Mitt musikminne: Surf Philosophies
Alla har vi speciella minnen till musik, inte minst de som andas och lever i musikens värld. Därför har Popmanis redaktion valt ut artister som får dela med sig av extra minnesvärda musikminnen tillsammans med en tillhörande playlist.
I always thought I was going to condense my sound engineer musical anecdotes into a tell-all / behind the scenes book. I had even conjured up a witty title, ‘Don’t Talkback Mic in Anger’.
This was a nod of the cap to one of my favourite music books ever; the oft revered DIY manual, ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’ by Michael Azerrad which served to be more a microbial Indie X-factor analysis than a genuine how to do ‘Do It Yourself’ guide. I loved pouring over the gritty work ethic details of van life and accidental pre-internet networking which seemed to sum up the American underground. The only superficial difference between the American scene and the UK scene was that American touring meant 12 hours in the van to get to a gig as opposed to 2 hours.
Anyway, sound engineer anecdotes largely bottom out in the quick exchange of venue wifi information and disappearing off with the driver/tour manager to find free parking. Occasionally one bears witness to some quirk of behaviour or alcohol mishap. Ariel Pink’s patience being ground down as the monitor tech tries for 5 hours to come to terms with an unfamiliar mixer. Elias from Ice Age asking me if I’d seen the ‘Stop Making Sense’ film and if I could do the lights like the intro, ie: not on. Or realising too late that Planning To Rock was singing the word ‘feedback’ during her soundcheck and not actually playing her backing tracks after we had bonded over our northern roots.
My purest and most visceral music memory is an aphorism that grew into an epiphany. During a long period hunkered down in Melbourne, Australia with my then girlfriend, I had gained two work colleagues in a pair of rambunctious New Zealand riot grrls after we were all sacked together from a call centre one Friday afternoon. Luckily I had already started working at a strange cable TV music venue in Brunswick called Noise TV (that later turned out to be a hotbed for a southern Raëlian faction) and I suggested they hang out with me and my girlfriend as I noticed one of them had a Hellacopters wristband on. Of which my Swedish girlfriend was a big fan.
We became good friends and would often head down to the extreme karaoke night on Wednesdays in Fitzroy. One night after a group rendition of Sheena is A Punk Rocker, we were sitting back at our bee infested apartment eating gateau from the Lebanese bakery and chatting about music. As I espoused over the journalistic tendencies of the NME, Ramanda one of the New Zealand girls asked me,
‘What is what ?’ I replied,
‘The NME what is that? asked Ramanda honestly enough.
As much as I was confused and perhaps a little offended that they hadn’t heard of the NME, to me the source of all my musical knowledge. It dawned slowly and steadfastly that some 16000 km away from my little bubble in England it was I, not Ramanda who was insular. The idea that culture and even something as ubiquitous as music may be in fact a private sphere was so earth shattering to me, that I snapped into a new reality there and then.
I will always love the feeling that I am in some new musical arena. Surrounded by depths and anecdotes so familiar and important to some yet alien and virgin to me. I also came to the conclusion that the ‘other’ or the ‘unknown’ can be enjoyed through interpersonal friendships and shared enthusiasm, not dismissed or vilified just because it didn’t register with my history and catalogisations.
Perhaps nowadays with the digital highway circling the globe, local music tastes and parochial thoughts have been washed away. But I do still remember to not try to be so elitist and protective over my influences. More; rather conceivably sincere and open to more.