Fischerspooner, an American electroclash act

Electroclash (also known as synthcore, retro-electro, tech-pop, nouveau disco, and the new new wave[3]) is a genre of popular music that fuses 1980s electro, new wave and synth-pop with 1990s techno, retro-style electropop and electronic dance music.[6][7][8] It emerged in the late 1990s and was pioneered by and associated with acts such as I-F, DJ Hell, Miss Kittin and The Hacker, and Fischerspooner.[9][10]

Terminology and characteristics

The term electroclash describes a musical movement that combined synthpop, techno, punk and performance art. The genre was in reaction to the rigid formulations of techno music, putting an emphasis on song writing, showmanship and a sense of humour,[6] and was described by The Guardian as one of "the two most significant upheavals in recent dance music history".[11] The visual aesthetic of electroclash has been associated with the 1982 cult film Liquid Sky.[12] DJ Hell is widely credited as inventor and name giver of the genre,[13][14][15] while DJ and promoter Larry Tee later popularized the term in the US by naming the Electroclash 2001 Festival in New York[16] after it.[17][8]


Role of International Deejay Gigolos

Electroclash emerged in the late 1990s. The Munich-based label International DeeJay Gigolo Records, founded by DJ Hell, is considered the "germ cell" and "THE home" of the electroclash sound.[18][19][20][21] Gigolo featured many of the early electroclash songs, such as for example Christopher Just's I'm a Disco Dancer from 1997 or Chris Korda's Save the Planet, Kill Yourself, which originally even had been released as early as 1993.[22][23] Then in 1998, Gigolo released the songs "1982" and "Frank Sinatra" by French recording duo Miss Kittin & The Hacker, which were among the most successful early hits of the new genre.[10][24][9] This was followed by the hit "Emerge" by New York duo Fischerspooner,[25] as well as the remake of Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night" by Canadian duo Tiga & Zyntherius, both released on Gigolo in 2001.[26][27] DJ Hell brought the artists of the new genre together on the label and acted primarily as their mentor.[27] But also Hell's own releases like the album Munich Machine from 1998 are seen as groundbreaking for the genre Electroclash.[28] In the widely recognized film documentary Welcome to the club! 25 years of electronic dance music by European television network Arte, Miss Kittin describes the origination of the first songs of the new style together with DJ Hell and declares him the inventor of the Electroclash genre.[15] Since DJ Hell gathered the international artists of the new genre at Gigolo in Munich and many of them gave their first performances in the city's nightclubs, Munich is considered the city in which electroclash "was significantly co-invented, if not invented".[4][19] Soon the new style of music also spread to other cities such as Berlin, London and New York.[29]

Other early artists

Also I-F's track "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass", released in 1998 on Disko B, with its "old-fashioned verse-chorus dynamics to burbling electro in a vocodered homage to Atari-era hi-jinks" is considered one of the pioneering tracks of the electroclash genre.[6][30] Further early artists include Chicks on Speed, Peaches, ADULT. and Toktok vs. Soffy O with their year 2000 hit Missy Queen's Gonna Die.[29][20][31][32]

During their early years, Ladytron were sometimes labeled as electroclash, but others stated that they were not entirely electroclash[9] and they also rejected this tag themselves.[33][19] Goldfrapp's albums Black Cherry (2003) and Supernature (2005) incorporated electroclash influences.[34][35]

Electroclash in the U.S.

In the U.S. the genre came to media attention, when the Electroclash Festival was held in New York in October 2001 to "make a local breakthrough with this scene, presenting a select group of superstar and pioneer artists from Europe and the U. S."[16][9] The Electroclash Festival was held again in 2002 with subsequent live tours across the US and Europe in 2003 and 2004. Other notable artists who performed at the festival and subsequent tours include Scissor Sisters, ADULT., Erol Alkan, Princess Superstar, Mignon, Mount Sims, Tiga and Spalding Rockwell.


The electroclash label and the hype around it were fiercely criticized by some of its acclaimed protagonists in the early 2000s. For example, I-F and other artists signed an "Anti-Electroclash-Manifest", where they complained about the sellout of the style by those who would "rule the media waves" and only "sell the old freshly packaged".[29][31] In 2002, Toktok vs. Soffy O. stated that when they were first asked about electroclash they just thought: "This is nothing else than what we've known for at least five years and what is now reaching the recycling peak for the third or fourth time".[31]

See also


  1. ^ a b Ishkur (2019). "Ishkur's Guide: Electroclash". Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music. Retrieved November 16, 2023.
  2. ^ a b David Madden (2012). "Crossdressing to Backbeats: The Status of the Electroclash Producer and the Politics of Electronic Music". Retrieved January 3, 2015. Electroclash combines the extended pulsing sections of techno, house and other dance musics with the trashier energy of rock and new wave.
  3. ^ a b Carpenter, Susan (July 28, 2002). "New Songs, Old Beats". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Hecktor, Mirko; von Uslar, Moritz; Smith, Patti; Neumeister, Andreas (1 November 2008). Mjunik Disco – from 1949 to now (in German). p. 8. ISBN 978-3936738476.
  5. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. Go to Berliniamsburg, the Brooklyn club at the epicentre of New York's eighties-inspired 'electroclash' scene, and you feel a peculiar sensation: it's not exactly like time travel, more like you've stepped into a parallel universe, an alternative history scenario where rave never happened.
  6. ^ a b c D. Lynskey (22 March 2002). "Out with the old, in with the older". Archived from the original on 15 October 2014.
  7. ^ "The Electroclash Mix by Larry Tee". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  8. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Larry Tee Biography on Yahoo! Music". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 18 March 2007. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  9. ^ a b c d Juzwiak, Richard Moroder (30 September 2002). "Electroclash: In Limousines We Have Sex/In NYC We Have Clash - Article". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b Gagne, Justin (2011). "Velle - Couture Soundtracks - Winter 2010". Velle. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  11. ^ "The female techno takeover", The Guardian, May 24, 2008
  12. ^ "The Great Electroclash Swindle". Retrieved August 10, 2008.
  13. ^ "The gentleman of electronic music" (in German). Pure FM. 11 June 2014. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  14. ^ "DJ Hell – Electronic Music Megastar" (in German). FAZEmag. 6 April 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  15. ^ a b Pailhe, Dimitri (Director), Marx, Jean-Claude, Alary, Romain, Sève, Thibault (2014). Bienvenue au club : 25 ans de musiques électroniques [Welcome to the club! 25 years of electronic dance music] (Motion picture) (in French). France: Arte France, Bellota Films.
  16. ^ a b "Electroclash 2001 Festival: Bringing Innovative Music to NYC". FREEwilliamsburg, Issue 19, 2001. October 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  17. ^ Paoletta, Michael (27 July 2002). "Nü-Electro Sound Emerges". Billboard. Vol. 30, no. 114. New York: Nielsen Business Media Inc. pp. 66–68. ISSN 0006-2510.
  18. ^ Sources:
  19. ^ a b c Von Kraehahn and Christoph Dallach (31 March 2003). "Aufgewärmte Kälte – Das Revival findet doch statt: Ladytron macht aus Klängen der Achtziger Electroclash" [Warmed up cold – The revival takes place after all: Ladytron turn the sounds of the eighties into electroclash]. Der Spiegel (in German).
  20. ^ a b Josh Baines (10 February 2016). "A Bullshitter's Guide to Electroclash". VICE.
  21. ^ "Dj Hell Interview: Power and Innovation". Skiddle. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  22. ^ Joe Muggs (7 March 2014). "Save the Planet, Kill Yourself: remembering Electroclash". FACT Magazine.
  23. ^ "Chris Korda – Save The Planet, Kill Yourself". Discogs. Zinc Media, Inc. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Miss Kittin And The Hacker* - Champagne! E.P." Discogs. Zinc Media, Inc. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Fischerspooner – Emerge". Discogs. Zinc Media, Inc. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Tiga & Zyntherius – Sunglasses EP". Discogs. Zinc Media, Inc. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  27. ^ a b Kleinfeld, Justin (3 February 2003). "Artist Spotlight:Tiga". CMJ New Music Report. Vol. 74, no. 799. New York: The CMJ Network Inc. p. 20. ISSN 0890-0795.
  28. ^ Tony Naylor (2 March 2009). "DJ Hell creates dance music heaven at last". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  29. ^ a b c Andreas Hartmann (17 January 2003). "The Great Gigolo Swindle". Die Tageszeitung (in German). Archived from the original on 25 February 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  30. ^ "I-f – Fucking Consumer". Discogs. Zinc Media, Inc. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  31. ^ a b c Sonja Eismann (27 September 2002). "The moment after: Toktok vs. Soffy O." (in German). Intro Magazine. Archived from the original on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  32. ^ J. Walker (5 October 2002). "Popmatters concert review: ELECTROCLASH 2002 Artists: Peaches, Chicks on Speed, W.I.T., and Tracy and the Plastics". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011..
  33. ^ "3/29 - Ladytron - 'Best Of: 00 - 10'". Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  34. ^ Phares, Heather. "Black Cherry – Goldfrapp". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  35. ^ Oculicz, Edward (23 August 2005). "Goldfrapp – Supernature". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2011.