Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Medicine Cabinet #15

Music Is My Medicine
by Nayt Housman

Music is my medicine. Is it yours? I ask the public six golden questions to find out if and how they use music to feed the soul.

'Kent' by Nayt Housman

One of my fave local cafes harbours some pretty cool cats. In a recent visit I thought I’d open a pop-up clinic (in other words, beg someone to do an interview) to see how my neighbourhood peeps are using music in their café. The lucky devil this time around is 39 year old Kent whose life passion is MUSIC! How helpful for a music blog. Kent not only chooses most of the music to serenade the ears and digestive systems of their patrons but owns 10 crates of vinyl, used to DJ and used to sing in a lot of bands as well. In fact he still sings in a band called Interspecies with the owner of the café. Kent describes their music as “a lot of genre hopping and some weird electro, Sonic Youth kind of stuff and some punk rock kind of stuff as well.”

Who are at least three musicians or groups that flick your switch and turn up the volume?

Kent: That’s quite difficult because I love so much different stuff but I’d have to say I’m a bit of a fan of Mike Patton, the guy from Faith No More, Mr Bungle and Tomahawk. He recently did an album of Italian songs from the 60s. I think he’s a great singer and just think he’s a really interesting artist, like he does really versatile, really different, weird stuff and I dig that, so definitely him.

Crazy drag? This is my cup of tea! Convincingly performing in a gas mask. 
Twisted-o-licious! I’m hooked.

Kent: Hrrrrmmm it’s interesting because I’ve got like 11,000 songs on my ipod…I like Michael Hutchence even though he’s trashy but INXS was the first band I saw when I was 12. It was really commercial and everything but it did make a major impact on me when I was a kid. I sort of thought about it again because a friend of my brother’s was playing Michael in that thing that came on channel seven a couple of weeks ago, it was dodgy but good, Luke was great in it.

Kent: Then I dunno, like Mudhoney, that band was pretty big for me in the late 80s, the Ramones and all that kind of thing really changed things for me being a teeny bopper and that was, pre Nirvana because alternative music wasn’t necessarily commercial at that stage, people were still handing around cassettes, it was still a pretty underground thing, you didn’t know what these artists looked like, you didn’t know what Nine Inch Nails or The Pixies looked like, they weren’t in magazines or anything. So I guess I’d narrow it down to those but it’s very difficult because I love a lot of music.

Why are they the pills that cure your ills?

Kent: Well… That’s interesting. As I said, I’d just say I have a lot of respect, I don’t idolize them I just respect them as artists. I like Tim Buckley a lot, Jeff Buckley’s father. He did like ten albums and he just had an interesting journey as a muso and stuff. Especially with Mike Patton, he tries a lot of things and he tries things, which are very outside his fan base, which I think is very brave, you can tell that he’s a very thinking artist that’s willing to take chances and in my view it sort of pays off for him every time. I just admire his flare; I have an admiration of their creativity. If it came down to how music like that affects me (physically) it could be some trashy 80s band that I listened to as a kid and I wouldn’t necessarily respect them but…Wang Chung, gives me goose bumps, I love it, reminds me of being nine years old or something you know? So it’s definitely the respect for the artist and their journey, influences wise and obviously if I like their melody and what they’re doing music wise.

What kind of high do they give you?

Kent: It makes me, sounds really lame but I can get highly emotional, really happy when I listen to the right songs, like it can make me want to sing, jump up and down and go pretty crazy. Our band goes pretty crazy when we play live so it’s probably the one thing besides travelling that gives me the most natural high. I get really positive, ecstatic if I hear an amazing song.

When do you find yourself craving musical relief?

Kent: Music relief? Ah look, here (work) it’s very important to us and we have it louder probably than most customers would like but the owner, he’s a big music head as well. Generally at work I find it the most… I probably listen to it at work now more than in my personal life, coming to and from work on public transport but certainly it’s mostly at work. We can play pretty much what ever we want here so we can put on like Velvet Underground within reason kind of thing, it’s pretty great here. It gets us in the mood, pumps us up and makes us happy. I don’t really get depressed I would say, or anything over music unless I’m forced to listen to Tina Arena (lolz).

Where does music take you?

Kent: Man it’s like my life I just read about it, read about other artists, I’m really interested in it. I think I’m trying to crack that code of finding really interesting music, which I think to do something fresh these days, is more likely to be a hybrid of different styles of music. Otherwise it takes me to a very happy place you know?

There‘s certain songs I listen to at a certain moment that reminds me of being a kid and having no worries and I certainly make the effort to go and see mainly international bands these days. I’m not into much local music anymore probably because I’m just a bit older than a lot of the young bands in Brisbane and I’ve been a bit around the world, lived in Sydney for a while, there’s cool Brisbane bands but not a lot of them interest me that much anymore. But yeah man it takes me to a happy place; it certainly takes me to a sedate, relaxed place if I was having beers with my friends who are always playing music ‘n’ stuff, so everywhere.

How do you share your music love?

Kent: Well, it’s pretty much my music here all the time. My friends and I are pretty fanatical about music, like we’ll all get together and drink and honestly talk about new stuff that we’ve heard that we like. So yeah it’s really just a very social thing for my friends and me as well.

Kent is definitely a bit of a cool cat punk kid bursting with pearls of musical wisdom and musical joy. Before I left him to go back to work I asked if he had any words of advice. His response was genius, “It’s your gig. Sing it”. Right on brother.

Music can be a person’s everything and it can penetrate every aspect of daily life. Often it can be that little extra motivation that gets you through whatever it is you do and whether you love or loathe the daily grind, music will almost certainly improve the situation. I love how an era of music can capture and almost manipulate the soul. It’s not always a genre, it’s not always a particular sound but it’s the time in ones life that those songs represent and epitomize, also it’s the music that fits the various aspects of ones personality and can be a driving force to shape our personalities. I often wonder if I will forever be shaped by the influences I had in my late teens to early 20s?

I shall dub this 'The Brainwash' effect. Don’t for a minute think that I mean this in a negative sense. Who we fall in love with during those most essential years of growth and finding ourselves seem to forever etch a formula on our inner blueprint that then guide our tastes through the journey of life. You could probably map out a persons life and personality type by the bands they fall for as youthful sprites. It’s quite amazing how much our musical influences shape who we are through their words, image and public persona. Music can be they key to the club or the secret password where the mere mention of them can open up a new secret society with people you’d never imagined.

Doctor Nayt’s prescription is to share your music, talk to people about the music you love, make a mix cd and randomly give it to a stranger, put it in a letter box or sing to someone in the street. Hug the person next to you at a gig, dance with your customers/friends/family/strangers when your fave song comes on. You never know what might happen, you may just end up making a connection. It may be brief or it may last a lifetime but whatever the outcome, music may have improved your world and someone else’s for an immeasurable amount of beautiful time.

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