Young Person's Guide To Industrial

So, you've had enough of your current dead-end job, and you see a future where everything is bleak and there is nowhere to run. Why not choose to become an Industrial star? If you see the world as a bleak, unforgiving wasteland, and you think you're really unique and no one understands you, then you could, indeed, have just the right profile for this line of work. The following is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to becoming a living legend in the lucrative field of industrial music.


This guide will be divided into the following sub-sections:

  1. Inventing a 'Band' Name (includes acceptable name variants and introductory German phrases)
  2. Music, Vocals, Samples, Samples, Samples
  3. The Press Release (and press coverage)
  4. The Photo (and symbols with which to identify oneself)
  5. The CD (and limited edition numbered EP's)
  6. Live Performances and Touring
  7. Merchandising
  8. Signing to Metropolis
  9. Completely denouncing anything and all styles related to Industrial Music, including your previous work, and calling yourself 'Post-Industrial' (to be continued in the 'Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Post-Industrial Star' Part 2)

A. Inventing a 'Band' Name

First of all, you will notice that the word 'band' is in quote marks, only because, although you will indeed have a band name, it is highly likely that your industrial project will be completely solo. Never use your own name; always refer to the band name when referring to your work.

Since the whole idea of Industrial Music is to convey the complete fusion between Technology and Humanity, it is imperative that the band name will reflect this. Ideally, the name should have 2 words, with the first being a prefix, usually implying a technological concept, having to do with computers or any scientific field of your choice, and the second being a word, usually implying a human concept, such as a part of the human anatomy or physiology, some biological term, or, even better, a psychiatric term. Ideally, it should also be a word reflecting something that is diseased or mutated. Human diseases are great words to be used in band names; Dog diseases are even better ( e.g., rabies, distemper, kennel cough). When in doubt, it is always good to use the title of an old Skinny Puppy song (or, better yet, an obscure passage of Skinny Puppy's lyrics) for your band name.

Finally, adding a small Germanic prefix before the band name will give you a lot of credibility. For example, just the addition of a simple 'Die,' 'Das,' or 'Der' to the band name will make many people think that you hail from Essen, in the Ruhr Valley (the most industrial part of Germany), even though you may, in fact, hail from Kansas City. Spelling in a German way is also essential (even using German words, it helps to have taken German in highschool, although we will talk more about that in the 'vocals and lyrics' section of this guide later on), especially the use of accent marks and umlauts, although, be very careful not to use too many umlauts, since this can make you look like a Swedish death metal band. The simplest way to 'Germanify' your band name is to use a lot of K's, and replace any word that normally uses a 'C' with a 'K' (e.g., Mechanic should be replaced by Mekkanik).

Here are some examples of acceptable prefixes (reflecting technology or biology): elektro-, cyber-, neural- (or neuro-), bio-, geo-, neo-, terminal, somato-, trans-, sonic, magnetic

Here are some examples of acceptable words to use after the prefixes: christ, blastoma, tumor, implant, function, capillary, psychosis, carcinoma, carcinogen, mutation, wire, hemoglobin, nerve, myopia, manipulation, renal failure, influenza, schizophrenia, diptheria, castration, starvation, ebola

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Medical textbooks provide some valuable inspiration. If you use an obscure scientific term, others may think that you are quite learned, and, in fact, may have gone to university to obtain some sort of scientific degree, and that you can quit industrial music at any time to go work at (Bio-Tech firm of your choice), but, because of your dedication to industrial music, you have foregone this lucrative career.

Finally, you don't really have to follow the old rule of being careful not to give yourself a band name that is already taken. In fact, if you do take on a band name from an already existing industrial band, provided they are obscure enough and release their albums on a different continent from yours, people will probably think their releases are yours. If, though, word gets out that you have to change your name, then make sure that this legend is repeated ad infinitum by your fans. For example, 'His band used to be called Implant, but he had to change it to Neural Implant, because there already is a band called Implant from Belgium.' This will make your fans sound like they really know about the music scene, and will imply that your music appeals to people who listen to European industrial bands.

Music, Vocals, Samples, Samples, Samples

Now that you have come up with an industrially correct band name, it's time to start thinking about actually producing some type of music. Assuming that you already know what industrial music sounds like, it will be your mission to sound exactly like your favorite band (Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, Front 242, Leaether Strip). It is more important to have the beats and the noises, and, the most important part of this is to distort your vocals. You must use effects processors on your voice; this is how you will always sound, get used to it. It will be your voice. In fact, if possible, you should ideally use this voice at all times, even when conducting radio interviews. It will be important to have a few album releases under your belt until you release the album in which you 'actually sing.' It must take years to build up excitement for that event in which you do release an album in which you will actually sing. Until then, you will sound screechy and distorted. Even if you have little remembrance at all of your high school German classes, you must sing at least one song entirely in German. This is essential, and will add to the myth that you are from Germany. Even if you don't know German, practice saying some German words such as 'Hertz,' 'Reich,' or 'Schwarzen,' and pepper your song lyrics with these words.

More important than song lyrics or vocals are the samples. Fill your tracks with them. It doesn't matter if they fit any particular pattern; the more samples the better. Use film samples. Yes, everyone has sampled 'Blade Runner', 'Hardware,' 'Jacob's Ladder' and 'Hellraiser' to death, but you have permission to use these films extensively in your sample library. Know that, in spite of the same samples having been done before, you can do them better. Sample everything, even television. If it's sampled, it will sound cool. Don't worry. Use all your favorite film quotes, the more underground the film, the better. Because, the sole purpose of using samples , contrary to popular belief, is not to illustrate an important point. Rather, the sole purpose of using samples is to show the world that you have a really cool video collection. If you can sample anything in German, especially German dubbed versions of popular underground sci-fi and horror films, then you will score some major credibility with the industrial community (and, it will further reinforce that myth of you being from Germany).

Musically speaking, you must sample nothing that sounds like it may have come from 'Dance' music. You must not use breakbeats of any kind! Many DJ's employ a 'breakbeat embargo' when compiling their playlists! No matter how cool you personally think drum'n'bass is, do not be tempted to increase your song tempo beyond the statutory 120 BPM.

The Press Release (and subsequent Press Coverage)

Writing your own press release is a very important skill. You must be able to sell yourself and stand out from among the crowd of up and coming industrial artists. You also must be able to convince the public that you already have an established following of fans (even if you actually don't and no one has ever heard of you). It is important to use the words 'rising star in the local industrial scene' somewhere in your press release. If you have ever had the luck of being the local opener when Famous Industrial Artist has played in your town (even if you were on a bill with 7 bands and your set was at 5:30pm, lasted 10 minutes and 3 people saw you), you should always say that you have toured with Famous Industrial Artist. Technically, this isn't a lie. If you shared a bill with a Famous Industrial Band, then you were a part of their tour. Also, every shitty cassette you have ever released, even if it was just a joke cassette of your farts, must be listed in your discography. It helps to call these limited releases, and if there are 10 or more of them, so much the better. Your bio should say that your project was 'formed,' and even if it was formed within the last 6 months, make it sound as though it were formed a long time ago....perhaps you got the idea of becoming a rock star when you were 8 years old...use this is your start date. And, finally, in describing your musical style, you should definitely compare yourself to Skinny Puppy, *early* Front Line Assembly, Leaether Strip, :Wumpscut:, and Mentallo & The Fixer. And, even if you sound exactly like all these bands, you should also say that you are *original*. This is essential; your music, while sounding like the rest, will be an original take on the sound. List all of your musical equipment, no matter how cheap. Remember your equipment list can only look more impressive if you include every single item, such as that wind-up toy keyboard you got for your 8th birthday.

Now that you have the Press Release written, you must submit it to every single industrial fanzine you have ever heard of. If you are lucky, they will want to do an interview with you. This will be your chance to shine, yet, at the same time, be quite mysterious. For example, in every interview you give, you must mention 2 very important things. Firstly, you must mention that you are currently working on a side project (even if your main project isn't yet established), and, emphasize that this side project goes beyond the boundaries of your main project, and that it is your experimental side. Be sure to drop the essential phrases, 'power noise,' and 'dark ambient' when referring to said vague side project. Even if you never work on it, or never release anything of this side project, you should always mention that you are working on it. Secondly, you should always mention that you are involved with remixes, even if you have no plans whatsoever for this. This wording has to be very careful. Rather than saying, 'I would like to have :Wumpscut: remix my work someday,' which implies mostly a wish, you should say, 'There is a possibility that :Wumpscut: will remix my work.' Technically, this is not a lie, because, although the possibility is .0000001% that you will be remixed by :Wumpscut:, the possibility still exists.

The Photo (or symbols with which to identify yourself)

OK, so, you are making yourself known in the press, now it is time to identify yourself with an image. It is inadvisable to have a clear photograph of yourself available to the public. Your photos should be faded, grainy, always in black and white, and out of focus. Ideally, it should be an outline of your body, or a shadowy figure in motion. You could even have a crappy far away photo of a band performing (perhaps when you saw Nitzer Ebb back in 1990, and were sitting way in the back), and call it one of your own live photos. No one will be the wiser, if it's taken from far enough away. The important thing to remember in all this is that no one should ever know exactly what you look like. Even if you are thin, you should even float the rumour that you are hugely fat, because this will make your image literally appear larger than life. Make sure, however, that you have people swear that they have seen you, and know what you look like, and have many different people offer up many different descriptions of what you do look like. The uglier the descriptions, the better...the more pierced or tattooed, the better. But, always have your photos indistinct. Better yet, use drawings or symbols for your press photos. Nazi symbols will provide a little bit of nice controversy (not to mention negative publicity, which is always good). Any military symbol, though, such as a gas mask, tank, or weapon of mass destruction, is great. Say this will eventually become the symbol of the label you plan on running on your own, someday.

Have a gallery of these photos, preferably taken by a guy called Rudi (not necessarily the *real* Rudi, but, technically, it's not a lie) and artwork for your website. In fact, don't even think about becoming an industrial star without first making your own website, complete with Ogilvie fonts, autopsy photos, and, most important of all, a HUGE Links section, to make it look like you are friends with all the important Industrial bands.

Finally, make sure your email address has a personalized domain name, such as 'your band name' or something similar.

The CD

Now comes the meat of the matter...what it truly is all about....the actual appearance of your product, and the actual marketing of your product. You must release on CD (although the limited edition cassettes or white label vinyl singles will always add that extra pastiche to your discography). Whatever continent you are living on, make sure that you say you have extensive releases of a string of dance singles exclusively available on another continent.

As for your actual CD, it should be a full-length, if possible. Any out-takes that weren't good enough to have made it onto the full-length, should simultaneously be released on a 'limited edition EP.' Make sure to number these EP's, and, in fact, the numbers don't have to go in any logical order. The best advice, actually, is to number every one of these 'limited' EP's as number 666, and include an autograph and satanic symbol. Then, when you distribute these limited and numbered EP's to record stores, make sure that each record store only gets one copy. That way, the unsuspecting record buyer will think that he or she is the only one who has stumbled upon EP copy number 666! And, charge the same price as the full-length for this, since it is so 'rare.'

Getting back to the actual CD, itself. OK, first you will have to consider the artwork. If possible, find a guy called Dave MacKean to do the art. It won't be *the* real Dave MacKean (you can't afford him), but, you can say that your artwork was done by Dave MacKean (technically, it won't be a lie), even if it's nothing more than stick figures and flowers (call it his early primitive works).

If you must have a photo, make sure it's a gorgeous industrial chick. People will think this is your real life girlfriend (even if, as is likely, you don't have any girlfriend). There are many magazines where you can find luscious industrial babes to put on inside covers of your CD. Do not, under any circumstances, print your lyrics. It will be good to have people guessing what you are actually singing about, and they usually fill in their own lyrics anyway, depending on their perspectives.

Now, the really important part of the CD is the dedication section in the liner notes. It is not illegal to thank anyone on your CD, even if you don't personally know them. Of course, if you do thank someone, the implication is that you are a personal friend of theirs. However, if you fill your dedication section with nothing but Famous Industrial Artists, your fans will see through this. It's much better to mix them up with your real friends, neighbors, and relatives, and, even better, to call them by their first names, or make up cute little nicknames for them (or have cute quotes in parantheses after their names) to imply that you have spent quality personal time with them and they were integral in the making of your album. Mix it up, as well, with local promotors, clubs, and DJ's, so it really looks like all of these people were heavily involved with the making of this album. Here is an example of a typically correct Industrial CD liner note dedication (don't make it too long, it should ideally not exceed 4 or 5 lines worth of type):

"I would like to thank my parents (who bought all my equipment), Sergio at Blockbuster (thanks for turning me onto John Carpenter), Joe at the Asylum, everyone at Dildo Production Company, DJ Nekrosis and the Death Scene crew, Cevin, Claus 'The Great Dane' Larsen, Rudi 'Have a Bratwurst On Me' R., Covenant (who were very drunk at the time), Evils Toy, Alfred at Celtic Circle, VAC, and my Bavarian fanclub (Tchuss!)."

Make sure this all sounds sincere. No joke thank-you's like thanking Fred Flinstone or Karl Marx (that's best left to indie bands). Though, if you really have to thank some public figure, make sure that it's a particularly well known serial killer.

It should go without saying that creating song titles and the CD title will utilize the same formula as you used for creating your band name. Since this is your debut CD, you are not advised to do any cover versions. Wait until you have learned to sing (and put it on that long awaited future CD in which you will actually sing). It's advised to do a cover of any song from the 80's, and say that artist that you cover was your initial reason for wanting to make music in the first place.

Before having released this debut CD, you should have appeared on at least 3 compilations, even if they are obscure Lithuania-only releases. Definitely mention these compilation appearances somewhere in your CD press release.

Live Performances and Touring

You will have nothing but contempt for performing live or going on tours. Any live appearance you manage to do should be called 'rare,' again, to add to the mystique. The best thing to do is to never perform live at all, and mention in interviews that you did tour Germany back in 1991. Even if your tour of Germany consisted of a backpacking trip while you were still in school, technically, it's not a lie. If you mention this enough and say things like, 'Yeah, I remember being in Chemnitz back in '91!' chances are that there will be some Germans who claim to remember seeing you perform and substantiate this rumour. It would even be advisable to have some T-Shirts printed up, with fake tour dates on the back (don't put the year in the dates, though), especially if all the cities listed are in Germany. And, of course, this will again add to the myth that you are from Germany. And, with the establishment of your live appearances being rare, always promise that you will someday perform. This will build up excitement about a live tour sometime. It would also add to the mystique of your image if you say that you tried to tour in a foreign country, but were unable to get a visa, and it had to be cancelled.

If you do perform live, under no circumstances should you consider performing any part of your show other than the vocals (because everything will be on DAT). You will, however, need the services of several friends who preferably look the part to stand on stage behind some equipment and pretend to play. In order to divert the audience's attention to the fact that you really can't sing anyway, be sure to have visuals, even if it's just playing a video copy of The Matrix in a continuous loop. If you aren't able to find the equipment to project this onto a large screen behind you onstage, you can use several portable televisions (you can make some wooden frames to mount these in, and be sure to paint these frames in either black or camouflage colours). If you can't afford any pyros, simply make sure the club's fog machine is put on full for the duration of your set and wave either sparklers or glow sticks around (make sure of the fire codes of the building, and, even better, violate them all, thus ensuring you will be banned from the venue. This not only adds to your mystique, but removes the need to return to this venue in the future).


Merchandising is very important. In fact, some would argue that your merchandise is more important than your CD's. T-Shirts (especially with fake tour dates), Posters, Stickers, and Patches are the basics. You can get creative with your merchandise, however, and manufacture things like cigarette lighters, pens, condoms, napkin rings, whatever you want. Just make one of each of these items, and then, when you sell one of them, charge a lot of money for it, because of the limited edition factor.

Signing to Metropolis

There is not a whole lot of advice to give in this section. Provided that you have followed all of the steps up to this point, you are virtually guaranteed to by signed by Metropolis. Once you are signed by Metropolis, you can be secure and confident in the fact that you have become an 'Industrial Star.' Although, there will be a sizable minority of people who will claim that you have sold out, or are on your way to selling out. Should you be based in Germany, substitute the words 'Zoth Ommog' for Metropolis.

Denouncing Industrial--Moving on to Post-Industrial

At this point in your career, after selling many copies of your Metropolis releases and having finally learned to sing, you will have a great urge to denounce anything related to Industrial Music. You will now be able to proclaim to the world that, from here forward, you will consider yourself 'Post-Industrial.' You must claim that you have been listening to a lot of Aphex Twin since 1991, and that it has changed your life. Furthermore, proclaim that Electronica is actually rather cool and not a threat to Industrial Purists, but, in fact, the way forward, as long as you continue to sample horror films. Finally, proclaim that your hybrid of these seemingly opposing musical styles will be even more original than your first demos ever were!

Empress Stefani

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