The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

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twinvessel
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The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by twinvessel » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:11 pm

While most witch house/dark indie shows I go to immediately sell out 400-600 capacity venues that I go to in San Francisco, I notice this eye rolling snickering by a lot of music fans on and offline. It could be the perception that "witch house" is "all droney slowed southern trap claps and crystal castles ripoffs" as my one friend says. Or this perception it "rose and died in 2010".

But people don't see that underneath the meme-ish injoke name, it's actually a much broader umbrella term for the emerging dark electronic scene that refuses to be part of the traditional goth/industrial scene(which is now the EBM cybergoth scene, which that is now a giant cheesey disco trance joke)

But...for a lot of indie, old school goth/industrial/noise, and electronic fans they recognize the overall depth.
That it's not simply drag/chop-screw hip hop. That it pulls from as wide range of influences from neofolk/martial industrial, r and b, ethnic/world/middle eastern, old school industrial, darkwave, tribal, dub, etc. You even have acts like Holy Other and oOoOO who've done a lot of chill/r and b type songs that are more on the relaxing end while Aimon, White ring, etc do more of the darker end. Im a fan of seeing a lot of these acts like Gazelle Twin, Fatima al Qadiri, etc who bring a lot of old world and gothic influences. Or stuff like Tearist, who bring the Throbbing Gristle and early experimental/no wave influence.

I was BIG into early-mid 90's noise/industrial tape trading, zines, art, etc by snail mail. Many days spent at Tower Records and underground book stores. WH, with the DIY label, cassettes, pressed vinyl and cdrs brings all that back to a new audience that was too young for that. I saw a documentary on Genesis P Orridge, Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV, Bryan Gysin, Kenneth Anger and William S Burroughs...I think all those guys would totally like and get whats going on here. GPO himself might even be a fan.

Heck, I hear a lot of Coil, Death In June, Swans, Current 93, etc influences(all the stuff I was into way back when)
I love the kind of skinny puppy/wumpscut type influences with AIMON, and then then the trip hop influences in other acts.

Overall when I talk to people(especially older fans) outside industrial or indie clubs and shows, people are buzzing about this sort of darker emerging sound. Even bands on the outskirts of witch house, like Purity Ring, Light Asylum, CREEP, etc.

Perhaps it is the name itself. I like terms like Deathgaze, Bloodwave, Deathpop, etc...tho even those dont accurately describe even have the acts who are all over the map. But I think once people get over the admittedly goofy sort of name, they then realize a lot of the avant garde and experimental influences that draw back a number of decades.
And obviously there's a market for it, especially in major cities...enough to draw the hipsters away from Bon Iver twee indie folk rock and their $12. Im just surprised more industrial/goths arent into this, as this is a thousand times more industrial/goth than the current 00ntz garbage they play at those clubs

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by halcyon_silence » Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:11 pm

very well said my friend. i dont really have much to add myself, but I agree 100%.

I think it's maybe because there is no universal "witch house" sound, there are tons of different styles incorporated under the term, some of it's more hip-hop, some is more r&b, some is more industrial, some is more ambient, etc. so people write it off as not being a real genre. but that's what i like about witch house, it feels a lot more free than other genres, as in you can do pretty much anything you want musically as long as you keep a certain dark and dreamy aesthetic/vibe

the witch house movement has already made it's mark IMO, look at the popular up-and-coming rappers of today such as ASAP Rocky or Spaceghostpurrp, etc....all these guys are using ambient beats and a more dark/out-there style than what was being done before WH came along. shit, Lil B did a track with Salem and uses a lot of ambient/witchy beats in his work

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by twinvessel » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:40 pm

halcyon_silence wrote:very well said my friend. i dont really have much to add myself, but I agree 100%.

I think it's maybe because there is no universal "witch house" sound, there are tons of different styles incorporated under the term, some of it's more hip-hop, some is more r&b, some is more industrial, some is more ambient, etc. so people write it off as not being a real genre. but that's what i like about witch house, it feels a lot more free than other genres, as in you can do pretty much anything you want musically as long as you keep a certain dark and dreamy aesthetic/vibe

the witch house movement has already made it's mark IMO, look at the popular up-and-coming rappers of today such as ASAP Rocky or Spaceghostpurrp, etc....all these guys are using ambient beats and a more dark/out-there style than what was being done before WH came along. shit, Lil B did a track with Salem and uses a lot of ambient/witchy beats in his work
Heck yeah. Some might even say Odd Future is a bit inspired
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0Jh0Du1ec8

You look at Grimes, one of the most buzzed up and coming female acts in the indie scene, and she put out a very witch house-ish type album a couple years ago called Halifaxa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkYRUYnr5bA

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by √ƸΩﬣ » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:05 pm

its not like this is a completely serious genre we're dealing with here.

i mean ufos and magic, secret societies, astral projection, demons n shit. it all sounds like 4am on /x/, add the unpronounceable names and im not surprised the mainstream is put off.

im not saying thats all there is but thats what people see.

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by Arcanum » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:28 pm

Personally, I think "Witch House" isn’t the best name for the genre or collective or aesthetic… Whatever you want to call it. Putting a name on something does, however, give opportunities for forums such as this, and provides a means of connection with similar artists and fans, which is a good thing. My biggest gripe with the name is the fact that “witches” are being construed in a shallow, Halloween-y, almost Christian light ( :P ). “Oh it’s SCAAARY, it must be a WIIITCH!”… by people who claim to be practitioners of the occult. Maybe that’s just do to my spiritual beliefs and it’s possible that I’m over analyzing (which I have a tendency to do), but I'm really turned off when something I'm connected to, that holds deep meaning to me, is used as a fucking fashion accessory or an aesthetic gimmick.

To be honest I’m growing tired of the heavy use of negative/evil and “dark” vibes coupled with attempts to shock and “scare” that people are employing with their music and themes. I understand, if that is truly your belief system or inspiration go with it, but I feel it’s getting to the point of becoming a requirement, which I hate. I feel that there is a lot of the faux-angst here that gets used or expressed in the same vein as the majority of “hardcore” and “metal” bands that simply scream because that’s what X band does, not because they feel passionate about anything. I think that negativity and darkness are extremely powerful motivators, I won’t discount that, but I hate to think that a musical movement that felt as if it had so many different and promising possibilities when it was first collecting steam has already become a template-based “genre”. And about it reaching a large audience or respect of people...Who gives a shit? I think it's doing fine, honestly I'd hate for it to become the next Dubstep. Oh, the humanity.
Buuut, that's just my opinion :roll:

*Oh, and I wouldn’t say Odd Future is necessarily inspired by WH, they’re just doing what Gravediggaz, Brotha Lynch, and Flatlinaz did years ago (who definitely weren’t the first). It’s funny though, because (good) horrorcore definitely played a role in influencing WH. It’s all the same shit, just different manifestations I guess? Chicken and egg dilemma?

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by PaleN » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:05 pm

twinvessel well said.

Personally I like to call everything being made as a whole: Dark Experimental Electronic.

Because that is really what it comes down to.

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by twinvessel » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:56 am

√ƸΩﬣ wrote:its not like this is a completely serious genre we're dealing with here.

i mean ufos and magic, secret societies, astral projection, demons n shit. it all sounds like 4am on /x/, add the unpronounceable names and im not surprised the mainstream is put off.

im not saying thats all there is but thats what people see.
Whoah, that sounds like a Coast to Coast program. Most "wh" stuff I listen to has more to do with intense pain, reflection, introspection, or personal discovery. Usually certain themes are analog to other stuff. I have not heard many bands
singing about UFOs. Though, a theme around ancient astronauts would make for a cool concept album.

Btw, I dig the Osama bin Laden avatar(or as I always called him, Osama bin Goldstein)

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by twinvessel » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:59 am

PaleN wrote:twinvessel well said.

Personally I like to call everything being made as a whole: Dark Experimental Electronic.

Because that is really what it comes down to.
Ha, I dig it:) I mean people I meet in San Francisco at clubs or shows also mention Trust, Light Asylum, Purity Ring or stuff like Com Truise and Washed Out in relation to witch house...so I see it as also a new turn in the usually cheery twee indie scene.

And let's face it...in a lot of markets, it's mostly the indie scenesters giving wh shows any love.

I gave up on the modern goth/industrial scene, as all they're into these days is cheesey cybergoth disco thats anything but harsh or dark(I swear AIMON and White Ring would scare em off the dance floor)

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by twinvessel » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:13 am

Arcanum wrote:Personally, I think "Witch House" isn’t the best name for the genre or collective or aesthetic… Whatever you want to call it. Putting a name on something does, however, give opportunities for forums such as this, and provides a means of connection with similar artists and fans, which is a good thing. My biggest gripe with the name is the fact that “witches” are being construed in a shallow, Halloween-y, almost Christian light ( :P ). “Oh it’s SCAAARY, it must be a WIIITCH!”… by people who claim to be practitioners of the occult. Maybe that’s just do to my spiritual beliefs and it’s possible that I’m over analyzing (which I have a tendency to do), but I'm really turned off when something I'm connected to, that holds deep meaning to me, is used as a fucking fashion accessory or an aesthetic gimmick.

My friend said it's similar to the "goth" label given to darker post punk emerging out of England during the late 70's and early 80's. It was a tongue and cheek joke that ended up sticking(even for bands on the outskirts of that) My objection to the name is more or less that it seems to tethered to a 4chan meme-ish type internet injoke(#seapunk anyone?)
I read the pictureplane guy was observing this emerging darker sort of sound out of the indie underground and called it "witch house"? Im not sure. But Ive been a long time fan of goth/industrial/noise/ethereal/dark shoegaze/synthpop/triphop/etc so hearing all these different bands has been rather exciting. Especially reviving the old tape trade/cassette culture/vinyl/zine days.

I notice though, there's a split in the "WH" movement. You have what some refer to as "GVCCI GOTH" or "Ghetto/gangsta witch", where its kind of faux indie gangsta aesthetic. And then the more intelligent and reflective "wh" sort of bands. I listen to an amazing artist like "Arc", and it's just an incredible journey thats far away from the gimmicky label of wh. So for every "ghetto ass witches" I find a lot of intelligent song writing. Ive no interest in esoteric belief structures for myself, but Ive long been fascinated by mankind's use of sacred geometry and broader understanding. I also have long admired the words of Alan Moore, Terrence Mckenna, etc.

Arcanum wrote: To be honest I’m growing tired of the heavy use of negative/evil and “dark” vibes coupled with attempts to shock and “scare” that people are employing with their music and themes. I understand, if that is truly your belief system or inspiration go with it, but I feel it’s getting to the point of becoming a requirement, which I hate. I feel that there is a lot of the faux-angst here that gets used or expressed in the same vein as the majority of “hardcore” and “metal” bands that simply scream because that’s what X band does, not because they feel passionate about anything. I think that negativity and darkness are extremely powerful motivators, I won’t discount that, but I hate to think that a musical movement that felt as if it had so many different and promising possibilities when it was first collecting steam has already become a template-based “genre”. And about it reaching a large audience or respect of people...Who gives a shit? I think it's doing fine, honestly I'd hate for it to become the next Dubstep. Oh, the humanity.
Buuut, that's just my opinion :roll:
Yeah I hear what you mean. Personally I miss the in your face political acts of yore, like Dead Kennedys, Skinny Puppy or even(tho I wasnt really a fan) Rage Against the Machine.

So much of today's music, especially pop and "indie" is just so overtly PC and bland. Indie rock is just an endless parade
of animal band named acts churning out safe twee folk rock to the pacified smart phone hipster crowd. So music that confronts or challenges I appreciate, long as it has a message. I come at images and dark themes from a sort of prankster level, as Ive long been a fan of stuff like Bansky, Jello Biafra, Church of the Subgenius, Ron English, and various culture jamming merry makers.

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by Arcanum » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:45 pm

Yeah, I totally agree with you on what you're saying. I personally love tracks and artists that have breadth and depth, that really bring you in and immerse you in a world of sound and texture. There are plenty of musicians and groups that make some truly angelic masterpieces, I don't want to discount that. I think that most of my discomfort comes from the meme-ish name and the white-subruban-yet-gangsta act, it just doesn't work for me. I love Salem, but I liked them better when there was just one of them, I guess?

I hope my earlier post didn't come off as hostile or something, here I am saying I'm growing tired of darkness and negativity for dark and negativity's sake and my post is dripping with it! Hah. I LOVE a lot of artists in our little world, I love the majority of people's work on this forum, and even if I'm not the biggest fan of a musician I appreciate their work for what it is, I just hope that this wonderful world of, dare I say, anti-"pop indie" can continue experimenting and creating astounding pieces of musical art without becoming stale and formulaic. <3

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by twinvessel » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:59 am

Arcanum wrote:Yeah, I totally agree with you on what you're saying. I personally love tracks and artists that have breadth and depth, that really bring you in and immerse you in a world of sound and texture. There are plenty of musicians and groups that make some truly angelic masterpieces, I don't want to discount that. I think that most of my discomfort comes from the meme-ish name and the white-subruban-yet-gangsta act, it just doesn't work for me. I love Salem, but I liked them better when there was just one of them, I guess?

I hope my earlier post didn't come off as hostile or something, here I am saying I'm growing tired of darkness and negativity for dark and negativity's sake and my post is dripping with it! Hah. I LOVE a lot of artists in our little world, I love the majority of people's work on this forum, and even if I'm not the biggest fan of a musician I appreciate their work for what it is, I just hope that this wonderful world of, dare I say, anti-"pop indie" can continue experimenting and creating astounding pieces of musical art without becoming stale and formulaic. <3
Oh I agree with everything you said! Overall I want to inspire and unlock fragments of dreams, memories and ideas than just depress people.

But I've always though, been into the more melancholy side of music. The Smiths, Cure, Depeche Mode, Swans, Mazzy Star. I really think we're seeing this 2010 era of witch house 'me too' acts subside and you're just seeing this wildly creative time period where acts are drawing from the most widest amount of inspirations and influences. So I can't make fun of pitchfork and buzz blog media and culture too much, since they are definitely helping to spread the love. Be it solo girl bedroom acts like Grimes, Computer Magic or broodingly melancholy stuff from the east coast like Trust, Purity Ring, CREEP, etc. Im just loving all this stuff regardless of the tropes and labels thrown around. I'd love to see more 'neofolk" influences tho, as glimpsed in oOoOO's "No Shore"(LOVE that song) as well as
some of Chelsea Wolfe's material. There's a newerish neofolk band called Of Wand And The Moon everyone here should check out.

I like that, 'anti pop'...tho, it's still pop formatted. Which is fine. I always preferred danceable industrial like Skinny Puppy and Cabaret Voltaire versus the straight almost unlistenable experimental stuff.

But there''s "witch house" for everyone. I mean I could see this track played all over the radio and r and b clubs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDcs5182rLw

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by Bleak-Reverie » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:19 pm

I feel the same about this. When I found Witch-House it was still early on and I loved it. Absolutley loved it. It's the style I've been looking for since I started Loving Goth/Darkwave. I hate the "Goth scene" now, and all the Magazine ready psuedo-mansonite caricature bands.

I am coming into Witch-House from a Black Metal background. I've been playing Black metal since I was 15 and producing albums in the underground BM scene since I was 16. But, I have always been craving something new. I have always been familiar with Programming and creating Ambient tracks, with my past works, so I really wanted to teach myself to compose Atmospheric Electronic Music. Witch-House was everything I wanted to do in my opwn Music so I took to it, in what seems to be a different way than most. I've always seen it as a Music Genre/Microculture and not as an Aesthetic Trend.

I guess I see WH as such an opportunity. I always fantasized as a teenager, about being apart of the original Black Metal scene. However, that can only be just a dream, where as WH is new and I want to be a working part of it's rise, and I'd hope most Musicians classifying their work as WH, would too. There has been some really great fresh Projects coming out, even though WH is supposedly "Dead". I think Witch-House, is the real next level of Goth Industrial/Darkwave and we need to follow through with it. I don't care if I'm last one on Earth playing this Music, I am passionate about what I do.
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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by halcyon_silence » Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:11 am

It's funny how witchhouse is supposedly "dead", yet arguably the 2 biggest WH artists with the most mainstream appeal (Holy Other + oOoOO) haven't even released their LPs yet..

whether or not it will still be called "witch house" a year from now is debatable (already most big artists have distanced themselves from that label) but this new dark/ambient/dreamy electronic sound is just getting started IMO..

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by cutups » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:39 pm

Good job on the initial post here, a lot of good thoughts.

Without over thinking it, i'm just glad we're in a place where people can connect the dots between
a number of different darker artists/styles, and enjoy them across the board. That this can
exist as its own thing w/o *having* to be a riff on the g/i scene (which you accurately note has really been the ebm cybergoth scene for 10+ years) is a nice side effect.

While the name witch house is a bit more jokey than many others, I think any movement that coalesces around
a name benefits from it...until it becomes hindered by it. Its kind of inevitable. Luckily, in the internet age, we're not really limited by these names and keywords as much as we were in the past. I'm not sure that there's a better name for the pan-dark-electronic "scene" these days, but i'm not really bothered by that either.

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Re: The Dismissal & Misunderstanding Of WH By People

Post by raedarius » Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:14 pm

Just like Demdike Stare, The Haxan Cloak, The Caretaker, Moon Wiring Club etc etc etc, witch house is one of the many things which ought to be industrial but doesn't have any need to be anymore. Industrial has painted itself into a cyber-goggles-club-sounds corner and rendered the term pointless. It's a good time for music (one of the best in the last twenty years), but not a good time to describe to people the music you like with a single term.

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