a timeline of taste

My palate for music is eternally changing, growing, expanding, and riding different wavelengths. I’ve never been the type of person to pick just one thing and stick with it forever, in any aspect of life. I don’t have a personal “brand” you could easily identify me by, and I don’t think I ever will. Why silo myself? This mentality carries through all parts of my life: food, booze, clothing, design, literature, and of course… music.

A major flaw I often see is when people live their lives in absolutes. “I never listen to acid.” “Disco will always suck.” “Tech house is made up and it’s trash.” First off, why all the negativity? Just because you personally aren’t into something doesn’t make it inherently bad. Remember: opinions are opinions. NOT FACTS. I cannot stress this enough.

Secondly, why are you willingly choosing to create such ultimatums for yourself and your taste in music? One of the best parts about music is broadening your taste. What an amazing experience it is to feel yourself shifting and latching onto something you previously didn’t have an affinity towards. I live for this shit. I love it when I eat my own words. For example: I used to shit on anything acid-related. Like, hearing it legit made me frustrated. But then the next thing I knew, I was listening to it constantly. And now every time I try to make a track it turns into a crazy vortex of alien-esque acid intensity.

Life (as cool as it would be) is not a video game or anime show where we all reach FINAL FORM. Plus, why would you even want to do that? Where would you go from there? You just... stop... expanding yourself? Holy shit that sounds boring. I say this often because I place extreme importance on it, but imposing “rules” on what music to listen to, what’s “good” and what’s “bad,” what’s “cool” and what isn’t IS SO FUCKING LAMEEEEEE. There is a quote I think about very often from Albert Camus:

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

So, yeah. Don’t let losers who are so concerned with maintaining an image of excellence, perfected curation, and the “I heard it first” mentality knock ya down. They’re the ones missing out!

AND WITH THAT, I present to all a rough timeline of the ebb and flow of my musical interests, starting with my earliest childhood memories up until today. This was fun to reflect on and I urge you to grab a notebook and do the same. It’s fascinating to see who and what influenced you :)

Age 5-8: My first music memories

Listening to ABBA and Frank Sinatra on road trips with my grandparents. They would rent specific cassettes from the library to “fit” our trip theme. Grandparents are so frickin’ cute. The other major childhood memory is driving around aimlessly with my dad, listening to a lot of indie rock, rock, and punk. The Doors, Beck, The Smiths, and Weezer always come to mind. Read more about these impactful childhood experiences in a short piece I wrote here!

Age 8-13: Elementary and middle school

During this age, I was heavily influenced by my sister and her friends (they were all in high school). This was early-mid 2000s, so the Myspace/emo trends were in FULL effect. My mom saved a listicle I made at school in 3rd grade of all my “favorites” for everything in life. For music, I listed The Postal Service, Brand New, and Motion City Soundtrack. I still consider I Am the Movie a top album of all time -- it’s perfect from start to finish.

In middle school I got REALLY into Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Underoath, and Say Anything. My first concert was age 13 at St. Andrew’s Hall -- my sister took me to see Say Anything. I also started fucking heavily with Kanye West and Jeezy in 8th grade. Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101 eternally slaps.

Age 14-18: Early high school and late high school

This is when I start going in all different directions in 9th and 10th grade: Still super into emo and screamo (lol) but also fucking with “popular rap” at the time like Lil Wayne (no ceilings bitchhhhhh) and Tha Joker. I also get really into indie pop and rock, focusing on bands like Eisley, Sufjan Stevens, Animal Collective, Minus the Bear and Local Natives.

In 11th and 12th grade I got a little into the hardcore scene too, probably because of the friends I was hanging out with. Title Fight is still one of my favorite bands to this day. I liked Backtrack, Turnstile, and Basement. This is a pivotal part in my life too. It’s when I kind of “discovered” electronic music, or at least my ears were into it all of the sudden. I started experimenting with very mild, mainstream, pop-y artists like Foster the People, Sylvan Esso, Tokimonsta, Lykke Li, Disclosure, and Little Dragon.

Age 19-26: College, a young adult, and now

I know this is a big time frame, but this is kind of the phase I’ve just been chillin in, slowly adding bits and pieces. In the first half of this period, I was on a heavy rap, hip hop, and RnB phase. I mean, TBH, I will always be on this kick. Danny Brown, J Dilla and DOOM are always going to be my favs. I also got really into SBTRKT, Flying Lotus, Moodymann, a little bit of The Chemical Brothers, and Aphex Twin.

Worth noting: 2013 is when I moved to Detroit (age 19) and that’s when SHIT POPPED OFF! Finally I was around people with similar interests as me and not surrounded by country and pop-loving boring ass suburban Top 40 club bangers. I mean, a whole new world was just thrown upon me. This is when I started going craaaazzzzyyyy. I was listening to music almost 24/7, constantly hunting for new music, and constantly reading about artists, diving deep into the histories, cultures, and politics of every genre. I am obsessed with reading/researching about literally everything in life (lol) so my brain was constantly in “educate” mode. Nothing was off limits and everything was fair game: William Onyeabor, Sparks, New Edition, Chaka Khan, Bloodstone, Fela Kuti, U.R., Drexciya, Jeff Mills... you know where I’m going with this. But damn! I didn’t find out about a lot of the Detroit legends until I was 19/20. It truly was life changing though. So grateful.

And now, here we are today. I still to listen to everything I mentioned in this timeline. I'm still discovering new (to me) music on the daily. Because of my constantly growing tastes, it’s much easier to answer “what have you been listening to this week?” rather than “what kind of music do you listen to?” I refuse to limit myself to specific genres, categories, etc. Within the last month, it’s been a lot of old school hip hop, dancehall, soul, funk, and some disco. But like, the month before that, it was strictly dark techno and DnB. A lil sprinkle of ethereal ambient selections too.

But like I said, it changes week to week, so just go ahead and ask me….