Musings on metal and its evolving demography

Posts tagged “Joan Jocson Singh

2016 Metal in Strange Places Conference

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Last week, I flew to Ohio with the wife to attend the MISP (Metal in Strange Places) conference at University of Dayton. It was held in the same space as the 2014 MACI (Metal and Cultural Impact) conference and was coordinated by Bryan Bardine, who put together the previous one. Coming from a library slant, wifey presented on using social media as a resource for research and introduced the concept of the netnography to the group, which is essentially ethnographic research conducted using online resources, especially social media.

During her presentation, she used examples from her thesis work on women in New York’s extreme metal scene to illustrate steps of the research process. She also spoke about, and gave examples from, the Metal Music Librarians group on Facebook, which she created and is geared towards academic metal discussion. It includes CFP’s (call for papers) and other topical metal news, along with library-related information, like creating special collections dedicated to music or ‘zines. The group isn’t solely for librarians, so if you’re interested in joining, feel free!

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Unlike last time, we were able to see all of the panels, although we electively missed one on the first day because we were drained from travel and needed to crash at the hotel. It was a fantastic showing, with a great variety of panels and presentations. Some of the speakers were new to us, and others were people we knew from previous conferences – including people who my wife has presented with before – so, it was like coming home.

Also, the final keynote speaker this year was Henkka Seppala, the bassist from Children of Bodom. His talk was called “Playing Metal for a Living and Studying Human Capital: The Music Scene, Scholar System, and their Future in Finland”. Like the others, it was insightful and fascinating.  He spoke about the Finnish education system, playing in a band and touring the world while getting a higher education degree and about the Finnish metal scene in general.

I’ll write about the panels in a upcoming posts. For now, here’s the schedule of events:

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2016 EMP Pop Conference

I have so much stuff to post about, but I’ve been really negligent in updating my blogs for months. Apologies!

Anyway, here’s one item. Three weeks ago, wifey & I flew to Seattle so she could speak at a panel at the EMP Pop Conference. This year’s title was From a Whisper to a Scream: The Voice in Music. She sat on a panel called Noise Breeding Silence – Heavy Metal Voices.

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Panel participants, moderated by Steve Waksman

Here’s the description from their website:

The EMP Pop Conference returns with its biggest roster of presentations yet, looking at the ways music lets us hear voices: singers, to be sure, whether virtuosos or idiosyncratic originals, but also other types of vocalizing. How do instrumentalists insert their selves into their music? When the dominant voices in our songs change, what changes with that, from personal identity to collective messages? A switch in voice—from croon to rasp to rap to Auto-Tune—alters everything it reaches. 

In dozens of panels, all free to the public (though we strongly recommend advance registration), we’ll explore musical voices across genre and time period: soul singers and rock singers, singers of exotica and Mexi-Cajun blues. Panels on goth-punk wailer Siouxsie Sioux, warbling rapper Future, and pop-rock duo Hall & Oates. Synthetic “vocaloids” and challenges to female decorum. Singing across lines of color. Good bad singing and bad good singing. Vocal coaching. Southern accents.

And here’s the description for the panel wifey was on:

Metal remains fixed as a quintessentially white male hetero form in its most visible artists and presumed demographic. The emergent field of “metal studies” has begun to document metal’s appeal to women, non-white, and LGBTQ audiences, and to millions in the developing world. This panel considers to and for whom metal seems most to be speaking. Do metal’s various subgenres (death, black, doom, grindcore, etc.) all draw on the same underlying voice? Are different strains more or less inclusive? How do questions concerning metal’s inclusivity look different from a global vantage? What can we learn from participants who occupy non-dominant positions relative to core constituencies?

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2014 Metal and Cultural Impact conference

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Last week, wifey and I flew to Ohio to attend the MACI (Metal and Cultural Impact: Metal’s Role in the 21st Century) conference. She presented her thesis work on Women in NY’s Extreme Metal Scene – she’s finishing up her 2nd master’s degree. This one is in cultural anthropology.

We missed the first day’s panels, because our flight out of Newark got cancelled due to inclement weather. It was rescheduled for the next morning, so we arrived on Friday and started attending panels. On Saturday, we had some trouble with our rental car, so we missed a bit too, and then had to leave to fly back to NY – again via Newark.

Here’s the list of events:

The conference was really interesting to attend. I only became aware of the academic study of metal (and extreme metal, in particular) a few years ago via wifey’s directing me to research papers and published materials about death metal, black metal and grind. Prior to that, back in the 90s, I had Lords of Chaos, but that was about it, as far as extreme metal went.

Since then, its grown a bit. I always tell her that academia is turning us into jazz – it was initially reviled, then slowly accepted and now its taught at schools. Punk also had this happen to it, and now, it looks like its heading our way.

While at the panel, we met a lot of people whose books and papers we have read. Wifey’s been communicating with a lot of them via email and on forums as well, so it was exciting for her to be able to meet them in the flesh and be able to network. I’ll post about some of the panels later – right now I have to finish some stuff for work.