How We Got Into Music: Volume 1

Posted: by The Editor

Graphic by Julia Carbone

How did you first start paying attention to music and participating in your local scene? What are the albums, artists or concerts that shaped you? It’s vastly different for everyone. Learn about what our staff used to listen to in our new series: How I Got Into Music.

For this new segment, our editor Lindsy Carrasquillo, and contributors Sarah Knoll and Kayla Carmichael wrote about what led to their music discoveries.

When I think about the music I used to listen to, there’s clear segments of time. From listening strictly to what I read in magazines to going out of my way to find new music on my own, a certain artist or song can bring me back to a specific moment. I first got into music in 2010 after my mom bought me an iPod classic even though I told her I wouldn’t use it if I was given one. Up until I (sadly) lost it in 2015, it went everywhere with me and held somewhere around 5,000 songs.

Before I got into music on my own, my taste was shaped by my parents. My dad would play a lot of Spanish music along with bands like Green Day while my mom would play 80’s music and I’m pretty positive her Pure 80’s CD is still somewhere in her car and probably influences my love for synth pop.

After I first got my iPod, I lent it to a friend who transferred a majority of her iTunes library to me filled with bands like Paramore, Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco. Without a laptop of my own, I’d bother my dad to use his and spent a lot of time learning about bands via their Wikipedia pages, specially bands Fueled By Ramen’s roster at the time. Soon after, I made a Tumblr and got into bands like Mayday Parade and ended up seeing them live in November of 2011 as my first concert after seeing their tour flyer online. At some point that year, I would hang around local bookstores while my sister took guitar lessons and ended up picking up a copy of Alternative Press.

I ended up spending a few years reading their issues and was one of my main influences in pursuing journalism. Early high school revolved around my love for early 2000s emo and rock bands and I later drifted into post hardcore, pop punk and later indie rock. Some of the albums that I listened to at the time that really shaped my music taste and connected to the most lyrically are Winter Forever by Seahaven, Listen & Forgive by Transit and Floursecent Youth by Conditions.

After high school, I started listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Rilo Kiley, Manchester Orchestra and Lemuria. While most of my discoveries were through friends suggestions, I discovered Rilo Kiley after their title track from The Execution Of All Things was playing over the speakers in a consignment store. That record had a tremendous impact on my life in 2016 when I started college.

Now when I’m looking for music, I find a majority of it through Twitter, various music sites and scrolling through Bandcamp’s ‘discover’ tab. I’ll always have a soft spot for early 2000’s music and my Motion City Soundtrack Even If It Kills Me record still sits in the CD player of my car along with the various mix CD’s I’ve made over the years. 

Bands I’m listening to: Retirement Party, Prince Daddy & The Hyena, Hodera, Bobby Kid and Pool Kids. 

Lindsy Carrasquillo // @lindsy_carr

Growing up, I wasn’t exactly musically inclined. I faked playing the flute in elementary school and listened to Top 40 via hit clips, the radio and whatever was being played at school dances was all I knew and was exposed to. It wasn’t until about 3rd grade when my music taste started to verge off the beaten path of the other kids in NYC. My dad had me and my brother watch The School of Rock which if you have never seen, it is an amazing film starring Jack Black and a young Miranda Cosgrove directed by Richard Linklater. I’m shocked that it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. The movie featured music I’ve never heard before like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Ramones, Cream, and so many more. In the midst of early 2000’s top 40 I’ve never heard bands like that before with these roaring vocals and insane guitar melodies, I thought that this is where talent lies.

After listening to the soundtrack for at least a couple of months I tried to scout contemporary bands that had even a remote flavor of what I found in classic rock. This is where I found bands such as Green Day, Simple Plan, Panic! At the Disco and Fall Out Boy and my emo palette started to form. I was a Hot Topic wearing kid with an awkward mane of matted hair and rubber wrist bands of every band whose album filed up my iPod touch.

After about 6 months of sporting that look in high school I found the center of indie-rock. I began exploring bands such as Mumford and Sons, Arcade Fire, The Dodos, etc. I stripped off all of the ill-fitting tees from Hot Topic to trade in a bohemian/hipster look.

I had found my niche in music, separate from the general population. My dad and stepmom started handing me small collections of CD’s to listen to. Bands from the 60’s – 90’s started flooding my small iPod touch that I’ve never heard before such as Jellyfish, Matthew Sweet, Hole, Blind Faith, Squeeze. These CD’s became a catalyst for my thirst to explore more contemporary bands and to keep searching for new and refreshing music and gave me a sense of what would become my music identity.

After graduating high school, my love for music still flourished and I attended my first live concert (which was The Kooks). After about 2 years at college I started to become more a part of the local music scene and attended basement shows of smaller acts. This small community honed music that had their own flavor and texture beyond what I could find via my endless search for good contemporary music. I fell in love with photography through the art program at my college and started to document the shows I was going to. I got introduced to some many new genres and sounds that weren’t prevalent in the bands I had been listening to.

Jouska. Photo by Sarah Knoll

The raw energy that some of these shows carried was something that I’ve never experienced before, and became a staple to my love for music. Even today, I still continue to shoot live shows and photograph them, music is what wakes me up in the morning and puts me to sleep at night. It’s what keeps me motivated every day and sets the tone for my moods. I don’t know what’d I’d be like without it.

Bands I’m listening to: Trace Mountains, Bellows, FITS, Just Friends, Mom Jeans, and American Pleasure Club.

Sarah Knoll // @slick_filmphoto

My Chemical Romance’s Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge released when my older sister was 15. Kanye’s The College Dropout released that same year. My sister and I listened to those albums relentlessly when from my sister’s CD player; me from my bedroom and my sister from hers.

At 7, I was in shock that music had such diversity. I was curious to find just how diverse music could get. Over the next couple of years, I would ask my sister to burn me a copy of the mixed CDs she was making. Those multi-colored disks from Walmart were how I first heard Green Day, Prince, Hendrix, Fall Out Boy, Alicia Keys, Panic! At The Disco, and Musiq Soulchild.

In middle school, I found Fueled By Ramen’s YouTube page and Paramore’s “Misery Business” was front and center. The sidebar included videos for “Brick By Boring Brick,” “Decode,” and “Ignorance.” I had a stellar summer afternoon. I felt empowered, even a little magical. It was like having the tracks on my sister’s CDs on this brand new format and discovering for myself just how diverse music could get, every day after school. From 2008-2011, it was hard to find me not humming Lady Gaga or Paramore.

When I was 17, I went to my first pop punk show (Warped Tour) with my best friend Miranda, who won tickets from No Sleep Records where I saw bands like The Wonder Years, Candy Hearts and Have Mercy.  I vividly remember the short time we were separated so I could hydrate and sit down. Being stared at, asked if I was at the right place because of my skin color, being proposed a “bus tour” by someone significantly older than me. I decided Warped wasn’t for me (and later developed many more feelings about Warped culture), but the experience I had seeing a band I’d only listened to by myself in my bedroom play in an amphitheater full of kids who knew the same words I did…man, was that something special. I knew it was. The feeling was electric and completely mystifying. I wanted to feel that emotion constantly, combined with the now-matured feeling of finding just how diverse bands could get. Eventually, I discovered I could fuse my passion of writing with music, and all bets were off.

So here I am, at 21, and that’s how I got here. And I am so grateful.

Bands I’m listening to: Foxing, Camp Cope, Hop Along, The Sidekicks, The Menzingers, Ava Luna, and Jelani Sei

Kayla Carmichael // @kaylacarmicheal 

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