June 26th, 2009 By Alex L. Weber | Music | Posted In: Live Music, Festivals

Cincinnati Reindustrialization Plan: Dance!


Cincinnati is not known as an Industrial music destination. Unlike San Francisco in the late ‘70s, Chicago in the mid-‘80s and Cleveland in the early ‘90s, the Queen City has never really enjoyed a love affair with the ever-morphing genre of all things dark, mechanical and dingy-sounding.

Ilan Kaim is the man who intends to change that. For the last 18 weeks, he’s been hard at work organizing monthly celebrations of Industrial/Gothic/Dark/EBM (Electronic Body Music) music. The recurrent events, which go by the name Quorum, are confined to no particular venue (other cities have hosted Quorum events in the past) and are open to anyone interested in partying to the post-apocalyptic and often highly danceable sounds of electronic decay.

Kaim, who grew up in Colombia on a steady diet of his parents’ Sabbath records, says he likes Cincinnati’s convenient location. It allows him to draw renowned bands and DJs from cities like Louisville, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Dayton/Columbus. But what he really gets a kick out of is the community atmosphere of freaky-geeky gothic peeps who show up to get down at the Quorum events.

“People are very open-minded.

We have architects, scientists—it’s crazy. Some part of their brain goes toward Industrial. The music is just so powerful. It makes you want to dance. People need that.”

Since The Warehouse, which was Main Street’s destination for the pierced/eyeliner-clad/cyberpunk set, shut down years ago, people looking for a danceable Industrial alternative just haven’t had that release. They still speak fondly of it to this day, Kaim says, and he says he’s glad to be offering a monthly congregation site for these misty-eyed folks as well as the younger crowd.

So what should virgin visitors expect from Quorum?

"We take it up a notch—it’s not just DJs playing iTunes lists," Kaim says. For the July 4th “Judgment Day” Quorum at The Mockbee, he’s brought in two bands (The Azoic and Cincinnati’s Hematosis) and six world-class DJs (Copper Top, DJ Heim, DJ Chuck_G, Mr. Industrial Pants, DJ PhOeniXXX and DJ Reich) All of the acts were hand-picked for their Industrial-friendly styles.

Kaim’s got a lot of future plans on the table. Other than "Judgment Day," here’s what’s up in the short run: the “number-one Industrial DJ in the world,” DJ The End, will appear at the July 31-Aug. 1 Quorum, which is slated to take place at the Adonis nightclub. Looking further out, Kaim hopes to organize events at the Subway downtown and an Industrial-themed haunted house at the Mockbee for Halloween '09, although this idea hasn’t quite made its way off the drawing board just yet.

In any case, you'll have ample opportunity to slap on your best pair of black leather pants, connect that chain from your nose ring to your earring, and get out there and groove.

For details on "Judgment Day" and more information, visit Quorum's Web site.

06.28.2009 at 10:48 Reply
I'm not sure I agree with the opening of this article. Ohio in general, and SW Ohio in particular have played a major role in shaping industrial electronic music, predating Chicago by nearly a decade! Shall we start at the top? Devo and Pere Ubu, northern Ohio bands, certainly played a big part in establishing sounds and standards that would evolve into industrial music. The sampling aesthetic was pioneered in our northern territories, but quickly migrated south... The Hospital Records bands of the early 1980s blew those doors off the hinges. In fact, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo journeyed to Group Effort (in it's Finneytown days) to produce music for Hospital's Qi-zz. While QI-zz was more power-pop/punk than industrial, label mates Dementia Precox wrote the rules that Ministry would pick up in 3-5 years. They played in Chicago a lot, before moving west to base themselves in SF when the Chicago scene was still pooping it's diapers. Other Hospital bands were doing stuff that pushed the same boundaries as Einstrtzende Neubauten in noise; do yourself a favor and pick up AutoGlamour Sound at Shake It before saying Cincy wasn't there from the beginning. Simultaneously with RevCo/Ministry/Skinny Puppy, again in Northern Ohio, NIN was doing a lot of the same things only better. And now much, much longer. By this time Cincinnati had it's own industrial bands - Before Shag Freekbass was playing industrial electronica in a band called Danse Macabre in the late 1980s (attracting Bootsy's attention with his mad skillz). Dave Arps was crushing out industrial beats on the side in his studio. Sex Device played/earned more in Chicago than at home, so your point about scene love has some validity. But - the industrial bands here in the late 80s/early 90s often out-earned local rock counterparts even at home (my punk band never got more than $500 to play, but my industrial bands never played for less). Dave Scott's Dangerous Music label put out records and connected with the scene outside the 275 loop. After Dementia evaporated in the 90s, Dayton shifted it's love to Brainiac. By the time they appeared, noise and electronica were competing factions under what was once an industrial flag. Brainiac leaned towards noise, away from EBM and dance side of the genre. But they were no less influential on the genre as a whole, and very much a part of a Southern Ohio scene (they recorded here at Ultrasuede with Steve Schmoll in their prime). There have never NOT been industrial bands in Cincy, many of them excellent. War'n Harrison has been a fixture for a decade or more - great stuff, continuously. I could go on and on... I'm sure Quorum's great and glad to see he's picked up the baton since the Warehouse' demise (my band played there 3-4 times to packed room). Thanks for showing some love to someone whose carrying more than their share of the load. Just be careful with your history - it sells our scene short.


06.28.2009 at 11:09
I'm aware of the great work Hospital did. In fact, I wrote something about it a couple weeks ago ( http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blog-775-take-yourself-to-the-hospital-punk.html ). I suppose what I should have been clearer about in the lead is that Cincinnati has never been acknowledged by the music writing elite as having had an industrial "scene" (that is, after people started calling music "industrial"). And I also should have made it clear that, when I spoke to him, Kaim was of the opinion that Cincinnati hasn't really been known as an industrial-music city. In any case, maybe early bands like Chrome (who were operating at roughly the same time as Pere Ubu and Devo and whom I would argue had a more direct impact on what would become industrial music) and Factrix got more hype and are seen as originators simply because they were in a hip/trendy city like S.F. and were actively getting plugged by Target Video. Maybe the music press helped manufacture that and all subsequent industrial scenes. What do you think about the magnitude of the initial Cincinnati industrial rumblings in comparison with the aforementioned? The whole idea of "scenes" is stupid anyway, and I regret giving it as much credence as I evidently did in the opening. It seems like a lot of "scenes" are built on the backs of only one or two great, precedent-setting bands anyway. And then, there's always those great bands that operate in a vacuum.