The Sound of My Life
Baby would you dance with me to the night“Dance D’Amour” – The 69 Eyes
Into the serious moonlight
Brighter than the stars above you shine?
And the loving feels alright
Music has played an important role in my life ever since I can remember. Unfortunately, my musical talents are limited. I can sing, I can play the flute. I have been in bands and choirs. But I am not great at any of those things. One of the reasons may be that I can’t read notes. The signs on the paper do not translate to sounds for me. So instead of being the one creating symphonies of beauty, I have become a music fan instead.
There is always music on in the background. I love discovering new bands, new songs. I love concerts and festivals. Just this year I have been to shows of Peter Murphy, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Mumford and Sons, The Bellwhether Syndicate and Drab Majesty. And I got tickets to six more concerts in the coming months.
Music is a chance for me to escape, and a way for me to distract. Certain songs are like memories, others make me feel better, yet others express what I am feeling. There are songs that I cry to, songs that I dance to, songs that I scream to and songs that I can just have on in the background. I listen to music when I write, when I read, when I walk and when I lie down. I sometimes even listen to music while watching a movie.
Cassettes and Pop
My love for music (other than being able to sing along the Pippi Longstocking theme song) started when I was about nine years old. I went to the supermarket with a friend, most likely to buy candy. At the register, there was a stand with music cassettes. I just quickly took whatever was under number one of the charts and pushed it down my pocket. I stole it! Back home, I put it on my bed. I had stolen a cassette with the music of Roxette. Now, where would I get a cassette player? I talked my mother into buying me a radio and cassette player/recorder. So I listened to that Roxette tape over and over. I couldn’t speak a word of English (I grew up in Germany) but I surely was great at pretending to know the lyrics.
I quickly discovered the wonderful world of mixed tapes. I got myself a lot of empty cassettes and spent hours listening to the radio, recording my favourite songs. The frustration when a song that you were recording was disrupted by a traffic report was overwhelming! I had a huge collection of mixed tapes a few months later. The music I listened to as a kid was mostly influenced by the charts. I hadn’t discovered much of older music, other than maybe my mother’s vinyls from her younger days. The Beatles, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones. I remember her playing them, and us dancing through the living room.
But the music I mostly listened to was pop music. And then, at 11 years old, I discovered pop bands. I had started buying teen magazines and tried to be up to date with the coolest bands and songs. The first CD I ever purchased was the single “Babe” by Take That. Following that, I became a huge Take That fan. I plastered my walls with their posters, I collected everything about them that I could get my hands on. I was definitely one of those very obsessed teenage girls. As a matter of fact, the first concert I ever went to was in 1995, I was 13 years old. It was a Take That concert. And I was hooked. Not so much on Take That, I abandoned them a year later or so. But I was hooked on concerts.
Teenage Years and Alternative Music
The music I listened to became a little bit more alternative during the following couple of years. I loved Oasis, Radiohead, Embrace and Suede. I started hanging out with punks, goths, metal heads. I went to rock clubs and then eventually found my home in the goth scene. I remember the first time stepping into a goth club. The music being played, the people, the atmosphere. I felt right at home. But I also still enjoyed some more mainstream rock, and I became obsessed with Marilyn Manson. I have seen them live 34 times so far. In the late 90s I travelled throughout Europe to see them. I ended up in Poland, having no ticket and gave a security guard a blowjob to get into the concert. I woke up in Copenhagen at one point because I had taken the wrong train.
Concerts and DJing
But it wasn’t only for Marilyn Manson that me and my friends travelled through Germany and Europe for. We went to concerts together, to festivals. It was music that connected me and my friends. We went to clubs dancing to our favourite songs. We made each other mixed tapes and mixed CDs., eventually it was CD-roms full of mp3s. In my late teens I djed at a local goth club and was known to be a music expert. Didn’t know the name of a song? Wanted to hear about a new band? People came to me for that.
When I had moved to Sweden, I became engaged in the Swedish goth scene instead. I went to the shows, still travelled to festivals all over Europe, went to goth clubs. And now in Canada, I go to the concerts and clubs here. The goth scene is smaller here but still very dedicated, and great bands are coming here too!
My Musical Evolution
My music taste has changed a lot through the years. It started with pop and boybands, went over a phase of indie and britpop, then moved over to alternative and rock, until ending up in the goth corner. I know that most people feel that the goth genre is limiting but there are so many subgrenes these days: goth, old school goth, ebm, industrial, postpunk, wave, dark wave, minimal, deathrock, medieval rock, goth rock, goth punk. There are so many genres that there are often genre specific club nights.
In the years I worked as a DJ and backstage at venues, I met many musicians, everyone from Trent Reznor, Jon Bon Jovi, Marilyn Manson to Britney Spears. I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of artists, from Michael Jackson to the Buzzcocks. I love music, I love artists, I love live shows. I own way too many bandshirts.
Ten bands I recommend
I appreciate good music, no matter genre. I appreciate talent and artistry. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what my favourite song is. I discover and rediscover music and artists all the time and become quickly obsessed with a certain song. But let me give you a list of ten artists that I know I will never stop loving:
Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor is a music God. Period. He wrote “Hurt”, he wrote “Closer”, he wrote “Everyday is exactly the same”. God.). Joy Division (about the saddest and deepest music you could ever imagine. Ian Curtis died way too early.). Radiohead ( Some of the saddest and most beautiful songs ever written. “How to disappear completely” has me in tears every time I listen to it.). The Cure (about one of the best live bands out there. Robert Smith is fab!) Siouxsie and the Banshees (the Goddess of Goth. ) The Chameleons (one of the best 80s bands, the song “In Shreds” gets me every time). Frank the Baptist (good old gothrock with great lyrics). Deine Lakaien (German darkwave, lovely tunes). The Smiths (you can think about Morrissey what you will, but The Smiths were awesome). Bauhaus (the first goth band ever, a lot of great songs).