Are you going to write about music?
Yes. Usually in the context of food. As the blog evolved, it started including additional interests. But food, music, or both usually show up.
What qualifies you to write about music?
I listen to a lot of it. I read a lot about it. I like to chatter about acts I find interesting. I’m willing to solicit comments from people who disagree. On the interwebs, this makes me a pundit (and not just because I’ll stoop to puns).
What qualifies you to write about cooking?
Chutzpah. Okay, I learned to cook the old-fashioned way, by principle rather than recipe, so I enjoy playing around in the kitchen, much the same way certain bands enjoy jamming.
Why music and cooking in the same blog?
Those are the two most sensual pleasures I care to discuss in public.
The genesis of this project was a rumor that rock musician David Cook had signed celebrity chef Jamie Oliver‘s petition to support more healthful school lunches, a revival of cooking skills, and other good things that inevitably involve blanching vegetables (though vegetables are such tender creatures that they’ll blanch at the slightest provocation). When I was quite done with the yoga-like exercise of trying to wrap my mind around someone who’d gotten a solid week of tour banter out of his predilection for deep-fried Reese’s now taking a stand for nutritious food, I’d somehow promised to do something custard-like with a mango and play music from a new band while doing it. And take pictures and write about it. This process can be found filed under Consequences, Unintended. Here is the post that started it all.
How is a passionate music hobbyist also a fan of an American Idol winner?
In Cook’s case, I find his ability to combine literate lyrics, emotional tension, and hot guitar riffs compelling. I’m also easily amused by creative covers (which he does) and by the ability to take diverse musical influences and go somewhere new with them (which he does). I’ve also written about 3rd-place finisher Haley Reinhart and will probably blog about runner-up Crystal Bowersox’s next album.
Philosophically, I think the music industry’s system for discovering new talent is so broken that getting oneself in front of 20 million people on a TV show is a rational (if not entirely rosy) choice for a professional musician who wants to make a living at music. I discuss this at length here. Ranting may occur, but some of it is Bobcat Goldthwaite’s rather than mine.
You seem to listen to a lot of different music. Is there any type you don’t like?
The heaviest of heavy metal, jazz, and very soft pop are difficult sells for me. I also hope that any future retro disco revival picks up a heavy hip-hop influence or is short-lived. Country used to be a difficult sell for me, until I stumbled over Stealing Angels, who won me over. My views on jazz may have been modified by hearing Bernard Purdie jam live.
What radio do you listen to?
I’ve sworn undying devotion to KWSS 106.7 Independent Radio. My car still has presets for Top 40, HAC, modern country, and adult hits stations, though; and I still use them. KWSS and I have an open relationship.
If I email you samples of my music, will you write about it?
So far, the answer has been yes, and that’s because in the very few cases where this has happened, I’ve really, really liked the music. I won’t pretend to like something that I don’t, and I’m not comfortable being scathing toward a band that has asked me for coverage; so if you contact me and I don’t like your music, I’ll politely tell you that I’m not the right person to write about it. If you’re up for that risk, my email is eilonwya10 at gmail dot com.
I also try to write about the bands that follow me on Twitter, but sometimes there will be a long delay between the follow and the writing because there were other projects in the queue. Asking me directly for attention is very often a good way to get it.
How much music do you actually buy?
Probably way too much, in proportion to my budget and sensible financial planning. If I want music to be in my permanent collection, I buy it (unless the artist has chosen to give it away free). If I’m listening only to write the blog, I make a point of choosing embedded video and audio from the artist’s official site, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Reverbnation, or Youtube channels, or from quasi-official sources like radio shows. With live shows, I do tend to assume that if there’s concert video all over Youtube, the band is okay with that and so I go ahead and use fan-made videos. If you go through the blog with a fine-tooth comb, you’ll probably find exceptions, especially for older entries and for songs from the pre-internet era; but in general, I try to point readers toward sources that have the artist’s consent and that maximize the artist’s chances of getting paid by somebody, somewhere along the line.
Why don’t you shoot your own live-show videos?
Because I am terrible at it, and I don’t want to take the trouble to learn to do better.
Do you, yourself, play an instrument?
I’m terrible at that, too, though I try sporadically to get better: keyboards.
If you buy music, why do you sometimes mention streaming services like Daytrotter and Spotify?
I use streaming services as a substitute for radio and for the old record-store listening booth, rather than as a substitute for ownership. Being able to check out an entire album on Spotify protects me from expensive mistakes like this one or this one. If I decide I want to listen to an album multiple times, I then buy it.
Don’t you want music to be free?
Honestly, no. I want musicians to be able to afford to keep making music and to keep paying useful techies like sound engineers and mixing engineers. On a more pragmatic note, I figure that if I’m not willing to pay the standard 99 cents for a song, then my time is too valuable to listen to it repeatedly. Yes, I still leap on Amazon’s super-markdowns with frenzied cries of glee: but that’s to stretch my dollars by getting a bargain on albums I actively want to own and could not ordinarily squeeze into the budget. It’s no different from food shopping: I expect to pay for what I use, but I won’t turn down a legitimate discount.
For way, way more on money and the music industry (some of it funny, some of it highly analytical), check out The Trichordist. These people are not in any way affiliated with me (or vice-versa), but I find their material interesting and useful. If you want music industry data that’s actually affiliated with me, I’m the nefarious ringleader of this Music Industry Facts and Figures wiki.