The presentation I enjoyed most at SXSWi was “Anarchist to Sell-Out: Punks Make Better CEOs” by Deep Local CEO Nathan Martin. Martin’s candid account of his journey from skate punk, to electronics anarchist, to metal front man, to tactical-media artist and agitator, to design professor, to creative technologist for hire (my characterizations, not his) was a provocative and inspiring story about embracing the disruptive force of creativity and living strictly on one’s own terms."
Beat that, Diddy. "In a career punctuated by hacking the Nintendo Gameboy, trading sex for votes, and Nike Chalkbot, Martin has apparently found a way to participate meaningfully in the circus that is brand marketing while staying true to the idealism of his art and the hacktivism of his youth."
Of particular interest to me is his role in metal/punk/grindcore/noise outfit Creation is Crucifixion. As Martin recounted his experiences touring with this band of developer and technologist types, I couldn’t help but think about my own metalhead friends, and their tendency to be gear-heady, catharsis inclined jonesers who are fond of making things. And just hours after hearing Martin’s presentation, the idea that ‘metal and making’ may be linked in some fundamental way presented itself again while having drinks with colleagues from TBWA\Digital Arts Network (I was with an Aussie, a Brit, and two Finns; all of whom are metal heads). As we prepared ourselves to attend the Metal Monsters of Texas Unofficial SXSW Showcase, the conversation moved effortlessly from the latest double-bass-drum techniques by Meshuggah’s Thomas Haake, to isolating video game music soundtracks from their gameplay context for iPod listening, to admiring the new Fractal Axe-FX II guitar amp emulator, to sussing out how we might share Pro Tools and Cubase files to collaborate remotely on original music, to describing the joys of listening to metal while writing code; all ostensibly conversations about making stuff.