In preparation for our collaboration with Vampire Freaks – Dark Side Of The Con, America’s only 3 day Goth festival – I thought I might put together a bit of conversation about whether or not Goth and Steampunk truly to go together.
Steampunk and Goth have a number of differences, as well as an extraordinary amount of commonalities. But in the end, they share one absolute irrevocable enemy: the boring, the mundane, the everyday.. I will not go so far as to call it the “normal”. because I don’t know that I would say normalcy. in and of itself. is a negative.. But the sort of normalcy which requires all things be norma in order to be be acceptable–that is the true and entire enemy of Goths and Steampunks alike..
It’s possible that Goths and Steampunks sometimes stay away from each other is because of our very similarities. Certainly, there are so many Steampunk places which were first pioneered by Goth, and Steampunk doesn’t generally go around giving credit. And that would irk anyone. I mean, whence, exactly, came the revival of Edwardian and Victorian styles in general? Whence the top hats, damn it? It’s Goth, Goth, Goth. I mean, however would anyone in the United States alone settle on Absinthe as the drink of their culture? Oh, I do genuinely love absinthe…but it’s not the sort of drink that simply happens naturally. It needs to be chosen, and chosen for specific reasons. More on that later..
Relatedly, Abney Park is often pointed out as being one of the first most influential, most widely known Steampunk band, and one of the bands which helped forge Steampunk music.. Hell, this is no secret, or at least no secret for anyone who has access to either Wikipedia or simply someone with a knowledge of Darkwave. It’s simple: Abney Park began as a Goth band.. And they’re hardly the only ones.
Frankly, in my own experience, when someone like The Long Losts wants to play our events, we’ll book them for The Steampunk World’s Fair and Dark Side Of The Con, and in both places, they’ll fill audiences with pleasure.
That is not because of some particularly discerning musical ear among our own attendees. Oh, I will admit to being fondly biased in favor of the idea of our attendees, but it’s not their good taste which permits crossover bands success at a variety of events. It’s the fact that, in truth, we havea shared goal in Goth and Steampunk alike.
We are looking to create, not just a look, or a style of music, or even an attitude, but rather a culture on top of the rest of culture.. We are trying to create a world that underlies, and sometimes overlies, the world of the mundane and the ordinary and makes it a better, more enthralling, more enchanted place.
We can do it. And we will do it. Together.
Who’s with me?
Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks). He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.