DJ UNKNOWN at Roxy Blu (12 Brant), Friday (June 13). $10 advance, more at the door. www.milkaudio.com Rating: NNNNN
By now you should at least have heard of Fischerspooner, and you probably know they have something to do with that electroclash thing we're already supposed to hate. Maybe you liked their big single, Emerge, but were confused by their concert and can't understand why they don't bother lip-synching better.
Fischerspooner are the dance music Sex Pistols, a vicious satire of the music industry, but, paradoxically, also a real band with hits and a big record company. Probably the only thing stranger than being a member of Fischerspooner right now is being DJ Unknown, their warm-up and after-party DJ, who also DJs separately as a sort of franchise of the Fischerspooner corporation.
As DJ Unknown explains, he can deal with constantly being associated with one of the world's most argued-about bands.
"What they've achieved is kind of amazing. They're way more than just a neo-pop synth art group. They're about exploring how easy it is to manipulate the media and the industry. But that's just what you get when you first open the book. Look further and there's really a lot of substance there.
"It's not literally a Vegas show, with smoke machines and mirrors; there's actually some depth."
Unknown might not be totally comfortable speaking for Fischerspooner, but it's hard not to ask him to explain them, especially since they haven't been that willing to do so themselves in interviews. They might feel it's all better left unsaid, but one of the problems with making music as a critique of the business is that the audience can feel manipulated when they realize they've fallen for a prank.
"It's got an element of the prankster business, but I think about it more in art history terms as a guerrilla move. Prankster denotes a less intentional attack, whereas the guerrilla artist thing is more descriptive of their attitude."
Even when people get the joke, there's a tendency to want to embellish the mythology even further, leading to some interesting confusion now that major labels and lots of money are involved.
"There was recently an unfortunate situation where some DJ mentioned on the radio that DJ Unknown was a different member of Fischerspooner each time - a great concept but actually not true at all - which created a lot of problems because now they're with Universal, where there are people with chequebooks to keep happy."
Unknown got to watch the Fischerspooner saga develop from the beginning: he offered to be their DJ after seeing their first show at a Starbucks in New York City. Coincidentally, he'd just started playing a mixture of obscure 80s music and some of the neo-electro coming out of Europe, so it was an ideal match.
"All the roads led back to what originally inspired me, that period in the late 70s and early 80s when there was this cultural big bang going on - punk rock, hiphop, new wave, no wave, dancehall, reggae, techno, with everything rubbing elbows and feeding off each other. The energy of that era is what really moulded me.
"It shouldn't be a retro thing, though. It should speak more to where we're going, and have some forward momentum."