Diffused: What Do Your Parents Think of Your Music?
As a transitive verb, Webster tells us, “diffuse” means “to pour out and permit or cause to spread freely.” If that definition weren’t so clunky, it’d be our motto, and with our new Diffused feature, we’re applying the word to questions — ones seldomly asked in interviews. Here’s how it works: Each week, we email a question to a diverse group of artists and compile their responses, all in hopes of gaining new insights into the personalities behind our favorite music. In this first installment, we asked, “What do your parents think of your music?” and the replies didn’t disappoint. Check ‘em out below.
Mike Falk of Les Jupes [Website | Facebook]
My dad hasn’t ever really got it — he’ll come to release shows but you can tell its not really clicking for him. That’s alright. I know where he’s coming from and the music he grew up with. At least he’s supportive now, where earlier he probably wanted me to be doing something else with my life and has now at least acquiesced to it. My mom has often said that I should be a children’s entertainer. Not quite sure how to take that.
Sohrab Habibion of Obits: [Website | Facebook]
I don’t think my dad has heard Obits, but I doubt he’d like it, as his tastes run more to Louis Armstrong and traditional Iranian music. He did come to an early Edsel show at the old 9:30 Club and said he enjoyed one song, which happened to have the most quiet parts and least singing. My mom, on the other hand, told me flat out that she likes Obits more than either Edsel or Kids For Cash, which were the previous bands I was in. But she helped me put on hardcore shows at a Northern Virginia community center in the late ’80s and grew up listening to Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and the Beatles, so it’s less surprising.
That said, they’ve both been interested in and supportive of the music I’ve been involved with my whole life. They like to travel and meet people, so always want to know about where I’ve been and what I’ve done.
Lexi Valentine of Magneta Lane [Website | Facebook]
My parents both love coming to our shows and listen to our records, which has always been really great to have that support. The funny part, though, is that my dad is like the most intense Magneta Lane fan that he will call me to let me know about how someone was talking s— online, or we got a great review, or whatever, and I’m always like, “Chill, dad.” That man is on the ball! Haha. Then my mother, she gets upset when she hears the F-word in our songs or at live shows. She’ll start lecturing me in Spanish and refer to me by my full name letting me know that it’s inappropriate language. All the time. They’re pretty f—ing cute.
Emily Kingan of Lovers [Website | Facebook]
My parents are extremely supportive and like to attend our shows, buy merchandise and listen to the music in their car or at the gym. My mom also likes to try to pick out my parts. For example: “I can hear you singing on that song!” Or “I love your drum part!” My dad always wants to know how we write the songs and how we record them. He is full of questions about the technical details.
Yako Onuki of Melt Banana [Website | Facebook]
When I started the band, they were not happy, and they never talked about my music. But these days, they seem to understand what I do and what I want do to in my life, and they sometimes say we should be faster and noisier!
His Clancyness [Website | Facebook]
My mom Julia, has always been super supportive, she’ll actually order LPs from the label, and for ‘Vicious,’ she was seriously convinced and would tell me every single time I’d see her that I should send the masters to Bowie, her fav artist. She’s convinced we have a connection, and I tried telling her in a humble way that I have no idea where to send the Thin White Duke some music, let alone have a connection. I mean I’d love too, but c’mon. My dad probably doesn’t know I play music.
Inge Chiles of Ing [Website | Facebook]
They were very concerned when I dropped out of school. I was a chemistry major, was planning on grad school and the whole bit, so it was quite a departure for them. They don’t really read blogs, and my sister had to explain it to them that this was something I could do. Once, when I was really little, we were on a car trip, and my sister was yelling at me to stop singing, but my dad, who was driving, passed back a dollar to give me to sing him a song. Perhaps this is where I got the idea to become a musician. Mom thinks all of my musical talents can be traced back to this wacky “alternative”-method piano teacher I had when I was little. Overall, they are very supportive.
Dylan Von Wagner of Imaginary People [Website | Facebook]
Frankly, I think my father and mother liked the softer stuff and songs that we’re the typical pop song structures that they grew up on: Paul Simon, Stones, etc. Beyond that, I think it would be hard to find a parent that can get into certain types of music and say, “I love your work son.” Appreciation and liking are different gamuts. So what they think maybe just polite. That being said, one time I was driving down a dark road in the middle of nowhere circa 1992, and ‘Black’ by Pearl Jam came on the radio, and my father said, “Now that’s songwriting!” So no matter what era, good song is a good song, if you’re writing them, your parents will let you know!
Scott Butler of the Black and White Years [Website | Facebook]
My 73-year-old dad has told me several times that he thinks our upcoming album is doomed because he likes it, and if a 73-year-old Republican likes it, there’s no way it’ll work as an indie-pop record. My mom describes all my songs as “cute.” And though I don’t love the way it makes my work sound so trifling, she’s mostly right. The songs are pretty cute.
Victoria Cecilia of Gliss [Website | Facebook]
I remember giving our CD to my grandmother. And her reply was, “I don’t need that. I don’t have a CD player.” Then I gave it to my parents, and after a few weeks, they listened to it and said, “We listened. It’s not really our kind of thing, but it’s alright.”
Chris Keene of Mean Creek [Website | Facebook]
When I was 13 and first started playing in punk rock bands, my parents opened up their house to us and let us practice there. We started in this closet sized back room, then moved to my bedroom, until finally settling into playing in their basement for the rest of high school. After high school, in my adult life, they still love coming to our shows and showing support. I guess your parents being cool is the antithesis to a typical story of a punk rocker, but i was really lucky to be blessed with the two kindest people I know. I think them being so kind to me when i was young made it hit harder when dealing with how tough and mean the rest of the world can be, because it was the opposite of what I knew at home and of what they taught me. This gave me a good perspective on the world though, and I feel lucky I’ll always have them here reminding me to be honest, kind, and strong.
Juliette Commagere [Website | Facebook]
My parents say my music is very “nice.” Of my aesthetic choices however, my dad asked if I would be wearing more clothes on the new album cover and what does climbing on a rock naked with a headdress have to do with music.
My Midnight Heart [Website | Facebook]
My parents have both been very supportive of my songwriting since I was a tiny thing with huge hair singing emo songs out of my window to an invisible audience. That being said, my mom has never sought out an actual opportunity to listen to my music. She’s very much in the “whatever makes you happy” camp but not too interested in the details. My father, on the other hand, makes it a point to show up at each gig, which I appreciate, but thinks I’m definitely doing things all wrong because I haven’t auditioned for ‘American Idol’ or ‘The Voice’ or something. To him, it’s quantity over quality. He’d rather me be the next Alicia Keys (or really anyone honestly–as long as they have a record deal) than the next/only My Midnight Heart.
Jon Lawless of First Rate People [Website | Facebook]
“My parents are really encouraging. It’s funny, though. I can distinctly see a bit of both of them in me — my mom often loves repeating one song a bunch and my dad’s more of an album guy I would say. In my day to day life I’ve become quite a singles fan but when driving nothing beats a good album (preferably Beck’s ‘Sea Change’).
Charlie of Beaty Heart [Website | Facebook]
Luckily for me my parents have always been massively supportive and encouraging with my music, so when I reluctantly put it on the stereo for them, I find it kinda nerve racking in the hope that this mentality will continue however the sonic outcome! Sometimes my dad does this massively embarrassing dance or spits out a jazz hi hat rhythm. Anyhow they seem to like it most of the time! See below.