“What kind of music do you listen to?”
“Er… indie. Mostly.”
“Excuse me? I… what?”
“Indie. Independent music.”
“You mean Indian music?”
“Gosh, no, indie! It’s a style of (mostly) rock and pop – but in an independent or alternative style.”
“Ah. Well, I’ve never heard of that before.”
After conversations like this, I usually don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Mostly after having them with people bragging about their musical knowledge (which often means rattling off the newest charts). I don’t consider myself as a musical specialist, but I think that indie’s now so popular (and not so indie anymore, sadly) that everyone somehow’s got to know this term if he considers himself being very much into music.
For you, I found a definition on Wikipedia:
In music, independent music, often shortened to indie music or “indie”, is a term used to describe independence from major commercial record labels and an autonomous, Do-It-Yourself approach to recording and publishing.
And here also a link with a very well-written and original definition: http://www.bob-baker.com/buzz/indiedefine.html
So this is the music I mostly listen to. It took me a long time to get there; first I was, as any other ten-year old girl, into the mainstream pop scene (Madonna and such). Then through my cousins I got to Linkin Park. I was a pretty long time fan of them, listening to their songs non-stop. It wasn’t until some months after their release of Minutes to Midnight that I realized that they’ve turned a bit too mainstream for my taste and so I, very disappointed, stopped listening to them.
During that time I was very on the punk-rock line, listening to Evanescence, Nickelback, Die Ärzte, Incubus, Kaiser Chiefs and such. (It just sounds so pure – actually I was also listening to the radio, so there still was some mainstream music in my life.) The reason for listening to this stuff was (somehow pathetic) that I so desperately wanted to be different from other people, especially from other girls. I wanted to be the one listening to the “cool” music and head-banging to every song, purchasing cds every week (which I never did, actually) and listing, when asked what my favourite music was, all the band names that none of them knew of. (Just sad, that this method only functioned in my school (because, come on, everyone knew Linkin Park, for example. Or Nickelback. Or Greenday.)
My music style only got really “mine”, after visiting some acquaintances of ours. Their eldest daughter, who then was 18, was out, and I explored her room – which includes looking at her cds and getting inspired because she was much older and so automatically had a good taste concerning music. (Why I knew that she wasn’t listening to mainstream? Because I saw her Chucks (something I considered only cool chicks would do) and stupidly and full of prejudices, I came to the conclusion that she must be listening to rock music. Brilliant. As if shoes would indicate your music style. Well, maybe it does – a bit – but it shouldn’t.)
Anyway, I went through her cds and found – tataa… The Kooks, my first all-time favourite band. After that, I was constantly searching for new The-bands or such with names I’ve never heard of – the main matter was that they were indie rock.
In second grade, that means about 2 years ago, I read Sarah Dessen‘s book Just Listen – and much like the main guy, I wanted to become independent and listening to weird things, giving everything a chance, no matter how strange it sounds. I was searching for some “musical enlightenment” (I tell you, here in Switzerland, you won’t get it easily (or at all) with no friends of yours listening to that kind of music). (Remember my boring life? I needed a hobby.) That was why I promised, or better swore to myself, that I would never ever listen to the radio for longer than an hour if it’s avoidable. Why? So I won’t get into mainstream music.
Maybe you’re asking yourself if I managed this task and well, I did. With a little bit cheating: I checked out the charts on iTunes once a week, so I’d know what the newest music was. (This whole no-radio thing is a bit stupid, I think, but it’s lasted til now, so why stop?)
After this restriction I’ve really begun to develop my music; I’d read music magazines and see which bands were considered “good” or “cool” so I could start with them. Then I tried to listen to each of them without allowing myself to throw my headphones away and later forming an opinion about each one of them so I’d have the overview of what I liked and what I didn’t like. (confusing, yes.) This whole categorizing was, as I later noticed, good for two things: First, that I’ve finally found my all-time favourite bands The Kooks, Mando Diao and The Strokes; somehow I never get tired of listening to their songs, of which I’m glad because now I know that they’re music’s now something that kind of defines me, will always be part of me and my life. I mean I’m a teenager and I’m questioning so many things and myself, and I’m glad whenever I figured out something new about myself.
Second, this listening to so many kinds of music and forming opinions about them, I think, was a kind of journey for me. It was about finding my interest and eventually, myself. Music expresses your attitude, your mood, what you like and what inspires you; music can be the most effective thing when you present yourself to someone because it says a lot about you.
That’s why I also think, that music’s one of the most personnel parts of us, because there’s so much of us reflected in our music, because we identify with our music.
Sometimes I get asked for a few musical references and you know, I like to give them, share my likings with other. But you know what? I also think that first, before you ask someone about musical recommendations, you should know your likings first, the thing you would recommend. You have to be sure about them, think of them as part of yourself, because otherwise you might just accept these recommendations without really knowing if that kind of music really belongs to you; you might just take them for “good” or “cool” because the person you got these references from also thinks high of them. (This is all really psychological, it’s so difficult to write down.)
And if you don’t then better go on your own musical journey first; because I think, that searching the domain of your future likings, that’s what you’ve got to do all alone, all by yourself.
And to conclude:
“And you? What do you listen to?”
“Me? Oh, at the moment I’m totally, absolutely the biggest fan of Eminem!”
“Oh yeah? Which song do you like best?”
“Love the Way You Lie!!!!!”
“Yeah! It’s so awesome! Just gonna stand there and… trallallalla…”
“Well, yeah, it’s not soooo much Eminem. It’s Rihanna actually.”
“And? Because I like the way…trallalallalla…”
“You just said, you like Eminem, not Rihanna.”
“Who cares? This part’s the best of the whole song!”
(Well, I care, because Rihanna’s clearly not Eminem.)
PS: This was my longest post so far, yay! Sorry I haven’t written for a while – I definitely got too much exams right now.