Electronics-based music has been promoted as the future of music in magazines and has been adopted by superstars like Madonna and Radiohead, but it has yet to break into the mainstream like grunge did in the early nineties.

Speaking to this, a couple recent national electronic music festivals had cancellations (Mekka and Creamfields) due to low ticket sales. But New York City's fast-approaching Electroclash 2001 festival, running October 10 to 14, promises to do it right and make a local breakthrough with this scene, presenting a select group of superstar and pioneer artists from Europe and the U. S. that best represent this growing scene, including headliners Fischerspooner, Peaches, The Detroit Grand Pubahs, and many others.

Tickets are still available, so how's this one really different? Don't blame the artists: the promotional efforts were as lo-fi as the music (a street campaign, with distributed flyers and poster displays in hipster stores and on poles-but I have yet to see one-and announced via email lists). Regardless, the organizers feel the shows with advance ticket sales, on the 11th and 12th, will sell out. A total turnout of ten thousand is expected for the five nights.

What is electroclash? In general, it is pumping and grooving jams composed of minimal tracks. It's bold, sexy, electronics-based-which means groove boxes, keyboards, turntables, and computers are choice instruments-and it incorporates genres such as punk, funk, rap, rock, you name it. The presentation is just as important: very confident, sexual, and driven by personalities people want to see or can relate to-they may go down to thongs, wear elaborate costumes, sprawl onstage, are funny, cynical, and real.

The mainstream may not know who these artists are, but they will in a year or two, says Larry Tee. He should know, he's written a hit for RuPaul (Supermodel), as a promoter has earned the title of "The P. T. Barnum of New York nightlife" by Vanity Fair, and has been DJing in the electroclash scene for the past couple years and in all the big New York clubs for the past decade.

"A lot of people don't really get into it [electronic music] because they don't know much about it," Paris the Black Fu of The Detroit Grand Pubahs said.

But this is already changing. Fischerspooner is considering undisclosed major label deals. The Detroit Grand Pubahs's hit song "Sandwiches" peaked at number 29 on Billboard's Dance--Club Play chart. Peaches's album "The Teaches of Peaches" was one of the top twenty sellers at the huge East Village Tower Records over the summer.

But this music has yet to really make it on the airwaves. "I listen to songs and it's like why isn't this on the radio because this is a gorgeous song? It [electroclash music] sounds like it should be on the radio and it's not. You go to Germany and it's all over the place." DJ Salinger said.

For those of you who don't want to wait two years, here's some of what you can expect from them. Morplay: rapping, a lot of old school hip-hop influence, with a move forward. Fischerspooner's Casey Spooner described the visuals as a "haute couture show combined with a little bit of Ziegfried and Roy, throw in a dash of Janet Jackson and a little Sid Vicious" and the sounds as "very electronic and poppy." Chicks on Speed's Alex Murray-Leslie said it's like a "living art object" with "homemade instruments." DJ Assault: famous for songs like "Ass and Titties," will show the different areas of what he does. DJ Salinger: "take the attitude of Miami bass, the ghetto house of Chicago and techno from Detroit and mix it all together and play it real fast and funky and dirty." The Pubahs: "in-your-face, very personal . . . and tongue in cheek, literally."

It's the first-ever, but not the last Electroclash festival, Larry Tee promises. For more information, visit electroclash.com.

--Alien Rock!

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