Grimes' Live Music Comments Deemed "Silicon Valley Fascist Propaganda"

Zola Jesus and Devon Welsh say we can choose to steer live performance away from becoming "obsolete"

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Nov 21, 2019

On a recent podcast appearance, Grimes expressed the belief that live music would soon become obsolete as part of art's relationship with technological innovation. Unsurprisingly, her comments have rankled some listeners and musicians alike, particularly those who aren't making concept albums about our grim future and don't pal around with Silicon Valley's finest.

Both Zola Jesus (a.k.a. Nika Danilova) and former Majical Cloudz frontman Devon Welsh have come out in opposition of Grimes' claims — the former calling Claire Boucher "the voice of silicon fascist privilege" while the latter called her Visions of a robotic artistic future "silicon valley fascist propaganda."

Grimes' argument of possible live music obsolescence hinges on "People...actually just gravitating towards the clean, finished, fake world. Everyone wants to be in a simulation. They don't actually want the real world."

Danilova expanded on her stance in a series of tweets, writing that "approaching the future of music and art with so much cynicism can only come from someone who really has nothing to lose."

She clarified, "No beef. I'm just over here trying to re-animate the dying corpse of the only thing that gives me pure meaning and joy is all... letting some tech bro program my primal expression is not my game."

Danilova continued: "I feel very stressed out by waxing poetic about robotic futures. Maybe I'm too much of a humanist to think that's a good use of our potential for evolution. The further we distance ourselves from our humanity, the easier it will be to oppress us."

Welsh echoed Danilova's sentiments in a thread of his own, writing that the future of live music and its relationship to technological advancement is something listeners have the power to decide.

"I'm not willing to cynically dismiss our humanity away so easily like this," he wrote. "A small handful of companies profit immensely by pushing people toward the 'shimmery, perfected Photoshop world.' We can fight back. Don't believe the hype."

He continued: "Silicon-fascism is real, and has a vested interest in framing technological domination as the 'natural progression' of things. It isn't, and I think most of us are not interested in being owned by unelected Silicon Valley kings. Live music is spiritually important. We need it."

Welsh prompted his followers, "Ask yourself, what side are you on? Silicon Valley fascism and the bird's-eye view of billionaires? Music has been our spiritual lifeblood since forever. We have the choice to continue that, but it involves taking a stand. Everyone reading these tweets should start a band today."

Danilova wrote that AI-recorded music "assumes that people don't need to make music in order to feel connected to themselves and the world-at-large on a spiritual level," which treats "music solely as commodity, which feels naive and ignorant.

"I have an issue with people who are completely disconnected from working class struggles attacking a system that they don't rely on to survive while others do. And silicon fascism to me is the neoliberal tech takeover by privileged individuals, creating miniature oligarchic kingdoms of power that will inevitably control once-democratized systems."

See all the related tweets below.

Grimes will release new album Miss Anthropocene on February 21 via 4AD. Welsh is currently touring behind his new solo album, True Love. Danilova last released her Okovi album as Zola Jesus in 2017.

Danilova and Welsh both took a stand against another unsavoury Silicon Valley figure last month.

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