Digital hardcore legends Atari Teenage Riot are back after a 10 year break. They play The Button Factory on Thursday November 25th & we’ve some tickets for you.
In the spring of 1992, Atari Teenage Riot was founded in reaction to the rise of neo-fascism within Germany’s electronic music scene. Formed by Alec Empire, Hanin Elias, and Carl Crack, ATR combined the politics and aggressive attitude of Punk music with the electronic-equipment of Techno as well as lyrical elements of Hip-Hop. Atari Teenage Riot abandoned the heavy bass typical of techno and hip-hop in order to experiment with intentionally uncomfortable midrange frequencies. These frequencies created an agitating rather than pacifying ambiance which reflected the social tensions around which ATR was formed. Thus politics were incorporated not only into the lyrical elements of the band, but also into the music itself.
Atari Teenage Riot’s first record, ‘Hetzjagd Auf Nazis!’ (Hunt Down the Nazis!), released in the autumn of 1992, was quickly banned from German clubs for its blatantly political (and violent) themes. Nevertheless, ATR’s unique sound and proactive message received critical acclaim and became a quick success.
In 1993, Atari Teenage Riot signed a contract with a major European label, Phonogram, and took an extremely large cash advancement for the creation of a promised new record. But ATR had no intention of honoring the corporate contract and refused to create a serious record. Instead, band members racked up huge bills in Phonogram’s name, produced an outrageously uncommercial demo tape, and intentionally made themselves unwanted.
That year ATR released two singles, ‘Atari Teenage Riot’ and ‘Kids are United’, but in the end Phonogram asked Alec, Hanin, and Carl to leave without making the promised album. Due to the wording of the contract, ATR was able to keep the large cash advancement. This money was then used to start an independent record label – Digital Hardcore Records.
In August of 1994, Atari Teenage Riot released a single entitled ‘Raverbashing’ which marked a final rejection of the Techno music scene as well as the use of prerecorded electronic noise. In 1995 ATR released their first full album, ‘Delete Yourself’, as well as another single ‘Speed/Midijunkies’. 1996 saw the production of a further single, ‘Sick to Death’, and a second album, ‘The Future of War’.
In order to reach an American audience, Atari Teenage Riot signed a deal with Grand Royal in late 1996. By 1997, Atari Teenage Riot had released their first album in the states, ‘Burn Berlin, Burn!’, which took the best tracks from both ‘Delete Yourself!’ and ‘The Future of War’. While on tour, ATR added Nic Endo, an American, to the team as live support. Nic brought new layers of noise with her vocal attacks and was eventually held as a permanent fourth member of the band.
In 1999, Atari Teenage Riot pushed themselves even further with the production of ’60 Second Wipeout’. Unlike previous albums, ’60 Second Wipeout’ was constructed entirely from samples created in ATR’s own studio. Aided by Nic Endo’s new energy, help from New York rappers The Arsonists, and riot-grrrl Kathleen Hanna, the album was an amazing success for the now internationally recognized band.
Throughout 1999, Atari Teenage Riot was constantly on the move doing shows, concerts, and clubs and always pushing the limits of musical integrity and human energy. On May 1, while ATR played at an anti-NATO rally in Berlin, police attacked crowds violently and demonstrators responded. Atari Teenage Riot continued playing as riots broke out in the streets to the tune of ‘Revolution Action’. Alec Empire, Carl Crack, and Hanin Elias were arrested for ‘inciting violence’, but were later released and the charges were dropped due to the help of Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) lawyers.
By the late 90s, Atari Teenage Riot had become famous for intense, spontaneous, and unpredictable live shows, which can still be expected from a group who strive to push creative boundaries and refuse to conform. The single “Activate” out this year is the first new recording since 2000’s E.P. “Rage”.
ATARI TEENAGE RIOT
The Button Factory
Thursday 25th November
€20 incl bk fee, tickets available via Sound Cellar, City Discs, Ticketmaster plus usual outlets
To be in with a chance to grab some tickets just send an email containing your thumped.com username & real name & with the subject line ATRTICKETSPLEASE to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on Tuesday 23rd November.