey. When someone says ‘angry’ it’s such a flat idea. People don’t really pick apart the specific feeling of anger. Ultimately I want people to experience, or at least have an idea of the very specific emotions I’m feeling by listening to my music.

Danceable but dark as night, “Monarchy” could be elected as the style of this nonaffective period of human crysis? If yes, in what sense your music stands for it?

Hard, but really good question. Yes, my music is a result of the tragedy of humanity. I think a lot of people are angry at a lot of things that are going on in world. Everywhere is stricken with political apathy, wars, exploitation and injustice. Even on a very personal level, people are getting abused and taken advantage of. There needs to be an outlet. That’s where the name Mosh comes from actually. I think mosh-pits are so interesting in the fact that they are very violent, with people totally losing control, pushing each other and intentionally getting hurt, while everyone remains respectful of each other. Whenever I see someone fall down in a mosh-pit, they have like 10 people all rush to help them up. It’s as if everyone needs the release. When you say my music is very “danceable” I like to think of it as very “mosh-able”. It’s a release of anger that’s been building up for a long time. ‘Monarchy’ is the soundtrack for when the anger and violence get’s too much to hold in.

(02/12/2012)

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Matteo Monaco
Matteo Monaco

Fondatore e collaboratore permanente di OUTsiders. Scrivo per Tagli, dopo aver collaborato con Però Torino e Ondarock.