The animals and the gods of sound.


Going through a playlist to discover someone’s personality is often an interesting endeavor, but it’s not always quite as accurate as one would like. The quiet and meek girl could be a fan of extremely hard electronica music, while the annoying bro from the bar goes home to some 80s love songs.

Over the years of knowing many a talented (or simply someone with a hobby) musicians and realizing my own tastes and how they function to tell of my own inner desires, I have my own ideas of what makes a person and their music.

There’s no denying the primal violence of drums– you’re very literally beating the sound out of it. It’s the sound of war. Of military processions. There’s a wildness to it, and the people behind those instruments tend to display that. Not every drummer is a raging monster, but if you’re in a harder genre like industrial or metal, you have to become one for that moment to convey what you’re truly after. The bass isn’t too far off… the drums hammer you to the core while the bass notes grind through you like a beast. It’s something a guitar can’t quite reach, and it claws into your core. Sometimes it’s a deep drone to jazz, others it hovers just under the surface to give you that cruel but beautiful punch. Most of the bassists I’ve met tend to be methodical and far-reaching thinkers, with a beautiful mind holding that animal they contain. The guitar, though, is a different level. It’s more spiritual. While the drums and bass eat you alive, the guitar, no matter how hard or soft, speaks. It rumbles forth like a god, conversing to something with a desperate wail or a soft whisper. The person wielding it doesn’t exist for a while. There is only a guitar.

There is nothing better or worse about either effect, it’s simply a matter of your being. Chances are you won’t turn on the Mozart when you are in a vile mood, unless you’re a serial killer. If you do, that’s rather cool and I would like to apologize profusely and ask you not to murder me. Thank you.

Classical music is another more emotional style. Little can be as sweeping and epic than a slow upward progression of violins, punctuated by a roaring timpani downswing. Horns don’t tend to move me unless they are droning, like the sounds of an angel blaring his trumpet before the end of time. It’s different for everyone. Some people may find their soul in country, others in hip-hop.

I’ve recently found myself drawn into the hybrid child of electronic and dubstep, for three main reasons.
There are rarely lyrics. I love some lyrical styles, but mostly can do without. I want the music to take me away. If I want words to do it, I read. Again, this is just me.
The beat is crushing. I’m never going to call myself a vicious person in general, but I am not kind when provoked, and the harder the sound is the more it appeals to that creature.
It’s epic. There are many mixes that include sweeping classical pieces, and those are amazing to me. It’s a meeting of the old glories and the new.
It doesn’t appeal to everyone, but that’s fine. The way it enters into a person is what matters. I can listen to something and find it to be utterly horrible, but the person that put it on could be in heaven.

There is something inside musicians that allows them to speak through a new appendage, and that instrument becomes them. Whatever is inside of them is being broadcast straight into you in a way they may never be able to verbalize. Unless, of course, you’re a singer. You are your own instrument, and that’s a gift of its own. I will always be a drummer at heart, despite what my body forbids me to do. I will always hold my guitar in high regard, though. He says things I couldn’t write here if I sat and stared at the screen for ten years.

Of course, there are still people out there that fancy themselves musicians that just don’t appeal to anyone but themselves. Hey, at least they’re happy. Or self-loathing in a coffee shop about how they’ll make it one day, damn it. Sort of like the guy always writing a screenplay, there’s one for every artistic format.

So if you’re a drummer or a trombone player, a pianist or stick to the hammer dulcimer, it doesn’t matter. You’re still speaking a language everyone will feel to the core in one way or another, something no spoken language can ever convey with the same kind of precision.
We idolize them, love them, and feel for their sounds and worlds.
So even if the musicians you know and love are assholes, they’re still in touch with something most of us can only witness with awe.