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Who is reading Music?

January 11, 2013 1:31 AM

Would a thread of introductions be useful? I was thinking about unSane's soundcloud-pony and the Balkan kingdom of Music (or MeFiMu), and realized that I don't have a very good idea of who all is reading/listening here, whether regularly or not, except for a few posters, and even then I don't know much about them apart from a few tunes.


So I thought, perhaps introductions are in order? If this is something other users think would be helpful, I'd be curious to know a few things:

How often do you visit Music?

Do you post music, or just listen?

What genres do you prefer?

In what genres do you create?

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)


are there other questions that would be useful?
posted by dubold (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Good idea, dubold. You need to answer these questions, too!

I visit Music every few days, probably. For my first year here I probably visited close to every day. I post music and listen, although I comment and post a less than I used to unfortunately. If I had to create a favorite genre, it would probably be vaguely Americana lo-fi with elements of found sound and drone with intriguing lyrics and recording choices. That is also the kind of music I would like to be making.

Started learning to play guitar at 16 because I had a couple song ideas in my head: one about Calvin finding Hobbes in a box when he's much older (although this recording does not sound anything like the one I first wrote), and one about wanting to be King Kong. I began recording on my dad's laptop half a year later. For basically my whole time in high school, I only showed my music to MetaFilter. It was an incredibly encouraging environment that finally convinced me I don't need to totally hide my simple music from everyone in the world. I really had no idea what to expect and I remember signing up and posting my first song and soon after mathowie favorited it and I figured it was an automatic thing, like Tom being your friend on Myspace.

My MetaFilter Music highlight is probably being interviewed by Cortex for the podcast (although some of the songs I now find a little embarrassing).

My music continues to be a basically solitary experience with rare moments of playing with people, but I am slowly trying to do more recording collaboration since I feel much more comfortable in that realm. For some reason I write/record way less prolifically than when I was 17-19 but I have expanded into bowing banjos, ouds and electric guitars and bought a pump organ. Besides the videos I just linked to, I basically only post to MetaFilter, but eventually I'll get a Bandcamp.
posted by Corduroy at 4:02 AM on January 11, 2013


How often do you visit Music?

About once a day, I s'pose. I do go for a day or two every so often when I don't drop in, though, depending.

Do you post music, or just listen?

I post (166 songs and counting) and listen.

What genres do you prefer?

I prefer to not think in terms of genres.

In what genres do you create?

Folk-ish, electronica-ish, blues-ish, spoken-word-ish, ish-ish.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

See here. (Not so short, but, hey, I'm old.)

Do you post music elsewhere?

I post a lot of videos to YouTube and Vimeo, of mostly live performances, but also sometimes "music video" videos that I've made. Just started putting a few audio files up at Soundcloud.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:10 AM on January 11, 2013


Great idea. Maybe you could post this to MeTa too, dubold, in the light of the other thread. I'll do mine when I'm not on the iPad.
posted by unSane at 5:46 AM on January 11, 2013


How often do you visit Music?

I peek into Music pretty much every time I visit Metafilter. I guess that's close to every day or so.

Do you post music, or just listen?

I post tunes and also listen, although I don't listen to everything that gets posted here, and not every listen gets a comment either, although that's something I'm trying to work on.

What genres do you prefer?

This is not a great question, even though I'm the one that came up with it, because any genre I can come up with has examples of things I like or don't like. I've even enjoyed "brostep" tunes although it's probably lowest on the chart of things I'd choose to listen to...

In Music, I tend to just listen to the first 15 seconds of a song and see if it grabs me.

In what genres do you create?

mostly two: sort of lo-fi noisy drone americana mumble rock and "electronica". When I get tired of trying to play guitar and be sincere I take refuge in MIDI.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

I actually started playing an instrument around 18, because I was into recording and needed a guinea pig to practice upon. I'm an engineer first and a musician second, which is good because I'm better at the former. From a really young age I was trying to make radio plays with two cassette players, tapes, records of "sound effects", etc. In my teens that turned into 4 tracks and rudimentary software recording. Did the cool edit / Sonic Foundry ACID stuff, went to school for audio engineering, got a job in a studio and switched to Pro Tools. Used PT for work, but occasionally Reason or Ableton at home. Currently using Reaper, Reason and Ableton.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)

Soundcloud and Bandcamp, although I hear justin timberlake is excited about the new Myspace, so maybe we'll all be leaving facebook and going back over there.
posted by dubold at 6:38 AM on January 11, 2013


How often do you visit Music?

Most days, though sometimes I'll take a break for a while. It's on my netvibes home page so I generally see when something new is posted.

Do you post music, or just listen?

I think I've posted about sixty tracks. I listen to quite a lot but I don't always comment, mostly because the vibe here seems to be non-critical and I'm a very critical person... there are a few members who I feel I know well enough to be honest with but it feels like something you have to negotiate fairly carefully. I'm always grateful when people have the courage to be critical of my own stuff.

What genres do you prefer?
I don't. My favourite thing about MeFi music is that I'm exposed to stuff I would never otherwise choose to listen to. I'm prepared to like anything that's posted here, really. I hate the way music gets chopped up into little genres and then we stop listening to stuff we supposedly 'don't like'.

In what genres do you create?
I just think of it as pop.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?
I've played in different bands since I was in my teens, keyboards and then guitar. That was in England. I learned leading a church band when I was about 16, for my sins, but it was good because they would just dump some chords in front of you and you had to play it even if you'd never heard the song before. In the 90s I did the grunge/powerpop thing, then in the late 90s we got disillusioned with that and formed an instrumental surf band, which was by far the most successful band I've ever been in. In 2000 I moved to Canada and had to sell all my musical instruments, and slowly started buying them back. Last year my new year's resolution was to finally form a band to play and sing my own stuff, which I did, and has been one of the best things I've ever done.

Posting to MeFi music was quite a big part of that since it was the only place I felt comfortable about posting my attempts at singing.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)
Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, and in the Gearslutz songwriting forum, sometimes on Songfight.
posted by unSane at 6:48 AM on January 11, 2013


How often do you visit Music?

once or twice a week

Do you post music, or just listen?

i post music, but i'm afraid i don't listen much - i probably should, but i don't listen to music at home much unless it's a kind of music i'm researching

What genres do you prefer?

60s pop, classic rock, space rock, s african, garage rock, psych rock, r&b - but i listen to just about anything except contemporary commercial country and gangster rap

In what genres do you create?

mainstream rock with a lot of diverse influences and a psychedelic feel, although i seem to be going further out these days

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

grew up listening to 60s am radio - started playing piano and organ around 10 - learned guitar at 16 - did the singer/songwriter coffeehouse thing in college, got into rock and roll more and more

no real career at all, even at a bar band level - i always wanted to do my own songs in a recording studio and thanks to modern technology and a lot of used junk, i can

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)

i've posted my rpm albums on their site, but that's it
posted by pyramid termite at 8:05 AM on January 11, 2013


I visit a couple times a week to read.

I haven't posted any music (anywhere).

I listen to MeFi.music in binges. Maybe two or three times a year I'll spend a weekend day tracking down all the stuff I've missed since last time.
posted by DaveP at 8:53 AM on January 11, 2013


I'm here to read and listen. I don't create anything; on this part of the site I'm purely a consumer. (Back in the day I did some recording / sound eng stuff and I still have a lot of now-out-of-date equipment, but I've never had any particular musical composition talent myself, and now most of my artist friends do their own recording anyway.)

If you count tracks that I've downloaded to my computer and have included in various playlists I actually listen to MeFi music almost every day. I typically try to poke around for new stuff every week or so.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:10 AM on January 11, 2013


How often do you visit Music?

Every few days; less than I used to. And I often just glance to see if there are any new Talk posts. I used to try and listen to everything (often in binges) but I have been feeling frustrated with MeFiMu for a while and have kind of tuned out.

Do you post music, or just listen?

I post but haven't in a while.

What genres do you prefer?

Most things posted here have something interesting going on, but I don't really get the ambient tnstrumental stuff.

In what genres do you create?

Pop music.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

I used to play drums in college but haven't touched a kit in years. I don't consider myself a musician or a writer or an engineer but I like making songs.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)

I've got a bandcamp page but it hasn't been updated in a while.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:28 PM on January 11, 2013


How often do you visit Music?

Every other day or so.

Do you post music, or just listen?

I have posted some 40something songs, but, lately, I've neither been posting or listening. So, I guess I just read the music section, for the most part.

What genres do you prefer?

I tend to go through phases with music, in which I'll only listen to a certain genre or a handful of bands for months at a time, but, in general, I like most genres. For the past year and a half or so, pretty much everything I've listened to for my own enjoyment has been pre-Run DMC hip hop, though about a month ago I added the background music to Star Trek TOS to that list.

In what genres do you create?

I don't know. It's got ukuleles, kazoos, horns, and toy pianos.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

I took trumpet and piano lessons for a few years as a kid, learned I had a knack for making instruments play the notes I wanted them to as a teenager (not playing them well, mind you, just being able to get the notes I was aiming for) and made a bunch of songs with other people's four-tracks. After getting a decent enough computer to multitrack with software, I made music with trackers for a while, then, around 2002 or so, did a bit with FruityLoops. I started doing the sort of ukulele based stuff I'm doing now around 2004.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)

I put a bunch of songs on YouTube, but they were all posted here first.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:00 PM on January 11, 2013


Just want to say I really appreciate MeFi Music even though I rarely post (I see I've posted 7 answers in Music Talk over the years, but I am a light MeFi user in general).

I read all Music Talk posts because I'm subscribed to their rss feed.

I'm a working musician (classical) and I like listening to every genre.
posted by kalapierson at 4:01 AM on January 13, 2013


This was a pretty perfect example of why I like MeFiMu. I felt comfortable about posting something I knew wasn't right yet, and I knew most of the respondents well enough to make sense of and respect their criticisms. And there were great contribs from people I wasn't so familiar with.
posted by unSane at 7:02 PM on January 13, 2013


How often do you visit Music?

Technically, every time I open Google Chrome--it's one of my seven homepages. As far as intentionally paying attention to what's there, it usually varies wildly, dependent upon whether I've posted anything recently. If so, I'll often visit multiple times per day. In times of drought like now, it's more of once every one to three days, or so.

Do you post music, or just listen?

Both. I have 169 posts so far, as well as several abandoned tracks that were recorded but not finished for challenges (I'm looking at YOU, OK Computer!)

What genres do you prefer?

One would be hard pressed to find a more wildly varied music library than mine. However, if we were to limit the response to modern (1950+), non-academic music, it would have to be divided into two primary divisions, before approaching genrefication.

Sans Lyrique:

Most anything in the Jazz family (Bebop, free jazz, experimental (e.g. Miles Davis, Sun Ra, John Zorn, Béla Fleck & the Flecktones)
Down-tempo/Trip-hop (e.g. Bonobo, Blue Sky Black Death, Dntel, )
Avant garde Improvisation (e.g. Henry Cow, anything from the Bang on a Can/Cantaloupe Records family, anything I've heard from the New Haven Improv Collective (shout out to Nate!))
Ambient (e.g. Brian Eno (Natch), early Kraftwerk, Emancipator)

With Lyrics:

I tend to like my lyrics, if they have to tell a story, to not be preachy, and usually long-form, so I'm a big fan of progressive rock, and artists like The Decemberists. If someone can't manage to do that, then the lyrics are the least important thing in a song, so I'd rather they either be either abstract or irreverent. There are, of course, exceptions. As such:

Early Prog rock, First-wave New Wave, Wagnerian Rock (let's be honest, we all know I just mean Meat Loaf on this one), Scottish Protest songs, Bluegrass, Blues, Blind Guardian (I can't say I like their genre, as I've not heard another band of their genre that I can stand, let alone love like I love them), and basically anyone that I can truly admire their studio production prowess.

In what genres do you create?

Anything that strikes my fancy at the time, but it's usually in the form of avant-garde improvisation.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

I've been playing at least one musical instrument since about the age of 7, when I started learning to play the electric organ in my grandfather's den. I then learned horn and trumpet through middle school and high school, playing in large-scale wind bands and marching bands, then eventually symphony orchestras for several years in University. I was always drawn to the more dissonant, abstract, "outside" sort of music at all times, but it wasn't until my time in University that I discovered my true calling, though, when I could no longer play. I have severe TMJ, which eventually culminated in arthroplastic surgery on my jaw, leaving it basically held together by a couple of bolts and some string.
Now based in Oklahoma City, I'm a member of Demons of Gyrophonia and Pasty Anglophiles. I have a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the University of Oklahoma with primary emphasis in Horn Performance, and secondary emphasis in Music Technology. I play many instruments in pieces and productions, but work best in sounds, not notes, so I try to gravitate toward the Enossification end of the spectrum; my instrument is the treatment of other sounds.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)

Personal Bandcamp, Gyrophonia Bandcamp.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 8:50 PM on January 15, 2013


Thanks for asking!

How often do you visit Music?

More and more. Every few days? At first just for jokey songs about Metafilter, but having recently connected my computer to the big stereo I've been digging through a lot more stuff. It sounds great.

Do you post music, or just listen?

Just listen, I don't really have equipment to record anything beyond my practices for evaluation.

What genres do you prefer?

Country, country blues, country rock, alt country, funk, folk, blues, folk blues, bluegrass, newgrass, rhythm and blues, psychedelic, hip-hop, jazz, afrobeat. Lately I have George Jones and Lefty Frizzell on heavy rotation. Thelonious Monk's Solo Monk is never far from my turntable.

In what genres do you create?

Mostly folk music...a mix of the above. Since moving to the country and taking the rest of my gear out of storage I've been rediscovering the joy of the electric guitar. Whoever invented the wah-wah pedal should've been given the Nobel Prize.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

The notable part of my musical life can be summed up in one sentence: Three 17-year-old punks start a band with a 55-year-old Wiccan priestess as lead singer and fail to get a Canada Council grant.

In the intervening 15 years I've continued to dabble on the guitar and even write the occassional song, but mostly for the therapeutic value and my own private amusement.
posted by Lorin at 12:09 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a British army officer I'm only required to give my name, rank and serial number. Dammit, you appear to have extracted the first two without the application of electrodes to my plums. In anticipation that you foreign types may very well resort to ungentlemanly and deucedly unBritish behaviour of that stripe, I freely concede that the latter is EPCA1084. That'll make one or two of you puzzle a bit....

By the way - anyone having trouble uploading files to MeFi?
posted by MajorDundee at 2:41 PM on January 17, 2013


You said too much, Major.
posted by unSane at 2:54 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


How often do you visit Music?
Not as often as I wish, but I probably drop in every week or two. I used to visit every day back in the early days when I was just coming out of college, making and listening to new music all the time!

Do you post music, or just listen?
I have posted in the past, but I discovered recently that 2009 was the last time I actually posted anything (or recorded anything worth posting)!

What genres do you prefer?
I like a mish-mash of different genres but I'll always be a blues-rock kinda guy at heart.

In what genres do you create?
See above. Bluesy, rock, folk, electronic type music mostly.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?
A highly experienced dabbler. I've been into music for fun most of my life but these days I'm more on the technical side than the creative side. I studied music technology in college and now I apply that in my day job.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)
Not anymore, but if I did it'd probably be on soundcloud.
posted by TwoWordReview at 3:03 PM on January 17, 2013


How often do you visit Music?
Multiple times per week.

Do you post music, or just listen?
Both. Not every listen gets a comment, but I try to comment when I can.

What genres do you prefer?
Just about everything except popular country. Pop, electronic, trance, dance, metalcore, hardcore, hard rock, nu-metal, heavy metal, classic rock, indie rock, indie pop, indie electronic, electro, hip-hop, rap, noise, power-violence, industrial, folk — I truly like almost everything as long as it's good.

In what genres do you create?
Electronic, trance, pop-punk, rock, pop, industrial

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?
Classically-trained and partially self-taught. Started writing classically in middle school, electronic/pop in high school, the rest is history as I adopted the stage name Millimeters of Mercury and went off to college.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)
facebook.com/millimetersofmercury
reverbnation.com/millimetersofmercury
posted by dacre at 12:57 AM on January 18, 2013


How often do you visit Music?

About once a week. I mean to be here more and be more active, but life always gets in the way.

Do you post music, or just listen?

Both! I post a lot of songs, generally rough mixes of stuff I'm working on. I also just posted a finished EP (some of which showed up here in rough-mix form) to Projects.

What genres do you prefer?

This is loosening up as I get older, but I like punk, arty rock, midcentury jazz, late-60s bluesy rock, bluegrass, old timey country, modern country that sounds old timey, alt country, some indie rock, and, well, I don't know what else. Lots else. I hold that Bowie guy in pretty high regard.

In what genres do you create?

The stuff that gets finished usually sounds like arty garage rock... I guess you could say an amalgamation of Guided By Voices, the Golden Smog and the Flaming Lips. Maybe.

I keep thinking of going back to Americana/alt country, though.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

Played bass in an alt country band that very badly wanted to be early Wilco; moved to Minneapolis with the belief that this band would be huge within 6 months (this was not a well-thought-out plan). Did that for a couple of years before a school board in rural MN killed the band.

Then played guitar for what started out as a power-pop group but got much weirder and more interesting as personnel shifted and I got better on guitar. That group, Derailleur, kept getting steadily cooler for about 10 years but has gone into sleep mode while the other members have kids and go to law school and shit. Derailleur's final (for now, at least) album, Welcome to Regret, is something I'm immensely proud of.

Now my main outlet is doing solo recording at the rate of about an EP a year under the name the Awesome Boys. I've also recently finally started taking guitar lessons to fill in gaps that developed.

And, finally, for a long time I did a webcomic that was based on life on the lower rungs of the musical ladder.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)

Why, yes!

Derailleur's site

The Awesome Boys' site

The Awesome Boys' Soundcloud page
posted by COBRA! at 7:29 AM on January 18, 2013


How often do you visit Music?

Not as often as I'd like, that's for sure. I'd say about once every week.

Do you post music, or just listen?

The last thing I posted was in July and the thing before that was in 2010, but I've posted 35 things to MuFi in total. I tried for the OK Computer challenge, but I got Fitter Happier and had no idea what to do.

What genres do you prefer?

Electronic music of all kinds.

In what genres do you create?

Electronic music, usually kind of spacey stuff.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

My parents dragged me to piano lessons when I was 5 years old. I hated it until I was 10, when my old piano teach retired and I learned that I actually just didn't like my old piano teacher much. I took lessons with the new teacher until I was 17. I started playing trombone in 4th grade, but then in 7th grade my band teacher bluntly told me "You're not very good at trombone, but you play the loudest." He asked if I wanted to swap to tuba, which I ended up being pretty good at. I took lessons in that until I was 18, and I played sousaphone in my college's marching band for a year.

Aside from my formal training, I started playing keyboard in a really bad metal band when I was in 9th grade (I found a web page someone made, but it is too embarrassing to share). I started making music on my own in 10th grade using Jeskola Buzz and also fooling around on a Korg MS2000. I made less embarrassing music with a few other friends in a band that never booked a show called Death Trio Five. I applied to Oberlin Conservatory to study computer music, but I got waitlisted and decided to go to a state school instead. Since then, I've just been making music on my own. Last year, I started a tape label with one of the friends from that band (a MuFite, too!)

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)

I post own music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp, too.

The aforementioned tape label is Tapdup, which I also have 2 releases on. We also have a Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

All of the stuff I put online is free.
posted by azarbayejani at 10:07 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


How often do you visit Music?
I read/listen about once a week. Less frequently for the Talk tab, but I do browse the post titles in the sidebar. Oddly enough, Music is the only subsite Websense doesn't like at work, so it's not as much of a reflex for me as some other subsites.

Do you post music, or just listen?
I have posted two tracks, yes, as a part of the Radiohead monthly challenge. Other than that my music career is totally nonexistent.

What genres do you prefer?
Only the best!

In what genres do you create?
Cover tunes.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?
Listened to a lot of pop country music in my early childhood, being driven around by mom. The only cassette tapes I remember owning are the single for Sophie B. Hawkins Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover and Cooleyhighharmony. My first CD after a lot of radio in life was Off The Deep End. My CD racks have only grown weirder from there, and they are my most prized collection.

I did college radio for like 5 years in the early aughts. Now I'm an administrator in various other processes towards the distribution of music for free.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)
No, but I sing to my cats.
posted by carsonb at 8:29 AM on January 19, 2013


Sorry it's taken me so long to get back around to this - great idea for a thread!

How often do you visit Music?

Sporadically. If I'm in the wrong mood the amount of talent here either intimidates me and/or makes me feel bad that I haven't been practicing/recording.

Do you post music, or just listen?

I've posted a few things. Need to listen to more.

What genres do you prefer?

I'm all over the map.

In what genres do you create?

Relatively recently, I've been recording mid-1800s pop music as arranged for banjo in various tutor books of the time. Prior to that, lots of clawhammer banjo.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?

5th grade: Some private outfit coordinated with my podunk elementary school to provide after-school lessons. My parents took me to the orientation, and I asked about taking guitar lessons, and was told "Your hands are too small, kid. Here, take some trumpet lessons instead." So I did that, found it interesting but didn't exactly enjoy it, for a year.

8th grade: Got my first electric guitar for Christmas. Took lessons for a couple of years, jammed with a couple of friends but we couldn't find a bassist and I couldn't get anyone to try anything other then 1-4-5 blues and playing Purple Haze and Hey Joe over and over. Moved to a new town halfway through high school, formed a "band"with a couple of new friends and it was the same thing, no bass and the only song they wanted to play was Enter Sandman.

College: I finally hooked up with an honest-to-goodness band, with original tunes and party gigs and everything. It was the perfect balance of "hey, making music is really fun, let's do our best"and "hey, none of us have any illusions of being the next Sonic Youth, so ain't no big thing." I really miss those guys, and those days.

Post-college: Moved into an apartment on the other side of the country, and my guitar pretty much sat in a closet for six years. Then I up and bought a banjo and took a few lessons before moving back east. Experimented with bluegrass banjo, futzed around with mandolin, Got peripherally involved in the local old-time scene, such as it is, but have drifted away.

Last couple of years: I've gone down the 19th century banjo rabbit hole.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)

I'm on YouTube and Soundcloud, though I haven't done much with my Soundcloud account.

So, these days I feel like I'm wandering in the desert; I'm super-rusty with electric guitar, and haven't found any rock people around here who'd want to get organized enough to form a band, but not serious enough to try and make any real money at it. I've tried to get an old-time open session going in my neck of the woods, but have had to many other commitments to be the guy who shows up and waits by himself for two years until a nucleus forms. There are other early banjo enthusiasts out there, but we're too far-flung to get together more than once or twice a year. My musical activity waxes and wanes... I haven't really been playing in a few months, but I'm starting to feel itchy and am even entertaining unrealistic notions of attempting the RPM challenge next month.
posted by usonian at 8:50 AM on January 24, 2013


How often do you visit Music?
Not often enough, it seems. Every week or so, though mainly to read stuff.

Do you post music, or just listen?
I have posted (the last music I uploaded was to the OK Computer challenge and the last thing I posted was a thread here canvassing about organising a MeFiteLive night, which I ought to get back to), and I do listen.

What genres do you prefer?
In what genres do you create?
I must confess, I don't really do the genre thing - I just don't understand how it's supposed to work. I listen to and make the kind of thing I want to hear. This last week or two, I mainly been listening to Sparks, before that it was Johann Johannson, occasionally I have a Bach surge or a need for Perfume. My favourite bands ever are Cardiacs, King Crimson, The Pixies, XTC and The Cocteau Twins. My favourite bands of NOW are The Chap and St Vincent. In a week or so I will complete my List of Singers I Must Hear Live when I see Young Marble Giants (the list was June Tabor, Robert Wyatt, Green Gartside, Elizabeth Fraser and Alison Statton. And Scott Walker, but I accept that that won't actually happen).

As for the things I play and record, if they can be classified like that, they ought to be prefixed by "Not really..." or "Not quite" - Not Really Folk; Not Quite Jazz; Not Really AOR; usw. The reality is probably not as interesting or varied as I'm making it sound, but I don't really identify with genres - I always want the next thing I hear to be as different from what I'm currently listening to as possible. That goodness for random playlists and Spotify.

Could you give a short bio of your musical life?
When I was a child I had a cassette with excerpts from Prokofiev's Classical Symphony and Love of Three Oranges on, along with other classical pieces. I saved up my pennies and bought a Music For Pleasure album of The Planets and another of Danse Macabre, and I also liked The Carnival of the Animals a lot; I was allowed to rummage around in my parents' collection of 7" records, so I heard Bliss' Things to Come, Tom Dissevelt and Kid Baltan, Take Five / Blue Rondo a la Turk and other things that I can't quite recall. I also used to get a parent to play 12" records for me (as I wasn't allowed use of the hallowed gramophone, and my Dansette was too likely to destroy a piece of sensitive vinyl): Original Cast Recordings from musicals (I remember particularly enjoying Oh, What a Lovely War, Sweet Charity, Cabaret, 1776, Anyone Can Whistle, Pacific Overtures, Side By Side By Sondheim and Flower Drum Song) and I loved Gilbert and Sullivan, especially The Mikado and Ruddigore (probably because of the pseudo-Beethoven in the second act - if I'd known about Beethoven's Seventh I could have gone straight to that) and used to go and see the D'oyly Carte every year when they came to Oxford.

I used to make up melodies for songs in books - like All Small Beasts Should Have Bows In Their Tail from Comet in Moominland, or the songs from The Lord of the Rings.

I started listen to the charts (and watching Top of the Pops) at the beginning of 1978 - the repeats of TOTP on BBC4 are just about to show the first one I remember watching all the way through - and the first pop records I bought with my own money were Out of the Blue by ELO and The Stranger by Billy Joel. Then I became subject to the popular Stalinism of the time, which enforced the belief that only two minute bursts of abrasive guitar were acceptable. Then I discovered Yes and other early 70s music, which seemed colourful and liberating by comparison. Thus, my tastes moved in precisely the opposite direction to everyone else. I went to see UFO a lot, and chalked up gigs by Motorhead, Tangerine Dream, Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd, among numerous others.

At the beginning of 1979 I began to play in earnest the guitar that had been hanging around the house since 1974 (in fact it was the second one - the first had spontaneously exploded in a cupboard one day), which became something of a fixation. I taught myself the art of noodling by playing along with whatever happened to be on the radio or TV at the time.

In 1980 three of us at school formed into a group that became known as Cultural Amnesia - influenced by Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and the fact that in order to record we had to sit around a tape deck and make noises into the built-in condenser microphones. Slowly we acquired better instruments and a four-track tape recorder, and thanks to our mentor (a chap called Geff, who was a couple of years above us at school, with contacts in what appeared to be the infinitely murky waters of The Industrial Scene, who later changed his name to John Balance and became a part of electronica history) released several albums into the burgeoning tape scene. We still release stuff, in fact today I sent over a guitar overdub on something new and slightly funky.

I continued to play guitar and began to fixate on Fripp and Eno (separately and together and in their groups, solo projects and production gigs). After failing my A levels twice, I did an Art Foundation course in Oxford and encountered a fellow called Bill Brickey, who encouraged me to write and sing songs, something he is still doing for the young people of Chicago, and for which I am infinitely grateful.

I continued to write and record songs, though my tendency to hide whenever possible meant that I didn't actually perform in public at all until 1995, when I fell into the Bunjies end of the London Acoustic Scene. Described by a contemporary as "not so much a venue as a drop-in centre for the bewildered", Bunjies was an ideal place to be terrible over and over and over, up to four times a week, until I finally began to scrape my way into competence - partly thanks to one of the MCs - the late, lamented PJ Fahy - encouraging me to switch from shouty acoustic to less shouty classical.

Lots and lots of open mics, then I began to MC my own night on Wednesdays, then I switched to Fridays, then the venue was bought up and turned into a Souk Restaurant (it still is). I started going to the Virtually Acoustic Club, a tightknit community of singers with guitars, that has wandered across London over the last fifteen years. I occasionally got talked into MCing nights at other venues, only managing to quit after a got into another bywater of the music world: Guitar Craft - the people with the complicated pieces, the Ovation guitars, the strange facial expressions and the unusual tuning.

I did a lot of that for a while and met my wife on a course up an Alp.

More recently I've been on less Guitar Craft courses and written more songs. I play whenever I can, often at the VAC.

It doesn't really get much shorter than that. In fact there's a lot more of it. This isn't bad, though. I think I'll expand it a bit and put it on my website, it's a lot better than what's there at the moment.

Do you post music elsewhere? (soundcloud, bandcamp, something else?)
This year I've decided to upload a track a week to my Bandcamp page (which is integrated into my website). I was wondering whether it would be acceptable to cross-post here. It feels a bit... careless or something to do that. Like I should have something specially for MeFiMu. I have a SoundCloud as well, but I don't really use that either.
posted by Grangousier at 4:50 PM on February 2, 2013


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