Goth is dead. Long live goth. Goth music and its encapsulating culture--from The Cure fans that never returned to straight rock to fetish fanciers--have always romanticized death, usually with a coy grin. But, even though American sludge-seekers dig into the marrow of Norse black metal and the long drones of its bastard sons, goth isn't the draw it used to be.
But, in the Triangle, goth survives. This weekend, in fact, the third annual, multi-venue Eccentrik festival will once again celebrate the ghoulish diversity of goth and industrial music.
Raleigh's Emma Cabrera--known as Mouse to friends--has devoted her life to this culture. "This is what I do," says Cabrera, an effervescent person, brightly chatting in fits and starts, though she's at home sick with a cold.
She was a librarian in a past life and ran a café in New Hampshire, but--ever since she moved to the area four years ago--she's worked toward the promotion of goth and industrial music. She DJs and started a production company for events like the Dracula's Daughter parties held at Durham's Ringside. She has quickly found a receptive audience.
"There is quite a large [goth] community here. I was surprised," she says. "What a lot of people don't understand is it's made up of a whole lot of creative people, people who are in some sort of successful, creative business."
Nationally, misconceptions propagate a skewed perception of these musicians and their supporters, and Mouse says the same is true in the Triangle. "People immediately think of bands on MTV and Marilyn Manson, but most people in this community don't even want to associate with that stuff."
Sure, most of the goth community distinguishes itself in its dress, but Mouse says most of its members find a middle ground during everyday life. "A lot of the people I know, they're professionals. They may have a darker tone to their dress, but aren't likely to wear black eyeliner or black lipstick. I mean, I don't wear vinyl during the day. It's hot," she says with a laugh. "
Though the prototypical template for goth and industrial classics includes acts like the ethereal Clan of Xymox or brooding Sisters of Mercy project The Mission, the umbrella-wide scene contains subgenres that even indie hipsters understand: synth-poppers Depeche Mode, unruly darlings Jesus and Mary Chain, early experimenters Throbbing Gristle. The lineup for Eccentrik III--which attracts fans from all over the Southeast--reflects this milieu.
Mouse believes such diversity inspires a growing, cohesive network of artists and friends. Eccentrik will not only feature Coil and Test Department contemporaries Attrition flying in from Britain, but it will also include several regional acts. This network is her ultimate goal.
"People show up when the doors open, just to see each other," she says, a wide grin obvious over the phone line. "It's such a community feeling, the musicians hanging out with everybody. Through the festival, people have reconnected or made new friends along the way."
Those new friends are coming in droves, too. Last year's festival filled The Pour House. While talking about that festival, Mouse celebrates her work as a cheerleader for her scene. "The Last Dance was doing their sound check, and the energy was so great I just said to myself, 'This is gonna be great, even if nobody shows up.'"
Fortunately, they did.
The Eccentrik Festival runs all weekend, with a kickoff at Kulture on Friday, Oct. 6 at 9:30 p.m. and a closing brunch at Tir Na Nog on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 10:30 a.m. For the main event at The Pour House on Saturday, Oct. 7, doors open at 4 p.m. For the complete schedule, go to www.eccentrikfestival.com.