This is all navel-gazing.
It all ultimately comes down to asking, “how do I label my music?”
I began to notice that a lot of the music that moved me as a person and a home recording enthusiast was inspired by shoegaze music. If asked for the biggest musical influences on my own sound then I would list these four songs. The titles link to YouTube videos.
- The Dollyrots – Satellite. This is a song that lyrically is about wishing for happier times. As someone writing my own lyrics, I can’t stress enough how much this led to challenging questions about life and art in general. I hate being that guy, but I’m trying to get through a thing.
- The Gandharvas – Milk Ocean. Quiet & Loud. Vulnerable in a storm. Sensual through emotions, not through the act itself.
- The Dandy Warhols – Genius. This is a song with a strong, simple melody carried throughout. Learning to play this song, then learning to throw away the Internet tabs and play it on open strings, had a tremendous impact on the musical side of my songwriting.
- Spiritualized – Stay with Me. In theater, I think of some scenes as what my mentor calls “The rule of three.s” You do something once, three times, or a thousand times. If more than once, then you heighten the action every time. This song perfectly captures that spirit, on top of its ethereal qualities and emotional openness.
The third and fourth influences are important. The Dandy Warhols were plainly taking on shoegaze music (Ride) as one of their many (many) inspirations. Spiritualized was born out of Spaceman 3.
So, I wound up in this space where I felt side-loaded into the shoegaze genre. I can’t even pretend to be a part of it, but I won’t pretend it isn’t part of my current DNA. Along the way I found or rediscovered other acts to appreciate.
Wouldn’t You by Flirting was easily my favorite song of 2016. I heard a lot of great music, to be sure. Flirting captured that Vulnerable In A Storm feeling perfectly.
The Lush album Gala had been a get-to-it-later album for years. I finally got to it, and it finally connected. To be fair, Papasan will always be my favorite Lush song. This might be heresy to many of their fans. Sorry.
Over at Bandcamp, other finds that at least encourage me and keep a certain sound in mine include The Summer Dolls and Austin’s own Blushing. Yes, this means two of my favorite new bands are Flirting and Blushing. That’s just a fun sentence.
This navel-gazing helps. Sometimes it just permits me to clarify my own thoughts. There’s a huge shoegaze influence in a roundabout not so huge way. Yes, I have began collecting guitar pedals as of late. But, no, I can’t say what I’m doing is anything more than influenced by the genre, proper.
Questions I’m Trying to Answer
How do I tag music when I post it online? What about tweeting out the link to my music? Which hashtags are appropriate?
Where do I find peers? How do I find people to talk music with? How do I find my audience?
I don’t want to crud up a space if what I’m doing belongs somewhere else. I’d love to find where that space is.
He has worked as a level designer for a small online video game, as the grim reaper in a haunted house, and traded web design for concert tickets and tattoos.He can be sometimes found performing improvised comedy or stage magic in the south side of Austin, Texas.