Is there room for politics in Shoegaze?
Rock n’ Roll is the sound of rebellion or at least it was. The Rolling Stones used to sing about riots, the MC5 were a riot, The Beatles sang about Revolution.
Shoegaze doesn’t sing about revolution. You can probably count on one hand the political records in the shoegaze canon.
Maybe “Hate The Police” by KINDLING , though it is a cover.
Maybe I Am Disgusted By What Happened This Year And I Don’t See How It Can Possibly Get Any Better by BEATASTIC , but only a handful have heard it.
So why does Shoegaze not engage in political comments?
The only positive thing you could read when Trump got elected was that it might provide a musical spark of discontent like Reagan did to the 80s. So where are all the angry floppy-fringed people? Why aren’t the cute girl singers with angel voices and immaculate haircuts not venting their rage?
If you don’t ask you don’t get. So I asked.
“We haven’t written a political song yet, our lyrics are always more focused on allegoric, dreamy and trippy descriptions of relations, moods, fears, because we think they're a perfect fit for the music we play. We also prefer to be less explicit and let the people find their own meanings in our words. “
Mario Lo Faro – CLUSTERSUN
“The genre transcends politics, and has always been far ahead of the curve traditionally. The politics of a group or person can be defined in their actions, opinions and image, or even in the sounds they create, or the action they inspire. So while we have never written an overtly political song, and most likely will not, we have always been clear in our positions, of who and what we support and why, and accepting of the consequence and/or benefit of that. “
Preston Maddox – BLOODY KNIVES
"Consequence" is the key word. These days artists struggle to make ends meet. If you upset people with your political opinions you’re potentially depriving your band of its livelihood.
“Protest rock is always for the most part socialist, and I grew up in the USSR, and that's enough from me, I want to taste the joys of capitalist life, I do not need to call my songs for protest, let the political parties do this. I do not like much in the political life of Russia, but I will not call people to the barricades, because a riot in Russia is always senseless and ruthless."
Roman Kalitkin- SOUNDS OF SPUTNIK
“Personally I look to music as an escape from everything, and keep politics very far from that escape. I totally respect people who decide to use their Music as a platform to launch their position and allow their voice to be heard...but I personally do not want to intertwine the two. “
Krissy Vanderwoude- WHIMSICAL
“For 'Overdrive', I was disgusted about how greed, corporate favouritism and consumerism was ruining everything. 'New Born' was kind of a call for our own self-renewal in the face of our perverted virtual world with double standards and lying leaders (social and political) “
So is Shoegaze an appropriate medium for politics?
The genre is more often than not based around vocals hidden within the magma of sounds. If you want to convey a message it's not the tool that jumps in mind.
Shoegaze, and reverb music in general, is viewed by many who listen or perform it, as a way to escape reality. Escapism for itself can be a flight response instead of a fight response. It can also be trying to participate to a higher level of reality, a communion with others over beauty, space and time, superseding some of the surrounding ugliness.
There are many arguments we could make here, many more opinions that could be presented. We chose but to scratch at the surface what many have done in the past and many are likely to do going forward.
Here are many reasons Rage Against The Machine weren't a Shoegaze band after all.