This weekend, while you're spending Memorial Day sipping a fruity mixed drink and fist pumping to the newest Ke$ha dubstep remix, take a good long hard look at the DJ.
Yeah, lots of ravers and club kids have full sleeves. But there's a good chance the person manning the decks has a secret past filled with Xs sharpied on hands and furious mosh pits.
Check the cut for Crossfade's top five electro dudes with hardcore kid pasts.
5. Derek Miller: Poison The Well and Sleigh Bells
Let's hit the South Florida connection first. Poison The Well's 1999 full-length Opposite of December was the blueprint for early 2000s mosh metal, emo mosh, and other metallic hardcore tangents. Local label Trustkill funded the release and -- alongside the equally chugga-chugga Eulogy Records -- it was the centerpiece curator of a hardcore scene that stretched from Club Q in Davie to Kaffe Krystal in Kendall. A Poison The Well show at the latter was the first time this writer ever witnessed headwalking, a stage diving technique rooted in walking on people's heads. These days, Derek Miller is the mad scientist to Allison Bell Krauss's muse in electro-bass stomp duo Sleigh Bells.
4. Wes Eisold: American Nightmare and Cold Cave
American Nightmare played fast, punk-derived hardcore at a time when metalcore reigned supreme. Wes Eisold squawked angsty Livejournal-style poetry and dudes across the country fingerpointed along. In 2002, American Nightmare opened for Poison The Well at Ft. Lauderdale's Freez. Some kind of intense Boston vs. Miami beef bubbled over, and a crew of tough guys started calling Eisold a "one-handed faggot." Now he is actually missing a hand and he took reasonable offense to their jeer, signaling the band to explode into wailing feedback for the remainder of the set. Years later, I would have appreciated this display as some kind of free rock, but to my 16 year old ears the set was received as the band intended ... An assault.
3. Steve Aoki: This Machine Kills and Dim Mak
Not a lot of people know that Steve Aoki got his start in mid-2000s political screamo band This Machine Kills. Maybe no one needed to know that. Anyway, Aoki's real claim to fame has been his electro-house record label, Dim Mak, and his debauchery-filled superclub performances. Also, his dad owns Benihana.
2. Mike Simonetti: Troubleman Unlimited and Italians Do It Better
When you type Mike Simonetti's early-90s record label Troubleman Unlimited into Google, the site's subheading is "A hardcore/emo/screamo label." The first release was screamy, dirge-y, post-hardcore outfit Unwound. And from then on, the imprint stayed up to date on trending punk aesthetics. From sassy post-punk through the mid-2000s noise explosion (Troubleman released records from marquee acts Wolf Eyes and Hair Police), Simonetti stayed up to date. In 2007, he founded Italians Do It Better to release music by Chromatics, Glass Candy, and other male-female Italo electro combos.
1. Crocodiles: The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower/Some Girls and Crocodiles
Crocodiles are actually the inspiration for this entire piece. I was surprised to learn the outfit had members of heavy sass punk band The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower and spazz-grind metal group Some Girls. By the way, Wes Eisold was also a member of Some Girls, which really provokes the question as to why so many of these 2000s mosh dudes ended up messing with keyboards and Serato in the 2010s.