Assemblage 23 is an electronic act from the United States, currently based in Seattle. It was founded in 1988 by Tom Shear who writes the music and lyrics and does the recording himself.
Prior to starting Assemblage 23, Shear experimented with music under the name Man on a Stage, beginning in the early 1980s. Most of Shear's music at this point was instrumental, as he lacked the confidence to sing; the quality of the music itself was highly questionable by his own admission. Shear eventually began to add vocals to his music; at the same time, Shear was also playing bass in a live band called the Advocates.
Assemblage 23 was officially born in 1988, after Shear experienced the industrial dance music played by an opening DJ for Depeche Mode. The style of this genre deeply impressed Shear; he believed he had finally found the sort of sound he wanted for his music. Even so, the project was more of a hobby for Shear at this point; it took until 1998 for Assemblage 23 to gather enough positive acclaim to attract the attention of record labels.