A big reason why I continue to stay inspired about writing reviews is other writers. While the industry of writing reviews and making blogs is one that offers very, very little income and is extremely oversaturated, it’s still cool to witness people still plugging away at their trade for little to no appreciation. I’ve discovered numerous music blogs over the years that do this whole thing way better than I and one of those is Eclectic Music Lover. The man behind it all, Jeff, features music that I’ve never even heard of before, and writes it in a way that makes me feel like I’ve been hearing it all along. The dude is superb, and it’s super cool to be able to have an interview with him! Enjoy, and as you should be doing anyway, support Eclectic Music Lover all the time.
Hey Jeff, how’s it going? I’m great, Adam. Thanks for wanting to interview me!
What’s the story behind becoming a music blogger? I’ve always loved music. As a toddler, I’d listen to my much older brother’s rock’n’roll records, along with my parents’ Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Dean Martin records and musical soundtrack and classical albums. By my teens, I became obsessed with song lists, and listened to the various San Francisco radio stations’ weekly Top 30 countdowns, as well as the legendary Kasey Kasem’s American Top 40 countdown that aired every Sunday. When I was in high school, I fantasized about being a disc jockey, but never pursued broadcasting.
Fast forward many years, and I would occasionally post a song video I liked or a year-end song list on Facebook. Unfortunately, few Facebook friends seemed interested, so in early Summer 2015 I created a music lovers group on Facebook and invited my friends who had previously shown at least a tiny bit of music interest. Most joined the group but relatively few engaged with my posts. One day, a friend suggested that I start a music blog where I could really express my passion for music and sort of fulfill my old dream of being a DJ. I took his advice and started my WordPress blog in August 2015, hoping I’d attract like-minded people to read my posts. I also got active on Twitter to help try and promote by blog and, interestingly, more and more indie artists and bands started to follow me, thereby exposing me to a lot of new music.
How did you choose the name Eclectic Music Lover? My music tastes are pretty eclectic, at least compared to many of my friends, so the name seemed appropriate – though some probably think my tastes aren’t all that eclectic. I will admit that I previously was not fond of much hip hop, rap or hardcore/metal, but since starting my blog, I’ve opened my mind to those and other genres of music, so I now appreciate more of that type of music. In fact, I’ve really gotten into hardcore & metalcore lately.
What’s the theme for Eclectic Music Lover? Promoting new artists, local music etc I guess my overall theme would be to just express my tastes in music through a variety of posts, but if I had to pin it down, I’d say the two main areas of focus are song lists and articles or reviews of up and coming indie artists, who I like to support and promote.
What are your favourite genres in Music? Favourite artists? My absolute favorite genre is Alternative Rock, but I also like Hard Rock, Folk Rock, Classic Rock, R&B, Soul, Hardcore, EDM and Hip Hop. I also love a lot of classical music, though I haven’t written about that genre on my blog. I like Jazz well enough, but don’t listen to it very often. Still not a huge fan of Country or Gangsta rap, and I have a special dislike for Kanye West.
My current favorite artists are twenty one pilots, Coldplay, Green Day, Foals, Muse, Cage the Elephant, Arctic Monkeys, Foster the People, Adele, P!nk and Bruno Mars. Some of my older all-time favorite bands or artists are Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Simon & Garfunkel, the O’Jays, Tears For Fears, the Pet Shop Boys, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and Sting.
What does a piece of music need to do to warrant a review on the blog? I generally review either new artists/bands who I discover that I really like, or artists/bands who request a review. I find that when I’m really excited by an artist or band’s music right off the bat, my review pretty effortlessly flows from my brain to the page. In other cases, however, it’s taken me awhile to get into the music of a few bands who asked me to review their music, and I always try to write the most positive review I can, even when I’m not crazy about their music.
How do you combat writer’s block? That’s a tough one. I don’t really have a method or strategy, and just have to work through it. Sometimes I’m overcome by a paralyzing self-doubt, usually as a result of reading other bloggers’ posts that are incredibly well-written. Other times it’s because I’m not overly excited or inspired by the music I’m trying to review, and it feels like writing a paper for a college English class. In those cases, it’s really a chore, but also a challenge that I get satisfaction from upon its completion.
What’s the best thing about being a music blogger? Well, certainly the most rewarding aspect is knowing that people actually look at my posts, and even better when they like or comment, which is not very often. It also makes me very happy when artists I write about really appreciate that I took the time to review them and their music. Most are incredibly grateful, though there have been a handful that weren’t, which is disappointing.
What’s the worst thing about being a music blogger? I can’t say there’s a ‘worse’ thing about it, other than I occasionally stress out when I fall behind on writing reviews or develop a case of writer’s block. Another thing would be the disappointment I feel when a review or post gets almost zero views, especially if I put a lot of time and effort into writing it. But, I realize that even superstars don’t always have a big hit with every single thing they do, whether it be an album, a film, play, or whatever, so I have to expect a flop now and then – lol.
Who are some of your favourite artists you’ve discovered through music blogging? I’ve had the pleasure of discovering quite a few really talented artists who make some very fine music. It pains me that some of them are barely known out there, struggling to gain an audience when their music and songwriting are so good. I started to list my favorites, but the list got too long, plus I don’t want artists I left out to feel slighted if they read this.
I will list a few whose music blew me away the moment I heard it: UK bands No Devotion, Sun Arcana, The Ninety Ten, Partisan and (IAM)WARFACE; Matto Rules from Switzerland, The Zoup from New Zealand, Whale House from Wisconsin, and Cure For Gravity from the San Francisco Bay Area.
I will also give a shout out to the artists whose music I really like who have also been especially appreciative and supportive of me: Run With It from Kansas City, Disciples of Babylon from L.A., Chris Watkins from Alaska, Peter Noreika from upstate New York, Agony in the Garden from Ohio, Lost In The City also from Kansas City, Brave You from Wisconsin, Neil and Adam from Missouri, The Internal Frontier from Washington DC, The Honest Man from North Carolina, Poison Skies from New Zealand, and a young rapper from the UK who goes by the name Twintwo.
Finally, if you could make one comment to end out this interview, what would it be? I’d just say that blogging about music has become my biggest passion at this rather late stage in my life, and will continue to be for as long as I’m able to keep doing it. I’m a lot older than you, Adam, and I wish I had started blogging earlier, but there’s nothing I can do about that.