...from a whisper to a SCREAM is currently on hiatus. You can follow Zja Noir on Instagram for photos of the gigs she attends.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reflections on my music influences

I have a very big play list. I listen to music constantly, I just can't seem to stop myself. I was recently asked the question if I could go without electricity for two years. At first I was under the impression that I could. I grew up with solar power, and as long as I have plenty of candles for reading and night time activities, I am fine. But then I realised that would mean no music. No cd player, no computer, no mp3 player, not any of the modern devices we use to listen to music. I then realised that I just couldn’t do it! There is no way I could last 2 years without music, let alone 2 days! Just 2 weeks would drive me insane! I don't play an instrument, and even if I kidnapped a guitarist, they couldn’t play for too long or they would shred their fingers kicking out tunes for me…. (Wouldn’t that be awesome though – to have your own personal band playing to you where ever you went? Who would you choose if you could? I would probably say Opeth.. they cater to my every mood..)Anyway, on reflecting on this conundrum, I realised, that even for millions of dollars, I just couldn’t live without music! It has been a part of my life for nearly all my life.. my love of music got passed down from my parents. Dad is always singing in the background, and mum always has her sound system blaring (there is issues on this, because dad reckons she plays her music too loud, and they don't share their music tastes much); whenever we were in the car, on a road trip or just into town – we either had a tape playing or were singing together. Most of my memories growing up include music of some sort. I think that because of this, because it is a family thing, and is attached to good memories, it means that I associate music with good things… its all good.. y’know? The genres change, the person in control of the radio always had different favourites, but the love of music was there. And because both my parents music tastes are so different, it means I grew up listening to a lot of different music. From Slim Dusty, Dolly Parton and Ted Eagan; The Beatles, Leo Sayer, Cat Stevens, The Seekers; The Bee Gees, James Taylor, Mark Knofler; Black Sabbath, Deep Purple; The Skyhooks; then all the randoms like 80s music, Country and Western, the golden oldies of the 1940s, 50s and 60s etc. Dad has his favourites (mostly 1960’s & 70s rock and ballads), while mum is more like me – she listens to so much broad music… Country, Country & Western, 70s, 80s, 40s, 50s, 60s pop, rock, hard rock, as well as modern tunes. So that is my background. While my music has broadened and specialised, it never truly escaped my roots. Rather, I grew with that as my base, added here, subtracted there, found a new style, new genre, new artist and grew to encompass them. I went through my obligatory pop phase when I was a teenager, by 15 I was getting into rock and the like (Thank God for The Living End – they woke me up to the fact that there was more than pop LOL I was stuck on teenie bopper music until then.. it was all they had on country radio LOL), at 16 I was introduced to bands such as Sevendust, Godsmack, and artists such as Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and George (these last three I was already a fan of without realising.. you know how you like songs and don't realise they are the same artist?). I had also discovered Celtic music and was a fan of bands like Cappercaillie. By the time I hit uni I was into Metal – thank god for Nu-Metal – you can bag it all you want, but it served me as a platform to the Metal genre and I have never looked back!!

Oh, I guess that is what I am doing now LOL Anyway, for a while it was just metal and industrial and nothing else.. but now I listen to Triple J during work hours, I have been picking up a lot of new music – Triple J is kind of on the edge of popular and underground music. It is a national radio station which eschews the crap most radio stations play, in favour of Australian, independent, indie, folk, rock, hip-hop, and other types of not-quite-mainstream music. Some of their play list crosses the divide – such as Kings of Leon, The Hilltop Hoods, Missy Higgins, Franz Ferdinand etc. Each night they have a program dedicated to a specific area of music they cater to. The ones I keep my ears out for is The Racket (metal and other heavy lovelies) and Roots and All (roots music, folk, blues with a splattering of country). I also don't mind Short Fast Loud as I like Hard Core and some punk music.. Haha I guess reading all of this means I am loosing my cred as a hard core metal chickie! The thing is, I never gave up my roots. And I think if you close yourself off with just one solid boundary around your genre, you miss so much! And what happens when there are bands that cross the divide between genres! I hate the fact that genres exist actually. I find it limits choices. And there are so many definitions which are in opposition to one another, and definitions are not set in stone.. what someone calls hard rock another calls metal, what one calls folk another calls country. I know it would be chaos, but I wish we could dispense with the labels. When I tag my music on my computer, I do so in terms of “heavy” etc rather than subgenres of metal or whatever.. It probably fucks it up for other people planning to sort my music by genre, but I can click on “heavy” and listen to everything from Black Sabbath, Opeth and Metallica to Soulfly, Amon Amarth and Arch Enemy. I prefer to do that then have to select multiple genres like “black metal”, “thrash”, “death metal”, “melodic death metal” etc.
Anyway, basically, this is who I am. I spend nearly every minute of every day (aside from 4 hours when I am sleeping, and any time I am meant to be socialising) listening to music in one form or another. I don't stick to any one genre, so this blog will be full of quite broad subjects… Nor will it be inclusive. My favourite bands of the last 2 years are Opeth, Heaven Shall Burn, Morbid Angel and Tool, but they aren’t all I listen to.

What I list as favourites:

Mostly Metal & Industrial: Opeth, Heaven Shall Burn, Morbid Angel, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, Chimaira, Arch Enemy, Otep, Kittie, Norma Jean, Black Sabbath, Norma Jean, Pantera, Sepultura, Tool, Slipknot, Nine Inch Nails, Machine Head, 65daysofstatic, Lacuna Coil, Eluveitie, Moonspell, Melodessey, Jupunga, Disturbed, Cradle Of Filth, System Of A Down, Kidney Thieves, Boy Hits Car, Metallica, Soulfly, Sevendust, Godsmack, Godhead, Stone Sour, Stabbing Westwards, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Hatebreed, Atreyu, Isis, Devil Driver, Napalm Death, Lamb of God, Static-X, Abigail Williams, Amon Amarth, Fear Factory, Austrian Death Machine, Ouroboros, Chaos Divine, Death Audio and a shitload more!

I have very electic taste in music however, and listen to most genres. My favourite genres tend to be folk, indie, rock, post rock etc. I listen to Triple J - which is a pretty good indication of the music I like. Definate favs are Bjork, Jeff Buckley, Ani diFranco, Sigur Ros, Tori Amos, Depeche Mode, VAST, Portishead, The Butterfly Effect, Queens of the Stoneage, Boy Hits Car, Nirvana and early Silverchair, Gossip, Bat For Lashes, Mumford and Sons, Rise Against, Sa Ding Ding, Azam Ali, The Cure (esp Bloodflowers), The Dresden Dolls, The Basics, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sarah McLachlan, Delerium, Live, José González, Cappercaillie, The Killers and Bon Iver.

Some local bands I've supported over the years are Prey, Eyeless Youth, Vendetta Symphony.. And my favourite radio program is The Racket on Triple J. The biggest thing I am looking forward to in the 2009 calendar is the first ever AUSTRALIAN METAL AWARDS which happen in November... I've bought my tickets and I'm marking off the days!

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