Monday, July 12, 2004
Just recently I've come accross these two responses that I wrote below pertaining to questions that were posted at an internet discussion board that I'm in pertaining to emo and I hope these responses that I gave to those in the discussion would be of great contribution and enlightnenment to those who'd care enough to read what emo is all about.
On Bossa Nova, Indie & Emo
I'm not that much into Bossa Nova and Indie but I'm definitely into emo, in fact I have an emo band.
So in this aspect let me just share a thing or two about emo, I guess emo was popularized by the hardcore icon Ian McKaye and his post Minor
Threat outfit Fugazi.
Basically its roots can be traced down to Punk Rock and the HArdcore punk scene in the 1980s its all aboutemotions... I'm not saying that punk rock isn't all out... it's just some punk bands have humor and happy go lucky attitude... I guess you don't see hc kids singing happy thoughts and all of that... right? so I think hardcore is related to emo.
The thing also is that its not called emotional for nothing which in turn brings out the beauty of it helps people to keep in touch with their
Good examples of emo bands are Fugazi for starters, Rites of Spring, Embrace, Dashboard Confessional, Farside, Texas is the Reason, etc... and there's also this new wave of emo... aptly called screamo... I guess they're emo but a bit harsher in the tonsils...
On the Difference Of Emo & Indie
One must understand that emo and indie are both archetypes of music that are not just derived from a single genre, but both are brought out of the amalgam of various styles that incorporate it into some sound that we so happen to label.
To start with, indie like alternative music is not a distinct style of music but just like this site is a myriad of various influences that is beyond a basic definition, take for example the bands that supposedly fall under the 'indie' banter: What sound or subject matter do they have in common basically?
Does Pavement have anything in common with a group like the Stereophonics, by all means no! Pavement sounds more like country music in contrast to Stereophonics reminiscent Mod sound. Or is there a common sound denominator between Beck, Buffalo Tom, Husker Du, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Super Deluxe, and Superchunk? I'm not quite sure, but
certainly we can distinguish their sound from one another as opposed to the sound of traditional established genres like punk rock and metal which
has this very signature sound that establishes an artist to fall under it. Like how an average rock music listening bloke would carelessly mistake Simple Plan with New Found Glory because they both sound alike or Deep Purple with Led Zeppelin.
But as opposed to indie music, the only common denominator that they have is that they all adhere to the DIY ethics that was popularized by
such proto-punk groups like Velvet Underground, MC5, Television etc. And another thing is that indie from the word itself is an abstraction of the word 'independent' which basically connotes something that is in a way exclusive or for a marginal group of people only as opposed to 'pop'
which is derived from the word popular and can be defined as something caters to people of all walks of life. It is somewhat like the post-modernist art movement in music so to speak.
While with 'emo' basically it is basically short for the word emotion or emotional, it is basically a relatively new movement in punk which was spawned out of the first wave of hardcore bands like Ian McKye's post-Minor Threat band Rites of Spring and later on Fugazi, which basically dwells with honest to goodness emotion induced music as opposed to Acid
Rock which is LSD induced that basically is because of the fact that McKye is one if the forerunners of the Hardcore Straight Edge movement which advocates intellectual and physical freedom including freedom from chemical substances like drugs, alcohol and GMOs.
But in the context of the emo music that we hear from the likes of Saves the Day, Promise Ring, All American Rejects etc this brand of emo could be traced back to Jim Enright's Sunny Dale Real Estate, whose other famous member is Nate Mendel of Foo Fighters and Jawbreakers one of the first bands that popularized the use of octaved chordings and
Descendents like singing.
But as of now emo has become sort of a huge phenomenon in music similar to the New Wave and Grunge music exploision in the past which has paved
the way for numerous groups that fall under the emo repertoire without any distinct sound but as a general rule I guess emo is basically about
passion, passion that is way beyond the Johnny Rotten like snarling of the word 'destroy', or Kurt Cobain's boredom rhetorics. It is basically about singing your heart out in reference to certain things, events, beliefs or relationships and the like without any signature sound though some of the artists under emo still have draw their song writing
structure to its punk rock roots. Whether it be about relationships (Dashboard Confessional, Bright Eyes), principles and ideologies (Snapcase, At
The Drive In) Religious Faith, (Juliana Theory, Further Seems Forever) Growing up and coming of age (Saves The Day, Weezer, Getup Kids) and other stuff that makes someone's head or for that matter heart tick it all connotes to something that is very intricately personal to the artist who is singing the song it is sort of like an artists way of giving
poetic justice to whatever emotion they've felt during the time that they wrote the song.
Another thing I wrote something up there about alternative music not being a genre I'd just like to take the time to correct that error that most of us (even I) make in using the term. Basically alternative music is a collective term that defined music that were off the Top 40 radar during the 1980s, songs from bands whose music were released on small record labels or played in college radio stations. But by the end of the 80s most of those college kids have already graduated from college and
tried to make their way to the 'real world' but a handful of them tried to established their own record labels, radio stations, music magazines, direct their own music videos etc. And one of them is Steve Albini more popularly known as the guy that produced Nirvana's Nevermind album, which by the as early as 1992 have brought the Alternative Music
phenomenon which at the present are collected in CD Compilations like Alternodaze and Contagion. I know that most of you already know this but I just can't stand the way so many people blatantly speak of alternative music as something as if it were interchangable with modern pop rock like those who still consider Matchbox 20 or Linkin Park or Korn or Incubus as alternative when well in fact they aren't since you average bloke sings about them and you'd even see some teen idols singing tham in medleys at noontime shows, when in during their time it was way
I hope I have made any sense in this thing that I wrote, because now that I'm looking back at it I can't help but feel like such a self-righteous geek but I hope this has been of value to whoever wants to know. Thanks. God bless.