Music From the Masses

Sweden's (International) Noise Conspiracy has more than a few things they'd like to talk about

6. Discuss the paradox presented by the fact that the (International) Noise Conspiracy is a band that sells records and presumably wants to make money, while simultaneously railing against consumer culture.

Lyxzén, for one, is particularly sensitive to this point, and it isn't just a theoretical question.

For example, editorial reviewers at recently named Survival Sickness the top indie album of 2000. To appreciate the complexity of this pronouncement, you must know that repeatedly and publicly resisted union organization of its tech workers during that year. "Amazon needs to be flexible in order to innovate on behalf of customers and employees," spokesperson Patty Smith (God, the irony) said in a January 23 article posted on "[Unions] are not terribly flexible when it comes to making changes for the workforce or customer base."

The (International) Noise Conspiracy: Clockwise from left, Inge Johansson, Dennis Lyxzén, Lars Strömberg, Lugwig Dahlberg and Sara Almgren.
Elin Berje
The (International) Noise Conspiracy: Clockwise from left, Inge Johansson, Dennis Lyxzén, Lars Strömberg, Lugwig Dahlberg and Sara Almgren.


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By all means, let's save the workers from the very possibility of forming advocate groups. straw bosses take note, there might be a bit more activism boiling in the editorial ranks of the music offices than you're aware of.

What we're talking about here is the complicated process by which protest movements attempt to appropriate the master's tools -- in this case, the music "biz" -- in order to dismantle the master's house. "We try to look at it from this point of view," says Lyxzén, "Resistance against capitalism has strengthened capitalism. Every time there's a criticism made of capitalism, capitalism tries to buy that resistance and commodify it, turn it into something to be sold." (Remember soda maker Sprite's axiom "Image Is Nothing"?) "But capitalism in the global economy has gone to the point where it can't go any further; there's almost nothing left to buy, and political resistance is now exposing that commodifying process as well. And now everything that's forming a resistance to capitalism is starting to create huge cracks in the system.

"We are 'selling protest.' We realize that we're consumables, we're a product to be bought and sold. I can almost hear the people at Epitaph saying, 'They look good, they say good things in interviews, it's gonna sell.' But at the same time we try to be a product that subverts the meaning of being a product. We want to be a product that when people bring it home, it'll be something more than just a record. I see a lot of hope in it."

7. Do you?

Justify your answer.

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