Atari Teenage Riot

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Atari Teenage Riot
Atari Teenage Riot 2010 02.jpg
Nic Endo and Alec Empire performing at Fusion Festival in 2010
Background information
Origin Berlin, Germany
Genres Digital hardcore, industrial
Years active1992–2000, 2010–present [1]
Labels Digital Hardcore, Phonogram, Grand Royal, Dim Mak
Members Alec Empire
Nic Endo
Rowdy Superstar
Past members Hanin Elias
Carl Crack

Atari Teenage Riot (abbreviated ATR) is a German band formed in Berlin in 1992. The name was taken from a Portuguese Joe song entitled "Teenage Riot" from the album Teen-age Riot, with the word 'Atari' added as an Atari ST computer was used to create compositions. Highly political, they fused anarchist, anti-fascist and anti-Nazi views with punk vocals and the newly emerging techno sound called digital hardcore, which is a term band member Alec Empire used as the name of his record label. [2]

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Atari ST home computer

The Atari ST is a line of home computers from Atari Corporation and the successor to the Atari 8-bit family. The initial ST model, the 520ST, saw limited release in April–June 1985 and was widely available in July. The Atari ST is the first personal computer to come with a bitmapped color GUI, using a version of Digital Research's GEM released in February 1985. The 1040ST, released in 1986, is the first personal computer to ship with a megabyte of RAM in the base configuration and also the first with a cost-per-kilobyte of less than US$1.

Anti-fascism opposition to fascist ideologies, groups and individuals

Anti-fascism is opposition to fascist ideologies, groups and individuals. The anti-fascist movement began in a few European countries in the 1920s, and eventually spread to other countries around the world. It was at its most significant shortly before and during World War II, where the fascist Axis powers were opposed by many countries forming the Allies of World War II and dozens of resistance movements worldwide. Anti-fascism has been an element of movements holding many different political positions, including social democratic, nationalist, liberal, conservative, communist, Marxist, trade unionist, anarchist, socialist, and centrist viewpoints.



The group was founded as an attack on the Neo-Nazi subculture by fusing hardcore punk views with German techno; it consisted of three Berliners Alec Empire, Hanin Elias and MC Carl Crack. ATR's early releases (which included the track "Hetzjagd Auf Nazis!"/"Hunt Down the Nazis!") were surrounded by controversy in Germany.

Alec Empire German musician

Alec Empire is a German experimental electronic musician who is best known as a founding member of the band Atari Teenage Riot, as well as a prolific and distinguished solo artist, producer and DJ. He has released many albums, EPs and singles, some under aliases, and remixed over seventy tracks for various artists including Björk. He was also the driving force behind the creation of the digital hardcore genre, and founded the record labels Digital Hardcore Recordings and Eat Your Heart Out.

Hanin Elias German industrial/techno artist

Hanin Elias is a Syrian German industrial/techno artist. She was a member of Atari Teenage Riot and is now a solo artist.

Rapping is a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates "rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular", which is performed or chanted in a variety of ways, usually over a backing beat or musical accompaniment. The components of rap include "content", "flow", and "delivery". Rap differs from spoken-word poetry in that rap is usually performed in time to an instrumental track. Rap is often associated with, and is a primary ingredient of hip-hop music, but the origins of the phenomenon predate hip-hop culture. The earliest precursor to the modern rap is the West African griot tradition, in which "oral historians", or "praise-singers", would disseminate oral traditions and genealogies, or use their formidable rhetorical techniques for gossip or to "praise or critique individuals." Griot traditions connect to rap along a lineage of Black verbal reverence that goes back to ancient Egyptian practices, through James Brown interacting with the crowd and the band between songs, to Muhammad Ali's quick-witted verbal taunts and the palpitating poems of the Last Poets. Therefore, rap lyrics and music are part of the "Black rhetorical continuum", and aim to reuse elements of past traditions while expanding upon them through "creative use of language and rhetorical styles and strategies. The person credited with originating the style of "delivering rhymes over extensive music", that would become known as rap, was Anthony "DJ Hollywood" Holloway from Harlem, New York.

After signing to major European label Phonogram Records in 1993, the band received a large financial advance [3] which they duplicitously used to set up their own record label: Digital Hardcore Recordings (DHR). ATR never delivered a commercially viable demo to Phonogram. [4]

A record label, or record company, is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Sometimes, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos, while also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists, and maintaining contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information. Within the mainstream music industry, recording artists have traditionally been reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on music streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels also provide publicists, who assist performers in gaining positive media coverage, and arrange for their merchandise to be available via stores and other media outlets.

Digital Hardcore Recordings record label

Digital Hardcore Recordings (DHR) is a record label set up in 1994 by Alec Empire, Joel Amaretto and Pete Lawton. Most of the music is recorded in Berlin, though the label is based in London where the records are mastered and manufactured. The funds for setting up the label came from the payment which Atari Teenage Riot received for their aborted record deal with the major UK record label Phonogram Records.

The major label Intercord signed the group in 1995 for Germany. ATR's record label Digital Hardcore Recordings released the debut album "Delete Yourself!" internationally. In 1996 the Beastie Boys licensed the album and released it in the US with extra songs under the title "Burn Berlin Burn" on their label Grand Royal.

Beastie Boys American hip hop band

The Beastie Boys were an American hip hop group from New York City formed in 1981. The group comprised Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "MCA" Yauch and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz.

Grand Royal American record label

Grand Royal was the Los Angeles, California-based vanity record label set up in 1992 by the Beastie Boys in conjunction with Capitol Records after the group left Def Jam Recordings.

The band toured with Wu-Tang Clan, Rage Against The Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Moby and Beck.

Wu-Tang Clan American rap group

Wu-Tang Clan is an American hardcore hip hop group from New York City, originally composed of East Coast rappers RZA, GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa. Longtime collaborator Cappadonna became an official member in 2007. Wu-Tang Clan are regarded as one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time.

Nine Inch Nails American industrial rock band

Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN, is an American industrial rock band formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1988. The band consists of producer and multi-instrumentalist Trent Reznor, as well as English musician Atticus Ross. Over the course of their three-decade existence, the band has signed with several major labels, the most current being Capitol Records, under the name The Null Corporation.

Ministry (band) American industrial metal band

Ministry is an American rock band founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry's sound changed as they became one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the late 1980s. The band's lineup has frequently changed throughout its history, with the exception of Jourgensen who is the band's main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include Paul Barker, Martin Atkins, Bill Rieflin, Chris Connelly, Nivek Ogre, Mike Scaccia, Rey Washam, Paul Raven, Tommy Victor, Roy Mayorga, John Bechdel, Jason Christopher, Tony Campos, Burton C. Bell and DJ Swamp.

In 1996, ATR was joined by Nic Endo, a Japanese-German-American noise/soundscape artist, who played her first live show with ATR in the spring of 1997 during the South by South West festival in Austin, Texas. [5]

Nic Endo Japanese-German-American musician

Nic Endo is a Japanese-German-American noise musician who plays with the German digital hardcore group Atari Teenage Riot. The daughter of a Japanese mother and a German father, Endo was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, US.

Japan Country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

In 1999, ATR released the album 60 Second Wipe Out, which featured a number of guest artists, including New York City rappers The Arsonists. According to Magnet , "Empire's guitar-playing values speed-thrash malevolence, and when paired with Endo's painful skronkage, the album is decidedly denser than its predecessor".

Elias left ATR at the Brixton Academy show in the winter of 1999. The plan had been to tour with Nine Inch Nails in the US during the spring of 2000, but ATR decided to cancel the show to recharge. Crack also needed time to recuperate from his psychosis attacks. [5]

In the autumn of 2000, ATR started working on their fourth album. The song "Rage", featuring Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine, was chosen as an in-between single until the release of the fourth album. Rage was part of the recording sessions for 60 Second Wipe Out, but Empire didn’t feel it would fit the album. [5]

On 6 September 2001, Crack, who had long struggled with psychiatric issues, died from an overdose of unspecified pills. [6] The media hype surrounding Crack's death is disputed by ATR. According to a friend, he had spoken a few weeks before his death about a doctor's report which said his psychosis attacks would worsen with age. According to that friend, Crack said he would rather kill himself than become a "zombie" and not be in control of his life. Witnesses have said Crack tried to reach out to his friends because he felt the psychosis starting again. When his body was found by police with large quantities of medication in his stomach, this suggested suicide. It is still unclear if this happened while he was in a state of psychosis or not (while in a psychotic state, it could be interpreted as an accident rather than suicide). [5]

The other half of the band continue to work together. Endo assisted in the production of Empire's solo recordings, as well as being a key member of his live band. DHR released Atari Teenage Riot: 1992-2000 , a collection of the band's best known recordings, on 3 July 2006.


A.T.R., (in French)
Hellfest 2013. W0768-Hellfest2013 AtariTeenageRiot 72287.JPG
A.T.R., (in French) Hellfest 2013.

In October 2009, Elias contacted Empire to play some concerts together, but had to refrain because of her voice. [7] When it became clear that Elias wouldn’t show up to the first show, the band published a statement 30 minutes before show time. [8]

In January 2010, it was announced ATR would reunite for a few live shows in Europe. [1] Later in the year, they announced additional shows in Europe, North America and Asia. In early March 2010, Empire released the new ATR track "Activate" via SoundCloud, which is the first song featuring their new MC, CX KiDTRONiK. Activate was recorded on 3 March 2010 in Berlin at the Hellish Vortex Studios. Female vocals were provided by Endo.

The band played most major festivals throughout Europe in 2010, including Reading and Leeds, and headlined the Fusion Festival in front of approximately 20,000 people (which led to a massive stage invasion by thousands of fans). In the same year, ATR headlined a stage at Japan's Summersonic Festival, returning the following year to play at Fuji Rock Festival. [9] Another triumph was the band's headline slot on the electronic stage at the Berlin Festival, which is held at an old military airport in the centre of the city. These live shows were perceived as better and more energetic by critics and fans than shows during the 1990s.[ citation needed ] Enthused, the band decided to add more dates. The live line-up of ATR, as of June 2011, consisted of Empire, Endo and CX KiDTRONiK.

On 12 October 2010, Steve Aoki and Dim Mak Records announced the release of Atari Teenage Riot's new single "Activate", with the full-length album Is This Hyperreal? released in 2011. While the record was described as "redundant" by Pitchfork Media, [10] in what Empire called "probably one of the dumbest reviews I’ve ever read about any record.", [9] other magazines gave it great reviews. New Musical Express wrote:"“Few bands have ever detonated as powerfully in the underground as Atari Teenage Riot. Put simply, they were the conscience of electronic music. They were a band that sounded the way you always wanted The Prodigy to sound. A band akin to Black Flag if that outfit had existed in an age where every home had a computer. And their influence burned big and bright.” Artrocker Magazine put them on the cover in their May 2011 issue and wrote:"“Make no mistake, ‘Activate’ is the most exhilarating, futuristic and punk rock single of the month. (...) ATR aren’t like any other band. They’re the only group that could have cut a record with Rage Against The Machine and have it be their meekest recording. They’re the only group that iTunes have censored on the grounds that their music could create riots! Ten years and several line-up changes makes no difference to tonight's immediate onslaught of rave, punk, screaming and pounding gabba. The finale consists of the fiercest white noise squall of the evening, and the audience's reaction (moshing, screaming, crowdsurfing, shoes flying through the air) seems to indicate they don’t care either.”[ citation needed ] That month the band headlined the Bang Face Weekender festival in the UK. [11]

Their album Is This Hyperreal? was celebrated as "the ultimate protest album of the google age," dealing with WikiLeaks, Anonymous, hackers, the freedom the internet brought to the suppressed, censorship, the surveillance state, cyber terrorism and digital decay, a term which describes the disaffected masses abandoning the internet when they realized that it was not free but infested with government controls.[ citation needed ] The campaign for Is This Hyperreal? took an interesting turn when the Black Flags viral video was taken up by Anonymous whose members and supporters sent in clips from the Occupy Wall Street protests last autumn. Remixes, mash ups and alternate versions created by fans to represent their own dissatisfaction proliferated and captured the mood so accurately it was played in a CNN broadcast to summarise the zeitgeist behind Anonymous' cyber attacks.[ citation needed ] In December ATR got the news that WikiLeaks could provide exclusive footage from Julian Assange speaking at Occupy London. Boing Boing blog and Dangerous Minds were calling it the first anthem of the Occupy movement.[ citation needed ] Dangerous Minds: "While personally I would have thought it would be a new act to break through representing a new generation, no-one can doubt ATR’s credentials when it comes to this kind of thing. In fact, maybe in this age of ultra-commodified music it would HAVE to take a more veteran, established act to represent OWS and Anonymous so as to avoid claims of false appropriation? You have to hand it to ATR though; “Black Flags” is a pretty great tune. I’d say it's one of their most accessible yet while retaining all that dark techno-punk scuzzy energy we know and love."[ citation needed ]

In Spring 2012 the music video for "Black Flags" was nominated for the MTV O Music Awards in the US in the category "Best Protest Song Of The Year".


Studio albums

Compilation albums

Live albums



Other recordings

Related Research Articles

Carl Crack was a Swazi-born German techno artist best known for his membership in the digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot from 1992 to 2000.

Digital hardcore is a fusion genre that combines hardcore punk with electronic music genres such as breakbeat, techno, and drum and bass while also drawing on heavy metal and noise music. It typically features fast tempos and aggressive sound samples. The style was pioneered by Alec Empire of the German band Atari Teenage Riot during the early 1990s, and often has sociological or far-left lyrical themes.

EC8OR is a German digital hardcore band founded in 1995 by Patric Catani and Gina V. D'Orio and signed by Alec Empire's Digital Hardcore Recordings record label. The music was in the same vein of Atari Teenage Riot's style of early Breakcore and hardcore techno with a punk edge, which led to EC8OR been overlooked by fans of digital hardcore recordings, but EC8OR employed more low-res ideas as the first album was entirely composed on Amiga 500 and with a microphone.

<i>We Punk Einheit!</i> album by Alec Empire

We Punk Einheit! was the only album released by Nintendo Teenage Robots, a side project of digital hardcore artist Alec Empire. Empire, founder of Digital Hardcore Recordings, parodied the project name after his primary group Atari Teenage Riot. All of the music composed for Nintendo Teenage Robots was produced using only a Nintendo Game Boy.

<i>Threat</i> (film) 2006 film by Matt Pizzolo

Threat (2006) is an independent film about a straightedge "hardcore kid" and a hip hop revolutionary whose friendship is doomed by the intolerance of their respective street tribes. It is an ensemble film of kids living in New York City in the aftermath of 9-11, each of them suffering from a sense of doom brought on by dealing with HIV, racism, sexism, class struggle, and general nihilism. The intellectual issues are played out amid an aesthetic of raw ultraviolence that has earned director Matt Pizzolo both accolades and condemnations. Unlike past urban dramas, the film does not outright condemn its characters' violent outbursts. Although it does show harsh consequences for acts of violence, numerous critics have pointed out that it is unclear whether or not the film intends to glorify violence and/or class conflict.

<i>Burn, Berlin, Burn!</i> compilation album by Atari Teenage Riot

Burn, Berlin, Burn! is a compilation album released by Atari Teenage Riot in 1997. Initially released in the United States by the Beastie Boys' record label Grand Royal, the album is a collection of tracks from their first two albums Delete Yourself! and The Future of War. After Grand Royal Records went defunct, the album was later remastered and re-released on Digital Hardcore Recordings.

<i>60 Second Wipe Out</i> 1999 studio album by Atari Teenage Riot

60 Second Wipe Out is the third studio album by Atari Teenage Riot. It was originally released through Digital Hardcore Recordings in 1999. It peaked at number 17 on the UK Independent Albums Chart, as well as number 32 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart.

<i>Alec Empire vs. Elvis Presley</i> 1999 studio album by Alec Empire

Alec Empire vs. Elvis Presley is a recording by Alec Empire which incorporates Elvis Presley samples.

<i>Death Favours the Enemy: Live 2002</i> live album by Alec Empire

Death Favours the Enemy: Live 2002 is a video recording of four songs from live shows in London and Berlin, featuring the recently formed Alec Empire band performing material from the album Intelligence and Sacrifice. It was directed by Philipp "Virus" Reichenheim, and released on DVD in 2002. The DVD also features the promo video for "Addicted to You", directed by John Hillcoat.

<i>Atari Teenage Riot: 1992–2000</i> 2006 greatest hits album by Atari Teenage Riot

Atari Teenage Riot: 1992–2000 is a greatest hits compilation by the seminal digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot. The album was released on band member Alec Empire's Digital Hardcore Recordings on 3 July 2006 and features 18 tracks from the band's back catalogue.

The following is a list of known recordings by or involving Alec Empire, excluding his work with Atari Teenage Riot.

<i>Miss Black America</i> (album) 1999 studio album by Alec Empire

Miss Black America is the sixth solo studio album by German producer Alec Empire, originally released through his Digital Hardcore Recordings label as a part of its DHR Limited series of single pressing albums. Recorded throughout August 1998 in between sessions for Atari Teenage Riots 60 Second Wipeout, the album was produced in response to the political climate of Germany at the time.

<i>Live in Stuttgart (One-Off Shit Lets Go!)</i> 1996 live album by Atari Teenage Riot

Live In Stuttgart is a rare live album by Atari Teenage Riot. Initially released on cassette, the album predates the infamous Live at Brixton Academy noise-fest, and features a bizarre blend of live instrumentation and spoken word pieces from various songs.

<i>Rage E.P.</i> 2000 EP by Atari Teenage Riot

Rage E.P. is a release by Atari Teenage Riot. Although the title of the release is "Rage E.P.", it only contains versions of the song "Rage", so it is similar to a single. The CD versions are enhanced CDs which contain the single file of the music video "Too Dead For Me" in MPEG format. A 12" vinyl edition also exists.

Revolution Action E.P. is an extended play by the German digital hardcore group Atari Teenage Riot, released in 1999 on 12" vinyl and CD formats to promote the album 60 Second Wipe Out, where the title track originates. Two music videos were produced for the track, one of which was actually banned by MTV. "Revolution Action" was also the name of a tour and live various artist release titled Revolution Action Japan Tour 1999 EP.

<i>Is This Hyperreal?</i> 2011 studio album by Atari Teenage Riot

Is This Hyperreal? is the fourth studio album from Atari Teenage Riot, and their first album since they effectively disbanded in 2000. It is the first ATR album featuring CX KiDTRONiK, and the first album without former vocalists Hanin Elias and the late Carl Crack.


  1. 1 2 "Atari Teenage Riot 'Reform For London Show'". Gigwise. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  2. 1 2 Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 35. ISBN   1-84195-017-3.
  3. Cooper, Sean (6 September 2001). "Atari Teenage Riot - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  4. Hansen, Todd (23 July 1997). "Atari Teenage Riot | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
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  6. Corey Moss, Atari Teenage Riot Cofounder Dead At 30, MTV, 24 September 2001, retrieved 13 March 2007.
  7. Interview with Alec Empire in the German newspaper "Der Tagesspiegel" on 7 September 2010
  8. "riot-news". Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  9. 1 2 Hadfield, James (12 November 2011). "Atari Teenage Riot: The Interview". Time Out Tokyo. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  10. Breihan, Tom (7 July 2011). "Is This Hyperreal?". Pitchfork Media . Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  11. "Bang Face Weekender 2011: The Verdict". 4 December 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  12. "Atari Teenage Riot Make Strong Statement About Human Trafficking With 'Blood In My Eyes'". Retrieved 25 June 2013.