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Students’ Musical Tastes

By Sam Mostowfi

From left to right, Ezra Graves, Koby Kern, Bodhi Godwin. Photo by Sam Mostowfi

Musical taste, to some people, dictates who they hang out with, how they act, and who they are. I am fascinated with how music can impact a person’s identity, and wanted to look into this. The d.tech community is very diverse, especially when it comes to musical taste. I found five very unique and different music genres that students were into, and tried to dig into why these genres were appealing, and how they differ from others.

Raymond Ding. Photo by Sam Mostowfi

Raymond Ding: Classical

Junior, Raymond Ding, is a talented musician who listens to and plays a variety of genres on piano and sax (see “Jazz Cats of d.tech.”) However, when asked what his favorite genre was, he gravitated towards classical, specifically composers Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach. Raymond was initially drawn to this genre through playing classical piano. Ding also loves the technicality of playing classical music.

[Classical music] is not boring to me” said Ding. “Most people around me listen to classical music without actually listening to it with full focus. Believe it or not, this genre is often intense and complicated to understand. I don’t understand how people can fall asleep to Beethoven’s music.”  But one of the things Ding values most about classical music, is how it can convey and inspire emotion. If he is listening to a sad classical song, he usually feels sad, and if it’s a happy song, he will feel happy.

Ezra Graves: Punk Rock

Junior, Ezra Graves is also a musician himself (guitar), and one of his favorite genres is punk rock/grunge. Graves first discovered punk at a very early age, and at the time didn’t really know how to appreciate it. The angry energy, however, was appealing to him, and he eventually got more into punk during high school. He even went to a few shows. Graves said he doesn’t like punk for its technicality, but, rather, for its message, and the way that message is conveyed in the performances. Since Graves is also a musician, I wanted to know if he enjoys playing punk compared to other genres. He says he doesn’t really like to play punk by himself, but that in a band, it can be really fun. He says he recognizes that it’s not the most difficult style to play, but it is definitely a part of his identity, and influences how he writes and plays music. Ezra stated, “I wouldn’t say it’s any better than most music, but it’s definitely more my thing.”.

Ethan Yu. Photo by Sam Mostowfi

Ethan Yu: J-Pop

Junior, Ethan Yu’s favorite genre is one that is very popular at d.tech: Japanese pop or J-Pop for short. J-pop is definitely a much newer phenomenon than punk rock or classical music. It usually involves fast paced electronic music accompanied by Japanese vocals. Yu originally came across J-pop through animé, specifically the opening sequences which usually involved a theme song. He also later got more into the genre through a popular rhythm video game called Osu!. Osu! Is comparable to guitar hero or other similar games, but with its own unique mechanics, and J-pop songs instead of rock and roll. Overall, Yu enjoys listening to J-pop, because it brings him joy, and is generally a very uplifting genre.

Bodhi Godwin: Brutal Deathcore

Junior, Bodhi Godwin, probably has one of the most unique music tastes at d.tech. Brutal deathcore  consists of low-tuned guitars, loud and aggressive drums, and deep and gnarly screams. The style got its name by merging death metal and metalcore, and it’s by far one of the angriest and most violent-sounding genres ever created. This is not a genre that is appealing to most, but Godwin has his reasons. He explains, “I was attracted to the aggressive sound I could blast when I was annoyed about something. But then as I started to discover the technical side of the music, I began realizing how difficult a lot of it was. The sheer assault on the senses is nothing that you will find in any other genre. However if you can bear listening to it, it bears a lot of resemblance to classical – arpeggios and scale runs are quite prominent. The only difference is that deathcore is distorted and lower.” One could argue that this is not the only difference between the two genres, but Bodhi explains the similarities well.

Koby Kern: Electro swing

Koby Kern, known by many as “Kiby”, is a very musical person, and listens to a variety of genres, but the genre he is most passionate about is electro swing. An  interesting genre which combines 20s-40s old time swing with 21st century electronica, Kern first came across electro swing when he was eight years old, and he says it truly shaped who he is. “I came across it in a YouTube video and fell in love with it. This genre is different because it sounds like it came from the 20s, but it’s modernized,” said Kern. Electro swing always makes Kern feel better when having a bad day. Kern is a pianist, and when  asked if he likes to play electro swing,, he admitted that he never has. Kern is more commonly found playing the Interstellar song.

No music genre is superior to any other, and everyone is into their own thing. It doesn’t matter if you  listen to jazz or deathcore, it’s all music, and it’s all art. A true music enthusiast is mindful of all genres, and empathetic towards others’ music tastes.

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