How I Got Into Music: Volume II
Posted: by The Editor
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 edition of our How I Got Into Music series, contributors Emily Kitchin and Tyler Holland shared their experiences about how they first got into music on their own.
I think we’re naturally programmed to enjoy music. While I’m no scientist, I am pretty sure anyone who can’t recall an artist/album that has influenced their life, might be a psychopath (unless you have really bad memory problems, in that case,sorry I’m a jerk). While I’ve never had any musical talent, I’ve always been drawn towards it. I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment that presented me with different creative outlets and parents/siblings that listened to good stuff.
My earliest memories of really enjoying music go back to when I was four or five, watching Yellow Submarine. My mom loves The Beatles, and it was my FAVORITE movie. You know that movie you watch over and over when you’re a kid and your parents secretly ruin the tape so you can’t play it anymore, that was me with Yellow Submarine. Maybe it was all the colors and interesting sounds that drew me, I’m not sure. When I watch the movie now I get the creeps, but when I was a kid, that was my kryptonite. I can’t shake the memories of me running around the playground screaming, “we all live in a yellow submarine” until no one wanted to play with me anymore.
As I grew up, my mom started to burn me and my siblings mix CD’s. They were mostly collections of songs that we would create dance routines to and soundtrack our Barbie proms with. I still have the first mix my mom ever made, in 2003, and can vividly recall me reciting all the lyrics to “Ignition (Remix)” as if it was my greatest achievement. My sister was really into music and had posters all over her room of Justin Timberlake, blink-182, Good Charlotte, and more. We each respectively picked our favorite Madden brother to oogle over and the rest was history.
A few years after that, my sister started burning me albums. I would listen to, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and The Young and the Hopeless for hours on end while I cleaned or moped around my room. Soon the CDs turned into MP3 players, where my sister outfitted me with the best of the best classic mid 2000 anthem emo bands like Panic!, Fall Out Boy, MCR, The Used, and more. I think that’s where my love for music really took flight.
In high school, I became obsessed with watching live videos and covers on Youtube. Dabbling through The Scene Aesthetic videos one day, I came across Property of Zack, and instantly became introduced to a new web of music information. At the time I didn’t realize how important finding that blog was going to be for my future. As follows, throughout high school I went through various phases, and my favorite artists ranged from Brad Paisley to 3oh!3 to Mayday Parade. By the end of my senior year however, with the help of Tumblr and a new pal in one of my classes (who is now my best friend), I began to really form a taste for alternative music specifically.
After attending my first real “general admission” show, I got addicted to the feeling of intimate performances, making friends with people online who liked the same things, and doing everything I could to keep that energy alive. I was absolutely obsessed with bands like Man Overboard, Balance & Composure, and Seahaven. After going to shows regularly, I began to dive deeper into the scene. I felt at home, and started networking/making new friends within the community.
You Blew It! was a particularly important band for me during this time. They were basically my gateway emo drug. Unlike many of my peers, I didn’t grow up listening to American Football or Mineral. To me, emo was Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional, I had no idea there were people doing it before them. After becoming enamored by the technicality and personality of YBI’s work, I began to research early emo and revival bands who had similar styles. Once again, a whole new world opened up for me.
Soon enough, I had to choose a major and nothing I tried fit. Something in the back of my mind thought back to POZ and how I wished to do nothing more with my life than write about music. I changed my major to journalism because writing was the one thing I was ever really okay at. I hoped that maybe one day I could tie my hobbies and my talents together. I’ve proven since then that with enough hard work and passion, anything is possible.
While there’s still so much more to the story, including my love for folk punk, my first DIY shows, the influence that AJJ’s fan community has had on my life, and trying to create my first zine, I feel like it’s best to end my journey here for now. There have been far too many factors and people who have shaped my music taste than I can count, and I’m already a bit too chatty about nostalgic experiences as it is. Moral of the story: you can make what you love into something worthwhile and one day you will be texting a musician who wrote one of your favorite albums about Bright Eyes. Life is weird, music is sick.
Emily Kitchin | @deathnap4cutie
The earliest music memory I have is at age five riding in a van full of kids driven by a neighbor (back in the early 90s this was normal behavior, to trust a your neighbor with your kids) and some upbeat bop was coming out of the speakers. It was music that sounded different from the educational Sesame Street tunes that I had grown accustomed to. I inquired to the mother behind the wheel to find out who was making my ear tickle. Quickly I was informed that it was The Beatles. It was at that moment that I rationalized in my early childhood mind that arguably the ‘greatest band ever’ was a group of people that dressed up as beetles to perform music.
After being disappointed that this wasn’t the case I spent the next few years learning about music by asking, “Who is this?” when riding in vehicles. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the 90s, probably the best decade for music. All genres of music were firing on all cylinders. Alternative music was all the rage due to the infatuation of ‘grunge’ and 1994: The year punk broke out volume 2. It was a pinnacle time for R&B, and rap had become a household name; even country music coming out then was splendid. All of these factors led to me becoming a music mutt into my teenage years and behind.
Although my taste in music is diverse, the finest flavor for me is guitar-driven in nature (much obliged to my father who raised me on the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers, and Stevie Ray Vaughan). Out of the all the ‘classic rock’ that was my genesis, two bands left the longest lasting impression on me: Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. These two have been credited with creating the metal genre, and both are known for their iconic riffage.
The pre-teen years, for me, were spent consuming music videos. I admired the works of Spike Jonze. It was during this time that MTV played mainly music videos all day and all night. In the mid 90s, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill was a juggernaut, so prolific and popular that it justified six music videos. It was the first cassette tape that I had. I loved the way it mixed alternative rock and pop music together. It, along with Hole’s Live Through This, showed me that dudes aren’t the only ones who can rock, and opened my doors to the likes of Bikini Kill, Fiona Apple, and Veruca Salt.
As a teenager, I started to become what I like to call a “music sponge.” I even dabbled in trying to play music but to no avail. I guess I’m better served as a spectator. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was more than just a breakthrough video game; it provided a gateway to “punk” and underground music through its soundtrack. The marriage of the skateboarding/BMX culture and the rawness of the underground was fodder for my teen angst. The Punk-O-Rama comps served as appetizers. The fast paced melodic punk from Pennywise and the emotionally anthemic Hot Water Music were the entrees.
During the almost-universal embrace (although not at first) of digital music in my college years, I snowballed through as much music as I could, and free-fell into ‘post-hardcore.’ From At The Drive-In’s Relationship Of Command to the early albums from Thrice. The latter introduced me to an influence of theirs, Cave In. Thrice and Cave In had similar careers, ditching their heavier sounds for one that was more progressive. “Screamo” was the all rage, until it was “scene.” A shining light here was Alexisonfire, which led to Dallas Green’s solo act City and Colour.
Current day me has carried with him everything above and more. I try to keep an open mind, and hold strong to the eclectic musical tastes that have guided me. Although I don’t have as much angst, I still appreciate an energetic and anthemic guitar lick. I’ll listen to anything (really) that is intricate and has integrity. I tend to bend towards artists who are reinventing the wheel, not reinforcing it. The ‘DIY’ scene of music is inspiring because of the work ethic and communities built to showcase diversity in music and the artists who make it. A lesson learned is that progressiveness and sincerity outshine in a saturated industry…and perhaps a beetle costume wouldn’t hurt either.
Tyler Holland | @InTyler_WeTrust
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