Midwest noise figureheads explain TM philosophy and open door policy
Wolf Eyes have announced that the first Trip Metal Fest, set to take place in Detroit this May, is to be a free event. Artists so far confirmed for the festival, curated by Nate Young, Lindsay ‘Viki’ Karty, and Forest Juziuk, include Morton Subotonik, Marshall Allen, Hieroglyphic Being, Andrew WK and members of Wolf Eyes themselves.
The phrase ‘trip metal’ has cropped up frequently in interviews, twitter feeds and dispatches from Wolf Eyes in recent years, and its usage falls somewhere between a new Wolf Eyes aesthetic motto, a band in-joke, and an absurdist meme. We tried to get an explanation of its meaning from John Olson and Nate Young of the band. “This guy named Vince was on LSD at a Wolf Eyes gig,” says Young. “He texted Jim [Baijo] after the show and said we were ‘totally trip metal’ It made us laugh so hard, it just stuck.
“Trip metal is an answer to the failures that experimental music and art make,” he continues. “Imagine a world where nobody understands art and they are seeing it all for the first time. That confusion might unite us by establishing a common thread. We all are confused, so let’s just admit it and start asking questions.”
John Olson’s twitter feed has been filled with gross-out gifs, bizarre videos and sci-fi pics in recent months, many of which carry the hashtag #tmapproved. “If you #tmapprove something: it's yours,” he announces. “It’s like Columbus discovering the world with candy, wicked jams, and an open minded smile instead of Christ's broken promises and useless culture killing violence as land conquering dogma.” Wolf Eyes submitted a trip metal chart for The Wire 382, which compiled together 15 allegedly TM-approved items, from demo tapes and record labels to movie recommendations and even local skate parks in the Midwest.
If trip metal is music, what does it sound like? “What kind of question is that?” Young fires back. “Have you heard of Wolf Eyes the fathers of trip metal?” As to how a trip metal fest might pan out: “It will be a free event from 27–29 May in Detroit, Michigan. The festival focuses on the gathering of close friends for a dinner and a show. Every day Trip Metal Fest will begin with a 5-star meal followed by a open conversation. First up is Morton Subotnick, John Olson and Andrew WK. After the meal and conversation we will go to El Club and jam. We are focusing on free food for musicians and free music for the public.
“If we can do a free event why can’t other festivals? Hasn't Coachella made enough money?” he asks. “Or for that matter why does SXSW cost so much and pay nothing to artists?” Other performers on the weekend bill include Nautical Almanac, DJ Dog Dick, Brain Transplant, Drainolith, Joseph Hammer, Sick Llama, Lexie Mountain and Scroll Downers, and many more.
The plan to make Trip Metal Fest a free event seems to have only been arrived at in recent weeks. However it came about, the prospect of a free gathering of the noise tribes in the Midwest has awakened an idealist strain in the band. Trip Metal Fest takes place on Memorial Day Weekend, and goes head to head with the long-established Movement electronic music festival. The group hope to “make trip metal free and leave the world better off than when we arrived”. Or, as Olson puts it, “100000000 MILLION WEIRDOS HAPPY TO BE THEMSELVES AND SHARING THEIR TRIP EXPERIENCES WITH OTHERS. #nosquares.” More info on Trip Metal Fest, along with a host of TM-approved videos and images, can be found here.