Your Musical Origin Story


#11

boomer parents so basically born into a massive record collection containing essentially three decades’ worth of pop music – folk, rock, soul, jazz, world music, etc. plenty of staples; a few oddities, even. Mom was a folkie (Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, John Fahey) and Dad was into it all – Blood on the Tracks and Abbey Road but also sterile smooth jazz, big-voiced divas, bossa nova. they met in the middle with MTV and the adult-contemporary hits of the day (Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Sting, Petty). oldies from the Fifties and Sixties locked on the car stereo always. tapes were huge, too, and they’d get stuff from friends and family…big-rig trucker country, French chansons, soundtracks and Broadway tunes, no telling what would make its way our hi-bias Dolby dual tape deck. my favorite records as a child were the Big Chill soundtrack with all the old soul tunes and a record by Earl Klugh that had a Ferrari on the cover (obvi). first concert was Bob Dylan.

age 10 I started studying percussion with an old jazzer who used to play tympani and mallets with the local Philharmonic. first tune I learned was “Axel F” which he hand-transcribed on notation paper and gave be a dubbed tape to play along with (which, looking back, was possibly my first brush with “electronic” music). probably didn’t realize it at the time but I definitely think that, by hipping me to unsung timekeepers like Bernard Purdie and Joe Morello, my instructor subconsciously taught me how to look past the standard album details and parse liner notes for producers, labels, and notable personnel.

from there, honestly, there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I haven’t been fully invested in the discovery, appreciation, advocacy, and creation of music. I consider myself very lucky to have come up in the Eighties and Nineties and Naughties, just literally drowning in media. we had great radio before the big corporate buyouts – alternative and college stations played whatever and you could call the DJs if you missed the track announcement; magazines with real budgets, real coverage, real journalism, real design – Spin, AP, Raygun, Urb, XLR8R, Stress, The Source, XXL, all the British imports like The Wire or even big floppy tabloids like NME, zines GALORE; MTV aired actual videos and we copped Slash’s iconic stance when we played air guitar or goofed into an imaginary fisheye lens like the Beastie Boys (not to mention the utterly massive influence of Matt Pinfield and 120 Minutes on our own burgeoning record collections); sneaking into older siblings’ bedrooms to secretly dub off their Pixies or NWA discs; we had chatrooms, we had Napster (and LimeWire and Kazaa and Bearshare and SOULSEEK); we agonized over dial-up connections and failed file transfers, we made playlists on WinAmp and, in the absence of mp3 players or car CD players, dubbed cassettes off the 128kbps audio routed from the laptop headphone jack to the aux inputs on a boombox – the influence of early internet peer-to-peer file-sharing and online communities is not to be understated. spent literally I-don’t-know-how-many-hours in my town’s numerous record stores after school and on weekends – Rainbow Records across from my (arts magnet) high school (think Fame) was run by an old, mean-ass dude who hated kids and wrote liner notes for obscure contemporary jazz releases and reissues but the clerks were getting all the dope garage/noise/psych 7”s and were stocking LPs from all the Midwestern post-rock/math/indie heavyweights; DJ Ed’s OneTribe across from my house was supplying gritty white-label imports and domestics (house/electro/d’n’b/hip-hop) to local upstarts and wannabes, Tony Aco’s record shop next to the Wreck Room (where he was a resident) in the gay district off 39th had all the New York-style house/hard house (Nervous, etc.) plus discount bins of old disco, funk, and jazz fusion in the back. Tony mixed off a real old Rane rotary mixer built into the sales counter. Music Dimensions and Green Flash records had all the gutter punk 7”s, hardcore, metal, ska, goth, and psychobilly shit. also, Music D (along with Bowl66 – yes, a bowling alley, yes on Route 66) hosted the wildest, drunkest, punkest local shows (think: Wesley Willis, Bob Log III) and was where a lot of bands (including my own) got their start. CD Zone in Norman was an incredible store and so was Thing1 in Tulsa. we had a huge rave scene (EDM, Star7, 310, and countless other fly-by-night clubs) that brought in all kinds of national touring DJs (kids in our town liked it hard and fast…Richard “Humpty” Vission, mixing on four decks or something ridiculous, and DJ Irene made regular appearances). break crews were big, too, with all the Vietnamese-Americans coming out in their Type Rs to shame other crews with their insane headspins and flares…

obviously, yes to all the references to Goldie, Daft Punk, Chems, WipeoutXL, those were massive, watershed records…but also can’t overstate the impact that some of the big US distros (Caroline/Astralwerks/TVT/WaxTrax/Nothing, etc.) had on early electronic listenership…being able to walk into a big box store in flyover country and cop Mo’ Wax, Warp, whatever, felt incredible back then (and oddly quaint in the era of streaming).

my origin is more like a continuing evolution. I hope I never get sick of checking new shit. I really feel lucky. the hands-on way I experienced underground culture in my youth meant that you just put your entire existence into it. I’m very grateful for that and truly believe that appreciation enhances the way I listen to and create music to this day.


#12

Oh man, this is a pretty fun thread idea and a topic I think about a lot as I grew up in a place (rural Ohio) where electronic music was just not on the menu. There was a solid rave scene in the late 90s/early 00s, but I just missed it. For me, I owe my father a lot of the credit as he had me dancing to Talking Heads before I could even walk and that was the first music that really blew my mind (as a toddler, haha). I feel most of my life, I’ve been chasing after the types of transcendent grooves you’d hear in songs like “Crosseyed and Painless,” although that interest took me into some not great places (namely, a short spell as a Phish fan in my early adolescence, though I soon realized I was far more interested in the more groove-focused jams than the shitty songwriting;) Like @criminiminal, I started studying percussion around fourth and fifth grade and that definitely helped shape a lifelong love for rhythm. Also, the Big Chill soundtrack was huuuuuuge in my house:)

Another crucial early moment was hearing Daft Punk’s Homework when it came out in 1996, which to my twelve year-old ears, sounded like my favorite parts of Talking Heads records. The following year, I was in my dad’s truck with the radio station turned to college radio when I heard Bjork’s “5 Years” off of Homogenic, which just blew my mind to shreds. To this day, that song just wrecks me. I was someone who was really curious by all the mentions of “electronica” that were floating around magazines like Spin in the summer of 1997 and picked up some prime curios from that period, like the Spawn soundtrack (which fused the burgeoning nu metal movement with electronic producers). Unfortunately, despite getting off to an early start with electronic music, by the time I got into high school, I found myself selling a lot of the above-mentioned CDs in exchange for Pink Floyd and bad jamband records.

From there, it took all of high school and the start of college until I worked my way back to electronic music, falling in love with the likes of Oval, early Tim Hecker, Loscil, and many others. Funny enough, I was way into dance punk and saw bands like The Rapture and !!! in Cleveland in 2002 and 2003, that early Talking Heads influence coming full circle. It wasn’t until I spent a semester studying philosophy in Leuven, Belgium in 2005 that I lived somewhere with a 4x4 pulse always in the background and when I came back, that long-gestating interest in electronic/dance music fully blossomed and I’ve spent the subsequent fourteen years obsessed with the music and culture. So yeah, reallllly can’t downplay the influence of Bjork’s Homogenic album, that shit changed my life.


#13

oh yes, definitely Bjork. what would we have done without her…


#14

forreal. my mom bought me a sugarcubes cd when i was about 11. game changer.


#15

Chemical Brothers and Crystal Method were also big early ones for me as well, @nickecks…and I had to laugh that you also mentioned Propellerheads as I had an album of theirs on CD as well. I was ALL about those block-rocking beats;) Still am!


#16

Big Beat was the thing! I had all those records…Fatboy Slim, Propellerheads, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Boom Boom Satellites, Luke Vibert…nobody beats the Bros, though…Dig Your Own Hole still slams to this day.


#17

i also should add that skateboarding culture really changed my musical tastes for the better - watching skate videos circa 1998-2008 over and over and over really allowed songs that i would never have given time to normally to embed deep. Stuff ranging from GG Allen to Modest Mouse to Frank Black to The Moody Blues…there isnt much electronic stuff in those vids but the way it shaped my ear for melody and matching energy with fashion and skate ability (tech vs hesh) left an impression for sure


#18

yep, I would say the majority of kids I knew received the majority of their early musical education through skate vids.


#19

i already explained this a bit to @zurkonic in pm so ill just paste what i wrote there to start:

i got into this stuff in about 2009 as a preteen in long beach california, when bloghaus rlly started to morph into what we would now call edm. my friend was showing me this new musician he found about who made these bleeps and bloops in a rodent mask, and i guess there were these two french robots before them, and i fell in love p quickly. im thinking back now on how fucking slow but massive these changes where, and how i think they def changed some things in wider culture for better. but then ya kno, it fell apart. not to say it didnt go away. like a actual bubble popping, it left its soapy mess everywhere, and i guess we havent cleaned it up yet (think mr marshmellow man and mr What Is AAVE?) i think def someone’s gotta write a whole journalistic trilogy of books about the american dance music scene from electroclash (book 1) thru the bloghaus years (book 2) and ending with edm (book 3). ive already got the titles for them:

  1. Frank Sinatra Is Dead: The Rise, Walk, & Trip of Electroclash, 1997-2004
  2. You’ll Never Be Alone Again: How House Returned To America, 2003-2009
  3. You Just Kill Me (Could You At Least Do That?): When Dance Music Became “EDM”, 2008-2014

but yeah uh, like in late 2013 skrillex became friends with this weird 40 dude with a blond emo haircut. i thought he was dumb and boring until i listened to the music he did in the 90s as plastikman, and that’s where it rlly started :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (perfect timing too as the bubble was just about to burst and i rightly saw the rise of martin garrix and oversaturation of big room as the beginning of the end)

ill add more to it tommorow when after i have a good sleepie :sleeping_bed:


#20

bumping in the hopes of other folks adding.


#22

and now I’m indebted to you for passing that album along. Listening now, great stuff!


#25

I made this playlist a few years ago, going through some of the “formative” tracks for me since the year I was 3 or 4. Gives a bit of a glimpse into how it’s gone.

(1988 ish) Kylie Minogue - I Should Be So Lucky (loved this according to my parents)
(1990 ish) Desmond Dekker - Israelites (my dad liked old ska)
(1990 ish) The Beatles - I Want to Hold Your Hand (and Beatles, obviously)
(1991 ish) Lots of Amiga-music in between here
(1994 ish) Green Day - Basket Case
(1996 ish) Foo Fighters - Monkey Wrench
(1998 ish) Three Drives On A Vinyl - Greece 2000 (was very much into trance around here)
(1999 ish) Bad Religion - I Want to Conquer the World
(1999 ish) Sasha - Xpander
(2000 ish) Underworld - Shudder / King of Snake
(2001 ish) Fugazi - Ex-Spectator
(2001 ish) At the Drive-In - Cosmonaut
(2002 ish) And You Will Know us By the Trail of Dead - Days of being wild
(2003 ish) El-P - T.O.J.
(2004 ish) Manitoba - I’ve Lived on a Dirt Road All My Life
(2004 ish) Primal Scream - Accelerator
Lots of weird rock and hip hop in between here, as well as more electronic music.
(2008) Flying Lotus - Breathe.Something/Stellar Star
(2009) Mount Kimbie - Maybes
(2010) Ous Mal - Merilaulu
… and from there just more weird electronic stuff, and now it’s more broader just trying to find music I like.

The first concert I remember going to was some friends of mine when I was 14. I thought they were really cool. They played some Nirvana-like grunge. First real “wow” moment from a show I can remember must’ve been seeing Rancid back in 2000 or something.

Dabbled in Ableton Live in 2007. First hardware synth was a Monomachine in 2012. I got a lot of music from my brother up until I was 15, and then just found my own way from there.


#26

Grew up in the East Midlands (UK), folks into Country & Western. I thought their records were the only records worth listening to until I got to maybe 5 or 6 and discovered the radio, and then Top of the Pops.

First time I heard house / electronic music was when Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley’s Jack Your Body got into the UK charts in early 1987. I was 11. It blew my mind. Then everything exploded, although for a couple of years I was still only aware of chart music. If it didn’t get into the top 40, I didn’t know it existed. Stakker Humanoid, Fast Eddie, D Mob, Beatmasters, Black Riot, Royal House.

Key release of those early years was Serious Records’ Best of House Megamix which I borrowed from a guy at school - still sends shivers down my spine. Bam Bam’s Give It To Me was the best thing I’d ever heard.

Then about 1991 I discovered John Peel. Second blown mind. I was just a bit too young, a bit too well-behaved and a bit too rural to go to any raves, but I started getting into things that weren’t top 40, especially Warp / Rising High / early XL / R&S, and then things like Reinforced / Shut Up & Dance / Kickin’, and then Go Bang! / ESP. There was a small record shop about 5 miles away from my village that stocked rave / hardcore 12"s, and I bought quite a bit of stuff blind, a lot of which turned out to be disappointing (I hated the novelty stuff, and some of it sounded lame even at the time). I was just within receiving distance of Sheffield Community Radio, which had regular slots from Astrix & Space.

Then Warp’s artificial intellgence stuff kicked off, which I got really into. The Black Dog, B12, Autechre, then GPR label stuff like Beaumont Hannant and Luke Slater. I was listening to a load of indie stuff at the time, too, especially shoegaze and American indie (Sonic Youth, Mudhoney).

I first started trying to make my own music on a Windows 3.1 PC at university, running Fasttracker and later Modplug. It was all pretty shit, objectively speaking, but it was great fun. No synths or MIDI, just using low bit-rate samples ripped from CDs. None of it survives, which is no great loss.

Edited to say:

“First time I heard house / electronic music”

I was a big Eurythmics fan from 1983-1987, so obviously I’d heard electronic music - I’m making a distinction between verse-chorus-verse electronic pop songs and the more repetitive chorus-free structure of house and techno, which at the time seemed revolutionary.

Also: first live experience of electronic music was mid 1993, one of the Megadog parties at the Leadmill in Sheffield. Aphex Twin was headlining (billed as Polygon Window, as far as I remember), and I’m pretty sure Drum Club and Orbital supported.


#27

1988 Pet Shop Boys
1990 MC Hammer
1992 Metallica
1993 Faith No More
1994 The Orb
1995 Aphex Twin
1996 Bjork
1996 DJ Krush
1997 Orbital
1998 Amon Tobin
1999 Roots Manuva
2001 Autechre
2002 I can’t remember what happened in 2002
2006 Thomas Koner
2009 Colleen
2010 Demdike Stare
2011 Kraftwerk
2012 Basic Channel
2013 The Caretaker
2015 Taylor Deupree
2016 Richard Chartier
2017 Stephan Mathieu
2018 Eliane Radigue
2019 This year I’ve mostly been listening to white noise
2020 A sensory deprivation chamber will do me fine


#28

One of my earliest memories is hearing Do You Really Like It on kids saturday morning TV, can’t remember if it was live & kicking or CDUK


#29

Bump to resurrect in hopes of more stories


#30

I first came across electronic music in my highschool years. That shit commercial EDM shite that was played everywhere.

Anyway I then started to develop my own taste and started listening to some bat shit crazy stuff from a producer called LORN.

Along with a guy called DOLOR creating similar atmospheres,

This sent my spiraling up from my depression hole and sent me spiraling down the music hole. I had never heard anything like it, the emotions it gives and the stories it can tell.

Also a guy called clams casino, no need for an explanation…just listen. This guy showed me another world in which anything was possible. I then started to delve deeper and deeper and started to then create my own things.

Burial was then discovered holy shit.

Then from then on I was hooked on electronic music, all genres, all abilities. The way emotions are shown and exposed whilst listening to music was something I’m wanting to replicate myself in my own way.

Electronic music saved my life and continues to give me life.

All this in 3-4 years I’m now 20


#31

bumping from the depths of the catacombs


#32

I’ve been loving the new Clams Casino, has he been doing production for rappers too? Any albums you could recommend if so?


#33

I still listen to the Deepchord album regularly on cold dark nights it’s sooo good thanks again :pray:t3: