In addition to being on board for DEP’s various forays into electronics and programming (covering Aphex Twin’s “Come To Daddy” and sharing stages with Nine Inch Nails), Puciato was the voice in Error, the short-lived 2003, hard electronic outfit featuring NIN member Atticus Ross and Bad Religion guitarist/Epitaph Records founder Brett Gurewitz.
“I think right now, the whole industrial/noise/electronic/ambient scene in L.A. is second only to Berlin,” Puciato says. “The majority of my friend circle is in that scene. The other night I saw Drew McDowall of Coil play a noise set in a church at midnight. There were three cool things happening [in the city] that night. It’s a pretty exciting time for this scene to be out here. Right now, electronic-based music takes up about 60 percent of my listening time.”
In high contrast to the Black Queen’s urban contemporary electronic vistas, Author & Punisher’s Tristan Shone comes from the relentless slow-motion doom metal, played on synthesizers and triggered by physical controllers of his own design. Closer in intention to Godflesh than Nine Inch Nails, Shone’s appeared at several CW events for maximum carnage and minimum speed. Shone never considered himself an industrial fan, choosing instead to embrace the lumbering double-digit BPMs of sludgy doom metal than dance beats or digital hardcore overload.
“Cold Waves has a very heavy vibe compared to most festivals,” says Shone, who has played the event several times in the past. “Bands like Fear Factory and Godflesh have headlined previous years. I think there’s a group of people who like things like Ministry, Godflesh, Neurosis and Sunn O))) that aren’t into it for the gear or the fashion. The ones into it for the music are the ones I connect with. I know I’m going to see 100 people I know at this festival. It’s a small scene.”
While many of the headliners are veteran acts who propelled the genre, the festival has a good amount of new-school action, as well. In addition to Puciato’s smoov grooves in the Black Queen, there’s the highly confrontational scalding of HIDE fronted by Heather Gabel, Statiqbloom’s opaque darkness and Actors’ strident, minimalist rock.
Other outfits forging their own electronic environs from dance beats, hard noise and beyond include Winkie, Continues, Omniflux, Ganser, Anatomy and Kontravoid. You haven’t heard of them? Well, according to Novak, that’s the point.
“It’s important for us to pay attention to both sides,” stresses Novak, who says his “cutting-room floor” wish list of artists is both long and diverse. “You want to celebrate a genre of music that is seemingly always on its last legs, but the only way to keep it off the crutches is to bring in newer fans who have the bands they like and have done their research as to who those bands got inspiration from.”
“Our goal is to make it all-inviting, all-encompassing. We don’t care if you’re wearing white trainers and cargo shorts or you’re decked out in a gas mask and a black dress. We want to celebrate music.” –Jason Novak
“In addition, this music has fallen into a trap of being a huge fashion show,” he continues. “Our goal is to make it all-inviting, all-encompassing. We don’t care if you’re wearing white trainers and cargo shorts or you’re decked out in a gas mask and a black dress. We want to celebrate music.”
That’s not the only thing Novak’s focused on. He has spent two years getting Darkest Before Dawn—the mental health charity geared toward helping workers (bartenders, barbacks, sound workers, dancers, etc.) in the service industry in Chicago—official charity status in order to help people on a wider scale. (“There’s very little support, very little insurance and definitely very little mental health access.”)
Novak might be the hardest working man in industrial rock. In addition to performing with Connelly in Cocksure and coordinating all of the logistics under the Cold Waves banner, he’s promoting other shows (legendary U.K. noise/doom unit Godflesh’s upcoming appearances in NYC and Chicago), moving forward with the charity and running his personal business (a poke restaurant in Eagle Rock, California). Novak’s workload is grueling, but all of the things he’s doing are manifestations of his heart, from missing his dear friend to keeping alive the music he holds dear.
When asked what Duffy would be doing if he were alive right now (at the time of the interview, 11:30 a.m.), Novak volleys back, “He would’ve finished his 4 a.m. shift, and he’d be sleeping. Then he’d be working harder than everyone else, right along with us. The stamp he left us with was the hardest work ethics and the least amount of ego, when it came to any of it. Which is why the charity is so important to me.”
The vitality of the genre and its attendant community works two-fold and for different reasons. The old-school fans see Cold Waves as an exclusive psychic clubhouse of their own design, while a newer generation of listeners see it as a rampart to escape from today’s cultural mainstream or the sameness of once-favored genres. The truth of the matter is dead set in the middle.
“Why can’t it be about both?” Connelly asks, rhetorically. “None of us are particularly interested or in tune with what society may call ‘culture.’ That sounds so fucking pompous. But I mean it with a small shrug, not a sweeping hand and a turned-up nose. We just don’t have to be interested. We make our own fun, thanks.”
AP is teaming up with Cold Waves to give away tickets to select evenings in select cities. Find out how you can enter below:
? GIVEAWAY TIME! ?
Good luck friends ? pic.twitter.com/D0l5Rn8x13
— Alternative Press (@AltPress) August 24, 2018