‘Pound’ is a genre of music found in underhives of 40K. It is popular with gangers, scum, and mutants. My first thought of this type of music it that is would be some kind of hard core techno. I quickly dismissed this when I thought about the economy and resources of the Underhive. Modern techno uses sophisticated instruments, amps, and gear that I doubt those in the Underhive would have access to. If they did have access to such gear I suspect if would be rare and not common enough to found a genre of the Underhive music. We are so used to modern technology it is often hard to over look it and think of a world without it. I think the music of the Underhive has to be limited by resources. Back to basics.
Thinking of the types of instruments these Underhivers could have, or make, I assume they would have to make it themselves. Stringed instruments are quite difficult to construct, but not impossible. It’s a question of raw materials. Drums are more likely and fit the idea of ‘pound’.
If we look for inspiration of human ingenuity in our modern world, the type of music those with nothing make (no money, limited resources, often scavenged materials), is defined by what they can get there hands on. Street drummers who make drums made from containers seems like a good start. I sure the Underhivers could scavenge discarded containers from dumps and convert them to drum.
All this would be noisy, yet kinda quiet compared to what I imagine Underhive pound to be like. It needs some serious base. So I figure an old fashioned megaphone/ horn on a massive scale, a ‘megahorn’, would amplify the sound to a suitable level. In keeping with the 40K theme these megahorns could be constructed from scraps of metal with an Ork like aesthetic, riveted together. The sound source could be a drum, perhaps an opening on a large container/ vat, or merely someone pounding away at an iron girder with a club-hammer. There could be multiple megahorns, with many sources all working together, to amplify the faster drumming sections of the troupe (like the street drummers mentioned earlier).
The other instrument that is common is the human voice. Obviously something beautiful is a bit out of place in the underhive, so no gospel choir, or opera. Perhaps wailing like a banshee down a megaphone? Drug induced howling from ingesting LSD mushrooms?
All combined the Underhive pound could be a mix of booming base, street drumming, and siren like wailing of mind altered singers.
How the audience reacts to this type of music is anyone’s guess. While pondering this type of music, and performances, Homer popped into my head and reminded me of ‘Stomp‘ (‘stomp, clomp or some piece of crap’ as Homer put it :P). Which made me think of how the audience could interact in the performance. Perhaps something like the Native American Stomp dance.
Together with this pounding baseline the audience are stomp dancing. Perhaps they are tribal? Maybe this event has spiritual significance, with some falling into trances? It may introduce the ideas of Voodoo, and perhaps the deep south of America (possible chaos influence too!).
In thinking about this we can start to imagine how an Underhive club is put together, that is may be more than a mere ‘nightclub’ to blow off steam, and it may be a spiritual focus for the underhive community. For an RPG we could start to imagine roles, and possibly NPC careers. Singers and musicians would be more akin to priests (High Pound Priest). Which fits the 40K vibe.
With so much tribal carry on, emotion, stress, trances, it would be hard to resist adding in a little chaos influence. All this noise reminds me of the noise marines, and perhaps all the emotional energy produced feeds Slaanesh? Slaanesh may augment the sound on a particularly good night. Certain constructions of megahorn: materials, shapes, and decoration, may please Slaanesh more than others, and this may influence the sound is obtained. PCs who listen to it, may be affected in unusual ways.
I hope this gives a deeper idea of what something as simple as a throw away line as ‘pound’ could be really like in the underhive, and perhaps something your Players were not expecting – after all: ‘how different could an underhive nightclub really be?’
Hearing feedback is very important to me in developing my ideas. Much of my designs are inspired, and crafted, by chatting to fans on forums before snowballing into a full concept you'll find here. I would like to thank all those who have contributed critiques and participated in discussions over the years, and I would especially like to thank all those who commented on this specific topic. If you would like join in, you are most welcome!
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