Archive for the ‘BAMM.tv Studios’ Category
Music has played a major role in my life ever since my older brother decided he wanted to learn how to play drums. Naturally, as the little brother I had a juvenile obsession with his decision and followed closely, admiring his shiny black and chrome kit and the seemingly random things he would play on it after a drum class. What I didn’t realize is how greatly his decision to study music would affect the trajectory of my own life. When I decided to try out for band as a 13 year-old, I was told by the teacher that I would make a fine addition to the horn section. But, taking my brother’s lead, I opted for the ‘things you bang on’ section instead.
Down the rabbit hole I went. Playing percussion soon became an obsession. Anything I could get my hands on became a snare drum, marimba, triangle, or bass drum. I would find myself listening to fluorescent light bulbs for their pitch and tuning the timpani to the sound of light in the band hall. Competition after competition, performance after performance, playing music became a highly-addictive and ‘can’t-do-without‘ feature of my life. This is one reason that I love music. It has the delightfully infectious ability to give life meaning and substance, and teach people to focus, listen, reflect, and ultimately better themselves – and share these things with an audience.
But an even greater reason that I love music, besides its individual benefits, is because it functions as a truly global language. During college, I had the opportunity to travel abroad and interact with very different cultures which, as my aunt put it, was like “traveling to the moon” for her generation. When translation failed, and it often did, I turned to music. I found that simply pulling out a guitar and strumming chords could turn foreigners into friends, after the wine was consumed, of course. A playlist on my iPod once turned a benign roommates’ dinner into a night on the town. Just knowing and appreciating music from other cultures has ignited conversations and friendships, whether at a bar in Mexico, a birthday party in Italy, or a seminar in New York.
I can remember one occasion where I performed with a girl from South Korea, who was a talented, if timid, musician. She spoke almost no English, and I speak no Korean, but when we played together no words were needed. Our language became phrasing, tempo, dynamics, and the movement of sticks. We could play a sonata without even speaking to each other. I’m also reminded of the times at a folk festival in Texas when donning my washboard allowed me to jam with “the Nashville camps” simply because it was something we all recognized and understood (Even Tennessee is somewhat foreign to Texans). No language can even come close to these types of communication, only music.
In essence, what I love about music is that all people, regardless of age, origin, or language, are hard-wired to understand it. Even in today’s hyper-active, hyper-connected world, music remains a testament to the oldest and simplest of human instincts: the desire to come together and share, learn, and simply enjoy sound itself. I never considered any of this when my brother first practiced his drum kit, but now I understand just how crucial those experiences with music were to me. And that’s why I love it.
OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
I love music because so much of it can be explained, practiced, experienced, invented, and reinvented…and yet no one can ever understand all of it.
I love how Little Richard was my first favorite artist, and how he’s like catching up with a old friend still, everytime I listen to him.
I love minimalist bands like The Strokes and The Libertines, and bands with complex arrangements like The Mars Volta and The Blood Brothers.
I love classical elements in metal music, especially in Cacophony (Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, you’re both such bad-asses!)
I love how confusing it is Patsy Cline’s music always cheers me up, even though it has some of the most depressing subject matter. I also think she has probably my favorite voice from a female vocalist.
It’s fucking stupid how much I love Wu-Tang. How they can talk about the projects in Staten Island, something I can never truly never understand, then talk about spiderman, and green eggs and ham. I love how they have huge egos, with none of the bad parts that come with having huge egos.
I love how Bernie Taupin wrote most of Elton John’s lyric’s. The idea of an artist not writing their own lyric’s and expressing their own emotions in their songs has always bothered me, but the fact that they created, together, the amazing music that exist now is so awesome. A producer can find an attractive artist, and find or pay for songs that fit the bill of a mainstream successful persona; but they found each other, and did it for a collective idea, and annihilated that idea.
I love how The Sonics wanted every channel to clip on their recordings, how the dirt, grit, and grime was a part of their sound, and how the guitarist poked holes in his amp speakers with a screwdriver so it sounded like the right kind of garbage.
I love how latin musicians can always tune their drums, I love how jazz drummers can always play to a metronome, and I love when a rock drummer can actually hit hard enough for the best recordings.
I love how auto-tuning vocals takes away the soul.
I love musicals, because I love imagining the real world as a musical.
I love the artists people feel embarrassed emitting they like, until they realize they were dumb enough to keep that joy from anyone. E.L.O. fucking rock!
I love being an audio engineer, and knowing the “take”, is just the take, and has nothing to do with the quality of the recording.
I love when bands sound can’t be explained by comparing them to another band, or a certain genre.
I love when a legend can be broken down to a normal person after meeting them.
I love when I finally understand lyric’s that were too simply and cheesy, and then feel they’re the only explanation.
I love how punk rock could scare parents into thinking that it isn’t the most lovely, caring fan-base in the world.
I love electronic music more every time someone doesn’t understand it, because it’s this generations noise, and the next generations history.
I love the standard ways to make music, because it underlines the reasons it isn’t art.
I love how knowing more technicalities of the creation and recording of music, can make you appreciate it more, and feel more involved; but sometimes I miss how much easier it was to enjoy everything before that.
I love music because, well, I love music. If I could explain it, then I probably should be an accountant. I understand a feeling of logic, I can prove theories, disprove theories, and yet, never have the same answer for the same question. Explaining music is like explaining love…it’s almost pointless, because I don’t live and love for the explanation.
OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Phil Lang
San Francisco’s Tea Leaf Green describe themselves as “newfangled Lost Boys, a traveling gang dedicated to seeking wisdom and experience in places both glorious and seedy”. This may sound opaque, but once you wrap your ears around their sound – playful, radio-ready yet adventurous pop-rock – you’ll get it. Don’t worry. It’s simply just “ultimately Rock and Roll”, they reflect, “improvisation with respect for the songs.”
Here’s the latest in our series of articles in which we ask the BAMM.tv crew one simple question: why do you love music? Walking up to bat this time around is BAMM.tv Editorial Director Christopher Davies …
What does ‘love’ actually mean, anyway? That old stalwart The Oxford English Dictionary simply refers to it as “a strong feeling of affection”, which frankly seems like the kind of vagueness a modern politician would peddle. If we take that meaning literally, then to say ‘I love music’ would mean ‘I really am quite fond of music.’
‘Quite fond’ … yeah, that’s not going to cover it. ‘Quite fond’ doesn’t describe the sensation I had when I first cranked up The Avalanches’ Since I Left You or My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless or Pulp’s This Is Hardcore or any of the million albums that have soundtracked my life, emotions, memories and even moulded my general worldview. ‘Quite fond’ doesn’t cover the tingles I get when Johnny Marr begins that guitar fiddling in Talking Head’s Nothing But Flowers. It doesn’t cover the serene dopamine rush of chillng out to Stars Of The Lid’s That Finger on Your Temple Is the Barrel of My Raygun. It doesn’t cover the laugh-out-loud wonderment of hearing R.A The Rugged Man spit his rhymes (“If i ain’t the best then I’m the closest / I’m like Richard Pryor before multiple sclerosis”).
Buuuut then again … ‘love’ might not cover that feeling either. Because – and you’ll forgive me if I indulge the sentiments of Foreigner for a moment – no-one quite knows what love is in the first place. Why do I ‘love’ music? Not to be a cop-out but I honestly couldn’t say. I just know that it makes me feel something … and that’s good enough for me.
OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
Here’s the latest in our season of articles from the BAMM.tv crew about why music is the love of our lives: Sophie DeWitt reminisces on a very special experience which was soundtracked by Vampire Weekend …
It was early afternoon on a cool Sunday in August, the third and final day of Outside Lands 2013. Not only had the previous two days in Golden Gate Park brought me one of the most wonderful, serendipitous weekends of my life (holy crap, I’d seen Paul McCartney live), but that day was shaping up to be one incredibly epic finale.
My friends and I had spent the better part of the morning hopping around to Foals then Hall & Oats (a set which had inspired a spontaneous dance circle with the wonderfully happy, drunken strangers nearby our blanket). For about forty minutes all that mattered were the people I tapped toes with, laughing and smiling as we whirled around each other. We had the audacity to hold eye contact for more than a second, unwilling or unable to break the spell the festival had cast upon us. It wasn’t the drugs or alcohol though, it was the music.
We were fast friends. When the set was over, some departed with a gleeful look, a wave, fully exhilarated. My ragtag group stuck out like a sore thumb in the notoriously still San Francisco crowd. It was my amigo Amit’s first live concert (don’t ask me how that happened, I was as confused as you). He couldn’t have been more enthusiastic, moving one way then another, pulling us out onto the grass, stomping along to “Everlasting Arms”. (You know you’ve had a great festival experience when you can lose your collective shit dancing to downtempo Vampire Weekend).
We noticed a slender woman, early 50’s, swaying quietly next to a tall teenage boy who couldn’t have been older than 17. She glanced at me and our bubbling, bouncing mass and smiled. The boy couldn’t be bothered, too preoccupied, too uncomfortable, he stood stoically. As Amit extended his hand out to the woman, her face lit up, incredulous. To both our joy and surprise she stepped over to our circle, laughing, jumping, and clapping along with us. We went on like that for another song or two until the set ended and applause erupted from the field around us. Breathless, she nodded ‘thank you’, smiling wide, and retook her place next to the young boy. If I had to guess, I’d say she enjoyed the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ manic closing set almost as much as our crazy group did.
On any other day, in any other setting this woman and I would’ve passed one another without notice. Our age difference was almost too vast to share much commonality. Her willingness to engage with the music, with us in the moment, is a singularly unique experience I haven’t encountered again this year. That is what I love about music. The intimacy and spontaneity that grows from a shared musical moment is incredibly special and can’t be recreated. It’s not the sweating-in-a-bar-on-Polk-street-with-a-questionable-guy-groping-you kind of intimate, but the unspoken, just looking, just feeling, just dancing-in-a-field-of-strangers-and-seeing-their-true-happiness kind of intimate.
It was the music, that woman will remember. Music allowed her to leave her daughter’s distant boyfriend behind to join our crazy group of twenty-somethings in pure bliss.
That’s where music can take you, how it can connect us. And that’s what I love.
In the second of our ‘Why I Love Music’ season of articles, BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna recalls how the 1990s pop-punk of Green Day first opened his eyes to the world of music …
Music has always been a major, compelling force in my life and I’m not sure why. Why do some people love music more than others? Why have I fallen in love with music the way that I have? It might have to do with loneliness, or, putting it differently, with community.
I was a lonely only child who wished he had siblings and always wanted to be with friends, but those were unrealistic desires. When I couldn’t be with friends I would find other ways of escaping being by myself: hanging out with video game characters, getting to know TV personas, or, letting myself get swept away with music. I quickly recognized bands, and musicians as friends with whom I could familiarize myself and count on whenever I needed them.
Green Day’s “Basket Case”, and really, all of Dookie, was the impetus for my love of music. It struck a cord deep, deep in my body, and I knew I needed more of the feeling. From that point on, at 8 years old, I started my true path of music discovery. I eventually tried to learn to play many different instruments, and found out that my love of music doesn’t extend into playing, but remains in appreciating, and supporting.
Eventually, I found myself deeply involved in the Atlanta punk and hardcore scenes, where I met most of my best friends from my childhood, some of which are still besties to this day. Somehow, I even convinced my very patient, very cool parents, that my friends should have their bi-weekly band practices in my bedroom (since it was abnormally big for a small home). That lasted a good six months until my parents exercised their own right to not love punk rock.
My taste has evolved since then, just as my appreciation for other things in life. Just as it’s easier for me to make friends with a more diverse selection of people, so am I able to recognize and appreciate much broader scopes of music. I realize now, that yes, the reason I love music is friendship, the escape of loneliness, and the desire to be a part of and create community. Music gives us unique identity and allows us to be a part of something outside of ourselves. Music is friendly because it is familiar and relatable. Not everyone needs that company in life, but I sure do.
This is the first in a new regular series in which we ask the BAMM.tv crew one simple question: why do you love music? We begin with Mr. Phil Lang …
I love Aretha Franklin’s voice when she goes up to get that last note on “People Get Ready.” Her voice pulls you closer to God, or at the very least makes a damn good argument for the notion one exists.
I love that the last line on the last song of For Emma, Forever Ago is “Your love will be safe with me.”
I love how “Oh Yoko” reminds me that the most romantic sentiments are literal and simple. “In the middle of the bath I call your name.”
I love knowing what song will play at my funeral – “When the Ships Come In”.
I love knowing what song will play for my first dance at my wedding. “Need Your Love So Bad,” by Little Willie John. I have zero doubt that my future bride, whomever that might be, will agree with me on this choice, regardless of her music tastes.
I love moments of perfection. There’s no perfect song, but there are songs with perfect moments. The bridge of Mason Jenning’s “The Light” (Part 2) is perfect (at the 1:30 mark). “Please don’t forget how much I meant to you when you are redefined by someone new.” A simple articulation of the most complex of feelings.
I love how “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” changes my gait. It’s coolness manifests itself in my stride. The song makes me cooler than I am for seven minutes and fifteen seconds.
I love horns in rock music. There aren’t enough horn sections in rock bands these days.
I love that Jackson Browne wrote “These Days” at 16 years old. It’s kind of silly, actually. What days, other than “these,” are there to a 16 year-old? Yet, he nails it. He’s right – I do think a lot about the things I forgot to do. It is hard to risk another (lover) these days. And while we’re at it –I haven’t forgotten my failures, so don’t confront me with them. Yeah, what that 16 year-old Jackson said. I think writing a song can produce an idea the songwriter doesn’t fully understand at the time he or she writes it, it goes out into the world, and its full weight is first felt and understood by a stranger. There’s something metaphysical and fundamental to human nature in that transference.
I love Freddie Mercury.
I love when Hip Hop is backed by a live band. “The OtherSide” – The Roots, Bilal Oliver, Greg Porn.
I love a killer sample. “Heart Of The City” (Ain’t No Love) – Jay-Z.
I love that “The Boy In The Bubble” challenges me everytime. I know every image rendered in the song, and I line them up in my mind and take stock of which run parallel and which intersect. I’m still figuring this song out.
I love that a great song can be high art, but high art is not a requirement in order for a song to be great.
I love that “Move On Up” is over eight minutes long. I don’t typically like long songs, but “Move On Up” (and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” for that matter) could go on as long as I want them to go on. I should be able to select the amount of time the song plays, like a setting – “10 minutes,” “30 minutes,” or “doing dishes.”
I love how music is a dog ear to our memories. It preserves who we were and contextualizes who we’ve become. Shameless plug – that’s why we (BAMM) made a series about this very thing – Musical Yearbook – themusicalyearbook.com
I love movies about music, but I don’t like biopics about musicians. Give me more High Fidelity and Almost Famous and less Walk The Line and Ray.
I love that music – even more so than sports – is a great equalizer. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you grew up. All that matters is whether or not you can play.
I love that Sting was the artist featured in Bill O’Reilly’s meltdown. That detail has always been hilarious to me. Of all artists to be involved in a clip of a dumbass losing his shit, it’s Sting – the serene, tantric love machine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_HyZ5aW76c
I love what the right song at the right moment can do to the mood of a bar. You can’t go wrong with “I Want You Back” (if you’re looking to breathe some life into the place) or “Desolation Row” (if you’re looking to clear the place out and drink some whiskey alone…but the wrong bartender will probably skip that one on you).
I love how music can make lonesome a shared experience.
I love how my take on a song is ever-changing. It’s possible I’ve listened to Graceland (the album) one thousands of times, but I am not the same person I was when I first heard the album, so, in a way, it’s not the same album either. Relationships work the same way. Friends, foes, family, and lovers – as I change so does my understanding of them. That’s comforting.
I love how my mom played the station wagon dashboard like a piano on our road trip to Mount Rushmore when I was five or six. We listened to a lot of Willie, and she was on the keys for “On The Road Again.” Harley’s were flying by us on I-90 (the Sturgis motorcycle rally was the same week), and we, the personification of Suburbia, stood out like a boulder in a river. The farmland extended beyond the horizon. It was August, and hot. On that day, we were the band of gypsies rolling down the highway. I was happy.
Hope you’re enjoying our exclusive season of great stuff from our Featured Artist Ha Ha Tonka. Keep your eyes peeled for an amazing competition later this week, but in the meantime take a look at this personal playlist of the tunes that are tickling Ha Ha Tonka’s eardrums below. If you want to check out the band’s favorite musical moments from the BAMM.tv vault, that’s all here.
St. Vincent – ‘Digital Witness’
Jack Conte – ‘Wake Me Up (remix)’
SSLYBY – ‘Nightwater Girlfriend’
Langhorne Slim – ‘Past Lives’
Murder By Death – ‘Lost River’