The Musical Influences of Joe's Exploding Zoo

The Musical Influences of Joe's Exploding Zoo

My musical influences would include Throbbing Gristle, Everything But The Girl, John Cage, and Porter Wagoner. But that doesn't tell you anything about what to expect from this record label, Joe's Exploding Zoo.

I spent a lot of time as a music reviewer in the 90s and 00s, and one of the worst questions--and most asked in musician interviews--is the hoary old "What are your musical influences?"

People asking this question don't realize the are asking the worst cliche band interview question in the history of humankind, but the reasons WHY they ask this question is important.

How do you communicate your musical zip code, so to speak, without resorting to comparisons and cliches?

Maybe It's A Waste of Time

It might actually not be possible, at least not in the context of this blog post. But the question about influences is pretty important for a newcomer to the product of ANY music label, let alone Joe's Exploding Zoo.

So what musically can you expect from a label like mine?

Skinny Puppy is a spiritual influence, though our music doesn't really explore those depths. One thing this band did to my own songwriting was to open up the possibilities of misusing traditional and faddish percussion sounds and reinterpreting them into a different, darker context.

But for Joe's Exploding Zoo, it's the idea of what Skinny Puppy did--the endless side projects, each kind of better than the last, an endless supply of 12 inches and remixes...the genius of Skinny Puppy was also the genius of Wax Trax! and that is the kind of (non musical) approach I admire.

Sonically the projects on this label are closer to Fripp/Eno, Cluster, Legendary Pink Dots, Ryan Moore's Twilight Circus Dub System, Cabaret Voltaire, Plunderphonics, and the Subgenius Hour of Slack.

Dark And...Funny?

We like darker sounds, combined with equally dark humor where appropriate. Our work is a combination of old-school industrial and ambient music combined with Morricone soundtrack textures.

No, its not musical comedy. More like extinction-level snark surrounded by fog and an encroaching damp.

Sinister ambient is not really an accurate genre title...unclassifiable is probably better. We would be in the Weird/Unclassifiable section in the record shop right behind the Goth/Indistrial vinyl. Next to the sound effects records and the BBC Learn Welsh LP.

But that probably is a bit misleading in spite of my best efforts to classify these sounds. As a label person you have two choices--pander to everybody and please none, or go hard niche and never mind the haters. Pandering seems counterproductive, wouldn't you say?

--Joe Wallace

Feb 14, 2024 10:51 AM

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