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I thought about making a documentary on industrial music a few years ago. When I discovered industrial music, I read numerous publications, books and fanzines but never found a movie devoted to the subject. This led me to start working on Industrial Soundtrack For The Urban Decay. I was busy at the time with my first film Paris/Berlin, but a few months after releasing it, I got in touch with the artists I wanted to interview and we began to shoot. Then I edited the movie, which took a year or so, and Travis and I spent months completing the post-production and licensing the rights. We did everything ourselves: shooting, editing, post production, licensing, distribution, advertising, press… That was a huge amount of work, day and night for almost three years.
I discovered industrial music thanks to some of my favorite techno artists such as Ancient Methods or Adam X, who had been mixing industrial music with techno for years. Though there are obvious bridges between the two genres, this is not what I wanted to delve into in the movie, because the subject could deserve a movie in its own right.
Industrial music gathers a collection of various influences, the avant-gardist movements dadaism, futurism and surrealism, electronic experimentations, musique concrete, soundtracks from 50’s or 60’s science-fiction movies, literature from William Burroughs and Brion Gysin and their cut-up techniques, J.G. Ballard and philosophers Foucault, Baudrillard, Deleuze. To me, this mix of influences is what makes industrial music so fascinating, and that’s what I chose to explore in this movie.
Definitely, and we reflect on this in the movie. The political context of the Thatcher years left its mark on a whole generation of English people, leading the working class into significant cultural oppression and unemployment. Ironically, this allowed many people to take the time to focus on their cultural activities, and thatâ€™s how many industrial music bands got started.
We featured most of the major industrial music artists in the film. We interviewed every member of Throbbing Gristle, the first industrial band, but also Cabaret Voltaire, SPK, Clock DVA, Test Dept amongst many other bands and musicians. We also interviewed people like V. Vale, who published Industrial Culture Handbook, 1983, now considered the reference publication on Industrial music, and Jean-Pierre Turmel, owner of fanzine / label Sordide Sentimental since 1978, who was the first person to share Throbbing Gristleâ€™s music in France. Some bands like Neubauten or Laibach and a couple of journalists didn’t want to be included in the movie and that’s a shame, but the artists we interviewed gave us more than enough content to tell the industrial music story.
It used to be a niche genre, and it still is for the core of the movement today, but many people have now heard about industrial music. Many artists claim its influence too. Though industrial music isn’t totally part of Â pop culture, nowadays it’s far more recognize. Chris Carter was telling us that Throbbing Gristle became far more popular when the band reformed back in 2004 than when they first started. They then began to sell thousands of records and started headlining huge festivals.
I founded Fondation Sonore with Gregorio Sicurezza back in 2011, and we launched the label a year after. We release music we love and this is not directly related to my films, but doing the Paris/Berlin compilation was obvious to us, as it gathers all of our favorite techno tracks and many artists we invited to play for our gigs. Of course, Iâ€™d like to make a compilation for Industrial Soundtrack, but unfortunately I don’t think it will ever be released because of licensing issues.
The movie was released theatrically May 2015. So far, we had more than 100 screenings in cinemas, cultural centres and festivals all around the world, and weâ€™re still confirming more every day. Weâ€™re also about to release the DVD. All the info available on our website.Â