Anti-authoritarian chants and stomping electronic funk: The British legends shaped the sound of EBM and inspired a generation.
Nitzer Ebb never played it safe. Starting out in the early ’80s in the town of Chelmsford, Essex, Nitzer Ebb was inclined toward sparse beats and loud, chanting vocals, speaking truth to power and revealing optimistic self-determination on tracks such as “Join in the Chant” and “Let Your Body Learn.” Nitzer Ebb shaped the style of electronic body music through their late-’80s and early ’90s albums for Mute Records, and progressed to a guitar-driven sound in the mid-’90s (inspired by their tour-mates Depeche Mode). Working with a diverse range of producers, from pop masterminds to underground rockers, the band has experimented with funk rhythms and softer vocals but always kept its signature sound intact. Cited as an influence by Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins, Nitzer Ebb prodded the modern techno and acid house movement forward with a sharpened stick. In 2018, Nitzer Ebb began touring again, and released a five-album vinyl retrospective on Pylon Records titled 1982-2010. In this episode of Fireside Chat, Nitzer Ebb’s Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy open up about being confrontational in art and detail the group’s songwriting process.