November 5, 2010
Dave Sutton describes life as a music blogger
After giving up the advertising life in California, Dave Sutton recently moved to Brooklyn to take his passion for the music community to new places. Converse.com interviewed Dave to ask him about writing, genre swings, and the creative process.
Dave – what are your first musical memories?
Firstly… Sesame Street. More meaningfully, my parents playing old tapes before bed, skating around a roller rink to R&B jams with my sister, looking through my dad’s record collection – lots of soundtracks, many British spy movies. It probably wasn’t until grunge hit that I really became aware of current music as an industry.
For someone who is positively obsessed with new music, what recent trends in the musical world have surprised you? What type of music are you most passionate about?
DS: It’s hard to say I’m most passionate about any type of music in a genre sense, but if there’s any one common trait between my favorite musicians, it seems to be an artistic freeness or progressive drive. It’s a ‘know it when you hear it’ thing, and it can come from anywhere. Trying to define “good” makes my head hurt.
As for recent trends, maybe it’s more exciting than surprising to see how quickly and easily DIY artists are helping each other. From retweets to full-on track collaborations, it’s just cool to see everyone flourishing together.
What drew you to write about music, instead of play it?
Well, I can’t play at all. My love for music comes partly out of admiration. Songwriting and the entire creative process fascinate me. Being a part of this community has brought me closer to a craft that doesn’t come naturally. Writing however, does.
Your writing is creative in a way that most music journalism is not. How has your writing style developed since you began?
I think visually, and tend to comprehend music that way too. Anything I wrote growing up was vividly detailed, like trying to describe a movie in slow motion. I had a few great teachers along the way who instead of correcting this pushed me further. Like most bloggers, my rules are self-made. Music journalists often have an obligation to stick with the formulas we’re used to seeing in blurbs (origin, influences, subgenres, labels, etc). Rather than placing priority on those (I usually link to somewhere that does), I focus more on the colors, feelings, and imagery that sounds inspire. It’s not profound; it’s just the way I prefer to use a word.
How has the move from Cali to BK been so far? Why the change, and what are your plans now?
It’s been fun. I came to New York much like I left for California 4 years ago, with travel-sized belongings and open-ended goals. It was time for something new. Except now there are professional and personal reasons for this specific location (proximity to music, proximity to girlfriend). I just left a job in advertising and don’t plan on returning to that industry just yet. I’m listening to my heart, and seeing where this musical life can go. I’m putting more time into Stadiums and Shrines and freelancing as much as possible (and SEEING MORE SHOWS!). I’d love to help young artists share their art over the Internet and showcase it locally in Brooklyn. To stay afloat, there’s probably a part-time job somewhere in that plan too.
What advice would you give to aspiring music bloggers?
Consider your blog an extension of yourself, so, be yourself. Find a voice and stay consistent. Support fellow bloggers. Encourage community, not competition. Credit sources. Celebrate music! Be positive (unless your niche is not to be). Don’t let enthusiasm become sensationalism. Hype is fleeting. Be true to your taste. Respect musicians.