The History of Industrial Music

Trash Theory

@TrashTheory on X

If you are a fan of the industrial music genre, then you need to check out the video Before Nine Inch Nails: How Industrial Became Pop by Trash Theory.

What is industrial music? In its original form, it was an aggressively mechanistic and uncompromising sound formed of tape loops, samples, often self-made synths and electronics. Bands like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Nurse With Wound, and Einst├╝rzende Neubauten produced avant-garde noise that thumbed its nose at pop music as a production line and made sounds from the literal tools of production.

My own path of discovery was through the early 80’s techno, from Kraftwerk to Depeche Mode, until I eventually found the albums Twitch by Ministry in 1986, and Official Version by Front 242 in 1987 (after having seen their album Geography in the stores for years, but never giving it a listen). By the late 80s and into the early 90s, industrial was a major part of my collection and my occasional DJ sets, featuring bands like Nitzer Ebb, Wire, Die Warsaw, Meat Beat Manifesto, and of course NIN.

But how did Industrial music get from its pipe-bashing, static-cloaked anti-music guise to the music soundtracking in the club scenes in The Matrix? What were the essential steps along the way? And how did Nine Inch Nails force Industrial into the charts? That’s the theme behind This is How Industrial Became Pop, written by Serenity Autumn and Chad Van Wagner.

Check it out:

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.

1 Response

  1. January 1, 2024

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