October 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
Whether it was listening to albums in my dad’s truck, or dancing to all kinds of stuff in the studio growing up, music has always been a giant part of my life. My parents made a point of having it on in the house way more often than the TV (one of the reasons why I’m still catching up on television/movie references from the last 20 years…) and it always served as an escape from whatever else was happening around me. As a 12-year-old, I remember asking my dad if I could borrow his Elvis Costello CD and listening to ‘Pump it Up’ over and over and over and over. Sorry mom and dad! That probably got annoying…
In high school and college I’d spend hours hidden away in my room picking out music to choreograph pieces to for my dance companies. I distinctly remember the day I first heard ‘Rock Your Soul’ by Elisa and discovered that music was something that could intoxicate both your mind and body.
As a high school senior, I fulfilled every cliché about music-loving gals and fell for a skinny-jean wearing drummer. My friends protested saying, “But Kristen! His pants are tighter than yours!,” but I loved that V-neck rocking man and with him, I went on to experience groups that I’d overlooked before. We spent our first two years of college, driving around hiding from roommates, listening to Animal Collective, Christian Scott, Jose Gonzalez, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens and a whole host of artists that I can’t live without today. The relationship didn’t last, but my lingering love of drummers certainly did. Who needs a front man when the drummer always has way less of an ego?!
When my dancing days slowed a bit and I started focusing more on running, music became the only thing that could keep me going on long runs up and down those darn Austin hills. Most of my workout playlists are at least half Beyonce/Rihanna, but higher-quality artists make the cut every now and then.
As the youngin’ of my group, I accompanied my other non-21-year-old friend Charlie to tons of shows our junior year. Kid Sister was probably the best and most eye-opening performance we saw all year, but those experiences definitely instilled an appreciation for live-music and solidified my addiction to this city.
And then, AND THEN, I went to Sasquatch with my best friend from Friendswood, Joe. We camped for a week, got really smelly, and listened to some of the most talented performers I have ever heard. When we got back, I wrote a little piece about it here and then something life changing happened. I met the guy behind a small music website and he asked me to start writing for them. This was all fun and games, an album review once a week or so, until he asked me if I wanted to go to ACL for the team with a cameraman, interview bands and cover the festival. I replied with a resounding yes, realizing that this year’s festival was going to be a completely different experience.
I spent most of last week after work researching the bands and prepping my questions, but I also spent a ridiculous amount of brain power worrying about what I would wear. For those of you who know me (all of you), you are well aware of the fact that clothes are just not my thing. Once it was no longer acceptable to wear pink every day, I kind of fell into my current state of wearing exactly what Ann Taylor Loft tells me to.
Unfortunately, in no way shape or form does Loft make “hipster” or “music writer” clothes so I panicked until Friday when I realized that, “hey, I’m a music writer myself…and I can wear whatever the heck I want.” So, happiest in sandals (preferably bare feet, but that’s not socially acceptable or ideal for walking three miles), blue jean shorts and a tank top, I showed up for my first interview feeling like myself. Which was the only thing I should have cared about to begin with.
One of my other big fears for the weekend was actually communicating with the bands and not coming across as a total newb. Once it dawned on me that the musicians were just nice dudes with humble beginnings, I was able to humanize them and my nerves went away. If anything, they were just super exhausted from touring and probably hadn’t taken a real shower in days. This will also probably come as a huge surprise to you (not), but I’m no expert in being cool and I never have been. I’m a little awkward, I drop too many y’alls on accident and I am far too peppy all of the time. But that’s me. They seemed to like my over-politeness and one of them even talked to me for a long time after his interview and ran his palm across my cheek before he had to leave. Yeah, yeah, that sounds a little weird, but trust me, he had a beard and was wearing plaid. It was magical.
All in all, the weekend was a huge learning opportunity and brought music into my heart in a way that surpassed anything I thought possible. The experience went beyond learning how to interview bands and honing my music writing skills. It was a lesson in understanding that who I am is the only version of myself that I should embrace.