The industrial music-heavy festival Cold Waves was started four years ago by Jason Novak (Acumen Nation, Czar, Acucrack, Cocksure) as a way for the community to rally after respected colleague Jamie Duffy took his life in June, 2012.
Cold Waves continues to grow and gather momentum each year. This year’s event (9/23-9/24 at Metro) is stacked, featuring performances from Meat Beat Manifesto, Clock DVA, The Cocks, Pig, 16Volt and more. The kickoff show on 9/22 at Double Door features nothing less than the 30th anniversary performance of the reunited Stabbing Westward.
For this episode, Novak sits shotgun for a trip to the Fulton Market location of taqueria/sandwich shop Cemitas Puebla. To summarize: The tacos are poquito and the cemitas have a grande amount of bread.
Over dinner, Novak talks about the evolution of Cold Waves, focusing on the memory of Jamie Duffy (“I think he would have been overjoyed at this”). He says the success of Cold Waves feels bittersweet (“You’re constantly reminded that this shouldn’t even be happening”).
We also talk about Cold Waves kickoff band Stabbing Westward’s ascent in the 90s. Novak says, “I remember (Acumen) being the junior version chasing after them.”
We chat about the 90s scene, industrial music, Wax Trax, Revolting Cocks, and Pop Will Eat Itself. Novak also talks about his charity, Darkest Before Dawn, which aims to provide support to Chicago’s service industry and live entertainment workers, people whose schedules and isolation leave them “susceptible to depression, anxiety and suicide.”