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Dark Wave

3 Teeth's Industrial Music Is Also Transgressive Art (VIDEO)

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Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 4:19 AM
Above you can see L.A. Weekly's original video with L.A. industrial outfit 3 Teeth.

But their own work takes a different tack. For their video for "Consent," they cut up found footage and spliced it together. In the work, old news clips and MTV footage pass by in a blink, while words like "dada," "arise" and "think," flash between images of real world horror and fictional weirdness.

Frontman Alexis Mincolla is superimposed on the mélange. Dressed in black and sporting a thick mustache that turns up at the ends like a Victorian villain, his figure is outlined in neon green. He leans towards the audience, dissolving into the footage only to reappear.

"Consent" borrows heavily from industrial music's past, both in sound and image. Still, there's enough distance between the early 1990s and today that it feels brand new.

"There seems to be this huge debate about what industrial is and what it stands for," says Mincolla. "I think we look at it more as a transgressive art form."

 
click to enlarge 3 Teeth - COURTESY OF 3 TEETH
  • Courtesy of 3 Teeth
  • 3 Teeth
He has a valid point. Throbbing Gristle, the first industrial band, was comprised of visual artists. Another of the genre's famous acts, Einsturzende Neubauten (whose name means "collapsing new buildings") embraced the art of the post-World War II German landscape with their DIY percussive instruments.

Skinny Puppy, Ministry and Nine Inch Nails all blended visual and aural aesthetics. 3 Teeth are following in that lineage. 

click to enlarge COURTESY OF 3 TEETH
  • Courtesy of 3 Teeth
The foursome - Mincolla, Andrew Means, Chase Brawner and Xavier Swafford - make music in an Arts District loft, located at what you might say is the juncture between downtown chic and downtown industry.

The band came together through Mincolla's underground party Lil Death. Swafford, a producer, had been sending the promoter his tracks. Means had shown Mincolla one of this audio-visual projects, which relied on repeated images of the artist's face.

"When I opened my mouth, it would look like a hall of mirrors effect almost," says Means. Mincolla's reaction to the video? "This is fucking next level and I've got to know that dude."

3 Teeth is a multi-media endeavor. Another video, for the song "Nihil," makes use of Ron Fricke's 1992 documentary Baraka. The booklet for their self-titled debut, which just hit the top 10 on iTunes' electronic chart, is filled with digitally manipulated, collage-like images. Mincolla, whose background is in visual art, sources the content. Means uses VDMX, a software meant for VJ sets, to remix clips.

"It's sort of a cheap and quick way to make a video for your music," says Mincolla. It's also fitting for the genre, which has a history of repurposing existing images. Skinny Puppy famously did this in 1989, with a gruesome video for "Worlock" that cobbled together pieces of horror movies.


As with Skinny Puppy's nightmare-inducing videos, 3 Teeth prompt viewers to wonder if there's a political message within in the images. Mincolla says the videos are a "reflection" of the surrounding world more than a commentary on it. "You don't have to get super creative to make something horrifying, because there is so much horrifying shit out there right now," says Mincolla. He notes that simply adding music makes the images more intense.

3 Teeth makes their live debut tomorrow night, June 21 at Complex and, while the band is keeping mum about what the show will entail, it should be a multi-media experience.

"We want to hit every level we can," says Mincolla. "If we could somehow put taste in there, we'll get there."

3 Teeth perform tomorrow, June 21, at Complex

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