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What is EMO? [Apr. 30th, 2006|08:44 pm]
This is a quote from somebody else but something you should all read.


Emo is an offshoot of Hardcore Punk which came about in the mid-80s. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding the genre and what it is and isn't. I'm hoping to change that.

Bands playing hardcore punk got tired of the same old sounds, and decided to try something new. What came of this was emocore. Rites of Spring (1984) are hailed as the first ever emocore band. They played hardcore that focused more on emotional release, rather than political and social themes like most hardcore of the time did. 1985 was dubbed the "Revolution Summer," when many emocore-style bands started forming.

Although there were hints of emo before 1986, many believe that Moss Icon were the first emo band. They took Rites of Springs' emotive hardcore and focused more on the emotion aspect.

In the early-90s Emo started to change, with bands using octave chords and a more intense vocal approach. The loud/soft dynamic was still there, and it played an even bigger part than it did in earlier emo. Bands like Indian Summer, Navio Forge, Native Nod, and Embassy used the dynamic along with intricate guitar work and poetic lyrics to create beautiful, serene emotive hardcore.

Over in San Diego, however, something much more intense was in it's beginnings: Hardcore Emo. In 1991, Heroin kick-started hardcore emo with it's over-the-top abrasive hardcore sound. They played extremely fast and relentless chaotic emo with vocal-chord shredding screams and distorted guitar and bass.

Some say emo died in 96 or so, but I don't think this is true. There are still emo bands out there, like City of Caterpillar, Calvary, Yaphet Kotto, and Neil Perry. Although it has died down a lot and changed a bit since the early- and mid-90s, emo still exists.

Sadly, the term emo has been horribly disfigured by Mtv and the radio. Dashboard Confessional, Sunny Day Real Estate, Saves the Day, Thursday, etc. stray so far from the emo sound that there is little or no connection whatsoever. I still can't figure out why and when people started calling these bands emo, but they surely aren't any part of the genre. They are closer to indie rock, pop or sometimes pop-punk.

Started off with Heroin. Really over the top intense hardcore. Lyrics were screamed breathlessly at the absolute limit of the vocal chords and everything was distorted. Some of this sounded like chaotic hardcore, some of it sounded like grindcore, some of it was just insane. Heroin, Honeywell, Guyver-1, Antioch Arrow, Angel Hair, Swing Kids, John-Henry West, Second Story Window, Reach Out, and a few others played this style. There are still a few artists scattered around here and there, but hardcore emo/emoviolence isn't very well-represented anymore.

New Emo/"Screamo" (started appearing in the early-mid-90s, took off around '97): This is where emo headed after bands (for the most part) stopped playing the traditional sound, and decided to play something a little less, well, emo. There is still a loud/soft dynamic and octave chords, but it's less melodic than older emo, and the vocals are often shrieked (think Saetia, Love lost but not forgotten, or After School Knife Fight) instead of painfully howled and screamed.

It also gave the genre a little more room to be artsy with bands introducing influences from many diverse genres. "Screamo," for the most part, sounds like newer hardcore with breakdowns and less traditional instrumentation, but there is some room for slower quiet parts with twinkly guitars.

Some "screamo" bands include Orchid (also sometimes called emo-violence), Burned Out Bright, Saetia, Anomie, Joshua Fit For Battle, Neil Perry, etc. This is the current dominant force in emotive hardcore.
Emo-violence can also sound like grindcore at times... There are even a couple of 'emogrind' bands jeromesdream, deadseraphim - basically grind bands with melodic guitars, blastbeats and emotional lyrics which are shrieked in falsetto.

Emo-Influenced Indie-Rock (early-90s): If "screamo" had never come around, I think that this is the direction emo could've gone. There's really no connection to the original underground hardcore sound, but it is emo influenced to an extent. You're likely to find less hardcore-styled vocals, and little or no hardcore instrumentation. It's indie rock, not emo. That includes Sunny Day Real Estate.

No matter who you believe started it, emo has its roots in hardcore. It's not 'pussy music' for 'wimps' - it's actually bright spark hardcore kids who want to write about intelligent stuff, not just hardcore scene related topics.
So why is it that so many bands that are in very little or no way connected to the hardcore scene are labeled emo? Is it just ignorance on the part of mainstream culture? Or can we blame the so-called "alternative" media for the widespread bastardisation?

It has invaded the malls, the streets, and every "underground" show you can find. It creeps in the back, near the merchandise tables, with its girlfriend draped over its arm - it’s the dreaded emo boy! Complete with a bad dye job and snot-encrusted suffocation-inducing sweater! His CD collection includes Finch, The Ataris, Saves the Day, and for those nights when he wants to get hardcore, Thursday!

Most emo bands and record labels were anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-ageist, etc. Bands devoted their time to causes like Food Not Bombs and Animal Liberation. Many people involved in the emo scene are veg[etari]an and/or straight edge. Being pro-military was unheard of.

Emo concerts played a big part in the culture. It's where people meet, buy records (it's next to impossible to find a record store that deals in emo records), find new music, and dance. Bands' stage presence ranges from emotionless to chaotic. Some bands stand with their backs to the audience, while others lie on the floor screaming, banging their heads against it and contorting themselves. Alot of metalcore bands have borrowed the original 'emo-violence' stage moves and turned them into something associated with hardcore hybrids such as "chaos-metal"
At any rate, it's a far cry from the stereotype: staring at the ground crying with your ex-girlfriend standing in the crowd, crying too.

These days, people think emo kids are pretty boys/girls with fine hair, eyeliner, chain wallets, tight black clothes and 3/4 pants or styley jeans, chucks and lots of cutesy accessories.
The real emo kids usually dont give a crap, and usually dont wear any make-up.
But to say the least, it is quite far removed from anything 'pretty' or 'cutesy' or 'fashionable'.

at the moment not many people are aware of what it even really is. alot of people consider bands who sound like like Thursday to be emo.
which is dumb of them.
bands like shumway, loud like enemies and stuff helped raise the awareness a bit more, citing their influences. but there is no real scene here for it, never really has been. Like there are only about 10 people i can think of who even listen to the real stuff and appreciate it.

In conclusion - don't call it emo if it sounds like Coldplay. Don't think someone dresses emo, cuz they look slightly like a drag queen meets skaterboy. Don't call something emo cuz it makes you sad, or reminds you of an ex-partner. Emo does not have violins and female vocals in it. Your previous assumptions of emo have been torn down. You are now all indie rock kids, or pop fans.

From: drumsofdoooooom
2006-04-30 09:09 am (UTC)
but what is INDIE ROCK? is it really INDIE when everyone is doing it?

genres suck.
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[User Picture]From: moliere777
2006-04-30 09:47 pm (UTC)
*Like there are only about 10 people i can think of who even listen to the real stuff and appreciate it.*

if general, if there are only 10 people out of 4 million that regard that particular definition as 'emo' and the rest hold some other definition, then what really is the purpose of using the same word? and which defintion whould hold sway? Just curious. seems to tie in with Brad's little mini-essay on the 'goth' word.
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[User Picture]From: bernrd
2006-04-30 10:42 pm (UTC)
yeah... well exactally.. For all means embrace the bastard that is the english language...new emo is basically skate punk with strings...
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[User Picture]From: moliere777
2006-04-30 10:51 pm (UTC)
nu-emo. haha. i just make fun of the fringes.
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From: drumsofdoooooom
2006-04-30 11:33 pm (UTC)
yeah, that was kinda the point i was getting at with that essay. if i get everyone to call me bob instead of brad, then for all intents and purposes i am now bob.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-01 01:11 am (UTC)
I wasnt defending anything.. I didnt write this... it was more that I found it imformative and listed heaps of cool bands and stuff....

and well .... you know quest for knowledge etc!
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From: ginasaur
2006-05-01 07:28 am (UTC)
there's no such thing as knowledge...weoo!!
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[User Picture]From: bernrd
2016-01-24 11:15 am (UTC)
This is fun
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[User Picture]From: dyinggoldfish
2006-05-01 09:44 am (UTC)
to much thinking for one evening....

it was awesome seeing you today! you ginga! haha
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[User Picture]From: cire_eric
2006-05-01 01:56 pm (UTC)
i enjoyed the history of metrogrind more
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