Fake Salem Track Fools Internet for "Social Experiment"
Published Apr 08, 2011Yesterday (April 7), a new song supposedly from hazy witch house experimentalists Salem swept across the internet and people lost their minds at its drugged-out haziness. Only problem was, the song was a fake. While "Nite Daze," which featured the same kind of slow-drip witch house treatment as the outfit's other material, was being touted by a representative claiming to be from PR house Biz 3, it was soon revealed to be a prank by an NYU student on the concept of "culture jamming."
Shortly after the song made the rounds, Salem member Jack Donoghue released the following statement: "There is a song going around called 'Nite Daze' that someone is trying to pass off as ours... WE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT SONG," further confusing the legions of listeners jamming hard on the fake number.
It turns out the song was actually a modified version of NYC new wave outfit Dream Affair's (pictured above) "Endless Days," which was tweaked, slowed-down, pitch-shifted and modified to resemble Salem's sound. The phony number has since been taken down from most sites, though you can still hear the cold, creepy cut here.
Dream Affair member Abby later sent out a letter explaining her project:
Sorry for punking all of you. This was a culture jamming assignment for my NYU class, Digital Art with Brad Troemel. We were asked to intervene into society using the internet. I was mimicking the work of Eva and Franco Mattes, who turned a lolcat into a fake sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan (http://rhizome.org/discuss/view/47989/), where it was positively received. But here I was questioning "what is music" rather than "what is art" -- would something made in 20 minutes be received positively if given a name to back it? It also was meant to be a demonstration of internet hype and the speed of the blogosphere, especially with buzz bands.
Stepping back to the idea... during the mastering of my LP with my band (that is not witch house at all), we opened the title track and Pro Tools misread the sampling rate, so it played at half the tempo and pitched down. I thought that if I added snares, and generated lyrics off of the Witch House Name Generator (chillwitchnamemagic.com), add some flanger/reverb plugins, I could get away with fooling a couple of small blogs. The song took 20 minutes to doctor. Afterwards I bought the domain "biz3pr.info" to sound like "biz3.net" and made a fake email, did some HTML work to look like a real release.
I apologize for ruffling feathers, I didn't expect this to get as big as it did.. It was an interesting social experiment.
The original track is attached if you'd like to hear it, to round everything up. "Endless Days" by Dream Affair. Our debut LP is out digitally in May and on vinyl in July... brings new meaning to the term 'publicity stunt' huh.
So while concerns of copyright and identity theft are definitely going to be bandied about for the next little bit (seriously, think about how many fake Twitter and MySpace pages are floating around these days), a young group have got themselves a little attention. Well played, Dream Affair, well played.
Thanks to the Village Voice for the tip.