I have had this post going around in my head for a few weeks now. You may just have to read that sentence again, but it’s ok – you may find my head a bit weird. I have not always known the difference between South African and International music. I was a naïve girl, who grew up with eclectic tastes as a kid – prompted by Jacaranda FM and whatnot(read: parents).
I didn’t even know what I really liked until I was 12. I remember as a 10 year old walking past a music shop (on our way to buy the “new” Harry Potter) and seeing the Linkin Park cd, I told my dad: ‘Don’t worry, I won’t ever listen to that.’ I then went through a phase and listened to that for 2 years. Before that I listened to Josh Groban and Evanescence (oh, the irony). I listened to the Parlotones (or however you spell it). After this I discovered the internet and MySpace, I also discovered Pure Volume. I loved Pure Volume, it gave me so many new music to listen to, even though it was not local.
Then came the most awesome thing ever. On dstv this awesome channel was launched. I didn’t have to watch crap music videos anymore that had no relevance to me. I didn’t have to sneakily watch TRL to see what the latest music was. I have to thank the Parlotones for their ‘eye opener’. I fell in love with local music from that day onward. I discovered MK89, which then changed to MK. I got to experience new music, better than 5fm ever did for me. 5fm just playlisted whatever they thought were viable for their market. I was someone who would absorb music as fast as I could.
I remember watching music videos for bands that I have never heard of again and new bands that somehow got stuck in your head. My one example for that is Jeremy Loops, I saw the music video for ‘Howling (Mission to the Sun)’ and got so excited. I was extremely excited about his music. Now, a few years later, I remember that moment I saw/heard his music for the first time and telling people about it (and no one listening to me as always), I have a cd and I have seen him live a few times. The same could be said for Cassette and their interesting videos that just get replayed over and over in your head (it sometimes happen now, while I am busy typing this – yes, that music video you guys shot in someone’s backyard in London or wherever)
I remember watching really bad music videos with good music. I also got into strange music. (All of this I blame on Jax Panik). I got my fix on aKing and Fokof. I got introduced to Ashtray Electric, whom I love so much that they were my calm down music for a while, and listened to crap music. I didn’t know who to share my music love with. I didn’t know any of my peers who liked local music. The only people who listened local were a bunch of guys in my class in high school and we never really mingled.* I was on a one woman mission to get to know good music from bad. But I also learned something valuable – how to listen to local music: without prejudice.
We are in a global community, we all share things and listen to things. But have you ever wondered about the Australian music scene? I have come across a lot of articles and people who praise their music scene. People don’t really need to make it internationally to be recognised for what they are doing. They can be supported in their own country. Which I think is fantastic. I’m not talking support where they need a day job and a million other jobs, but proper support that they can carry out what they love doing: make music. Which makes other people happy. Now and then their music gets picked up internationally and they grow – like Wolfmother – to have an international fanbase. This happens to South African music as well and I get extremely happy when it does happen. Because good music needs to be heard by everyone.
The things with local music is that they still don’t get the support and opportunity to showcase their talent. Of course there are streams like twitter, facebook and other people’s blogs. There’s also soundcloud and other streaming apps, but that doesn’t help much. I know I am missing out on great music since MK died a slow death (or might be dying a slow death). I don’t have the time to go stream their services live, I am not always in wifi zones. I don’t know of honest radio stations that make it their point to showcase music that I might like. I haven’t even listened to normal radio in more that a year and a bit. And even then it was just to listen to one show on a Thursday night (hi Jon), that 5fm culled. I loved listening to Texxed Up as they played rad music (hey Tecla) and they played local stuff.
I live in the ‘burbs. Inner city Durban is way to far for me. I have been to Live the Venue and it is magnificent but I really need to love your music that much to travel down to it. I don’t have money lying around that I can spend whenever just on music, even though I wish I could. The latest discoveries I made on twitter were Michael Lowman and Joshua Grierson, that was by chance anyhow. I followed them and then listened to their music. I have a huge respect for them as well, as they carry on trying to get out there even as out there as you can be. It is not easy at all and for the love of local music I am sad that I am missing so much. I want to support local, because local is lekker. It truly is, there is so much to be heard. I want to hear it all but where is a platform that will showcase it?
I want opportunities where I can listen to local music and get excited again. I want my friends to listen local and not just international. That bugs me a lot, that people just want to listen international and refuses to see the talent there is locally. There are great musicians, who write fantastic lyrics and not repeat the word ‘baby’ a million times. Yes, there are those bands/musicians as well, but you can refuse to listen to them if you want to. Or if it is your thing – go ahead listen. Last note, I really love music, I love local and I wish more people could listen to it.
*Saw those guys a few weeks ago and they were more surprised to see me than I was seeing them.