For this month’s ejo, I’ve decided to go a bit rogue and interview a friend of mine who has recently started a music blog back home in Melbourne. Why don’t you make yourself a nice cuppa, and join us for a chat?
This is how our interview would have looked if we didn’t live 11,659km apart.
Svet, you’ve recently started a blog called “7 Seconds Of Sound” which I really love. Can you tell me a bit about what it is and what made you decide to start writing it?
Sure. It’s a music blog where I highlight recent releases that I like. I don’t stick to any particular genre and there’s a bit of everything in there like low-fi, Electronica, surf, rock, psychedelic and folk. I try to stick to things that are released that week but sometimes things that are a bit older sneak in if they are too good to resist.
The blog came about when one night I was sitting on the couch with my husband and, as usual, I was blabbering on about some new band that I’d found and he turned around and said that I should write a music blog. Basically it was a bit of a “shut up and tell someone who cares” statement but I decided to take him literally and set the blog up the next week. I think the whole thing has backfired on him though as now I talk about music plus the blog. Double whammy.
Poor Andrew! But really, he brought it on himself, I have no sympathy. Have you always been interested in music or is this a recent obsession?
I’ve always had an interest in music. It was quite a large part of my life growing up. I played the piano and sang and also learnt the drums. I quit the drums after dad quite seriously threatened to leave home if I bought a drum kit which was my next step.
Also, like every kid in the 80’s I obsessively taped songs off American Top 40 and got pretty angry with presenters when they talked over the music.
I think my obsession has escalated a little over the last few years but I blame the technology that’s emerged over that time, and sites like rdio and Spotify. They make music-obsessed people like me even more crazy as songs are available at your fingertips as soon as they are released. It’s basically like having an open bar for alcoholics.
I know how much time an interest in music can take up. You’re a Mum of two lovely young kids. How do you make time for your passion? Are the kids going hungry??
Yeap, there’ve been a few times when they’ve had cereal for dinner, but they seem pretty happy with it. They’ve actually been very supportive and if they hear something they like on the radio they tell me to Shazam it and put it on my blog which is funny coming from a four and six year old. I actually think it’s important for kids to see their parents have a passion and be able to view them as people, and not just parents.
So earlier you were talking about making mix tapes from the radio. Back in those days I also remember hanging out to buy my favourite bands’ new album, which I would then play on repeat for six months non-stop. These days, with the advent of electronic forms of music (i.e. mp3, iTunes etc.) it isn’t really about the record or the CD anymore. As a result music is more instantly accesible and, in my opinion, a little more disposable. What do you think about this evolution in the way music is made available to the consumer? When you find a great new tune, do you tend to listen to the entire album, or are you only interested in singles?
I use rdio a lot and often listen to a whole album rather than just one song but I am happy to stop a song and skip to the next one if I’m not into it. It’s kind of my blog tagline actually. With the sheer number of songs we have at our fingertips we probably are more dismissive and maybe miss out on some great tracks that take time to love. I think the flipside is that there are so many smaller bands that get more of a chance to be heard these days. In fact the last three albums I’ve listened to in full and absolutely loved have been bands that I hadn’t even heard of until I saw their albums on rdio. I don’t think that I would have picked up their album in a store let alone paid $30 as I didn’t know their stuff.
My concern though is that we really don’t know how much artists get from things like rdio, Spotify and iTunes. It seems to be a black hole and depends on the contract negotiated between the record company and streaming providers. That’s probably always been an issue though as the record company would get a large cut of the profits no matter what the distribution method was. At least the streaming services and online music retailers may make it easier for artists to release independently and get more of a profit.
So, you obviously listen to a lot of tunes (and very cool, awesome people must also send you stuff to listen to). How do you pick what you post on the blog? What criteria do you need to tick before you choose a track?
The track has to grab hold of me right from the start and make me want to replay it over and over again. The genre doesn’t really matter but certain styles may fit my mood more than others on a particular day. I try to stick to bands that aren’t massive as I like introducing people to things they may not have heard before and giving smaller bands a go. The music I put up is still pretty accessible though. It’s not über underground. If it’s an Australian band then that gets an extra tick. We have so many great acts in Australia so I’m always happy when I can highlight one.
I remember we occasionally used to go to pubs and festivals to check out our favourite performers. Do you often get a chance to go and see live music these days? If so, who have you seen lately?
That’s one thing I really miss. I definitely don’t go to as many gigs anymore because late nights and small kids that wake up at 6am don’t really mix.
I’ve seen 3 gigs in the last 2 months which is probably a record for me. I saw Weezer in January. They played the full Blue Album from start to finish which was unreal. I went to see the lead singer of Bored Nothing play solo at a cafe during the day. I had a chat to him and he gave me a record which was fun. Bored Nothing is one of my favourite bands at the moment so I was pretty thrilled to meet him. The next day I went to see Livingstone Daisies play Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque album as part of a series presented by Rockwiz where artists cover classic albums.
I’m planning to see Them Swoops and Bored Nothing at The Esplanade in a couple of weeks but it’s going to finish pretty late. I’m quite worried that I will accidentally fall asleep on the Espy floor which is pretty gross and sticky from all the beer/vomit.
I remember once falling asleep on the toilet at The Corner hotel. Not my finest hour. So, now that you and the lead singer of Bored Nothing are friends, does it give you an inside pass? Be honest, did you actually start the blog so that you could befriend bands and get to hang out with them backstage?? Is it working yet??
Ha. I’m just a fan not a friend. I don’t think I’m up to the inside pass phase yet. I don’t have the stamina to take advantage of any perks of being a friend to a band unless it’s The Wiggles as all their gigs are at the respectable hour of 1pm. I definitely am up for letting bands know that I like their stuff though. I think on the whole they are pretty nice to people who send them positive emails/messages on Facebook or blog about them as it’s nice to be appreciated, and free publicity is always good.
So tell me who your target audience is for this blog. Who are you recommending songs to?
Heaps of people I speak to really love music but keep playing the same old stuff over and over again. They say it’s because there is a lot of crappy new stuff and it takes too much effort to find songs and bands they like so they give up. I suppose this blog is for those people so they can find good new songs to play over and over again. In a broader sense, it’s for anyone who likes what is generally classed indie or alternative music, which is a just an umbrella term for stuff that’s not mainstream.
I have to admit I have two iPods – one with the same old stuff I’ve listened to since I was in my early twenties, and the other with a whole bunch of new stuff . It definitely does take effort to discover new bands and new tunes, but that’s why I think your blog is so perfect. You’re doing all the work for us!! So thanks for that. Do you ever wish you’d continued with music and been in your own band? If I recall correctly you have a pretty good singing voice.
I think my voice suits jazz and blues music but not indie music so I don’t think I could really be in the types of bands I’m into. I’m ok with that as I think a musicians life is pretty hard. I’m happy to just belt out a tune in the shower every so often and pretend I’m a rock star.
Just for fun, if you were the lead singer in a band tell me what you’d call yourselves. I’ve thought about this long and hard (about fifteen minutes) and my band would be called Twin Phagia. Do you like it? Would you come and see us play?
You obviously like food and play too much scrabble. I think I’d be too scared to go see your band as it sounds a bit too hard core heavy metal. Maybe put the word butterfly in there to soften up. My band name would definitely have to have the word “head” in it, as it has seemed to do well for Radiohead and The Lemonheads. Maybe the Cushionheads as I’m staring at a cushion right now.
The Cushionheads really works! I’d come see you play. Based on your advice (though still going with the food concept) I’ve changed the name of my band to Buttertwin. I think it’s quite awesome. So, what are your hopes for 7 Seconds Of Sound? Do you see yourself still doing it in 12 months? Five years? Until you get bored??
Oooh I really like Buttertwin. Sounds a bit raunchy. I would definitely go see you guys!
At this stage I can see myself doing the blog for the next 12 months and hopefully much longer. I think I’ll keep doing it until it becomes more of a chore than fun or until I start being really out of touch and blogging about the merits of country and western music, not that there’s anything wrong with it.
To conclude, I’m just going to bring up that we’ve known each other a REALLY long time – 18 years this year. In fact, I remember the first day we met. Do you? No pressure! What was I wearing??
Wow has it really been that long? Now I feel ancient. As I recall you were wearing nothing but Chanel No 5. Oooh, that sounds a bit gross. We are close, but not that close!
Well, I may not remember what you were wearing then but you were wearing some lovely black pants and a black top when you fell on your back and put your foot through the front door of our share-house while rollerblading down the corridor wearing my newly purchased rollerblades. Oh good times!
I don’t think we need to talk about that. Or that when I regained consciousness you had fallen down next to me because you were laughing so hard (a recurring theme over the last 18 years, I might add).
Quite seriously though, I’d never met anyone like you before and you actually made a really big impact on me. You were, and still are, a very special person – and everyone who knows you would agree with me. To be honest, I fell a little bit in love with you that day in 1995. Over the years our relationship has evolved, and we’ve been in and out of each other’s lives, but I’m happy to say that with your new blog and our shared interest in music, I’ve developed a girl crush on you all over again. I continue to be impressed, surprised and inspired by your curiosity and your passion.
I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions and do all the work for me on this month’s ejo. I hope you achieve the success, recognition and Access All Areas passes that you so rightly deserve.
For the rest of you (in a spot of shameless self-promotion on my behalf) why don’t you head on over to 7 Seconds Of Sound right now and read MY contribution to Svet’s blog as guest song selector. I had SUCH a great time choosing a track and will keep my fingers crossed that Svet will ask me to do it again.
7 Seconds Of Sound