If you’re interested in the kind of music that makes ears bleed, you may be wondering how to become a successful noise musician like Merzbow. The Japanese artist, born in 1981, has gained a reputation as one of the most influential names in noise music over the last three decades. His huge discography is recognized for more-and weirder-breakthroughs than anyone in the genre. So, the question becomes, how does he do it, and how can you?
- Listen to some old school rock. One of Merzbow’s first influences was the hard edged guitar of Jimi Hendrix. His musical experimentation, at the time, was considered noise music by much of the mainstream. Hendrix’s style was abrasive and aggressive, an attitude which Merzbow adopted in a big way.
- Get some equipment. What makes noise music like Merzbow’s so great is the fact that it doesn’t really matter what type of equipment you get, as long as you can record it. You could use traditional instruments-like a guitar or drums-and just destroy them, or you could record a table saw for three hours and overlap it. As long as the noise you make says something to you, it is true noise music in the vein of Merzbow’s.
- Distribute your stuff. When Merzbow got his start, he sent out tape cassettes through the mail. Today’s music distribution system is a little different. Look out for music forums, especially ones that focus on experimental and noise music, and upload your music there. Also, set up a music page on Myspace.com. Nearly every band from pop to hip hop has one.
- Whatever you do, don’t stop recording. Merzbow has over 170 different releases. Almost everything he hears and does, he records. So, if you want to get to the same infamous level, you’ll have to be pushing the red button quite a bit. Just make sure not to call it a finished product until you almost can’t bear to listen to it.