Saw a great post on the internet today poking fun at song progressions and musical genres in general. I’ve pasted the graphics outlining each stereotyped genre here and I’ll let you be the judge of how accurate they are – or rather – what’s missing. The idea behind these graphics brings up a really true phenomenon that occurs to just about everyone who has ever played in a band that writes their own music. It’s something that each player deals with in their own way and something that just comes with the territory. It comes in the form of a question and that question is, “What type of music do you play?”
It’s a valid question. You ask folks to come and see your new band, you owe it to them to at least give them an idea of what to expect, if not what to wear! But, what follows after that question is a dance of words I’ve seen far too many times. Since most people don’t have their genre elevator speech – a short 5 second description of their band – handy, you’ll instead see (and hear) a 22 second verbal barfing of likes, as, obscure band names and sometimes even tonal demonstrations. I once had a band member describe their music to me as, “Gone with the wind on acid.” That’s right! Their music was so different they felt it could only be summed up by mentioning drugs and an American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel.
No musician wants to answer this question by saying their music is simply a slightly darker version of what’s on the radio, or a warmed over tribute to classic rock. Their music was birthed from their own experiences and just because it sounds like Nirvana from the In Utero period doesn’t mean their ‘Grunge.’ It’s always something more (or in some cases, something less) than the sum of it’s parts.
The fact is, genre definitions can be useful – in general. Not so much to define the core of the band you are in, but to give people a general idea of what to expect when they come to listen to you. Sometimes it can even be used to let people know the genre that inspires you. Can it feel confining and simplistic. Sure, but it has a place in music and it has a place at Pedal Finder.
When folks review pedals at Pedal Finder, we ask a slew of questions about how they use their pedals, and what genres of music they play. This would allow folks to know what types of distortion pedals work well in shoegaze. It can give you insights into what reverbs are Reggae ready or what overdrives work well for speed metal. You get the idea. So go take a look at our search by style feature, put in your favorite genre(s) (we promise we won’t tell anyone your into urban-mountain-post-proto-hair-metal) and see what comes out the other end. You won’t be disappointed.