Οι KAWIR μιλάνε στο AEGIS πριν την πολυαναμενόμενη εμφάνισή τους στο Funeral Worship Festival

Τρίτο συνεχόμενο «μπαμ» από το Funeral Worship Festival που σιγά-σιγά χτίζει μια αρκετά ευπρόσδεκτη παράδοση στα ακρομεταλλικά τεκταινόμενα του τόπου. Μετά από 25 χρόνια ύπαρξης, οι ελληνόφωνες blackάδες Kawir ετοιμάζονται για πρώτη φορά να μυήσουν το κυπριακό κοινό στο πλούσιο μουσικογενές μυστήριο τους. Βάλτε λοιπόν την ανάλογη τελετουργική αμφίεση, λάβετε την Ιερά Φλόγα και προσέλθετε προς εξαγνισμό ψυχής.

Ζεύς ην, Ζεύς εστί, Ζεύς έσεται. Ώ, Μεγάλε Ζεύ!

 

Ερωτήσεις από Ανδρέα Saprogoat

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Χαίρε Therthonax, και καλωσόρισες στο Aegis Magazine! Ποια τα τελευταία νέα απ΄το στρατόπεδο των Kawir;

Χαίρε! Πριν 3 μήνες κυκλοφόρησε το νέο μας άλμπουμ με τίτλο Εξιλασμός και είμαστε αυτή την εποχή σε συνεννόηση να κλειστούν λίγες εμφανίσεις.

Λοιπόν, οι Kawir υπάρχουν από τις αρχές του 90. Θα ήθελα να μας δώσεις μια εικόνα της γέννησης του συγκροτήματος με φόντο τις πρώτες, αγνές αυτές εποχές.

Είμαι στη σκηνή από το 1989 με τους Nocturnal Death εκείνη την εποχή. Το 1993 αποφάσισα να κάνω κάτι εντελώς διαφορετικό και γεννήθηκαν οι Kawir.

Κλασσικό δείγμα της εποχής το split 7αρι σας με Sigh. Πως προέκυψε αυτή η «εξωτική» συνεργασία;

Λοιπόν, εκείνες τις εποχές είχα αλληλογραφία με τους Sigh και ενώ δεν είχαμε ακόμα demo τους έκανα πρόταση να κάνουμε ένα split. Δέχτηκαν και κυκλοφόρησε από την αγγλική Cacophonous Recs.

Η «Hellenic» σχολή των Rotting Christ, Varathron, Necromantia έχει εμπνεύσει εκατοντάδες συγκροτήματα και οπαδούς ανά την υφήλιο. Οι Kawir φαίνεται να ακολουθούν ένα διαφορετικό παρακλάδι του συγκεκριμένου ήχου κρατώντας όμως μια συμπαγή, προσωπική ταυτότητα με καθαρόαιμο Ελληνικό στίχο. Πώς σας αντιμετώπισαν στο εξωτερικό εκείνες τις πρώτες μέρες;

Μην ξεχνάς ότι στις πρώτες μας δουλειές ήταν ο Necroabyssious (Varathron) στα φωνητικά, πίσω από τη κονσόλα στη μίξη ο Magus (Necromantia), και ηχογραφήσαμε στο στούντιο των Rotting Christ (Storm Studios) οπότε όλοι μαζί τότε ήμασταν μια γροθιά. Η κάθε μπάντα αργότερα πήρε το δρόμο της. Φυσικά ακόμα είμαστε όλοι φίλοι και αυτό για μένα είναι εντυπωσιακό μετά από τόσα χρονιά.

Στο εξωτερικό οι πρώτες κριτικές ήταν εντυπωσιακές! Δυστυχώς όμως λόγω ότι οι Kawir είχαν ένα θέμα με τα μέλη αργήσαμε να κάνουμε το πρώτο μας τουρ το οποίο έγινε το 2007. Από τότε βέβαια έχουμε παίξει σε 20 χώρες.

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Φτάνουμε αισίως στο 7ο album σας, «Εξιλασμός». Τίτλος λιτός και περιεκτικός που παραπέμπει απευθείας φυσικά στη Ορεστιάδα του Αισχύλου. Πράγμα που διαφαίνεται και από το εξώφυλλο που απεικονίζει τις Ερινύες να στοιχειώνουν τη συνείδηση του Ορέστη. Πες μας κάποια λόγια για τη θεματολογία…

Θεματολογικά οι ήρωες των τραγουδιών προκαλούν την οργή του Διός με τις ανόσιες πράξεις τους και την ασέβεια προς τους Θεϊκούς νόμους. Ο τίτλος του άλμπουμ, «Εξιλασμός», σημαίνει ο εξευμενισμός της θεϊκής οργής.

Τα κομμάτια σας παραμένουν μελωδικά και έντονα. Υπακούν στο κλασικό στυλ των Kawir αλλά ταυτόχρονα υπάρχει και μια πληθώρα καθαριστικών θεμάτων που φλερτάρουν κάπου-κάπου ακόμα και με πιο heavy metal φόρμες. Αν το δούμε συγκριτικά με προηγούμενες δουλειές σας, όπου δέσποζαν τα αρχαιοελληνικά παραδοσιακά όργανα για ατμόσφαιρα, φαίνεται να βασίζεστε περισσότερο στη δυναμική των κιθάρων για τη μετάδοση των ανάλογων συναισθημάτων… Και όλα αυτά φυσικά χωρίς να ακούγεστε γραφικοί ή τετριμμένοι.

Η νέα μας δουλειά είναι η πλέον κιθαριστική που έχουμε κάνει ποτέ και λόγω της θεματολογίας το αφήσαμε έτσι χωρίς πολλά ακουστικά όργανα ώστε να είναι πιο σκοτεινό και ακραίο.

Γενικά πάντως μπορεί να καταπιάνεστε με ασυνήθιστα για το black metal θέματα αλλά υπάρχει μια υποβόσκουσα μορφή οργής στη μουσική σας. Κάποιος θα μπορούσε να το χαρακτηρίσει ακόμα και σαν ένα είδος κάθαρσης…

Νομίζω είναι ευνόητο καθώς κατά βάση τα κομμάτια μας είναι ύμνοι στους Θεούς.

Σας έχουν ταμπελώσει συχνά-πυκνά ως «pagan black metal». Τελικά πώς θα περιέγραφες τη μουσική σας σε κάποιον που είναι εκτός των metal δρώμενων;

Καθώς οι στίχοι μας ασχολούνται μόνο με τον Ελληνικό Πολυθεϊσμό, σαν ευρύτερος όρος το να μας πεις παγανιστές δεν είναι άκυρο, αν και ο όρος παγανισμός ξεκίνησε σαν βρισιά στα πρώτα χριστιανικά χρόνια για τους πολυθεϊστές της υπαίθρου.

Δυστυχώς είναι νόμος απαράβατος και αδιάσπαστος σε αυτή τη ζωή ότι όλα έχουν ένα τέλος. Εσύ πως βλέπεις να τελειώνει η υπόθεση Kawir;

Δεν έχω ιδέα αφού αυτήν τη περίοδο που διανύουμε η δημιουργία και η έμπνευση έχει χτυπήσει κόκκινα!!!

Τι ακούς τον τελευταίο καιρό; Έχεις ξεχωρίσει κάποια κυκλοφορία που να σε ξετίναξε πρόσφατα;

Κυρίως 80ς heavy metal!

Έχει φτάσει στα αυτιά μου και ένα sideproject επονομαζόμενο ΚΑΒΕΙΡΟΣ. Υπάρχει υλικό;

Επίσημη κυκλοφορία όχι αλλά από κάποιες ζωντανές εμφανίσεις υπάρχουν δείγματα στο διαδίκτυο.

Από τη μια λοιπόν ο μηδενισμός του black metal και από την άλλη η έξαρση και η υπερβατικότητα του αρχαιοελληνικού πνεύματος. Που ακριβώς βρίσκεται η χρυσή τομή για τους Kawir;

Το black metal όταν ξεκίνησε ήταν ενάντια στο μονοθεϊσμό σαν αντιχριστιανικό καθαρά κίνημα, με αρκετές αναφορές όμως στο προχριστιανικό κόσμο. Ό,τι ονόμασαν οι χριστιανοί δαιμονικό, για εμάς συμβολίζει το θεϊκό.

Ο φόβος του θανάτου ενέπνευσε τον ελληνικό πολιτισμό προς την τέχνη και τη δημιουργία, ενώ άλλους τους έσπρωξε στα δίκτυα της θρησκείας και της δεισιδαιμονίας. Πως θα το σχολίαζες αυτό;

Το σύμπαν είναι αιώνιο! Αυτή τη στιγμή που μιλάμε ένας Θεός γεννιέται στην άλλη άκρη του σύμπαντος.

Υπάρχει ένα πολιτιστικό βάθος στην αισθητική σας. Έχετε σκεφτεί να συνεργαστείτε με κρατικούς οργανισμούς/φορείς στα πλαίσια προώθησης τη πολιτισμικής κληρονομιάς της χώρας; Φαντάζει κάπως απίθανο αλλά σε χώρες όπως την Νορβηγία είναι σύνηθες φαινόμενο (βλέπε Ulver, Satyricon etc).

Στις βόρειες χώρες αλλά και της Βαλτικής είναι όντως σύνηθες φαινόμενο. Δεν θα πω μόνο Ελλάδα άλλα γενικά και στα κράτη των Βαλκανίων το 2018 τέτοιες καταστάσεις είναι δυστυχώς επιστημονική φαντασία.

Η θεατρικότητα και η δυναμική παραστατικότητα τόσο στο εικαστικό αλλά και στο μουσικό μέρος έχουν γίνει στοιχεία στενά συνυφασμένα με τις εμφανίσεις σας. Στοιχεία τα οποία είναι σαφώς συγγενικά με την Αττική τραγωδία. Πώς θα περιέγραφες το ιδανικό live setting για εσάς μέσα από αυτά τα πλαίσια (τοποθεσία, ενορχήστρωση, σκηνικά κτλ) έτσι ώστε να αποδώσετε στο μέγιστο το όραμα του συγκροτήματος;

Στον Όλυμπο ή σε κάποιο αρχαίο θέατρο με αρκετά διονυσιακά στοιχειά στα σκηνικά.

Η Κύπρος αποτελεί ένα κομμάτι, από τις Ομηρικές εποχές, της Ελληνικής ιστορίας. Πώς νιώθετε για τη προσερχόμενη, παρθενική σας εμφάνιση στο νησί;

Πρώτη φορά στο ιστορικό νησί της Κύπρου θα εμφανιστούμε 1 Απρίλη στο RED. Σας περιμένουμε να διονυσιαστούμε!

Αυτά από μένα! Ευχαριστώ για το χρόνο…

ΧΑΙΡΕ ΒΑΚΧΕ !!!

 

 

*** ΣΗΜΕΙΩΣΗ: Η συνέντευξη αυτή έχει τελεστεί από τον Ανδρέα Saprogoat και παραχωρηθεί στο Aegis Rock and Metal Magazine, το οποίο και φιλοξενείται προσωρινά στο Little Music Talks. Το Aegis θα είναι σύντομα κοντά σας στην καινούρια, ανανεωμένη μορφή του.

A few comments on the debut performance of Monk FX (15/11/2017, Savino Live)

First things first: we all have our secret small pleasures, those to which we retreat and that make us feel good for various reasons. Instances that provide the current needed for our batteries to be recharged. I, for one, have quite a few. One of these little sins of mine is my preference for and absolute fascination with debut performances. Yes, that’s right. Whereas other people that I know remain unsure as to whether a band’s debut appearance will be worth their while, their time and their money, I am an absolute sucker for them. I don’t care about the specific music style, the band’s background, their nationality, affiliations, or the colours of their musical instruments for that matter. As long as their music falls under the stylistic umbrella of the entire rock spectrum, or metal, or trip-hop, or jazz, or blues, or even hip-hop, and if it is a band’s inaugurate appearance then simply Bring.It.On – period!

The reasons for this small fixation of mine are not a few and I am pretty sure that any person with basic knowledge of psychology can name at least one syndrome to go with my case but still, in spite of this risk, I am gonna go on and justify my position. So here we go:

My name is Maria and I am an absolute sucker for debut performances because:

  • To see a band’s first performance is to allow yourself to be treated like a clean slate, a white canvas. You have no prior reference point in regards to the band and you heard no prior comments about it that could have affected your opinion. Hence you are able to form a knowledge that is by all means “virgin”.
  • Even if the music presented is not noteworthy or innovative, new bands have something fresh going on about them, not least their own consciousness of newness, and this is usually transmitted to the whole place. And fresh is refreshing, to say the least.

While I could go on and on creating an exhaustive list, I will only state one more reason for which I love debut performances, the reason I consider the most significant, not to mention the one I should probably be ashamed of (psychologists brace yourselves):

  • Debut performances provide me with a very particular sense of gratification, since I use them as indicators for making my own evaluations, estimations, assumptions and predictions about a band’s current status and future development. I use them as vehicles to identify the band’s weaknesses and what it can improve for becoming better with age. And before you proceed to judge me I tell you that I am perfectly aware that this is a quite selfish position. And I am fine with that. Nowhere have I stated that I am a flawless human being!

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So, needless to say, when I heard about a new debut appearance in my hometown I was caught in anticipation. The days passed and, on November 15th 2017 I entered Savino Live to see the performance of the “freshly out of the oven” Monk FX. This was held on a Wednesday night and, as expected, the crowd was not big – but it was big enough for a weeknight performance by an unknown band. And to be entirely fair, being a regular at the specific venue, I could even say that the number of the audience was bigger than expected.

So I went in and took a seat at my favourite spot, which is at the far back and below the sound-engineer’s station. It is the spot that combines the perfect stage view with good sound. To my disappointment I did not make it early enough to see the entire appearance of the opening band, Oneirism who, from what I managed to catch, offered bold and tight performances of originals and cover songs.

Around 11 pm it was time for Monk FX to climb the stage. The five men (George Ellinas-keys/sampling, Stefanos Eliopoulos, Andreas Blynd-bass, Demetris Zachariou-keys and Mike Nicolaou-guitar) took their places, grabbed their instruments and soon the first notes resonated in the venue. And these first notes made a clear statement for what was to follow. The opening piece was an original instrumental composition delivered in such an immaculate way that expectations were raised instantly to sky levels and this made me unsure as to whether the band would be able to keep the promise given by their own opening. Little did I know…

Monk FX proceeded with their set, adding one impressive song to another, originals and covers alternating to create an atmosphere that managed to transcend me to a different emotional realm. Not only did they show that they are all noteworthy musicians and experienced performers, but they also proved that their somewhat incongruous musical backgrounds blend in such way as to be able to sustain the marriage of post rock, space rock and psychedelia with trip hop, electronica and even metal influences. Their impressive original instrumentals were interchanging with covers from the likes of Portishead, Anathema, Radiohead, Unkle, while you could also hear the influence of bands like God is an Astronaut and M83. The emotional spectrum they covered ranged from powerful outbursts of guitar, bass and drums to melodic melancholy conversations held between synth, guitar and piano passages. Breaks within the songs and tempo changes further enhanced the emotional effect.

The status of the band as instrumental required that they called to arms two guest vocalists for the night. What in retrospect makes absolute sense is that Monk FX would opt for the “crème de la crème” of the local vocalists: Adriana di Andonio (Black Anis) and Manolis Manoli (Abettor). These two gifted performers combined perfectly with the band, adding to the whole set with their personal styles and delivering their takes on songs like “Springfield” from Anathema and “Sour times” from Portishead.

For the whole duration of the band’s appearance my interest did not divert from what was going on musically and performatively, and my attention did not wander once anywhere else. And on top of that I had to remind myself that this was their fucking first appearance. And it was so tight – their onstage chemistry overwhelming, mistakes next to nil. All the musicians exuded positive energy and transmitted their passion and enthusiasm to the audience. George Ellinas took the microphone a couple of times to say a few words to the audience, and to express Monk FX’s appreciation to all of us who came to Savino Live on a Wednesday evening. For anyone who knows George it should be straightforward that humour was not lacking either.

So…fast forward to conclusion: I have already mentioned the remarkable beginning of the band’s appearance, and I have made it clear that the rest of their set was not any less impressive. I was at the same time careful to save the last word for the last song played, a reinterpretation of Massive Attack’s “Angel” sung by the band’s bassist, Andreas Blynd. To me, this was the absolute highlight of the night, for two reasons. First, because I love this song so much that I find it impossible to digest any attempt at its covering, but still I found this rearrangement fascinating. And second, because it was an awe-inspiring performance. Hands down. You can get a taste by watching the video posted below, although, due to it being recorded from my phone, the quality of the image and the sound is so poor and makes no justice to the band. My apologies for this Monk FX.

Now…before you go on and press play I am leaving you with my final note: if there is one thing that I did not like about Monk FX’s debut is that they deprived me of that feeling of gratification that I get when making estimations for improvement and identifying weaknesses that can be evened up with the band’s aging. But this deprivation is one for which not only I forgive them, but for which I also thank them. Guys…I am already waiting for the next, and mind you that you have set the bar scarily high.

 

 

p.s.: another video…cause I just have to!!

A musician asked you to keep it a bit quieter? Well, don’t shoot the messenger!

Now I know very well that it has been quite a long time since my last post – but consider this as a comeback. A comeback with a fresh view and fresh style. Or so I would like to believe. What has changed in between? The academic background has shifted to where it belongs: exactly at the background and what has moved to the front is the need to write things as they appear in our everyday life, and only retreat to scholarly thinking in order to inform whatever needs further commenting. Because life is happening outside academia. And being well outside of it for the last two years I have finally learnt to live without overanalysing, without seeking for the thoughts of the “big heads” all the time in order to justify my views, without trying to be eloquent and “appropriate” at all moments. Because this kind of thinking and acting comes across as quite pretentious.

And this is the first word that came into my head upon deciding to write a new post.

Not that a deep dive in academic thinking is a past that you can really shake off and just move forward, you cannot do that at all. But it is a past that has formed you, is part of you. It became part of how you think, how you perceive of the world, it is part of your identity. And this is why there is no need to make that clear at all times. You can just let yourself be with what is a part of you. And the ability to immerse in critical thinking might be a part of you – but its outright statement should not be the definition of you.

And so here I am – deciding to write without theories as additional elements to support my views, but with everything I have learnt and keep learning as informative tools to complete my casual writing.

And casual is the second word I have been looking for here.

Well, look how academically I managed to reach to the words I want to use as guiding points.

Pretentious.

And

Casual.

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To set things straight, of course there was a trigger that prompted me into getting back to writing “little music talks”. And as I normally do, I will create the setting for you:

Last night I went to a nice lounge bar with live music by a wonderful jazz ensemble. I agree that it was the first time for this lounge bar to have live music playing, and I agree that this was the first time for the specific band to play the specific venue. However, the band is well known in Cyprus, and the event had been advertised enough as to make it impossible for me to accept that any of the people present at the bar was uninformed about what was going on. In fact, being a regular at the specific place and a knower of the other habitues, I might as well go on to state that quite a respectable percentage of the attendees went there because of the band. But this is a casual thought, me jumping into a conclusion without having the facts to support it. Oh, no! Where is the academic in me??

Anyway, sarcasm aside, it was a very nice gig – food was very nice as always, people were enjoying their time. Actually, enjoying their time a tad too loudly. So much so that despite a very good speaker arrangement that allowed for the music to be heard in balance and at the right volume all over the venue, I had difficulties in hearing what was being played. And it made me wonder: since all the people who joined in last night knew that there was a band playing live jazz music for them while eating and hanging out with their company, couldn’t they work it out in their heads that they should keep the volume a bit lower? I mean, yes, of course you are going to talk to each other and enjoy your time there but there was a band playing, so what you do at those instances is be a bit more quiet than usual. It is a matter of respect! You went there because of the band playing, or, if not, you went there and saw a band playing (and playing very very nice jazz music for that matter) – for you! To give you a different experience than the usual at the specific place.

It was hard for me to accept that this behaviour on the part of the attendees was due to not liking the band’s music (oh, come on, jazz standards at a balanced volume by amazing musicians and with a velvet-y voiced singer…even if you do not dig jazz this music is unlikely to not please the most un-mused person in this world). And so my annoyance was hard to conceal, sitting there at my corner, having my meal and being frustrated by the fact that I could hear the conversation of the people next to me much clearer than the nice tunes being spit out from the speaker above my head.

But maybe it was just me. I was not in the best of moods. I had already had a bad day followed by a night that went from bad to worse, let alone the fact that the nearly-full-moon was hanging above my head making me all the more irritable. So I kept chewing and swallowing…I am an emotional eater like that….seeing that no one around me had that look of “oh for crying out loud let me at least hear one note” frustration I kept minding my own business.

And then it happened. A member of the band asked from the crowd to be a bit quieter! He did not ask anybody to keep quiet and stop talking – he asked for the obvious! To keep it a bit low-er! Quiet-er! Just and fair! But was it just and was it fair? Not so much I believe… Because musicians are there to play, and you came to the event to hear them play and, yes, due to the nature of these kinds of gatherings, to talk as well, but within the acceptable and appropriate limits! So what are you doing, forcing a musician who is there to make your evening more enjoyable to ask you to allow them be heard? Or even hear their own selves so they keep on with their appearance? Shame is what I felt…needless to say, this is not an easy position for a musician to be…!

And then the unbelievable occurred! People started coming to me asking: “you, being a musician, a music commentator (as if I was some music authority of some kind) – do you think that he did the right thing, asking people to be more quiet?”. I am not sure whether the amazement inside my head could be seen in my blank facial expression. Oh my goodness, is this really happening? The first three times I was asked I kept saying “Of course, his was a justifiable position, I am sorry you cannot see it”. But the fourth time I had really had it already. And hence my outburst: “Hell yeah, he was absolutely right in demanding some respect. You came here for the experience of hearing a band while eating and having your drink. Pre-requirement: some respect to those people playing music for you. Reasonable: to just be a little more quiet and a bit more musically educated!”. And I went on: “Because if you came here in order to say that you went to hear a jazz ensemble at the specific venue just to put it in your week’s “went there done that” list then you are just PRETENTIOUS! Three syllables! Pre-ten-tious! So I would suggest that you keep out from these kinds of events….some of us really want to enjoy!”.

Needless to say, I came across as the bitch who of course would defend her own kind (because musicians are like this special kind of species..(sigh) )…fair enough as it is, I don’t mind. You do not need to be a musical mastermind to know how to behave at certain occasions and the inability of some people to act like it is not my problem to solve.

And so the band went on, and the gig was finished, and everybody had their food and drinks and I was still sitting there after the event wondering…is it me or there is a serious lack of respect in music around here…?

****************************************************

And then I remembered how my evening had started. As I stated earlier I was not having the best day or night of my life so I was a bit distracted and let some things pass unnoticed. But it really adds up! You see, on my entrance in the venue I bumped into a friend of mine. Well mannered, well educated, well groomed. So she ran towards me and started speaking to me at a very high volume (I believe that the word I am looking for here is yelling) stating how happy she was to see me. I was happy to see her too. But I raised my forefinger to my lips and whispered “shhhhhhhhh……”. She stepped back, looked at me surprised and asked “why?”. I said “the ensemble is already on, so let’s speak at a lower volume”. She looked at me surprised and offended, raised her shoulders, smiled and went back to her seat.

Had I been a bit less distracted, I might had foreseen what was coming. But after the fact this might be a really casual thought…!

The “ten” of my thirties…

I spent about two months dreading the day that I would leave my 20s and that “3” would be located at the front of my age number for good. I did not like the idea much….not because I feel old, but mainly because I had the (false) impression that your twenties ought to be the most amazing years of your life…what you would call your peak! But is it?

It took only the ten first minutes after I had turned 30 in order to adjust to the idea…and as the new decade greeted me I greeted it back with a thorough account of what’s gone by, and what I have learnt. Always with music as my companion I ended up with the “ten things I learnt until my thirties”, my new little music talk…call it a confession under the sound of selected songs…

  1. No one is to be trusted and no one is to be doubted – unless they have earned it.

It happens a lot to misjudge the people around us until true colours are finally revealed. We have all heard the most hurtful lies from the most angelic faces…and we have all been surprised to be offered the most valuable of helps from people we considered “suspicious”. As the song says, “I watched a change in you…”. It is okay to trust, and it is okay to doubt as long as you have the courage to face the changes that might occur in your perception of somebody as time passes by…

2. People are most likely gonna treat you wrong…

Yes, I am sorry to say so…but for whatever reasons, and these are mainly egotistical, the majority of people you meet are going to treat you wrong. On first occurrences this is a shock, but experience teaches you to see this fact more soberly – or cynically. Because in the end, as much as you try to take the high road at all times, at some point, even if unwillingly, you have treated somebody wrongly yourself. 16 Horsepower are clear when saying “Every man is evil/yes and every man is a liar”…so next time you have been mistreated only take it as an example of what not to do to other people. Not as an excuse to accuse. Then, by all means, get rid of the people who have treated you wrong…

3. …but people who treat you wrong help you identify and love the ones who treat you right.

Not everyone is the “bad guy” for you…some people’s idiosyncrasies match better with yours, and these are the people who will treat you right. Also, these are probably the ones who have also decided to take the high road and find no pleasure in hurting anyone. However, the analogy between the treat-you-wrongs and the treat-you-rights is so unbalanced in favour of the former, fact that makes the latter shine like stars that brighten your path and “make [you] feel stronger”.

4. It is okay to not fit the “norm”.

You don’t have to fit in stereotypes, you don’t have to adjust to society’s expectations of you. Every person is unique, everyone is entitled to follow their own path, to grow in their own rhythm…there is no right age for anything. We do not all need a marriage, or children to prove that we are mature and have settled down…when the right time comes, if ever, everything will fall into place. Also, we do not need a 9-5 “job” to validate our professional worth. Different skills require a different approach…the key is to identify yours and follow the path you chose at any time, always aware of the next turn though! After all, these kinds of stereotypes are the definition of small minds…and “when you lose small mind/you free your life”!!

5. Own your dreams and chase them. Courage is the key!

There is nothing to be afraid of. Take the risk, and if you fail take another, and another, and another. Of course, this is getting easier with the right people beside you (hello my lovely supportive family), but safety net or no safety net you will always find a way. Just trust your survival instinct! After all, I was always an admirer of all those who live outside the box and have something interesting to say, much more than the predictable stories coming from the conventional lives of certain people – no matter how successful these appear to be. Own it. Chase it. Do not be afraid. In the end, nobody really likes a coward, right?

6. Do not get upset with your imitators. Embrace their respect for you.

Does your colleague “come up” with an idea similar to the one you presented at some point earlier? Has somebody turned from an uplifting writer to a pessimistic author with a style that resembles yours? Does the person you hang out with take up your dressing style, even if you are not exactly following the trends? Well, thank them! This is awesome! You have already influenced people, even to a small extent. This means you stand out, and people think you deserve to be copied. It is okay. After all, you keep growing and developing daily, you will never stand still, so your ideas will keep changing as well, your fashion sense the same, and your creativity will do so also. What is imitated will always be a past version of you…so let them “steal, borrow, refer, save [their] shady inference”…yep, let them have it! After all, no one can wear you better than you.

7. Material world only exists to supplement your spirit. This goes for your qualifications as well.

Money worth nothing if you are socially uneducated. And beauty is a superficial and subjective attribute. Material world, as flesh, are disposable. No matter your car, house, bank account balance, to me you are only rich if you are rich in ideas. And no matter your beauty pageant crown, I see no beauty in you unless you have something valuable to say. Of course, money and beauty are valuable in our society – but to supplement our true selves, not to define those…I don’t know, just saying…. The same goes for your qualifications. Your degrees and titles do not matter if you have learnt nothing in the process of acquiring them – and I mean nothing beyond the confined boundaries of your specialization. Indeed, “are you beautiful now…are you wealthy…are you famous…are you powerful…?” Well, good for you…but truly, “are you happy now”?

8. Never speak unless you know what you are talking about.

This is a huge illness in our society. It seems that everyone has an opinion, even if they have no clue about what is at stake. I happened to have seen a lot of people being humiliated from the words they utter, trying to convince other people that they “know” and they have to be heard. Unfortunately they are most likely talking to people who do actually know and who find what they hear at that point at least offensive and obscene.  It is clear to me that it is far better to not state your opinion just to prove that you have one, and it is much more respectable to say “I have not searched this specific topic, but I find it interesting…can you elaborate?” Then go home and, if it is indeed interesting, just learn more about it. Otherwise you are making a fool out of yourself. Deftones say: “how the fuck you gonna tell me what you don’t know?”. Well, sorry, but they are right!!

9. Death is a part of life.

You hear about it everyday. You have experienced it to various degrees. You have seen it happening right next to you. Loss…of your dearest, of your valuable…you have learnt that we are just flesh…we fade away…earthly world is not our permanent home. No one is invincible, immortality does not exist, and our existence is not for granted. You live your life to the full…and you love your people to the fullest…tomorrows are not guaranteed.

10. Your “soulmate” most probably does not exist.

This serves your cynic side just fine. All is good. After all, you are mature enough, self-sufficient, independent, content with what you have…a full life that requires nobody to complete it. But your romantic side creeps in at times, making you wonder: “How does it feel to make love to your soul mate?”

As a final point, I find that if it feels too easy then you are most likely doing something wrong. Great achievements come from restless people, great discoveries from nomadic souls…this is a “life full of holes”…waiting to be filled with our own personal stories!

In the end, who cares about numbers? Whatever your age, you just pick the perfect soundtrack and make sure you make the most of each day! In the process you have to make sure to keep learning, evolving, searching, realizing how little you actually know….and then keep adding, reviewing, and developing what you think you have learnt up to now….!!

M.ouv.

 

Impressions from Into the Limbo festival (August 6th, 2016 – Agios Sozomenos)

It is an absolute fact that I was really looking forward to it. Psychedelic stoner rock festival – in Cyprus. This is not something new, of course. Into the Limbo is already running for five consecutive years but, having been abroad all previous summers, it was the first time that I had the opportunity to attend.

It is also a fact that it took me a while to figure out how to get there. Agios Sozomenos is a stranded village in Nicosia District and there is hardly any indication on the road to guide you there. Add to that my lack of any sense of orientation and you have the full sense of anxiety that started flowing in me during my quest for the festival location. Had it not been for Google Maps – yes, that is where my adventurous side subsided – I would probably still be looking for it. But on my arrival I knew that the search was totally worth it. In fact, the search itself eventually proved to be the confirmation of the mystique that surrounds the place. Abandoned, stranded, a dead village that only comes alive to support this music celebration. I was already taken by the scenery. Oh, let the music be good now…the scene deserves nothing less…

My arrival coincided with the final sound check procedures, and I was happy to realize that the beginning had not been missed. At this point I was already sure that the sound would be good, having seen the much trusted sound engineer Mike Savva (aka Piravlos) standing behind the console.

In general it was a lovely afternoon, the daylight had slowly started to fade away, but the night was not there just yet. At this point there was still poor attendance, but more and more people kept arriving throughout the evening, making it by the end a fairly well-attended event for an island that has a scarce reputation when it comes to the underground music scene. And soon, the first band was on stage. Back to back all the bands appeared and the truth is that music did not disappoint. Actually, it made full justice to the purpose of the festival. But let me very briefly overview the appearances one by one.

in the lim

Rawbin Cult:

A four-piece local band. Tight, dynamic, affirmative, playing alternative and stoner rock. Rawbin Cult was in fact the only band that featured a female member, and in this case it was the frontwoman. Not the “singer” – although her vocal abilities and singing style are not to be disputed – but the frontwoman. Communicative, powerful and reassuring, she firmly took the message of the music played by her fellow musicians – notable music, for sure – and threw it in our faces in an impressive way. Being a huge fan and supporter of the female power in music I was truly taken by the sight. A good start for me. Especially since this is the first female frontwoman that I saw in Cyprus (up to now, of course) who can naturally embody her art – who knows how to move without being fake or calculated. The band was on for approximately 40 minutes, and I would be lying if I said that I did not expect to hear more. I will hear them again, for sure. But this is how festivals roll…we need to move on, who’s next…

Acamar:

Acamar is an instrumental prog rock trio from Cyprus. Coming on stage they seemed to be having their sound check on the spot but this was no problem. It was quick, everything was set fast, and the band began playing. Their music, an original blend of carefully crafted sounds, proper progressive space rock, also carried a strongly felt influence from metal, and displayed other musical elements such as funk. All three excellent musicians who knew exactly what they were doing. And it is no lie that some of the guitar passages we heard were breath-taking. Within a total of 45 mins Acamar did more than just convincing us of what they have to offer musically.

Space Slavery:

Space Slavery is a psychedelic rock trio from Athens, Greece. Their work, heavily influenced by space, both musically and lyrically, managed to transfer us to a different time and place. The use of effects and the combination of sounds resembled a psychedelic experience, perfectly at home with a stoner rock event. The band played a rather long set in comparison with the rest, but did not tire. As their music was a space journey carefully constructed, tight and reassuring, we allowed ourselves to get carried away. And we did. Space vision yes, night vision unnecessary, we got caught into Space Slavery – truly the only reference to slavery I would ever accept.

Sadhus “The Smoking Community”:

Sadhus also came from Athens. Four people on stage, playing a mixture of sludge, doom, and stoner rock, with the appropriate screaming vocals. Their appearance was captivating, not solely due to the music and the impressive alterations in tempo and rhythmical feel, but mainly due to the energy the whole set transferred to us. Skilled and tight, they made us agonize with them and it was very interesting to see that their music was accompanied by an animation video featuring scenes of fight and survival. Here I have to admit that it was the only time after Rawbin Cult’s appearance that any female made her appearance on stage (video or no video, it was still something). Another thing that deserves pointing out is that, as far as I am concerned, it was during Sadhus’ set that a brief, but strongly felt, moment of actual moshpit action seemed to be taking place (again, without dismissing the existence of an active audience at the front, I am here referring to the “oh, no, is that a fight or a dance kind of thing going on” situation).

Black Rainbows:

Finally, the much-anticipated and well-established Italian trio Black Rainbows came on stage, signalling the beginning of the end of this year’s Into the Limbo. Their music, combining heavy, psychedelic and stoner elements, with a distinct feel from different decades was definitely worth the wait. All skilled musicians, with an experience in performing that was evident in everything they were doing, quickly connected with the audience and appropriately finalized the whole event. There was a fire show taking place behind the musicians at some point, which I am still to find out whether it was calculated or just a spontaneous act. Whatever the case, it surely had its place as visual accompaniment to Black Rainbows performance. Add to the whole thing a couple of “malakas” in an Italian accent and you have the picture of the connection established between musicians and audience (although an internationally known term by now, for those of you who are not aware, “malaka” is an inappropriate word used in Greece and Cyprus among peers to indicate familiarity).

And this is all how it went. “Last song, malaka” we were told by Black Rainbows’ frontman…last song it was…

Until next year….

This was my brief commentary on the band appearances. I believe that no more needs to be written at this point. As a final comment, they all were excellent musicians and performers and therefore any further detail apart from the “highlights” would had been made solely for the commentator’s self-indulgence, and would had been unrepresentative of the nature of the event.

into the limbo pic

Now, before I leave you there are some more things that I would like to add. A few final remarks, starting with a couple of negatives:

The scenery allowed for no stage, and it had been quite hard to keep a visual track of the performers at all times – hence my lack of good photographic material for this text. Of course, this is a semi-negative rather than negative aspect, considering that the addition of an actual stage would have subtracted from the mystique of the scenery as a whole.

Also, I would have loved to hear the audience being more enthusiastic in their reactions. To applaud a bit louder, to cheer some more, and so on. Indeed, the vast majority was physically connected to what was going on musically, but the enthusiasm was not as audible. Again, maybe this is just my own peculiarity in my idea of audience engagement.

And my positives:

The event had been well-organized, with very friendly people. I loved the fact that empty cans should be placed in specific bins, in order to be sold and raise money for the hospital’s child department. Music should always favour noble causes and this case was not an exception.

Very pleased to see a well-represented female audienceship at an event that is often seen as male in nature. No, I am not joking! Not few have been the times that I heard the “I did not expect from a woman/girl to favour this kind of music…I am impressed” speech (no, no, actually it is me who is impressed by some people’s parochial attachment to stupid stereotypes!)

Hats-off to the parents who brought their children to the festival. It is imperative to allow our children as many influences as possible from a young age.

For reasons I cannot fully understand I was overwhelmingly happy to see Superman attending the festival. I have no idea who that was, and why he would have come there dressed up like that, but he surely made his presence felt, something commented on by a specific performer as well (although, unfortunately, I cannot recall who exactly made that remark).

Finally, I want to thank my own “superhero” of the night – the unknown dancer in the white t-shirt who was living the night like tomorrow was never to come. To me, he embodied the whole meaning of this specific event and reminded me that sometimes, you have to forget who you are, ignore everything around you, let the music carry you away and just be “into the limbo”. Thumbs up, and many thanks for this!

M.ouv.

Killing the blues – another tale of paradoxes (based on my attendance of Blueswreck’s gig at Savino Live on Aril 16, 2016)

Do you know those instances when everything turns out in any other way apart from the “according to the plan” plan? Normally these situations are stressful, to say the least – and are meant to develop either as great wins or massive fails, especially for a control freak like me. Such was for my sister and me the night of April 16th 2016. Initially setting out to join some good friends for a birthday celebration at a beach bar/restaurant we had no way of predicting that the party would end while the night was still very young, due to the unexpected illness of the person whose birthday we were celebrating. Leaving the bar/restaurant, and after ensuring that our friend’s health condition was not to worry about, we stood there confused, staring at each other, and trying to figure out what our next move for the night would be…we were dressed up and all, and had no intention whatsoever to call it a night just yet…

Surely, the first thing we asked each other was: “what is on at Savino Live“? At that point it dawned on me that a blues band was supposed to be playing, a band which I had never heard (or even heard of) before, and of which the gig I was prepared to miss due to my friend’s birthday. Needless to say, before we knew it we were heading our way to the venue, not really knowing what to be expecting. Frankly, we thought that the evening could not get worse anyhow…and since we do not often have the opportunity to see an unknown to us band performing, it would at least be something different (lately we had been missing a lot of things due to unexpected circumstances, most important among these to have been the Freak Kitchen’s appearance).

Anyway, we entered Savino before the performance began. We chatted a bit with the staff, as always, sat at the bar and got into a discussion about irrelevant stuff. I had not looked at the stage once. Not even from curiosity. And it was only when the band was on that I turned my head to see a guitarist/vocalist, a saxophonist, a bassist, and a drummer taking their positions… I felt something like disappointment… well…excuse me? That’s it? Just the four of you? But I take my blues with some piano…well, not tonight as it seems… (drama, drama, drama). I turn to Sophia to talk about something irrelevant again (I know that the people who know me cannot really believe that I would ever do that while a band was on stage but, hey! We all have our bloody bad days!)…

*****

…as I leaned my head towards her and began my sentence I got interrupted by the first notes…I decided to just give it a chance, as Blueswreck had already entered their rendition of “Hoochie Coochie Man”…it was warm, full, and reassuring…and just like that, without really demanding it, they caught my attention…and kept it throughout their set, which developed in two parts with a very short break in-between, and ended with an encore (after audience’s request)…

The range of blues styles covered was not restricted, proof of the band’s knowledge of the music style they serve. Cases in point are the effortless transitions from the much-trusted Chicago blues format (“I Just Want to Make Love to You”) to the so-called train song format (“Folsom Prison”) and from rhythm and blues (“I am a Man”) to the Texas shuffle (“Pride and Joy”). Having said that, Blueswreck were not modest in highlighting the connection of blues to other musical styles either, somehow pointing to the development of a popular music universe of which the borrowings and constructions revolve around the blues style. Representing the timeless affinity of blues with rock were the band’s versions of “When a Blind Man Cries” and even “Run through the Jungle”, while making a brief appearance were the funk elements that hovered “Low Rider”. Impossible to ignore, the jazz references had to be present and “Minnie the Moocher” served towards this end, while also being one of the warmest moments of the night, with the audience’s efforts in repeating the chorus lines to be notable – and fun as well. The unquestionable influence of the blues on the first rock and roll tunes was also underlined with a medley (or cocktail if you prefer) of “Johnny B Goode”, “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Hound Dog”. Personally, I could do without this latter combo, just as I could do without “Tequila”, but this is just an individual note, especially considering the audience dancing that accompanied this part of the programme…

Other songs played were “Tore Down”, “Radar Love”, “Crossfire”, “Don’t Believe a Word”, “Born under a Bad Sign”, another medley comprised from “Got my Mojo”, “Hush” and “Hard to Handle”. “Messing with the Kid”, “Crossroads”, “Blues before Sunrise”, “The House is Rockin’”. The set closed slowly and blues-y, to my satisfaction with “The Sky is Cryin’” and “So many Roads”. This return to slower tempi that ended the set seemed to be closing the circle opened by the first song, a circle that wrapped up whatever came in between (okay, there was also an encore which I cannot really recall, and you have to forgive me for reasons that I will explain later on)…

All four musicians, individually skilled and tight as a band, were definitely at home on the stage of Savino – or, if they felt differently it never showed anyhow. The frontman exhibited a wide range of emotion, both vocally and in terms of guitar playing – being at ease both with “macho man declarations” as well as “heartfelt confessions”, in cases making the shift even in the same song, which is to me no less than impressive. The saxophone was in line with the atmosphere at all times. Whether it served as an accompanying instrument, or as the soloist, it was to the point. The solo parts, although elaborate, never crossed the line as to sound loquacious. Mainly the bass and drums acted as the driving force that supported and moved the musical happening. The former alternated between the typical accompanying lines of 12-bar blues, to more elaborate endeavours, whereas the latter provided a firm base, upon which the rest constructed with no danger of falling. The drummer himself was an impressive presence, humorously pulling out a self-indulgent moment of  “I am a pretentious drummer who can stand up and bang my disks from the rear side of the drumset before I sit again and hit my closing cymbal”, an attitude that matched his later humorous contribution to the show, not least when he was negotiating the encore song with the frontman and audience – needless to say, he got his way! (at this point I also have to admit that my initial resentment for the lack of keyboards/piano was silenced very early on, as it was obvious from the first song that the band, in this formation, was more than enough for what it had to present…)

As you’d expect, the evening did have some highlights, and I am here going to state mine (as what forms a highlight is different to each participant). For one, it was the sound of the saxophone playing the solo part in the opening song – a prelude of what to expect from this instrument, and a promise which had been met in its entirety. Second, it was the frontman’s “sober” response to the audience member who requested a song from a different canon – much to my astonishment, he did not ignore, but explained to the said person that this is not a restaurant, the band has a certain set-list, and that set-list features exclusively blues music. Finally, and maybe more importantly, the highest highlight of the night was to me the audience’s participation. Although in terms of numbers it was not great, in its responses the audience was far more visible than what we expected to encounter at Savino towards a blues band that has not performed in the venue before. There was attention to what was going on at the stage, there was interaction, there was singing participation, and there was dancing – and a lot of applause. I do not know if the audience that attended were familiar with the band and came prepared for interaction (personally I did not see that many familiar faces, what you would call Savino’s usual suspects). Whatever the case might had been, the vibe created was notable, and this I have to give to the band much more than any other comment on musical or performative technicalities.

****

The vibe got me and my sister as well…upon the end of the gig I found myself disappointed for not having captured anything that went on, as I now really wanted to write about this night. To refer you to the beginning of this text, I was not planning to attend a live music event upon leaving the house, and therefore I was completely unprepared – one of the rare occasions when I carry no notebooks, pens, or my voice recorder (I am old-fashioned this way). And to top it off, even my phone was so low on battery that I could not take any photos, videos, or sound extracts for reference (and even the “notorious photographer” of the venue was away, which leaves me with no evidence whatsoever from the night). As you understand, I now had but one option: to find myself a lead. Running towards a polite frontman I asked for, and was promptly handed, a set-list. Good, now I have my lead…the songs played and the recollections of the emotions and vibe created. It might not be quite enough for a detailed discussion, but it will definitely allow me to give a hint…however, I hope that the above commentary serves as a bit more than a hint…

A couple of things left to clarify, though: those of you who have been confused by the title, who don’t know me personally and have never read my stuff before, I have to state again my absolute fascination with paradoxes. Those who do know me personally and are aware of my writing, I suspect that are secretly expecting me to refer to a paradox, and they can rest assured that I will not disappoint. I will just say that Blueswreck did justice to (my interpretation of) their name. “Blueswreck”, “Blues-wreck”, “Blues” “Wreck”… “Blues” (as in the generally accepted definition of a state of agitation or depression, a label devoted to this musical style to indicate its affinities with emotions of sadness); and “wreck” (as in a verb that means “to destroy or severely damage”). As it has been made clear by what preceded, although the beginning of my evening was anything but positive, by the end of the night I had been considerably uplifted. Yep, uplifted! By a blues gig! And for this reason I do believe that my interpretation of the band’s name is accurate (so much that even their own disagreement will not make me reconsider).

Now, on a finishing note, the band clearly appeared as a cover band; played 26 songs in total, all of which had been either exact replications or re-interpretations of other bands’ renditions. Nonetheless, at the very last minutes, the drummer passingly threw at us with a very playful tone that “we have some songs of our own, but we are not playing those to you (prits)”. I honestly have no idea whether this is true or not, or if it was just meant to serve as a teaser for what else to expect. Had the latter been the case, well, it definitely worked!…

M.ouv.

 

 

Fighting over music (or the difficulty of dealing with different music tastes)

“Why don’t you join us at the Greek (music) night tomorrow?” uttered innocently one of my loveliest friends while we were trying to figure out how on earth we could fit a leisure session into our quite hectic schedules. My eyes rolled, I felt shivers down my spine, my stomach kicked and yes, I think I kind of gagged (a little). Gathering all the remnants of my politeness I turned to her as calmly as I could, smiling (you know which smile I am talking about) and silently, very silently from what I can recall, I replied: “honey, you know that I would looove to go out with you, but this kind of music goes way beyond my tolerance limits…why don’t you join me at that rock gig I was talking about the other day instead?” She looked at me wide-eyed, almost in terror, and before you knew it she burst into laughter…not silently…actually, as far from silently as possible…Helplessly under the contagious spell of her laughter I started laughing as well, until we both got tired and went back to our Pilates session as if this small chat had never occurred….

picky

And there you have it – the story of my life! Dreading to take long rides in somebody else’s car in fear of their music playlist…spending limited time with friends I get along with greatly in other contexts just because we do not agree on the type of music that such and such bar plays…having hated house-mates after realizing that they enjoy blasting what I see as hideous music through their speakers….and rejecting men who on first site looked just fine just because they are musically inclined towards styles that are totally different from my own preferences…

OK, I get it, I get it…I am not entirely normal in these terms, what you would call the average kind of music listener. However, can you really say that my attitude is entirely unjustifiable? Or that it is the exemption rather than the rule? Does it really take a music-obsessed and a music academic to have such selective behaviour? My experience says not, and I will try to show that in many respects this is a common stance…

But first let me clarify the reasons why I am being so persistent about this. Well, for one, I feel that I am entitled to (and I should be allowed to be entitled to) my fair share of dopamine. Yeah, you heard me – my dopamine – you know, that chemical that is triggered when you take drugs, eat amazing food, or have sex…? OK, and since I now have your full attention, I can move on. Dopamine, for that matter, is released by our brains when we encounter music that we enjoy listening to…and this is why a metal song can cause the same levels of pleasure to a metal head as will a house track to a fan of electronic dance music and, ironically, a requiem to a lover of Mass music. In similar ways, we tend to react, sometimes even experiencing physical pain of some sorts when we are exposed to music we do not like…imagine being locked in a room having to hear techno music for three straight hours until your friends have gotten tired of dancing and started considering the possibility of your departure? And you are a classical music freak? Torture, right? My point exactly!

I hear you, I hear you, don’t worry, I saw your question coming. How can a metal head hang out with a techno fan? How on earth would a classical music lover communicate with a rock-o-bouzouko follower? Well, I have news for you! First: you cannot judge, dismiss and reject people by sole account of their music preferences (actually you can, but not in all occasions – think of brothers, sisters, cousins, colleagues, etc…) And second: some contexts do not give you as many options as you’d wish! If you are working at an office, or a shop, and your co-workers like to play music, it would be neithlittle peopleer acceptable, nor fair, and definitely not achievable to forbid them to put on their own preferences. Or, at the occasional family dinner with your grandparents and all your aunties you would probably avoid playing Internal Void’s mix (although I do not entirely see why), and you would compromise with your mom’s “best ballads” mix (especially if the threat of your uncle’s collection of Greek folk music hangs thereby). And you have your dinner, and you leave all full and satisfied, and you have survived perfectly, and in the end of the day it was not all that bad!

The point is that somehow, at some point along the way, you do find yourself getting adjusted to other music styles through your social circle, and by adjusted I mean getting accustomed to them – not necessarily liking them
(even the fact that you stopped making mental images of banging your head at the closest wall is enough compromise already and a clear sign of adjustability). But how far are you willing, or able, to go? Our music taste remains a part of our identity, in some way or another projecting our characters and to some extent our values – identity construction to be a process that begins in our adolescence and lasts throughout our life spans. Bearing this in mind, as much accustomed and tolerant (if you allow me the use of tno snobhis word) you become to other people’s music tastes, you will still have your own preferences and, maybe more importantly here, dislikes…and it is in the void created between the music styles you (can) tolerate and the music styles you personally prefer that the majority of your music-including social interactions take place…

But let us leave now the terrain of the broad (workplace, public places) and the occasional (family gatherings, friends’ wedding parties) in order to talk about more private affairs: our personal lives, the privacy of our own homes. Because, up to now, the idea of compromise was not so hard to consider.And indeed compromise is easy on isolated occasions. For it is not during isolated events that friction arises: yes, of course most of us would be willing to make one-off exemptions for good reasons. For instance, despite my almost obsessive connection with particular types toleranceof music I would not entirely dismiss a friend’s invitation to a gig, even if I do not genuinely love the band that performs (of course there are boundaries as to what I would be willing to attend, and thankfully my friends know and respect these – OK, they have come to know and respect these after numerous arguments). On the other hand, it goes without saying that I would not take a rain check on my friend’s birthday party invitation at such and such bar by sole account of the crappy DJ (even though we both know in advance that I will remain stuck on my chair with a frozen smile, nodding “approvingly” at everyone around me, and be the self-proclaimed photographer of the event in order to keep myself busily and justifiably distracted before I eventually jump up and rush off. After I have had my fair share of cake, of course – dopamine, remember???).

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But what happens on the long-run? If I want to go to the rock bar and you want to go to the club (or at the folk convention for that matter) where the hell are our dates to be located? If we share the same house and we want to throw a house-warming party whose playlist is going to dominate? If, as partners who somehow managed to overcome our music incompatibility while dating we end up moving in together, whose blasting speakers will cause less annoyance to the other person and whose will lead to the less friction?

And while you think that I am being hysteric for no reason, I insist that I do have one. And it is all the more important! Music is part of our everyday lives! Even if we are not all as closely involved with it! What are the chances of socializing without music playing at the background? We go out to have a meal, meet our friends at bars and coffee shops, going out for dancing, and attending gigs and concerts! And even if we choose not to socialize for whatever reason, music still remains an integral part of our everyday activities: intuitively turning the radio on while driving, listening to music while we are working out, and cursing at the supermarket’s piped music while shopping…

And to top it off, music makes THE perfect conversation starter at all occasions. (Attention here please: it is much more acceptable than asking about zodiac signs and far far far far more socially appropriate than asking for one’s occupational details – take my word on this!)

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To avoid any misunderstandings, I am imposing no criticism whatsoever on other people’s music tastes (I plead guilty for having criticized not few creators of music that I do not like, but this happens on a different level and for different reasons). Everybody is entitled to their own music choices: these are nothing but the extensions of our social environments, previous experiences, and personal tastes. All I am saying is that as long as I am not forcing my favoured soundwaves on you, I would prefer to not be emotionally blackmailed to attend a Britney Spears tribute party with you (because 1. I am not going to, and 2.who the fuck wants to throw such a party anyway?)

As a point of conclusion, I am acknowledging that this all amounts differently according to how passionate each is about music; and, indeed, not only are there people who do not get very aggravated as to what style of music is played at any time, but it has also been scientifically proven that there is a percentage of people who do not enjoy or get emotionally moved by any kind of music (and by this we do not only refer to the people with innate or acquired amusia – an impairment in music perception – but for music indifference as such, identified by scientists as music anhedonia). Now, this might sound like discrimination and to some extent it might be, but, being a person who literally lives and breathes for music I have no capacity to understand people who are not able to relate with it at all. Indeed, I could more easily engage with someone whose music tastes are the polar opposite of mine, rather than with one who could not care less about any music style at all – at the end of the day, the former could keep me engaged by providing me with a stimulating argument. As long as the argument takes place against a neutral music background and I have the freedom to withdraw to my own music universe any time I decide to, oh well, bring it on! I will be fine!

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“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

M.ouv.