Primary School - Guns n Roses, Warrant and Poison, Metallica
Junior High - Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Rage against the machine.
Senior High- Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Alternative Rock.
Uni/early 20s- Mogwai, Pavement, Sonic Youth, Slowcore (e.g. Low, Art of Fighting), Godspeed You Black Emperor, postrock influenced glitch/IDM (e.g. Fourtet, M’um), early M83, Math Rock e.g. My Disco, Twinkling post hardcore (e.g. Appleseed Cast), Pedro the Lion, Bright eyes.
After that -
Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, Tycho, Ambient drone music, Com Truise, some more straight up IDM and some melodic break core (although I’m a bit over that now). Arcade Fire.
I still really love post rock, twinkling Indie rock and the edges of IDM. I’m also enjoying good songwriters again like Conor Oberst, David Bazan, Sufjan, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan.
It’s always a pleasure to explore journeys in music. It’s those stories that can give new meaning to familiar songs. I was fortunate to have distant family introduce me to new wave music. There was also far more diversity on FM radio because the segmentation of markets in the industry hadn’t taken place yet.
Musical Starstreams radio program gave me a sense of a completely new world of visceral reactions I still feel today. That was true since my first memories. The love of music couldnt be a purer feeling of trancendence to me.
In the present, psychedelic sounds in all their forms take up a lot of airtime.
And there’s something about the way labels like 4AD, Creation. There’s just not enough time to scratch it. I’m not sure where I am on the journey but every season teaches me something.
This is almost impossible for me to outline, but I’ll try a “nearly everything” approach.
So this isn’t everything, but we’ll say notable highlights.
My first song that I have memory of hitting me in the face was when I was 8 years old.
I grew up on Kodiak Island in Alaska. In the 80’s this meant that we were typically about a virtual decade behind the rest of the world. Radio was about the only thing that kept us connected culturally; that and the bit of television that existed, but the television we had was basically two channels that went off air at night with the Star Spangled Banner playing before turning to ash on the screen.
The radio we had was basically, country, pop, classic rock, and church music. That was it.
The pop station was a mixture of both classic rock (on the "safe" side; not the really good stuff) and pop music from the American charts, like the top 40.
I wasn’t allowed control over the radio, and all of our in-house music was on vinyl and was pretty much things like Lionel Richie, or mostly vinyls from musicals and church music.
Outside of musicals, because my Mom was really into (an involved with) the theater, there wasn’t actually a lot of music going on at my home growing up. My Mom sewed in her project room. My Dad watched TV. I either romped around the woods or sat in my room drawing for hours on end.
Around 8 years old, I met a kid who had a portable recording stereo (those big, long ones with the clunky buttons on one end and the top was the cassette area and crappy single speaker). I kept bugging my parents for it because I thought it was really cool that you could record yourself and play it back.
Instead, they bought me a boom box. It was small, and it didn’t record anything. However, I was really excited because they also gave me a tape.
This was like Dobby the House Elf getting a sock. I now controlled the music I listened to! I never had that before.
The tape they gave me, for whatever reason (because I hadn’t even seen the movie) was the soundtrack from La Bamba. I guess maybe they thought it was age appropriate or something. I don’t really know.
All I do know is that I wore that tape the hell out. The first song that ever blew me away was Who Do You Love by Bo Diddly. I heard that and my whole world flipped. THAT song still defines so much of what I love in punk rock music (even though it isn’t punk rock), or really any hard driven music. Just the guttural thrashing sound of the guitar phrased in such a way that it sounded like a car engine revving through gears - like it was possible that the sound would just fly off the rails into a car wreck at any moment and the player was just hanging on with everything they had. And it doesn’t even have distortion like Thorogood’s version (which I also love).
The other song that hit me off of that album of Donna (as performed by Los Lobos on that tape) just because it was such a good sounding harmony and the blues sound in that great R&B phrasing.
This was basically the first time I had heard anything blues or R&B based, so it radically shook me up.
The next big moment of impact to me that I remember was that we moved to North Carolina and suddenly I went from being an average of 5 to 10 years behind current culture to jammed right smack in the middle of it. It was 1989 and I was turning 10.
The music that I heard next (somewhere around that age) was MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. It was everywhere at the school I was going to, and I was a kid who was waaaay outside the norm there. A naive white kid in the middle of a black kid demographic. And by naive, I meant that I had no clue there was anything notable about this at all - I hadn’t any idea that other kids saw me differently, nor did I notice any of the separative behavior (in reflection…yeah, I do, but at the time…nope).
All I thought was that these guys liked things, and I like to like things that other kids do, so I would go along and dig into whatever they were into.
There was a lot of rap as well, but no one ever handed me a tape of anything, so I only knew it a bit here and there by whatever was playing on a boombox wherever we were at the school, because I lived in the country entirely away from pretty much anyone except an old couple in their 80’s whom I played chess and cards with to avoid boredom.
And yes, I loved MC Hammer. Still do. Damn catchy friggen music, and I had never heard anything hit so hard (I hadn’t heard Michael Jackson yet).
Eventually we moved back to Kodiak a few years later, and along the way I was gifted a 6 tape set of “classical” music because I was taking piano. Well, no. I had been taking piano, but I had become board with it because it wasn’t what I was interested in. Instead, I was more interested in how my Casio Keyboard made all those sound and had taken it apart and couldn’t remember how to put it back together. This resulted in my parents vowing to never buy me an instrument again.
However, Bach hit my ear as interesting, but not what I was interested in at the time, but the song that immediately grabbed my attention (and still does) was Toccata in Fugue in D minor. It was just so different from everything else on these tapes. It was like the rock and roll of classical music to me. I would spend quite a bit of time learning how to play that thing as best as I could (which wasn’t very good).
Anyway, I was, for some odd reason, really into heavy metal sounding guitar sounds - even though A) I had never really heard heavy metal properly, and B) didn’t have a guitar of any kind.
It came from walking a LOT and entertaining myself with mouth-guitar sound effects. I would walk and write songs by just making the sounds with my mouth. I had this whole sound going on in my head that I called, "Trash" music - it took that sound I had heard on that old La Bamba soundtrack, threw on distortion, and ratcheted it up to the point where it was (in my head anyway) about to explode.
Then one of my friends (Junior High 6th grade now) took me to the woods with his boombox (because I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything I wanted; all music had to be passed by the parents first - very Christian home) and said, “Check this out.”, holding a tape in his hand which he then slapped into the sleeves, smacked the receiver closed, and hit play - volume set to maximum.
What came out of the speakers was Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.
I just sat there entirely gobsmacked. It was everything I had been thinking of in my head with “trash” music and had been talking this friend’s ear off about (and showing to him through my outstanding mouth-guitar capabilities which should have won awards for quality…of course…nothing is higher in quality than an 11 year old’s mouth guitar).
It was raining. I didn’t care. Neither did Jeff. We sat there in the forest and listened to that entire album and I instantly became an apostle of Nirvana.
I snuck it into my house. My Dad walked out once while we were playing it on the porch and I got it through inspection by claiming that it was a Christian rock band, you can tell because their name is "Nirvana", which is another name for "Heaven". For some reason that worked (I have no idea how that load of crap worked, but it did.)
Then my musical landscape just burst open when I met some new friends, whom I would spend as much time as possible with through the latter years of Junior High through my early years of High School.
They showed me everything from Metallica, Michael Jackson (because he "sucked"…which, I with so much independent fortitude at the time, of course disagreed with outright…no, of course not. I went right along with it and for years claimed he sucked while secretly thinking it was amazing), Bad Religion, Stone Temple Pilots, The Gypsy Kings, a ton of Jazz, Ambient Space Music, The Descendants, NOFX, Tool, an absolute blur of a bunch of other music…BUT…what hit me during this moment were two very specific bands:
Rage Against the Machine
Greenday was just such a distilled down version of a lot of the punk that I had heard and I loved how it just uniformly hit you while at the same time had this poppy beat to it that just caught you. I would later have an accidental phone exchange with Billy Joe that left me somewhat confused about my roomate (who was a Greek Orthodox monk) later in life. It turned out he was an old friend of Billy Joe’s and was, waaaay back in the very early days, going to be in the band but after some bad times with drugs, left and joined church life. So every now and then Billy would call - which, apparently annoyed the monk because mostly Billy would tease him (from what the monk said, anyway - I think there was some love lost there, because ever once in a while if I was quiet when I came home, he’d be playing guitar and it would be a Greenday song; he’d stop as soon as he noticed I was home).
Anyway, back to high school era, Tom Morello was the first guitar god to me.
This is when I learned that I could be playing guitar. That I could be making music; truly. Not just some way off dream of an 11 year old who doesn’t really see how to even go about it, but wishes there was a way (because the Church piano just wasn’t cutting it).
Morello was actually where I learned what I couldn’t put my finger on before; that to me, the best part about the guitar was the rhythm. It was the percussiveness of the tune. I wasn’t really interested in lead.
This still shapes my thinking of music to this day.
My friend was learning guitar, and his dad was amazing at it - almost made you not want to bother trying when you watched him play his jazz (and he was a pharmacist - I guess good rock and drugs never do go far from each other).
I couldn’t get a guitar, however, because my parents wouldn’t buy one and I didn’t have a job that could make that kind of money…I barely had jobs at all. One of my other friends had also been learning to play music, and she had gone a very different route. She was into Smashing Pumpkins. Hugely into them.
She was amazingly nice. She gave me a guitar to use and taught me how to play it. She showed me how to make a "power chord" with two fingers and from that point on…well…my memory of this event is something like when the Minion is given an electric guitar in the film Minions.
There was a little bit of awkwardness while I learned how to make my hands do that position, but it only took about 5 minutes and then I was just rocking non-stop on this electric with a tiny amp.
I got into high school bands as much as I could as often as I could. We all sucked, but we had a blast and we were loud.
My parents divorced and through a longer story than is worth it, I ended up living on my own at 17 turning 18 shortly thereafter; at first living in our family home while it waited for foreclosure. Both parents left the island, so I suddenly had the Peter Pan moment of doing whatever I wanted in a giant two story house that I didn’t have to pay for. I played music from the time I woke up until the evening hit and then I played computer games online (a new thing; Quake was just hitting online play for the first time and Interstate 76 had just come out a bit before that, and Diablo as well. We had 14.4 modems but we could swing it).
That ended eventually and I moved into an apartment, shared with another friend.
And this is when the next big moment in music happened for me.
I walked down to Radioshack because that’s who carried games that you could buy on the island, and while buying games saw this weird one called MTV Music Generator.
It was $15. Cool. Grabbed; no clue what it was.
I put it in that night in my room and was immediately fucking confused beyond all measure. Nothing made sense and I couldn’t figure out how to do anything. I looked over the tiny manual, but it was of no help at all. It didn’t even list all of the commands. So, I just spent the next month trying to figure out how the fuck to make any sound on this thing turn into a song of any kind because the preset songs were really amazing.
Eventually I did figure out how to use it and it was immediately the death of me joining bands. Fuck bands. I had a back-up band in my damn Playstation!
Here’s an example of that kind of sound:
Around this same time, one of my other friends, who is HUGE into black metal, introduced me to the genre.
He was a badass guitarist, so I really studied the hell out of the idea of intense and fast music (which you hear in that Nightmare song…even though it doesn’t have any guitar).
So…I attempted my take on black metal…it failed horribly imo.
This was my introduction into DAWs and it was, unknown to me at the time, the first crack in my punk rock foundation that I was so certain on at the time. This was also around the same time I was working at a local radio station in exchange for school credit (I don’t remember how to haggled that), and my black metal friend heard one of my other songs I had made (which I don’t have anymore) and said, “That sounds like Crystal Method.” To which I responded with, “Who?” He just looked at me – then at the shelves; we were standing in the radio station surrounded by massive volumes of music. He looked back at me…”Really?” I, for whatever reason, couldn’t find Crystal Method, but I did find a copy of Moby and that was a new sound of music I hadn’t thought of. I didn’t know what it was called, and I couldn’t find anything else, so I just let it drop…more or less.
Anywho, I can’t remember any other bands out of this experience, BUT at the same time another friend was HUGE into rap and hip hop and that’s where I learned Wu-Tang and Bone Thugs in Harmony, Snoop, etc… and a bunch of others.
Basically, this is when I learned a bit more than MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice by name and identification.
I didn’t much like a lot of it, but I liked the sound that Wu-Tang had; that was an interesting sound.
I eventually moved in with another friend who had a trailer that had been made into a house, and since we both had food service jobs, were in our young 20’s, didn’t have to pay rent, we blew all of our money on music equipment and built a home studio while smoking a TON of pot. All day every day was playing music and smoking pot. This is where I learned of Pink Floyd and Ween. Our studio was insane. We had several guitars of both acoustic and electrical varieties, a turn-table, mixer, playstation with MTV music generator on it, a violin (which no one could play), a trumpet…no one could play, a small drum kit (really small), a computer with Reason installed on it, a giant ass subwoofer, and a full size plug-in electric organ that had a tremolo pedal to spin the speaker around for effect (this, for some odd reason, ended up being lit on fire one night during a party).
This is where I learned the art of “jamming”; improvisational play. It’s also when I was introduced to music theory because my roommate was big into it. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, and it would take me another decade of periodically poking around to eventually figured out how to understand music theory and take away from it what I found of value (most of it is pretty useless imo).
I was also introduced at this point to old bands of the 70’s like Led Zeppelin and while they weren’t that interesting to me, it did teach me that I really don’t like drummers who don’t accentuate the rhythm guitar and just play a straight beat. This greatly influenced how I make drums today, because I greatly dislike (generally) a drum sequence just left on repeat with no accentuation moments. I typically try to articulate the percussion quite a bit with the rhythm tones.
However, the bands that were impressive to me here were Credence Clearwater Revival, and Queen.
Yes, as a kid of the 80’s, a teen of the 90’s, it wasn’t until my 20’s when I found these bands….strange as that seems.
Anywho, life moved on, I met my wife, we married, and I continued music on my little playstation.
A few years around 2010ish or so, a co-worker saw me at work tinkering with my music generator and introduced me properly to EDM, which I hadn’t known the name of before. I wasn’t even really making EDM…it kind of had some dance style in it, but not really – not yet. I was still using it to make more symphonic things or backing music to playing guitar.
He also gave me a copy of Ableton (I hated Reason, hated FL, and had just stuck with the playstation. I hated the other interfaces – so clunky and slow) because he had multiple licenses, and he gave me access to all of his plugin’s (which was a TON, including Massive and Serum vsts), and because he was a huge fan, introduced me to DeadMau5e (or however the fuck you spell that). While I didn’t like the song structure, I was taken aback by the sound design and clarity. I still hold to that. His sound design work is pretty impressive, but I’m not all that interested in the songs that he makes usually; not my taste.
Well, because I’m who I am, when I want to learn something, I LEARN the FUCK out of it, so I found every documentary I could on EDM – even if it was made in the 80’s; I watched it. I quickly found Kraftwerk and learned everything about their history, which lead me to Sheffield, England, which lead me to quickly realizing that all that New Wave music that I loved (but couldn’t name you one of for the life of me because they were on the radio at random) growing up (but would never say I did out loud during the 90’s) was basically all caused by a party one night where someone put on Kraftwerk because it came in a shipping barge by accident as filler (something about records being used as padding on shipping barges or some such thing).
I even listened to podcasts about early electronic musicians like Delia Derbyshire.
This is really when I learned the most about the music I would think about a lot from then on.
I loved Ableton a LOT and dropped my playstation, and that, more or less brings us to today.
More or less.
I mean, there are other bands that had an impact, like when I first heard Knights of Cydonia by Muse, I was just blown away. It was friggen awesome!
Or when I heard The Night Begins to Shine on my daughter’s kid show Teen Titans Go…fucking awesome song.
Also, I didn’t cover it, but my all-time favorite song is a 5th of Beethoven by Walter Murphy (I didn’t list it because I don’t recall when it entered my life, but it’s always been awesome whenever it comes on).
So there’s definitely a TON of other music in my background, but considering that my Pandora has over 100 stations loaded on it and I’ve already written 3500 words to cover this much, I think we’ll call it done.
If you made it this far, fuck…that’s damn impressive!
I can identify with a lot of this …I was raised on Johnny Cash, Kingston Trio, Burl Ives and show tunes. I go t a harmonica from my Grandfather at age 12 and he taught me a few old folk tunes. I got a guitar at 13 and dabbled at piano when I could get near one.
CCR was my first album, along with Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s. Soon I was into Cream, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Tull, Yes, EL&P, and then…
Disco happened and I stopped listening to music but started playing and writing more seriously. I got into Jazz, Blues, Classical, and Electronic Music. I started using tape loops and and had access to a Serge Modular Synth… lots of wild experimentation.
Then came bands like The Police, The Clash, and other Punks… then… revelation… TOOL! And yes Rage, and Opeth but Tool brought back the Magic.
About ten years ago a friend introduced me to two pieces of software that opened the floodgates for me… Audacity and Sibelius… now the world of music production was at my fingertips.
About two years ago I got GarageBand on my IPad… what an amazing tool!
Now I have Reaper, and a Studio full of instruments and enough recording equipment to really make some noise… and you guys to share it with.
I feel like I’m in-step here a bit…which is odd for me, because I don’t relate to folks via music…I’m far too much all over the map and what I take interest in often is obscure (or not to taste) to a point that folks aren’t likely to want to listen (I only put on my actual choice of music when I’m alone, lol).
I look forward to paying attention to your music going forward!
p.s. I envy that you got to experience the Disco explosion first-hand! Damn!
I’ll preface this all with saying I have probably listened to more music that I or other local bands played than recorded music overall. So I’ll say my journey by what I was playing, I was listening to similar stuff as I was playing all through , but there are just too many to name and only a few that were standout influences, and many are not at all well known. The bigger influence for me always was how I would mix up genres.
Birth to 8ish
Raised in a music loving house, early music lessons. Learned to read music along side English. Didn’t think much about it, was just things you did as a family.
8 to 12ish
Got where I could basically play all the main guitar chords and would play along with family singalongs and my grandpa who was a very good guitar player.
Still not thinking much about it, hearing mostly 1930s to 1970s music which I didn’t dislike, didn’t love. Hated the pop 1980s music around me in the airwaves.
12 to 17
Finally heard contemporary music I liked, punk metal, hip hop. My mind was blown. Immediately formed a band and started playing out and soon after recording. Also started going to the library at this point and asking everybody about other music. Got some suggestions from middle eastern family and some of that became influential. Started going to Hindu temple and that became influential. Both of those though, mixed into the metal basically. Was also playing in Orchestra this whole time.
17 to 21ish
I moved and first my group, part of school, was in orchestra. People saw me with the upright and I got invited to some folksy groups. I did some of that for a while but it wasn’t, the traditional stuff, my thing, but was gigging, getting paid.
21 to 40
I’m going to say that the thru 21 years kinda jelled into a long phase of making dark rock folk music. There was a banjo goth band. An Accordion rock band. Various things off those themes. A pile of music that had parts country, parts metal, parts folk, and lyrics almost all in a Grunge vein.
Current phase synth rock. I had always been the guy in the prior bands that had synths and drum machines and would incorporate them here and there but got vetoed on more prominent placement. Finally found a partner all for it. Loving this phase, I get to be the drummer which I’ve always been so attuned to, but it is a fun learning curve because I can in fact decently play a real drum set, electronic drums need a different composition approach imo.
Well… in fact …I felt compelled to respond to your story because I’m generally not in tune (pun intended) with the music that influenced most of the forum members. I’ve seen Tool and Zeppelin mentioned and some members are into Jazz.
My intro post to the (old) forum was something like “I didn’t know I was part of this group” … after lurking for a while I began to see that my experience with “Old School” Electronic Music, tape manipulation and general intentional use and misuse of equipment had the Venn Diagrams overlapping just a bit. Mostly I could sense that there may be some Kindred Spirits in the group… turns out there are more than I thought! This was and is a pleasant surprise.
On the subject of “obscure” … I only scratched the surface of musical influences… within the clique of musicians I hung with I was pretty much alone in listening to Varese, Tomita, Carlos, Eno, Fripp, Berlioz, Satie, Mingus, Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Zappa, Beefheart, Bach (the Toccata and Fugue in Dm still slays me! Thanks to @Brogner for bringing that to the BB!)
Then there was Disco… it was such a weird shift from the amazing explosion of great music in the previous several decades to some THING that was (to my ears and the ears of many others) horribly formulaic, repetitive, commercial, uncreative and definitely NOT INTELLIGENT! … OK… it could be fun …if you had enough to drink and there were enough pretty girls dancing with abandon.
The Punk scene came like a Godsend!
Looking forward to listening to more of your music as well…
There are so many amazing genres of music that I want to play them all and write in all styles. Music is truly amazing and I think you could dedicate your life to researching music and still find new music that excites you.
Especially since I love the hell out of disco (obviously, not all of it).
It’s kind of funny. For me, the most punk thing you could do was put on a pair of bell bottoms found from a thrift store and crank disco because by my era of preteen and teenage youth, Punk was the holy Antioch and Alternative (90’s punk rock and indie music) was the godsend escape from the 80’s synth pop, roller skate, shoulder blade, polka dot, bubble gum, plastic wrapped dance craze.
Actually. Check that. The most punk thing you could do was dress like Michael Jackson and crank 80’s synth pop, but second to this, disco.
I love disco. It hits me every bit has hard as the best punk rock riff. I don’t feel much difference between, say, a 5th of Beethoven and Anarchy in the U.K. I’m captured by a same level of intinsity in both.
I liked getting a 4/4 disco beat, grabbing my electric, and thrashing out a distorted driven riff for a long time. Still do; I just focus more into my DAW these days and in there I’m more New Wave and/or symphonic dance/rock.
Funny how what’s punk to one is the mainstay to another and the mainstay from before can be the punk.
We are too ashamed also bye bye bye by n’sync is actually a pretty well written f you song
Also i hate to say it but deadmau5 is as much as the reason why I started making music as much as aphex twin is, I literally thought hey I could do that and went from making garbage to making garbage that sounds like the fx from the transformers movies and slightly worse version of artists from diff genres
Twelve years old in catholic school in '94, and the teacher left the classroom with the TV plugged in, so somebody put on MTV and this was playing:
Never heard anything like it. Dookie was the first CD I bought (not counting a couple cassette tapes of Bobby Brown or MC Hammer and other shit).
Alternative rock and grunge was big then, and I liked some of it (I liked NIN quite a bit, which in retrospect is not alternative rock nor grunge. ), but it was telling that my favorite Nirvana songs were punk covers of Vaselines songs, and my most cherished CD was Out Come the Wolves by Rancid. My mind was blown a bit later when my friend showed me this song:
After that I became full punk for a year or two, yet still held on to this weird Pavement album my buddy gave me when I was 13 (more on that later):
Then I heard THIS fucking beauty and everything changed once again. Full disclosure, I wept on my parents’ couch while under the headphones when the change at 00:34 happened. I was sixteen:
Sunny Day is still my favorite, and I’ll never forget hearing this album for the first time, yet it’s funny because now I think this is their weakest album. (Enigk’s latest release is amazing, for those who are interested.)
I did the 90’s sweater emo thing for a long while. Shit like this is my jam:
Most of my roots are still firmly planted in this old punk and “post-hardcore” shit.
Then I got into more indie rock stuff. Got more into Pavement and realized that was the oldest CD I owned because I had a habit of selling off old shit to buy new shit (Dookie was long gone at this point). Built to Spill, Slint, Tortoise, Godspeed you Black Emperor, Pedro the Lion, Codeine, Low, etc.
And Fugazi, of course:
Didn’t have my mind blown again for quite some time until I bought this album on a whim in 2000 (skip to 2:04):
Still ape these guys from time to time. Took a piss next to Eye once. Best show I’ve ever seen.
After that it gets a bit hazy. Fell in love with progrock a couple years later, right before I moved to Japan (I would post King Crimson, but that shit’s not available on youtube because Fripp is stubborn as fuck):
After my move, I was big into DIY musicians that showed me that I could make good music from my own home outside of being in a band… This was when I was getting a bit more into electronic stuff outside the odd Aphex Twin or Autechre album.
I was big into stuff like Steve Reich during my mid-Japan years:
The only thing I remember blowing my mind after my move was weirdass Japanese shit like this song from Kyrary Pamyu Pamyu. Listening to it now and it’s still kind of amazing, but also makes me want to stab my ears out:
And this track, which scratched my prog rock love:
Last thing that really blew me away was Infected Mushroom a couple years back when I was constantly stoned out of my mind post-japan and post-divorce. The rise-within-a-rise from 4:32 to 5:50 is unbelievable:
When I go on long road trips, I just put them on shuffle and it lasts the whole time. Nothing like driving through mountains and tunnels blasting Infected Mushroom.
As of now I’m just listening to whatever strikes my fancy (Minus Green Day and Japanese shit, I still regularly listen to all this other stuff and keep up with the artists).
My father knew every popular folk/country song from the 50s and 60s, and would sing and play them to me with his pawn shop guitar to get me to go to sleep. Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” and Cash’s “Long Black Veil” were favorites.
Bowie’s “Space Oddity” when I was 8. It was (hold your dick, this is fucking surreal) at the newly opened Showbiz Pizza, played by the Rock-a-Fire band. Animatronic puppets turned me on to Bowie and weirdo music.
Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall pt2” when I was 10. It was late night on the radio, which I’d listen to while falling asleep. It was weird and creepy and haunting and I snuck out of bed to call the radio station and find out who played it. The DJ laughed, probably because he knew I was in for a lifetime of musical pain and lust.
Iron Maiden’s Killers when I was in 7th grade. Someone’s older brother had it. It was rad. Mostly for the cover, but I still loved the songs.
Pixies Surfa Rosa, from a degenerate friend in Junior High who was also the first guy who gave me meth. Had crazy taste in music. After that (late 80s) it was a landslide of one thing after another…
High points (read: albums) I remember coming across and wrecking my face - Ministry Land of Rape and Honey, Napalm Death Scum, Neurosis Word as Law, Leonard Cohen Songs of Love and Hate, Skinny Puppy Too Dark Park, Godflesh Streetcleaner, Miles Davis Kind of Blue, Big Black Atomizer, Thelonious Monk Solo Monk, Robert Johnson’s Collection, Swans Filth…that was all in the span of a couple years. It was heady shit for a teenager growing up in a post-New Kids world.
After high school I played in bands, toured with bands, moved to big cities and saw bands, recorded music, engineered friends bands in basements and VFWs. Spent some time at warehouse parties in Chicago and Detroit during the 90s, despite not really liking techno, mostly because of the boring, repetitive nature. Jokes on me, I ended up really into drone. Oh well.
Last 10 years have been exploring the deep, dark holes of avant-garde composition, both from the classical standpoint and ‘rock’/noise music: drone/atonal (non-serial/non-tonal), ambient/timbral, lots of musique concrete and field recordings, outsider music, as well as what’s dumbly called ‘world music’, mostly microtonal stuff like Gamelan and Asianic overtone singing.
These days I don’t really listen to much music, outside some I produce myself. I’m more interested in designing processes for creation and listening to what comes out, good or bad. Otherwise I mostly just treat the world as one big field recording and listen to the various systems around me switching on and off.
I grew up in the USSR (Ukraine) in the 80s. My father was constantly listening to this very important Russian singer-songwriter, Vladimir Vysotsky, so that was the first thing I really got into. He said by the time I was five, I memorized dozens of his songs. Then when I got tall enough to reach the record player, my musical tastes were entirely shaped by their small record collection. It was 60s rock (Zeppelin, Floyd), 70s disco (Abba, Boney M), and 80s pop (MJ, Madonna). But above all, I really got into the Beatles at this time.
As I got a little older, I got into the first wave of Russian rock: Kino, Nautilus Pompilius, DDT, Alisa, etc. My obsession with Kino in particular motivated me to start playing guitar, so this definitely was the first crucial point of my musical journey.
A few years later someone played Metallica’s Black Album and I clicked with it instantly. That kicked off my obsession with metal. At first, it was mostly stuff like GnR and Scorpions. Since I loved the Black Album so much, I tried listening to their early albums, like Ride the Lightning and I just couldn’t get into it. Shit was so heavy and fast. I only liked the acoustic interludes and ‘ballads’. Eventually, I warmed up to that and graduated to proper thrash metal: Slayer, Sepultura, Kreator.
In the mid 90s my family immigrated to the United States (Chicago) and soon after I turned into a full blown metal head: my hair down to my ass, leather jacket, camo pants, boots, the whole shebang. Got into death, doom, grind, and black metal and that’s all I listened to exclusively. Validity of music was evaluated sorely on how br00tal and kvlt it was. I was pretty close minded during this period, though the music was excellent and I still love a lot of it and listen to quite a bit of it to this day.
My introduction to the electronic music came in the form of Ministry, Front Line Assembly, and the first Fear Factory remix album. They all had distorted guitars, so it was acceptable to me. Then someone played some Aphex Twin for me… probably Come to Daddy and I instantly clicked with that too. It was also kind of heavy and extreme, so it was ok.
The final nail the coffin of that close minded persona came from fucking nu-metal, out of all places. I heard the first Korn album and couldn’t deny that I was digging it. Here was something that was still heavy, yet groovy and with a completely different aesthetic. Then I went to see them live and they had Delinquent Habits (Latino hip-hop) opening for them and jumping around to that shit was just so much FUN. By then, I was getting a bit more mature and comfortable with myself and no longer felt the need to have a particular subculture identity. So the floodgates opened and I just started soaking up EVERYTHING.
Seeing weird indie and emo bands at the Empty Bottle one day, then going to the Fireside Bowl for punk, ska, hardcore, and metalcore shows, still going to death metal shows at random places, “bigger” whatever bands at the Metro. Literally hundreds of shows in my late teens and early 20s. During this time I also played bass in various metal bands.
Aphex Twin made me discover a ton a of IDM and breakcore (the usual suspects). Because of all that, I started warming up to drum’n’bass and started going to warehouse parties. It took me some years to warm up to anything four-on-the-floor, but I eventually did. I remember one party in particular where Surgeon was headlining and he opened his set with an Aphex Twin mashup. That surely made me pay attention and techno started clicking with me. Once I actually started dancing at these things, instead of propping the walls, then it was anything goes and I could get down to just about anything. Even fucking house, which I really don’t dig for the most part, but it’s kind of hard to escape, being in Chicago and all. Booty house is fun, though.
Another key point came some years later, when I really got into psychedelic trance, as I was backpacking through South America. Going to a bunch of psy festivals in Brazil in particular was absolutely incredible. For a while, I focused exclusively on trying to produce psytrance and psychill and I owe a lot of my knowledge of sound synthesis to that period.
Now, I’m still all over the place, as far as the music I listen to. Completely mood dependent and I go through short phases and jump around a lot. As far as production, I finally found my home base in some kind of a post-rock/electronica hybrid (65daysofstatic, maybeshewill, mogwai, etc). I naturally gravitate towards writing pretty and melancholic things on guitar that sort of fit into that style. And I find post-rock as a genre to be incredibly flexible and I feel like I can take elements from pretty much any other genre I’m into and throw them in there and they all still go together and make sense to me. So I’m hard at work chipping away at my first release in that style.
Read the whole thing, interesting, but just wanted to comment one crazy internet thing that happend to me last year.
I was sharing a rough draft of something I was working on. Odd perhaps, it was an overall almost jazzy drum sound I was looking for but, just wasnt happy with any of the kicks. In asking for help, I said, I was looking for the kick drum from the quieter parts of the Black Album. Someone pointed me to https://www.fxpansion.com/products/bfdx/bfdexpansions/bfdblackalbumdrums/
So, wow technology, i got to use samples of the actual drums from that studio for the album.