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"We're from Switzerland, that's a chocolate island in Sweden": understanding the situation of Swiss bands with regard to the indie rock rhizome

ContributorsRiom, Loïc
Presented at Porto, 2016
PublisherPorto : Porto: Universidade do Porto - Faculdade de Letras
Publication date2016
Abstract

Globalization through individualization together with an increase of translocal relations has opened up new ways of identification. Music as a set of symbolic elements enables this identification process. Indie rock as a globalized musical genre is a fruitful field that gives insight into understanding how individuals adopt and adapt a musical style. The aim of this research is to describe how indie rock bands are situated in Switzerland within the indie rock genre, and how they get in contact and identify with it. This research is based on 15 individual interviews conducted with members of six different Swiss indie bands. The results show that these bands uphold translocal identification with the international musical genre through, among others, the generalized use of English as the language of indie rock. However, since only few of them have connections abroad, this translocal identification is mainly mediated through the consumption of both live and recorded music from international artists. Due to this peripheral position, these bands are unable to play a significant role within the indie rock scene. Their music is, so to say, internationally inspired but locally produced. In this context, they are still very dependent on their geographical environment considered as a space of experience and resource. Yet, local identity does not seem to be claimed neither is the feeling of belonging to a local scene. This research shows that indie rock has to be understood through the lense of a rhizomic phenomenon, which is being constantly adapted by individuals through a variety of mediators. Moreover it challenges the idea of a local scene by showing how it is socially constructed.

Citation (ISO format)
RIOM, Loïc. ‘We’re from Switzerland, that’s a chocolate island in Sweden’: understanding the situation of Swiss bands with regard to the indie rock rhizome. In: GUERRA, Paula and MOREIRA, Tânia (eds.) Keep it Simple, Make it Fast! An approach to underground music scenes (vol. 2). Porto. Porto : Porto: Universidade do Porto - Faculdade de Letras, 2016. p. 221–228.
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