Where should my personal life end and my music begin? The best music draws upon our experiences, and I often love music precisely because it is so personal.
Some artists like Daft Punk play down their humanity, enabling them to transcend it and become post-human pop mega-beings. They present us with a vision equally unfamiliar to us all, so we all feel equal before it which can be an epic unifying experience. Good old Daft Punk you’ve smashed it again. Their gig in Hyde Park a few years back is in my top 5 gigs ever. It was like aliens had come to earth to show us how to do music properly, and I wasn’t even on drugs. Lots of people were, what must it have been like for them?!
In contrast, ‘personal’ things tend to divide everyone into two groups: ‘people who feel like me’ and ‘people who don’t feel like me’. Impersonal things don’t discriminate. But how to be impersonal and still make a connection? Muse manage it because the lyrics are so primal, and cos they rock so hard. Maybe Chris Martin strayed the wrong side of the line on some of Coldplay’s ‘X and Y’ album:
“When you try your best but you don’t succeed…”
“When you lose something you can’t replace…”
“Lights will guide you home / And ignite your bones / And I will try to fix you”
I actually really like Coldplay, they’re a fucking great band who I respect enormously. I even feel the pull of that song, but he sounds so eager for me to be tearful without actually sharing anything of himself I wonder if he’s also a trained therapist.
I looked it up and the song is about the loss of a loved one, quite powerful, but does keeping everything so vague make it more universal or just rob the songs of their flavour? The album title says a lot – here lies music full of generic symbols you have to add your own meanings to.
Daft Punk lyrics aren’t exactly poetry, but I still love them. I think it’s partly because their robotically precise music strips the emotional content of its dramatics, so it is less desperate for attention and acknowledgement, and more just a stating of a digital fact. “Robot 001 feels joy”. That appeals to me because the emotion is recognised as being important, but also transient, the ripple of a deeper self. I don’t want to be a robot, I just want to be aware of my emotions without them defining me. ‘Wooaah-o! Emotions are defining me!’
I was feeling a bit emotional as I left for this Cardiff gig. To me a gig is like mirror asking “who are you and what are you made of?” I see it as a challenge to be the best I can be, and I hate letting myself down.
I also didn’t want to let down The Full Moon, as it’s run by such incredible people, music geeks who do a lot to support new music and their community. My last gig here with John Parker in the bar downstairs seems to have gone down in venue folklore now, so I’ve graduated to the main room for this solo gig.
After soundchecking and shooting a little video I had a wander around town. Cardiff may have a lot of crappy drunken fights and Stag and Hen parties – I should know cos I’ve been on one myself – but there’s a lot more to it than that, and good people to meet.
Two more great supports tonight, both making big steps towards their different goals. Luke Bennett as a very accomplished guitar player, and Dan Bettridge as an exceptional singer-songwriter with a stunning voice.
As the room filled up a bit we got a really wonderful atmosphere and I was reminded of why I love doing this so much. Plus I really love this room. A lot! Thank you to everyone who came to listen. I’d love to come back again.
I don’t think I’ll ever be like Daft Punk, for a start I’ve already revealed way too much about myself. So screw that for now. Keep it personal – drop me an email or something – it’d be good to hear from you…