Author Topic: But what does the family think?  (Read 12020 times)

Hypnagogue

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But what does the family think?
« on: September 19, 2008, 08:42:37 AM »
Here's a question I've been sitting on for a while...

Some folks may know that on the side I'm a playwright. I've had shows go up at small theaters and festivals around the country over the last several years. But I've got two sisters who have never managed to take in one of my shows--even when they were close by. It's like...they don't get it.

Given that no one here makes mainstream music, and knowing that when a good portion of the world outside the ambient/electronic community seems to "get" what you do...what do your friends and family think of the music you create? Do they get it? Do they mostly nod and smile? Do they understand what makes you do what you do? (And how often do you hear, "So...you make any money from this?"---because I get that A LOT.)
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mgriffin

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2008, 09:06:18 AM »
The great majority of people don't "get" ambient music, so it's really no surprise that most of the people close to an ambient musician wouldn't get it. 

I'm actually very lucky.  My wife loves it, my mom enjoys it (though I doubt she sits around the house spinning "Neroli" with the lights off, she actually does play a Hypnos CD once in a while), same goes for my brother.  My more distant relatives think it's sort of cute or amusing, and ask questions about it once in a while, but they don't really know what to make of it.  I do get quite a few questions like "is that really music?" or "do you really listen to that stuff or do you just make it for weirdos who want to buy it?" or other things that show the questioner has a hard time believing I'm that stupid.

For most people, as Hypnagogue indicated, whether you make money at it or not seems to be a big indicator of whether it's something they should respect or not.  If I have some goofy cousin who doesn't really know anything about music, let alone obscure music, they tend to acknowledge that it's just something they don't understand, but the condescending remarks stopped when people in the family started to realize that Hypnos was actually bringing in some money.  To most of my relatives, a little bit of money seems like a lot, so they think I'm rich and that Hypnos is a big deal (either though neither is true really), and so it's been a while since any relatives have acted dismissive about it with the kind of dumb questions or judgmental remarks I used to get.
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jkn

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2008, 09:22:32 AM »
When I was younger (grade school / high school) - I played piano *a lot* and I played usually things I was writing.    My mom loved it when I played something "she knew" and would request that a lot.   However, she always supported my music.   Mom and dad would come to some of my high school band events, but not all - and that was ok.  They were always supportive without necessarily "liking" it.   I think they came to one of my band gigs (I started gigging regularly in a cover band when I was 15) - they never saw my original bands.   

I gave my dad a few of my cd's - I'm not sure he ever listened to them.    I didn't expect him to as frankly - I don't recall ever hearing him play any music at all... ever.  Weird, isn't it?    His car radio was always on talk radio.    He says he listens to country now and then - but there again - I've actually caught him doing it. 

My mom had no rhythm, but loved music (hilarious riding with her in the car and she'd be tapping happily on the steering wheel - completely out of time with the music) and dad I guess played drums in high school and had a few records in his collection from the 50's - but otherwise - never mentioned music ever.    So... where'd I come from...???  Grin... :-)    (My dad's mom and my mom's dad were both very musical... it just skipped a generation on both sides...  my grandma is who started me on the piano when I was 5 - and she was the church organist at the same church for about 60 years... (that wasn't a typo) )

My sister I think likes that I'm a musician - she came to several of my live shows over the years and while she may not like the whole electronic music thing that I tend to write - she at least thinks it's cool.   

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

SunDummy

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2008, 09:33:45 AM »
My brother gets it; we've both been into 'fringe' music for 20+ years, and our tastes overlap quite a bit.  But my sisters don't get it at all.  One doesn't understand any music unless it's classic rock, and the other (a huge Kitaro fan) thinks my music just sounds boring.  My parents don't listen to music at all; they never have.  I once picked up my guitar at a family party, and my dad looked at me like I was going to attack him with it.  The rest of my relatives don't even know I make music.  

As for friends, they all think it's an odd hobby.  None of them has ever actually listened to any of it, to my knowledge.  I've been asked the "making money yet" question; when I say no, that's not really the point, they just look at me funny.  

It's odd, but none of my family or friends create art of any sort; no writing, painting, music, nothing.  They're not really into music at all; it's just something you have on in the background while doing other stuff.  They get confused when I tell them I like to listen to music without distractions:  really listen to the sounds.  I might as well be speaking Greek.
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Mark Mushet

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2008, 11:01:10 AM »
...what do your friends and family think of the music you create? Do they get it? Do they mostly nod and smile? Do they understand what makes you do what you do? (And how often do you hear, "So...you make any money from this?"---because I get that A LOT.)

Actually, I took my mum to an Eno installation in 1982 and she really liked it. What concerns me more are the number of young visual artists who only care about "hip" bands and their impoverished, self-aggrandizing posturing and craving of fame.

That said, when last in England, I did get the "Yes...but what do you do for a living?" more than in North America. It seems they view photography as a tolerated hobby there as much as being a musician!

Wayne Higgins

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2008, 12:48:28 PM »
My wife knows I'm smart enough not to quit the day job, therefore she lets me do what I want.
She also knows that it wouldn't take much to quit the day job.
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lena

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2008, 01:15:29 PM »
My entire family thinks I'm weird, (which is nothing new).

My music scares my mother, who wishes I'd just play that nice country music like her neighbor's son's wife does...  ::)

Oh well, I can't really say that I blame her, (my music IS scary)!  ;D

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APK

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2008, 01:31:20 PM »
My parents are dead. I have brothers in England I never see. So no issues there  ;)

My daughter, now 13, has developed a fine taste for both ambient and lounge/glitch/beats. Big Biosphere and Kettel fan.
My wife recognizes stuff, sometimes enjoys it, and doesn't tell me to turn it down too often.

I compose and play keys in a separate studio room, so don't annoy people with my fairly constant playing/recording.
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deepspace

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2008, 03:39:13 PM »
My wife loves ambient- Stars of the Lid, James Johnson, Hammock, Eno and Eluvium are constantly on her playlist.  My son luka loves ambient music- He's six and will come up and go "Can you put on Avec Laudanum or Vidna daddy?"  I realise this is pretty far out!  haha.  My little girl Astrid, who is 2, loves coming up and adding notes when I play ambient piano.
(In fact, when I first played my new keyboard (prophet 08) to luka, he listened for a while, then said "hmmm, it sounds very milky and kind of like....japanese but ambient")  You would have heard my surprised laugh miles away.  He's not even in grade 1 at school. :)

My larger family seem to love ambient music as well:  my dad often comes up and says how much he loves my music and that I should have covers with planets and stars on them. (!)
I proudly showed him the cover of my new Hynpos release, which is largely white and orange, and he went: "hmmm...you need some more black on that...like space.  More Stars."   
More stars again. :)  That aside, he loves ambient music.  My Mother is french and she is instantly transported by it.  Although she doesn't seek it out to listen to it- she can pick a Jarre influence very quicky.  My Mother-in-law loves it too- She especially loves hammock. 

My two brothers are heavily into electronic music- In fact I have an ongoing collaboration with my brother jeremy called "Pilot of the Future" which is kind of an ambient/electronic/chiptune project with a SID chip/C64 computer game feel (It's very blippy and plastic, and was a lot of fun to record).  have a listen if you want to hear what i'm talking about:
http://www.last.fm/music/Pilot+of+the+Future

My older brother, Boris, is a graphic art designer who loves ambient music and esoteric music.  He really likes ambient music, and draws and designs to it.

Pretty much everyone that I play this music gets a smile on their face and goes "yeah...ok this is cool" even if they didn't notice it before.   That's why I always feel that ambient/space music has such massive potential...having said that I don't know if I want it to ever surface- you could imagine the horrors that could arise if some money-makers got wind of its potential.

However, a friend of mine, who is extremely musical and very talented can't handle ambient music.  I think he is appalled at the idea of musicians 'wasting time' and not using the full dynamic of music/harmony.  He is into slick production and a good tune.

So it seems to me that people who aren't musicians, in my experience, are more likely to dig ambient.  I think also that in the internet surfing/gaming age, ambient music has a lot of relevance, more than we may think- and the more the current generations grow up surfing/playing online etc the more they can slot ambient music into a function- Even if they've never heard it before, they go "oh yeah, I could listen to this while surfing or gaming" instead of going, "what the hell is this music, it doesn't seem to go anywhere", which the mainstream listener might have thought 15 years ago. 


 
« Last Edit: September 19, 2008, 07:47:15 PM by deepspace »

sraymar

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2008, 06:00:11 PM »
I've been making this music for quite a few years now and I still don't get it.  ;D

All seriouness aside, I've created linear ambient stuff that flows like a winding river and seems "go somewhere", and vertical ambient that hovers, along with newage/ambient hybrids. I think its cool that ambient music is sort of an underground niche music, makes for a good escape into different levels of consciousness.

Steve

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Wayne Higgins

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2008, 11:56:45 AM »
If my dad was alive, I think he would be suprised.  After years of torturing him with heavy metal, hard rock, early seventies progressive, I think he would be taken by the quietness of it all.

My sister is the only one left in my immeditate family.  She said she like to "watch it."  She likes to play it on her computer and watch the paterns on windows media player.

My wife is a rock and roller.  It bores her to tears.

My son (today is his 26th birthday) likes it.  When it puts him to sleep, we laugh and say something like "that one served it's purpose."
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Seren

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Re: But what does the family think?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2008, 09:09:22 AM »
Glenys enjoys most of what I create (mainly food!!) and appreciates my passion in making the music. My family (Mum and 2 sisters) again appreciate my interests, but have never asked any questions beyond - how's it going?

Glenys once said to her family (on an odd occasion when her mother, two sisters, both daughters and both grandaughters were visiting) that I had just had a CD released....after the 20 seconds of silence before any sound started and then low deep drones unfolding one asked, Is this music? to which Glenys said Yes, wait.....and in about two more minutes all their eyes unfocussed and they were well gone, drifting off into their own imaginations. Took about 15 minutes to make sure they were all 'straight' enough to drive home - one of the best reponses I've ever had from people not used to listening to such sounds.

Friends too enjoy listening, but never initiate conversation about it....I can only discuss the finer points and subtleties of ambient/experimental music on forums like this....