Everything you need to know about 'Industrial Pop' plus a guide of 10 characteristic examples

Everything you need to know about 'Industrial Pop' plus a guide of 10 characteristic examples

Industrial Pop is all about mixing the gene pool

Adding some­thing new to the exist­ing music­al gene pool is always good and neces­sary to keep the scene alive and healthy. The last time I have noticed such a music­al change as the one we call now 'Industrial Pop', was the song 'Inhuman' by 'Aesthetic Perfection'. A track that would cer­tainly have been stamped as 'Industrial', but there was so much more to this song.

Thomas Frenken Press Photo 07/2017
Thomas Frenken
Press Photo 07/2017

'Inhuman' is in the same amount cold and hard as a typ­ic­al 'Industrial' track, but comes along with the same catchy dance beat as a radio friendly Pop song. "Pop ele­ments in an Industrial song?"- you may won­der. For die-hard Industrial fans a no-go and at the same time too hard for a ste­reo­type Electropop fan.

So where is a tar­get audi­ence for such a hard to pin down music style? According to the Electrozombies max­im 'Undead And Open Minded', I per­son­ally care little to main­tain an image. If I like some­thing, I listen to it. And in this case, I espe­cially loved this genre for its unique combination.

Our definition of 'Industrial Pop'

Let's dis­mantle the song and define the spe­cific­a­tions of its new born genre. The hard indus­tri­al ele­ments are eas­ily recog­niz­able in the basic fea­tures. Cold and crisp sound­ing beats accom­pan­ied by harsh scream­ing vocals. In terms of con­tent, the lyr­ics are mostly of the emo­tion­al kind. Furthermore they tend towards Gothic and the more ser­i­ous, pro­found themes, which forms an excep­tion to the 'Industrial' genre.

Perhaps Industrial Pop is a bas­tard genre, but to me it's awe­some music for open-minded people.

Thomas Frenken

However, the catchi­ness of the songs is par­tic­u­larly strik­ing and char­ac­ter­ist­ic. The chor­us is usu­ally an ear­wig and actu­ally is radio friendly. The tracks focus on dance­ab­il­ity. This is quite an asset because espe­cially the scene's young­er gen­er­a­tions, such as Cyber Goths,  love to dance. So a more agile kind of music meets their needs surely more than those of a good old Waver from the 80s. Although this music may tran­scend quite some gen­er­a­tion gaps.

An alternative definition of Industrial Pop

Another approach in the defin­i­tion would be that 'Industrial Pop' con­sists simply of the most pop­u­lar and catch­i­est tracks inside the Industrial genre. They func­tion as a door open­er to the Industrial genre in gen­er­al for music-inter­ested and open minded listen­ers. Assuming that this com­bin­a­tion of genres is kind of para­dox, it works at least 100% for the micro­cosm of our music scene.

Four pioneers on their vantage points

As we decided to start writ­ing an art­icle on this top­ic, the major plan was simple. Just write a few para­graphs about our point of view and add a 10 track playl­ist to have some lively con­tent on the page. But the plan changed because of the enthu­si­ast­ic and extens­ive sup­port of four very spe­cial artists. We're very proud to present to you some of the "Industrial Pop" Masterminds' opin­ions on this very fresh genre: Daniel Graves (Aesthetic Perfection), Sami Mark Yahya (Faderhead), Jacquelyn Dady (Nyxx) and Tominous and Gabor (Formalin).

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The artistic philosophy of Daniel Graves (Aesthetic Perfection)

Daniel Graves - Promo Photo by Nyxx
Daniel Graves
Promo Photo for 'Rhythm & Control' by Nyxx

Daniel Graves explains: "To me, #IndustrialPop is less about how the music sounds, and more about the mind­set of the cre­at­or. My music is firmly rooted in the goth / indus­tri­al scene, but there’s so much more music out there that I love and appreciate. 

So many oth­er scenes to draw influ­ences from. I don’t want to stifle my cre­ativ­ity with restric­tions about the kinds of drum rhythms, chord pro­gres­sions or sounds I can use. I don’t want to lim­it myself visu­ally to look­ing like the stand­ard ”dude in a goth band”.

I don’t know how it happened, but our scene has become so insu­lar and restric­ted in terms of what is and isn’t cool or accept­able, that it’s now some fucked up mirrored ver­sion of the main­stream. Bands are encour­aged to regur­git­ate the same old music while people dance in the same way while wear­ing their over­priced out­fits cre­ated for them by trendy “goth” fash­ion design­ers.

Any devi­ation is met with dis­gust and rejec­tion. How is this any dif­fer­ent than the hol­low main­stream? Isn’t this the kind of think­ing we were flee­ing when tak­ing refuge in the under­ground? What happened to DIY? What happened to just being yourself?

Industrial Pop is a para­dox. How can some­thing be main­stream and under­ground at the same time? I embrace the paradox.

For me, that means I mix my love of catchy melod­ies with my love of raw and authen­t­ic art. Combining the dark with the light. The chaos with the har­mony. If someone were to copy my sound and style, it wouldn’t be Industrial Pop because they’re not fol­low­ing their own artist­ic intu­itions. They’re just try­ing to fit a mold! Industrial Pop is about defy­ing con­ven­tion and break­ing molds.

If I should name bands that fit in the Industrial Pop genre, then in my opin­ion it's 'Empathy Test', 'Night Club' and 'Nyxx'."

The typical 'Daniel Graves Sound'

"I've been around so long I prob­ably do have people that were inspired by me, but I don't have the abil­ity to hear my music object­ively, I don't know what it sounds like as a whole. The Daniel Graves 'sound' appar­ently exists, but I don't know what it is or what it sounds like. The only meth­od I have for dis­cern­ing music sim­il­ar to mine is to know the artist and the intent behind their creations.

Industrial Pop is about embra­cing con­tra­dic­tions and express­ing your­self honestly.

Daniel Graves

When I began to cre­ate a song, I tried to be very cal­cu­lated. I said "I want X to sound like Y", nowadays, I just sit down with my gui­tar, or at my key­board or com­puter and just fol­low my instincts. After doing this for so many years you begin you get a feel­ing for what's right and wrong in the con­text of your own cre­at­ive pro­cess. If it sounds good and feels authen­t­ic, keep it!

Industrial Pop will exist as long as it needs to. Maybe it's just a cul­tur­al phe­nomen­on and will die out in a couple years after it stops being pro­voc­at­ive or use­ful. All that mat­ters to me is that people in the future recog­nize this point in time as one of great music. I want to inspire col­lab­or­a­tion and the destruc­tion of the rigid genre expect­a­tions that hold us back!"Daniel says.

Update: Daniel Graves answers in an epis­ode of his video format 'Tone Deaf' the ques­tion 'What is Industrial Pop?'. Watch it now!

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A short interview with Sami Mark Yahya (Faderhead) about the topic

Faderhead - Press Photo 2016
Faderhead – Press Photo 2016

What is for you per­son­ally Industrial Pop and how would you explain this genre to someone who does not deal intens­ively with our music scene?

It's Pop music for people who want to think that it's not Pop music. And it might have a bit heav­ier vocals. But that's not a requirement.

When did you first get to know the genre Industrial Pop and what kind of artists or bands have sig­ni­fic­antly influ­enced the genre?

I inven­ted it in 2007 but nev­er named it 'Industrial Pop'. Everyone hated it and called me 'not true Industrial' or 'Pop fag' or 'too Hip Hop'. There are lit­er­ally no oth­er bands right now who do this genre except Aesthetic Perfection and Faderhead. Everyone else doesn't have the hooki­ness and radio-ish sound in it.

As with many oth­er music genres, the roots and their impact are only vis­ible in the ret­ro­spect­ive. Is 'Industrial Pop' still in its infancy and has the genre a long-term future?

As I said, for me it has always exis­ted. Pop will always exist. It just gets dressed up in dif­fer­ent clothes.

Industrial Pop has more hooks than a butcher shop.

Sami Mark Yahya

You are music­ally very var­ied. Would you include some of your tracks in Industrial Pop and if so, which ones?

Yeah, almost all of my tracks. If you only look at the “FH2” record there are: Girly Show, Break Apart Again, Sentimental Again, Friday Night Binge, Dirtygrrrls/Dirtybois, Losing For Real, Coke For My Ass, Mono Man. And on every oth­er Faderhead album after that approx­im­ately 2/3rd of the songs.

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Deep insights of Nyxx's opinion about Industrial Pop

Nyxx (Promo Photo)
Nyxx (Promo Photo)

Nyxx: "Industrial Pop, to me, is a fusion of pas­sions: the song struc­ture and glossy, per­cuss­ive beat of Pop with a healthy coat­ing of dark, haunt­ing, mech­an­ic­al synths. It is indi­vidu­al­ist­ic and experimental.

For me, it’s excit­ing, lib­er­at­ing, and cath­artic, but end­lessly frus­trat­ing. For the most part, I've hit it off with those who love Pop in the goth scene or those not in the scene that are intrigued by the 'dark and unknown'. Yet, still I feel not accep­ted in the Pop industry and also not quickly wel­comed into the Industrial scene. Quintessential out­sider dis­pos­i­tion.

However, this 'new' genre feels like a place where I 'fit'. I love Pop music, thor­oughly. I also love Industrial, Metal, and really parred down Blues. For those of us writ­ing what is clas­si­fied as 'Industrial Pop', we are com­bin­ing styles, genres, and sounds we love con­sciously and inten­tion­ally, all the while doing it unabashedly. That should be cel­eb­rated and encour­aged in artists. Isn't that what the goth scene is about?".

The musical, the lyrical and the attitude

"Musically, Industrial Pop is a beau­ti­ful spec­trum. It can be more Pop, more Industrial, or equal parts of both. It’s edgy, for a lack of a bet­ter term. Traditionally 'Industrial' sounds, heavy synths, dis­tor­tion are undoubtedly present and in the fore­front of the song. The com­pos­i­tions are com­plex and layered with top­pers and hid­den nuances that make your brain and ears tingle. It makes you dance.

Lyrically, I would say that the sub­ject mat­ter is def­in­itely dark­er than con­ven­tion­al, top 40's pop. Our lyr­ics often con­sist of macabre meta­phors and stig­mat­ic topics.

Attitude… That's hard to describe for the whole genre. The artists included in the scene def­in­itely have a mys­tery about them. Powerful and fear­some. It’s the resur­gence of an untouch­able idol, at least as an artist­ic per­sona. However, the Goth and Industrial scene can sniff out a phony imme­di­ately. It has to be authen­t­ic.

I do believe an artist needs to dis­play these char­ac­ter­ist­ics across their body of work to be con­sidered a truly 'Industrial Pop' artist."Nyxx con­tin­ues

We're going deeper into the vault

Nyxx explains: "I describe my music often as 'Goth Pop' to indi­vidu­als not famil­i­ar with Industrial. Nearly every­one knows what Pop is and they have an idea of what Goth is, even if that's a hyper ste­reo­typed, inval­id idea. So, they can grasp what I'm about without hear­ing it."

Industrial Pop is Pop music encased in the raw, crunchy grit of industrial.


"I get com­pared to Britney Spears and Nine Inch Nails a lot. Both are amaz­ing, floor­ing com­pli­ments. I am a huge Britney fan. I know all the cho­reo­graphy to the 'Slave' tour. I hold a deep, deep respect for Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor, but nev­er really listen to them. I wish I could crank out the amount of work he does. He is a self con­tained machine. I am striv­ing every­day to become a musi­cian to the likes of Reznor.

All bias aside, Aesthetic Perfection is by far the pion­eer of this scene and has been for years. They are Industrial Pop. Daniel, whom I am for­tu­nate to have become both music­al peers and friends with, is the "Dr. Luke/Max Martin" of Industrial music.

Other artists… Porcelain Black. She doesn't get nearly enough cred­it for how cut­ting edge her music is. Her Tramps days are more Industrial Pop than most artists I can name. Gary Numan's new stuff is on the heav­ier end of Industrial Pop. I would con­sider IAMX Industrial Pop. Kanga.

One of the things about Pop is that is already such a vary­ing genre. There are all sorts of lay­ers to dif­fer­ent kinds of Pop, but Industrial is pretty straight for­ward. You know an Industrial artist when you hear one. I think that’s part of what makes Industrial Pop so inter­est­ing." – Nyxx pro­ceeds.

The musical development of Nyxx

Nyxx tells us: "My music has evolved so much since I first star­ted writ­ing around age 10, along to instru­ment­al music, usu­ally med­it­a­tion CDs. I was drawn to the ele­ments used in it. (Birds, rain, atmo­spher­ic sounds, etc.) As my interest in song­writ­ing grew, I picked up a gui­tar and wrote very bad, acous­tic Pop music, later devel­op­ing into a much bet­ter writ­ten, acous­tic Pop duo with my friend, Kacie Durso. She taught me to rein it in, to fol­low a struc­ture, taught me har­mon­ics, and encour­aged me to be myself, where as I was pre­vi­ously stifled by my high school peers. Up until then, it was organic.

Moving to LA, I began work­ing with pro­du­cers and song­writers. I thought I needed to plan my sound. I had an spe­cif­ic idea of the sound I wanted: Bluesy Hair Metal mixed with Pop. I struggled to pro­duce work that I liked. The last trickle of those days can be heard in my song 'Wicked', writ­ten with my Turkish Pop pro­du­cer friend, Sabi Saltiel.

I learned quickly I couldn't rely on oth­er people to help bring my songs to life. I taught myself Logic and began writ­ing and pro­du­cing songs on my own. Thus, bring­ing my sound you hear today to fruition. I stumbled into my sound by finally just put­ting my real self out there and doing things myself. That was neces­sary and it opened the flood gates.

I believe it is still new, but the artists doing it are not. I think the infant­ile roots of Industrial Pop can be traced back to the form­at­ive years of the Goth scene, but as we are defin­ing Industrial Pop today, I'd say it really star­ted get­ting it's thing togeth­er in the 2000’s.

As with any­thing, the genre will grow. There are some Pop artists who exper­i­ment with Industrial sounds: Grimes, Halsey, Rihanna… I don't fore­see Industrial Pop remain­ing out of main­stream for long. Longevity? I see it morph­ing and grow­ing, becom­ing more pre­val­ent and more definitive."

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Industrial Pop from Berlin: Formalin speaks its mind

Formalin - Press photo 2017 by Gili Shani
Formalin – Press photo 2017 by Gili Shani

What is Industrial Pop for you per­son­ally and how would you explain this genre to someone who is not deeply involved in our music scene?

Tominous: "Industrial Pop is char­ac­ter­ized by the fact that the extremes of the Pre-Industrial are used as styl­ist­ic devices, but are con­nec­ted with catchy song struc­tures. This uni­fies two oppos­ing music­al paths.

Industrial was ori­gin­ally very spon­tan­eous, chaot­ic and char­ac­ter­ized by the idea of DIY. 'Industrial Pop' pours those raw sounds into song struc­tures that are finally smoothened and pro­duced. Chaos and spon­taneity are cer­tainly present in the early song­writ­ing stages. The res­ults are sub­sequently refined and made mass-appro­pri­ate in a cer­tain way.

Melodic vocal lines and a spe­cial arrange­ment lead­ing to the chor­us are cer­tainly typ­ic­al for 'Industrial Pop', but not for the ori­gin­al form of Industrial."

How would you describe 'Industrial Pop' in terms of music, lyr­ics and attitude?

Gabor: "Industrial Pop doesn't neces­sar­ily want to shock. It's more about writ­ing a really good song. A song that is music­ally so rich in con­tent that one could even play it on accous­tic gui­tar on a camp fire. At the end of the 1970s, it was cer­tainly excit­ing to get loud and extreme sounds from elec­tron­ic devices. Today, 40 years later, we have heard it all and there seems to be noth­ing new.

The excit­ing thing about 'Industrial Pop' is to bridge a gap: Between raw elec­tron­ic aggress­ive­ness and an emo­tion­al, music­al guideline, which can be fol­lowed not only by scene devotees, but also by people who actu­ally listen to Pop music.

We like under­ground music as much as music from oth­er ori­gins. We don't hate Pop music. We just don't like unin­spired music or lyr­ics com­posed of empty phrases. A vast part of today's Pop music is unin­spired and has mean­ing­less con­tent, but there are also many good things out­side the scene."

Tominous: "A fea­ture which dis­tin­guishes an Industrial atti­tude from Pop is not only the cre­ation of a product that is as suc­cess­ful as pos­sible, but to be char­ac­ter­ist­ic and authen­t­ic, with lumps and bumps. Pop nowadays cre­ates music for masses and moods, based on tar­geted mar­ket­ing and analysis.

Session musi­cians, song­writers and the artists cre­ate a high-pol­ished product. Meanwhile, in the Industrial scene, authen­ti­city is import­ant. It's not about being com­pat­ible, but about being authen­t­ic. A band in the Industrial world is shaped by the char­ac­ters of the indi­vidu­al mem­bers. In Pop, often whole teams back up a pro­duc­tion, with chan­ging musi­cians and pro­du­cers. Through this, the work's soul gets lost pretty soon."

How would you describe your music style? Does it fit in the genre 'Industrial Pop'?

Tominous: "We just try to write good songs. This is above all – even above the sound itself or the demand to belong to a cer­tain scene. We pro­duce these songs with a harsh, aggress­ive sound, simply because we love it. We also try to work out music­al con­trasts – f.e. a very emo­tion­al melody which floats above extremly dis­tor­ted drum sounds. 

This free­dom is only main­tain­able as long as you don't lim­it your­self and this is prob­ably what you could call 'Industrial Pop'. In our song 'Wipe It Out' for example, you can dis­cov­er influ­ences from Hip Hop, Acid, Break Beat and Industrial, while our chor­us is very catchy and almost Pop-like."

What bands, in your opin­ion, are char­ac­ter­ist­ic for the genre 'Industrial Pop'?

Gabor: "A lot already happened in the 90es with 'Nine Inch Nails' and 'Marilyn Manson'. A whole lot of American Industrial bands do have pretty Pop-like refrains. Transitions are seam­less. At what point is a band still 'Industrial' or already 'Pop'? The more a band estab­lishes bet­ter sounds than a demo pro­duc­tion and the more it cre­ates struc­tures in their songs, the more you could place them in the area of Pop."

Unite con­trasts: Catchy melod­ies and extreme elec­tron­ic sounds!

Gabor (Formalin)

How would you describe the way your music evolved? What influ­ences played a role, is the devel­op­ment planned or was it cre­ated widely by chance?

Tominous: "It has a lot to do with what we like ourselves. We broaden our music­al hori­zon, listen to very dif­fer­ent kinds of music. By doing so, our music reached a wide vari­ety over the years. In the past, we were con­tent with some sounds and a basic mood for cre­at­ing a good song. Meanwhile we got more ambi­tious and take care of a lot more details. But what stays the same is we do the music we'd love to listen to ourselves."

As with many music­al genres many years later the roots and their effects can still be recog­nized. Is 'Industrial Pop' still in its infancy? Do you think, the genre has a long-term future?

Gabor: "For me, 'Industrial Pop' is an occur­ance in a timeline which emantes from the late 70es in England. As long as 'Industrial' keeps on evolving we'd have a chance that it will be listened to in 30 years in one way or anoth­er. Most likely, it won't be called 'Industrial Pop' any­more by then. But the core of its idea will help to keep 'Industrial' as alive and new over the times to pass as it is now."

Tominous: "A music style fades and dies, when its artists keep on look­ing back and con­stantly repeat them­selves. A con­tem­por­ary devel­op­ment may not always be met with love and empathy from every fan, nev­er­the­less it is necess­sary to keep the char­ac­ter­ist­ic styles alive."

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The Electrozombies selection of Industrial Pop tracks

Listen to this DJ set to guide you through the aes­thet­ics and atti­tude of Industrial Pop. Please keep in mind that we don't define all these bands as typ­ic­al Industrial Pop bands. But we think it's a good over­view of the char­ac­ter­ist­ic ele­ments for a pop­u­lar Industrial track.

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What's your opinion about Industrial Pop?

Do you think we missed a typical Industrial Pop track?

Please leave us a line in the com­ment sec­tion below. We are curi­ous about your favour­ite tracks that com­bine Industrial ele­ments and catchy tunes.

Did you like this article?

We sin­cerely would appre­ci­ate, if you share this page to spread the art­icle 'Everything you need to know about Industrial Pop plus a guide of 10 char­ac­ter­ist­ic examples' via your social channels.


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  1. This whole "indus­tri­al pop" thing is eer­ily sim­il­ar to when Apop and VNV star­ted call­ing their sound future­pop. It truly did revive the scene and inspire about 1,000 copycat bands, so it's not all bad.

    Today, I think Stephan Groth and Ronan Harris are a bit embar­rassed about the coin­ing the phrase and they don't use it any longer, and I sus­pect in 5 or 10 years once "indus­tri­al pop" has run its course that Daniel Graves and Faderhead will feel the same way.

  2. I think music evolves con­stantly. Sometimes we like it, some­times not.
    The Dark Scene needs new music now, as there was NDH or Harsh Electro dur­ing 90's an 2000's.
    These two genres are dying nowadays 'cause it sounds always the same, and people who like it is get­ting older and older. Something new as Industrial Pop must be wel­come today in the Dark Scene. 

    If Gothic people has some­thing to say for sure, is that they dont listen just to one style of music (Industrial, Goth-Rock, Electro-Dark, Synth-Pop, EBM, Metal…). Industrial Pop is for me, a good chance to revive this dark side, and to get new audience.

    In addi­tion, I have to say I liked this art­icle, and loved the playl­ist. It would be great if you share it by Spotify :)

  3. I like what they all had to say. I get it, but it's hard for the elit­ists in the scene to accept change. Eww hip-hop in an indus­tri­al track… get over it.

    Is Ronan Harris, Eskil Simonsson or Tom Shear avail­able? Those guys pretty much paved the way for these bands you inter­viewed. Would love to hear their input on this. Interesting label from call­ing it Futurepop to Industrial pop.

    1. I sorta insinu­ated the same thing on AP's Facebook page, and Daniel Graves scoffed at the idea that "indus­tri­al pop" was sim­il­ar to those future­pop bands. I think he's very intent on look­ing for­ward and cre­at­ing some­thing new in the scene, which is cool.

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