Indie Music Hour with DJ HotJack

A regular journey around the music scene

The Riddle of Indie


When I DJ, I have that eternal battle of deciding what is indie and what isn’t or, more specifically, what is suitable material for an indie music venue and what isn’t. To relate it to my blog and podcast, I always fully appreciated I was setting myself up for a flaming by calling them Indie Music Hour. I’m sure much of the material I highlight or play wouldn’t in a million years pass the indie test with a lot of people.

I have been chided a few times by club owners for playing something that isn’t within their definition of acceptability. For example, I have in the past played Johnny Cash’s cover of NiNs ‘Hurt’ and have also played GnR covering ‘Live And Let Die’ or ‘Sympathy For The Devil’. This constant questioning of whether something is right for the audience is part and parcel of being a DJ. After all, without an audience we are without any function or point.

However, it isn’t always a good thing to get too hung up on labelling everything or passing moral judgement on everything. A while ago I came to the conclusion that people should embrace what they like, regardless of what others thought of it. In fact, I told a friend recently to avoid censoring what he scrobbled to lastfm. When people ask about my music taste I always say “I like what I like”. It’s all I can say as there is no pattern. To prove i’m not embarrassed about that I’ll let you into a secret. I listen to a lot of stuff that could be classed as indie or alt rock etc but I’m also crazy about things that stretch from Chopin to Perry Como.

And ultimately that is how music should be. Listen to whatever makes you feel something. I’m a pretty reserved guy but music is the one thing that can transcend barriers and give us real internal experiences. Personally, I detest Lily Allen and Kate Nash but, if they do it for ya, knock yerself out! So, taking all that into account, why didn’t I just call the blog and podcast Music I Like?

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to wanting to associate myself with the indie movement and here’s my rationale. I’d describe myself as a music lover rather than someone who just enjoys listening to music. Hopefully you will agree there is a difference. I don’t passively listen to music by letting radio stations etc dictate what I hear every day and I reject the diet of fluff I am fed by the major networks. I have no interest in hearing what Beyonce or Britney or Cascada are releasing next. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally stumble across a track I enjoy that is decidedly corporate and mainstream though. I just reserve the right to pick and choose.

The reason I wrote this is that I was prompted to once again consider the issue by an interesting post on another blog HERE

I’d really love to hear other views too. I think I can fairly confidently say there is no right or wrong answer to this one.


August 3, 2009 - Posted by | indie music | , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hell, there is a difference between loving and enjoying music!

    As for the definition, I don’t see it that strict and generally I label bands with “Indie” that started out or still are on an indie label or self release their albums. Well, actually it’s the sound that counts 🙂 It IS hard to describe, but in my collection the tags (incl. genre) are there to make it easier to find stuff (e.g. for playlists) so if something sounds indie that’s the label they get.

    I am fairly new to this as up until a few years ago I was far closer to mainstream music. That was because I did not know any better and thanks to the internet I do now 🙂 Funny thing is though that a lot of peolpe who only know me through my blog think I am a fierce indie fighter.

    So, yes, no definite answer 🙂

    Comment by juliaL49 | August 6, 2009 | Reply

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