Assemblage 23 is the brainchild of Seattle-based Tom Shear, who spent a decade on various electronic projects before finding success as a respected EBM act. For live performances he is accompanied by Paul Seegers on keyboards and Kevin Choby on electronic drums.
Although he had previously written music, it wasn't until 1988, when, at a concert by Depeche Mode, Shear was inspired by the industrial sounds spun by the opening DJ. He soon shifted from instrumental synth-pop (under the name Man on a Stage) to a combination of his punk, synth-pop, and industrial influences. Changing the name to Assemblage 23, Shear self-released Wires in 1992, with little interest from record labels. In the mid-'90s, he produced tracks for a side project called Nerve Filter, exploring dark, instrumental techno (previous endeavors included playing bass for the Advocates, as well as the short-lived synth-pop project Procession). Finally, in 1995, Arts Industria released the first Assemblage 23 track, "Graverobber," on a compilation. In 1998, Canadian label Gashed signed Assemblage 23 and the following year released its first full-length, Contempt. In 2001, the follow-up, Failure, a mature recording of electro and industrial dance, was issued and found popularity in dance clubs. After difficulties with Gashed, Assemblage 23 signed with Metropolis in 2001, re-releasing Contempt and Failure. ~ Kenyon Hopkin