SynthPunk

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Info and Intro

Everyone thinks that Punk was a three-chord guitar job, and in many cases, it was. They simply used the same tools to break down the musical establishment as the ones used to build it up. Some bands weren’t completely against using the "new-fangled bleepy things", though in most cases they couldn’t afford the huge sums being charged for the big boxes with knobs and patch cables, and thus had to make do with what they’d got, or what they could beg, borrow or steal. The New York duo "Suicide" started out with a worn-out old organ and a cheap drum machine. The fact that they were creating lo-fi music in New York in the 1970s was seemingly enough to get them classified as Punk, regardless of the instruments they were actually using.

Over in Germany, an act called Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft aka DAF started out performing noisy jam sessions, then issued a Synth/Punk/Industrial hybrid album on Virgin, before recording a series of three albums for Mute with one synth, one drumkit and one singer, and not speaking a word of English in the process. These albums appeared around the same time that Synthpop was entering the charts, but also did more than anything else to inspire the early sound of Electronic Body Music (EBM).

Since then, the use of synths in Punk music has been something of an on-off trend. Few if any of the original Punk bands made much use of them – and when they did they usually ended up being tagged Post Punk or New Wave in the eyes of those prone to using such terms.

Key Bands

As well as whichever of the early Industrial and Post Punk bands you think fit in!

American Bands

  1. Nervous Gender
  2. The Screamers
  3. Suicide
  4. The Units
  5. Devo
  6. Sparks
  7. Mindless Self Indulgence

European Bands

  1. Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft aka DAF
  2. Portion Control (early works)
  3. Atari Teenage Riot
  4. Die Krupps
  5. Alien Sex Fiend
  6. Public Image Ltd
  7. Joy Division