Combichrist and the Subject of Social Responsibility

The other night I made a brief statement on Facebook about the news surrounding Combichrist and their blatant racism and violent sexism, I would like to expand on my thoughts today. The video below was played during the final moments of the Ad·ver·sary and Antigen set at Festival Kinetik 5.0. Ad·ver·sary has been very open with his criticism of Combichrist and Nachtmahr, two bands that he was opening for at this fest.

You can see the video here.

Combichrist was my unfortunate first exposure to the Industrial scene back when I was a little baby bat. I learned quickly that Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende Neubauten slayed, but I never got super into the industrial scene (aside from listening to the music) because I felt a strong machismo vibe. I didn’t feel this vibe just from music videos or articles I read, but from face to face interactions with a lot of rivetheads at the time (the early aughts for clarification).

Some industrial musicians seem to find themselves teetering on the fine line of strictly just fascism aesthetic (Laibach) to actual nazi sympathizing…which brings me to the Combichrist controversy.

While I am not surprised that a mainstream and macho band like Combichrist has racist and sexist members (you can see examples in the Festival Kinetik video, I don’t want give publicity to them on here), what I am surprised by and happy to see is artists who are calling out other artists on this nonsense and holding them publicly accountable. There is a lot of forward thinking that is present these days in various subsets of the goth scene. I think it is part of the reason why there has been a great revival of the Philly goth life these past few years.

I have been involved in the scene for over a decade as a spectator, party goer, musician, promotor, and lover of the community. As a very recently out lesbian with a fiancée who is a trans woman (NOTE: Trans women ARE women), community acceptance is just as crucial as cultivating a safe space for party goers. We are already weirdos and isn’t that what brought us to the goth subculture in the first place? There has been a big influx of women, LGBQT, and people of color (though I would like to see more people of color in the scene, it’s unfortunately often whitewashed) bringing in some essential new music, art, and events in the scene. More people these days are telling not only artists, but other community members, to take ownership for discriminatory behavior and demanding that they do better. Standing up for the more ostracized (by society’s standards) members of the scene is just one more step towards a better world.

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Next Up: Soft Leather Philadelphia 5.24

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