For most people, music is one of the most important things in life. It can inspire you, fill you with joy or even make you cry. But different music affects us all in different ways. Each week, I interview one of our writers or editors about the impact music has had on their life. This week, I talk to long form editor Alex Veeneman about his life in music.[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqNTltOGh5c]
Describe your taste in music in three words.
Eclectic, interesting, bold.
What’s your musical genre of choice?
Your favourite song?
Very hard to choose a favourite!
First gig you went to?
I saw Paul McCartney in 2005 – that’s the only gig I’ve been to.
What was the last song you listened to?
Disclosure’s ‘When A Fire Starts to Burn’ – it was an earworm as I wrote these answers!
Which musicians do you admire? Do you have any musical role models?
Yo-Yo Ma, Disclosure and Paul McCartney – all three of them have been able to singlehandedly make the genres of classical, house and rock engaging, interesting, and worthwhile, as well as create significant innovations within the respective genres, and they are 3 artists in particular I would go back to and would be in my catalogue.
What’s your opinion on music videos?
Music videos are opaque and a lot of them show a culture where women are portrayed as sex objects. Quite frankly, it’s appalling.
In your opinion, what’s the most annoying song of all time?
Anything by Justin Bieber, and probably Rebecca Black as well.
Who do you think is the most overrated artist out there?
Justin Bieber. I can’t really fathom as to why he is still on top of the charts.
Where do you find new music?
I switch between Radio 1 and Radio 3 for music, but I also read some of the music stuff in Kettle. I don’t get excited a lot by new music as a lot of it seems repetitive and outdated, especially in the US. However, there are some artists that have excited me (Nao and Disclosure particularly).
— Alex Veeneman (@alexvlf) January 16, 2016
Do you play any instruments?
I played a trombone for several years, but ill health ended that.
Rock or pop?
Classical or heavy metal?
What song will always cheer you up?
Some Disclosure will do it.
What does music mean to you?
Music is more than just the ability to curate a soundtrack with elements of different genres. It provides the ability to appreciate its role in modern life. It is important to ensure music and the arts as a whole are supported, as they provide value and meaning not just something to enjoy, but something to enrich society. It is something worth holding on to.
What do you love most about music?
I love the ability to be able to understand how people differently take and understand music. For example, though I work out of the US, I’ve found it interesting to see different artists and how they influence tastes in British music – though there are similarities, I have found it a thrill to find some good British artists making new music. These artists make me excited about new music and can allow me to champion new artists. (It also helps me to keep up with new artists as part of the work I do!)
If you could sit down for a chat with any musician (dead or alive) – who would it be?
I’d sit down with Yo-Yo Ma to discuss the role of classical music and its role in modern culture. For someone who has innovated alongside it, I’d be keen to get his take on how he sees the genre in the modern 21st century culture of music.
And finally – tell us your best musical memory.
At the end of the concert I went to with McCartney, I left the arena where it was held and my ears were ringing – the sure sign to know that you’ve had a good time.
How has music impacted your life? Let us know in the comments below!