(or…A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Kinetik)
Every year in advance of Montreal’s electronic/industrial/noise Kinetik Festival, organizer J-F was known to post a Facebook poll asking attendees who they’d like to see perform at the upcoming edition. Without fail, this often deteriorated into incessant cries for both :wumpscut: and German happy hardcore band, Scooter. (Talk about deserving better eh) during the debate for the 2012 version, knee-deep in demands for H.P. Baxter and crew, Haujobb’s Daniel Myer attempted to appease the masses by suggesting a cover version might be possible.
This was the catalyst. I used my administrative rights to delete the comment before anyone could see it and instead sent an email to Daniel suggesting we think bigger. I knew from experience that we weren’t going to be the only Scooter fans at the festival that year. So bigger in this case meant “recruit a bunch of other guys to join us and get drunk and play happy hardcore at Kinetik.” My 820 bandmate Dracos was the first to sign up; together we chose “Maria (I Like It Loud)” – one of his faves – as our choice cover.
Grendel’s JD Tucker was the next artist who wanted in, promising his own take on my favorite track from the group, the uplifting “Nessaja.” Quickly, the idea steamrolled from a single possible cover song into a full-fledged band and J-F scrambled to find a slot for us in an otherwise full schedule of acts. This archived gmail conversation between us from the time shows just how silly the whole thing was getting:
While Daniel tried to settle on his own selection, we sent an email to another “closet” Scooter fan/long time friend, Combichrist/Icon of Coil’s Andy LaPlegua. Originally, it looked like his return flight would prevent him from participating, but at the literal last minute – I was still rounding him up as the set began – Andy was in.
Much like the group of us, people didn’t know what to expect of the late announcement to friday’s roster. Storming the Base, a Kinetik shop stalwart, wondered out loud what was going on in a blog post from November 2011:
Of course, the absolutely nonsensical bio/press release/website that Vlad McNeally and i threw together totally didn’t help:
From the “official” HYPR! website and press release:
“Whilst remaining unknown even in the most informed circles and critically discarded by the subterranean elite, the concept of HYPR! was born through continued correspondence between Pete Seeger’d and Ed Rooney on the Usenet group rec.music.industrial, circa 1992. Frustrated with the overabundance of dance floor-friendly artists in the scene who lacked true sincerity and skill (“it was nothing but mindless button-pushing,” Seeger’d recalls), the two began exchanging mix tapes of their own original work through the mail. A handful of collaborative soundtracks emerged, but were never released outside of demo tapes distributed to a small circle of intimate friends, making HYPR!’s material exceptionally sought after and impossible to find.
While Rooney would go on to work as a session musician in his native Germany, Seeger’d left the music scene out of frustration and it seemed the experiment might end there. A chance meeting on a train from Leipzig to Berlin changed everything. Seeger’d was returning from Wave.Gotik.Treffen in 2002 when he shared a first class cabin with I.M.D. Horsemann, who himself was touring the Eastern Europe rave circuit as a DJ/sound technician. The two hit it off immediately and began sharing ideas for a new “future sound of electronics,” one that melded their personal styles into something raw and previously unimagined.
Having returned to his musical roots, Seeger’d again reached out to Rooney, who not only was eager to re-light the musical spark they had previously shared, but who also recruited another session musician with whom he had frequently worked, D.F. Sheffield. Sheffield’s experience in the fields of “virtual electronics” and “implied audio” provided the existential bedrock for the band’s new aural experimentation and proved to be the critical catalyst in the reformation of HYPR! for a new and adventurous decade of digital multi-culturalism.
HYPR! added one final crucial element to its core, the ultrasonic chemical bombast of multi-percussionist Rocky Keytown, to solidify their musical mass. Keytown had once dated both Rooney and Sheffield’s ex-girlfriends and had frequently joined jam sessions at Rooney’s independent studio in Weidenberg. As the circle closed, finally – and forever – the past had been undone and the future averted.
The band is currently in the studio recording their long-overdue full length debut and will perform live together for the first time ever as part of the KINETIK ELECTRONIK MUSIK FESTIVAL 5 in Quebec in 2012.”
Leading scene zine I Die:You Die (www.idieyoudie.com) joined in on the speculation in their pre-Kinetik Festival ramp up:
As the festival drew nearer, Daniel settled on his selection (the indefatigable “Always Hardcore”), but the lineup itself continued to evolve right up until set time. Shiv-R’s Pete Crane was recruited literally off the side stage, while the dancers were friends of the production crew. Industrial everyman Eric Gottesman was another last minute addition – and perhaps one of the greatest side stories, as his complete mastery of the second verse of “Maria”- demonstrated to us earlier on the day of the show – completely eluded him in the midst of the band’s performance.
As Daniel finally took the stage to a palpable buzz, he began the show a cloaked and hooded figure in the dark. the synthy strings of Wolfsheim’s “Sparrows…” enveloped him…as most in the crowd simply wondered…what the fuck is happening?
In short, chaos more or less ensued from there…to the tune of a hardcore dance beat. JD totally killed “Nessaja”, his performance containing my favorite moments of the show, that when he boldly dispenses of the song’s actual verse with the shouted admission of “i don’t know the lyrics!” and his repeated chants about “the painted cow.”
IT’S NICE TO BE IMPORTANT, BUT IT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO BE NICE…AT KINETIK.
Quickly, it was time for our final hype, Scooter’s bombastic singalong, itself a derivation of a single by Marc Acardipane Presents Marshall Masters Feat. The Ultimate MC. If it all sounds a little bit ridiculous…IT WAS. (For the record, at least i got the lyrics right.)
See, that’s what happens when good (?) ideas get out of hand; you end up with a bunch of industrial musicians pogoing onstage to doot doot doots. Still, it’s some of the best fun i’ve ever had in this scene. Sadly, like Kinetik, HYPR! was an ultimate and unique moment in time that we won’t likely ever experience again.
In fact, we echo the thoughts of I Die:You Die – who listed the band’s show as one of their highlights of the festival: “we still can’t really believe that this happened.”