Blog of the Week
This week, we’re talking with Neil from Music Like Dirt about being honest, live gigs, the importance of supporting the musicians and simply loving music.
Music Like Dirt | http://www.musiclikedirt.com
How long have you been blogging, and what made you start?
When Music Like Dirt started back in March 2005 I think - it feels an age ago - that I intended it more as an online gig diary. It seemed like an idea to combine a passion for music with an interest in photography so I started reviewing and taking shots at gigs I went to. I also thought it would be useful to jog my memory of lifes rich tapestry when my greycells had gone south.
After a few months I realised to my surprise that actual real people were reading the reviews, checking out the bands and leaving hugely flattering messages thanking me for introducing them. I’ve been wittering on with varying degrees of success ever since, but its always a real honour and a thrill when someone says they were introduced to a musician through clicking on the site, and theyve bought everything theyve ever done.
The short answer is just I love music.
What genres does the site tend to cover? Have you always covered this type of music?
I’ve always subscribed to the idea that there are two types of music, good and bad, or at least your own self righteous view of the two. That said I struggle with a lot of middle of the road indie and I’m not keen on Christian Rock, but its more a case of there being too many musical styles I like. The fact that I don’t cover reggae, rock, country, folk, house with any real depth and am constantly missing so much amazing music is a constant source of regret. Looking at my last few posts I’ve featured an in-depth interview about the legendary Trojan reggae label, a video about a Hip-Hop/Dub album, MP3’s about Scottish weather girls, a psych rock Blakula soundtrack, South African Shangaan dance, lots of disco edits, some delta blues and a bhangra track about Jason Donovan.
How do you find the music you blog about and what makes you pick something to post?
I wish I knew a tried and tested way of easily finding music, I search high and low but if Im honest my best discoveries have come from musicians I’ve featured. Hey what do I know.
MySpace was a horrible site but it was fantastic at allowing you to discover new sounds through the friends of bands you already liked. It’s one of the reasons I rate SoundCloud so highly (but I think we are getting on to that in a moment).
Some music is sent in, increasingly through email only, but there are so many PR emails these days it’s hard to sort through it all. There are currently 4000 unread emails in my inbox and the guilt will probably give me a tumour.
I also shamelessly steal good music from other more talented bloggers (did I just say that outloud)?
When did you start using SoundCloud, and how has it helped you curate the music you post about?
SoundCloud has replaced MySpace as a means of finding music through other musicians I like. By following the likes of Akira The Don, Kelpe, Greg Wilson and many more I get to see what they’re listening to, who they are following, not to mention their latest tracks.
It’s probably also responsible for stopping me posting new music because one visit and I end up losing hours on a haphazard musical journey. Next thing I know that valuable couple of hours I’d set aside to write a post have gone, and my browser’s keeling over because I have 78 tabs open.
If someone’s interested in sending you some music to review, how do you prefer getting submissions? What are some “Do” and “Don’t”s for people to keep in mind?
I’ve made it a rule, which I’ve only broken once for Chrome Hoof, that I’ll never post a track from someone who puts “RE:” in the subject line of an introductory email. It fools me everytime and results in immediate deletion.
Be friendly, send an MP3 or a link to one, preferably downloadable as with so many emails I just want to listen or store the listening away for later.
Be honest. So many emails start with “Hey Music Like Dirt - I’ve loved your blog for years” and then follow with some thing like “so I thought you’d love this Christian rock band”. Delete. I’d seriously prefer it if people said “Look I’ve never read your shitty little blog before but our new band are so ace, you’ll have to leave your take away food strew flat for once, just to see us live”
What are some songs that you’re currently playing non-stop?
James Mathe: James Mathe - Wishing Well (Terence Trent D Arby cover) by écoute ça.
Any last words?
Bloggers are nothing without the musicians and artists, the ones with the actual talent to create jawdroppingly great music. I think some people forget that and have a strange sense of entitlement. “Don’t you know who I am”… er yes, you write a blog, get some perspective.
My favourite live venue in London “The Luminaire” announced it was closing a few days ago. That place has given me so many incredible nights seeing such a wide range of music from Adele sat nervously on stage back in 2006 to Electronica with Daedelus to gypsy folk from a Hawk and a Hacksaw.
It reminded me that while bloggers happily give away music for free, and many, myself included, don’t always pay for everything they download, someone does have to actually pay for things if artists and venues are to thrive.
If you like a band, go see them live, buy their album or even give looking vaguely ridiculous in one of their t-shirts a try. I should do more of all, except the latter (which I do quite enough of, thank you).