I get asked this question a lot: “How do you find good music?” Or, “Where do you get music?”
At first, I was amazed at this question. How and where? There are so many places to get good music! There is so much good music in the world! How could I even begin to compile a list for that? But I was also amazed that people seemed to be bored with their own playlists and really didn’t know where to go to find new stuff other than the typical big box Top 10 bullshit that’s out there. So I decided FINE, I will try and help.. 🙂
Rampa at his Boiler Room set in Berlin.
I have been a musician since the age of 5 and have always been moved by music. Music is the foundation of my life. I start my day by playing the guitar and then work on the computer while listening to music in the background. I listen to songs and mixes I have never heard before and then collect the ones that I do like. I just always assumed that is what everyone does but I am totally wrong!
Fuck the Power 100’s out there, the iHeart radio festivals, the Britney Spears and the Katy Perry’s. It’s all consumerist pop bullshit, with the only message being to buy more stuff, and that the only meaning in a women’s life is to look sexy for men with fake breasts, butts, lips, noses, and more. These “artists” have an army of people making them look and sound the way they do. For the most part they do not ever write or produce their own music. How are they even musicians? To me, they are nothing but puppets.
Very talented and often times, up and coming people get hired to make these “super stars'” beats and add a fresh sound to these washed up blow up dolls. So yea, sometimes the beats are pretty sick and I’ll listen to it a few times! (Remember Dark Horse? That beat was killlllerrrr… but Juicy J ruined it..)
Johnny Cash tellin it like it is.
Anyways, back to where I find music. I don’t subscribe to any of the pay for music services out there like Spotify or whatever. I pretty much exclusively use Soundcloud and YouTube. Youtube is a no brainer. You hear a song you like, go look it up, listen, and then click on the other recommended videos. I find that the ration of keeper to just OK track is about 1 in 25.
Soundcloud is so awesome. All the artists use it and if they are really underground or enlightened about the music industry, they usually give away their music for free (like Run the Jewels!). On the right hand side of the website is a huge list of similar tracks which is just a rabbit hole leading to hundreds of artists. When you get into collaborations the list gets even bigger as you can search for those names on the site and have another couple of days of music to go through. I believe that Soundcloud is one of the major reasons that our era has such great music!
At my dance studio, they have EVERYTHING. Pandora, Google Music, Spotify, and all the other things. I sometimes use Pandora to find other similar artists. Like I’ll put in Schoolboy Q radio or ASAP Rocky radio and find a few other people I like. But after a few hours the list starts to get repetitive.
I am a huge techno and EDM fan and usually have a DJ mix in the background from Soundcloud or Mixcloud. If you hear a section of the mix that you really like, see if the DJ has a track list or you can just Soundhound it and BAM! another rabbit hole of new stuff.
If you are really into an artist, find out what they like! Search for a playlist they have created or an interview they’ve done where they mention their influences, what’s on their iPod right now, and who they are signing. If you are into punk rock, Henry Rollins is a treasure chest of band names. He is an obsessive record collector and documents his findings in his LA weekly column. Or say, you are really into alt-pop. Check out some interviews with Peaches! What’s she into? Then go look it up!!
Finally, there are a ton of online music magazines that put out lists: top 100 of 2016, top 10 for January, most played tracks in the UK grime scene, etc., etc. FADER is great, Noisey is a Youtube channel, and KCRW is an independent station in LA. The wonderful KEXP out of Seattle has a Youtube channel with live sessions by artists and bands in their studio. It could take a year to go through it all.
As you can see, finding new music takes work! It’s a daily grind! But if you love music, it is a joy and when you discover your new favorite track it is a feeling like no other. Happy hunting!