Sunday, 10 May 2009

The big question

We often get asked which bands influence us and if I can be quite honest with you this question always daunts me as I never really know how to answer it. ‘Blasphemy!’, some of you may think as this is a bold statement coming from a ‘musician’ but hey, I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say there is so much about music and sound that I have yet to discover and learn about. After all it was the whole idea of learning and understanding music that got me hooked in the first place.

Mainly when I listen to music I dissect it into different sounds. I can listen to it as a whole but afterwards I will pick out sections I am drawn to. I can be inspired by the tone of a voice or the way in which certain words are accentuated. I can be inspired by the rhythm and the timbre of a drum or the state of hypnosis a bass riff will lull me into. It’s strange because I’ve only just realised that I don’t necessarily categorise music into bands or genres but tend to categorise them into sounds. Of course I can love a song as a whole but it is certain aspects of a song that will keep me hooked. Understanding the way in which I listen to music is such a personal breakthrough for me as before it was something I couldn’t quite grasp. When I listen to music I love I will be utterly engrossed until I decide to stop hitting the repeat button, ultimately I wouldn’t be creating music if I wasn’t in love with it but there doesn’t seem to be one band/musician/artist out there who I deem an inspiration enough to bring me to the point of creative epiphany- this may be because I am more inspired by certain individual sounds that make up a song as a whole.

Some people can reel bands off the top of their heads like free running water then dive head first into a deep musical debate for hours- I am by nature not one of these types and in the past I have been made to feel that I am not a worthy music fan because of this. To be quite honest I have sometimes found people with such profound knowledge on the subject intimidating and pretentious. Thankfully many of the people I have met don't fall into this bracket but still it's hard not letting these few get under my skin. There have been times when I have been caught up in a debate and have been made to feel an opposing opinion was wrong. I feel that all opinions on such creative matters are never wrong as a certain sound or song will evoke different types of emotions in everyone. After all isn’t this supposed to be what the beauty of music is? I suppose I am a music novice who has been caught in the storm completely by chance. I didn’t start dreaming about music until I was in my late teens and before then I can’t really remember what I was dreaming about. I do remember feeling utterly consumed by frustration, resigned to the fact that I was about to live my life exactly as my parents had pre-planned for me (finish A-levels, go to university, get a good job, get married, have kids, get a mortgage..) This frustration only abated when I started making films at 17 it was also around this time that I started listening to music. I guess you could say it from then that I fucked up my Mum and Dad’s 5 year plan for me. At the time I was also really into Andy Warhol’s films and would make short video montages of my friends and I getting drunk and sleeping rough in Trafalgar Sq when we missed last trains home. All my early video work was silent as I found the idea of creating sounds for my own work daunting. At the time I felt music was something out of my league and felt more at home sticking to a medium I felt completely comfortable with. Now looking back, it was all about self- confidence and getting the balls to step out of my comfort zone. When I think about how I used to be I find it absolutely shocking- I feel like it is only now that I have developed a voice, understood the worth of my opinion and developed a fucking personality. Oh dear god. If I try to psychoanalyse why music didn’t have such a bearing on my life until later on, maybe it was because at the time I wasn’t ready for it.


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