How do you explain this habit to friends?

I grew up listening to rock and metal, with occasional electronic music thrown in (the Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode, etc), and then in my 20’s and 30’s listened heavily to Neil Young, Dylan, etc. Now I’m 50 and i’m making (as a hobbyist) electronic music in my basement. Mostly I’m creating house or downtempo techno. None of my friends listen to the kind of music I make, and they’re sort of bemused at this hobby of mine that I’ve become obsessed with over the past 5 years. Their idea of techno is pretty narrow and cliché (oontz, oontz, oontz, oontz…), and I always stumble when I try to explain what I’m up to with all this kit.

Even after 5 years, I still don’t really share my music except very occasionally a clip to super close friends. My kids and wife get a heavy dose and along with our cats are my only fans, and I’m fine with this. I just do this for me. But it is the thing that I spend the most time doing outside of work and family time, so it naturally comes up in conversation a lot.

For whatever reason, I don’t know a single person who makes electronic music, so I have no one to talk to about this stuff besides you guys. My friends are generally all still into rock, and I am too - it’s just not the kind of music I make.

Seems like many of you are professional musicians, so you probably can’t relate to this. But for those other hobbyists out there, is this story familiar at all?

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I have a group of online friends that I now share music and critiques with but other than that pretty familiar story. Most of the people in my everyday life don’t really listen to any electronic music at all.

Feel free to PM me a link if you ever want a listen on something : )

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They are your friends, majority of them don’t care and that’s cool! Be you and they will be themselves. That’s what friends do!

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Kinda. I have a few friends that are into electronic music but they are all creators and most of them in their 40s . And besides them none really listens to electronic stuff. Sometimes I think there are more musicians than listeners !

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In the 15+ years I studied classical instruments (piano as an adolescent, cello as an adult), I really couldn’t share anything with friends. I also thought the festivals / competitions / studio recitals were all a bit strange and painful, and avoided them as much as I could. I did get to share with family and even play with them, which was nice.

I’m really not very far along on my electronic journey at all but I can already see that I’ll be able to make credible snippets, if not full performances. I’ve already posted one on Twitter for the whole world to hear (though probably only about two people listened). Perhaps share little bits with your friends, for context? Who knows, some of them might be inspired to try to jam with you!

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Are you putting your stuff on a bandcamp page? If not, start doing that.

Are you part of any local groups? If not, find some and join in, even if its just being an online member.

I know what you mean, its tricky when your immediate social contacts dont share your interests, but that isnt an obstacle to you pursuing them. Externalise your work, and you will find people to connect with, if thats what you want.

Keep tweaking!

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Everything you said is true and applies to me except I’m still playing in rock bands (one of them still draws big crowds and sells out regularly so it’s a good paying gig) so to make it even worse, none of my life-long musician friends understand why I am obsessed with these machines. I tried to explain that I have been bored with playing traditional “band” music for years and I don’t feel the need to write songs anymore. I have plenty of back catalogue to play if they want to play those songs but I have absolutely nothing left to say lyrically and all I want to do now is make sounds that are pleasing to me and strive to create something original. I also tell everyone that focusing on and learning these machines is relaxing to me, almost a form of meditation. None of them really get it. One of my oldest friends and bandmates calls what I post on IG and YouTube “Speak n Spell noise.” I’ve accepted the fact that they will never really appreciate it and that’s okay. It brings me joy. When I started buying this gear again last summer after selling all my stuff years ago, I remembered this forum and the op1 forums and how cool and patient most forum members are so, I was happy to come back into the fold. I think that’s why I’m on here so much, because everyone here gets it. I will say getting a few tv placements did legitimize it somewhat in my wife’s view. It’s not much but it comes on a BMI royalty statement every quarter so I guess that does make it legit. I’m glad you started this thread. Made me share (maybe too much).

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It just feels good. There’s some kind of creative itch that I get sometimes and the best way to get relief is from making some noise until my brain is mush from too much reverb.

I don’t really talk about it with people around me unless they’re family or really close, but I guess I get some kind of validation from sharing some of it online. Even that doesn’t feel right, but I sometimes wonder what would be the point of making music and not sharing it… Then again, there’s plenty of happiness to be had in just doing it for the sake of doing it.

It’s a little cheesy and I think I’ve said it before, but this is a wonderful community here to talk and learn in. Thanks, people.

I absolutely feel that.

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Great question.

I have this too with general friends. The oonce oonce oonce thing always makes me roll my eyes - It’s cool they don’t get it, you do have to wade pretty far out on the fringes to see the sweetness of electronic music I think, and appreciate it in its more broader niches that aren’t just the mainstream thing. But also it’s often like pop a pill type analogies. Like they couldn’t listen to that music with out drugs.

But I think something happens to people like us, for me honestly it was the d minor delayed chord stab run through delay that hooked me. I didn’t even know how to explain it like that in the beginning. Even longer release time versions of that. And other inversions. But I always heard it in there. Love it

Granted, I know a lot of people that make music, and know more sound artists than I do DJ’s or producers, whom I can say are close friends. But it’s weird to exist in your own niche without knowing people who share the same passion for that niche as you do. I think if you can find someone that at least crosses into that vesica pisces, you could have a magical collaboration and friendship on your hands

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I’m 50… did stand-up for 20 years or so and the friends that I had made before comedy always saw me as just their friend. People I met after that knew me as a comic.

I just don’t tell anyone about my music anymore. I told a couple of friends, but it just sounds like I’m having a mid life issue. “I’m making music with these boxes!”

I plan on hitting up some shows, some electronic jams etc once things start opening up again. I would like to meet some people that will just know me from making music and nothing else.

So, since I’m 50 I have to go find a Joy Division shirt and wear my Docs if I’m going out to listen to or make music.

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People are/were either interested or they’re not. Never really felt the need to explain anything.

Yeah, I should do this. I have a long distance friend who sends me guitar clips. I’ve been thinking of bringing his stuff into the Octatrack and messing with it and sharing it back to him.

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I live in a medium sized college town, so it’s not hard to find a garage with jam-rock pumping out of it. I should barge in with my gray hair and Octatrack and see what’s up, but I’m too shy to do that.

I once posted an ad on Craigslist in search of electronic music friends. It actually generated quite a few responses, a few freaks, which was cool too. I made one music friend out of it and we played together a few times before COVID hit. now we’ve lost track of each other.

I’ll try to do the bandcamp thing eventually, once i get a little bit better.

That’s hilarious! well, i think it’s cool that you were self-aware enough to know you were done writing rock songs. And i’m sure all those years of playing and performing has informed your style when it comes to making electronic music. Thanks for sharing!

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I think about this a lot. is there a point in making any type of art if you’re not gonna share it? it’s a form of communication, expression. but maybe for some people it’s more introspective. i think it’s that way for me. although it’d be fun to make people shake some booty.

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There’s a fair chance this obsession is making my wife think i’m having “mid life issues”. she might be right, i don’t know. at least it’s not a Corvette.

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me too.
but look at my soundcloud.
make the music for yourself…
dont do it for an audience, unless that audience is standing right in front of you

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Abso-Rock-inlutely. Mostly same here. I simply stopped talking with others about this. They don’t understand. I am 50 too, but I started when I was 6…

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Just to add my two penneth…

I was/am in a similar position to you. I played in different bands from my teens up until my mid 30’s, starting out as a drummer then switching to playing bass. I always wanted to play funk/soul/disco stuff but i never found anyone else who did. It was all guitars on guitars on guitars. Same for my friends and mates who’d travel to watch us play. And to be honest most other bands we supported or who supported us were the same. In the last band I played with I started playing keys. That basically led to the band splitting as one of the guys (well, the singer/songwriter) just couldn’t accept anything but guitars in bands. All the while I’d dabbled in making my own electronic music and DJing in the local clubs playing dance stuff.

It’s only in the last few years (tbh since I joined here) that I’ve had the confidence share my stuff. All I can say it’s its been a really good experience. The stuff I tend to write is I suppose verging on pop but I’ve had some really good feedback from respected long standing members. That makes it worthwhile, not from a polishing my ego point of view but just to know that some folks actually like what I’ve made. I think there’s an element of low self esteem going on at my end (I tend to think everything I do is crap sometimes!) but when you’ve put time into something it’s helped me massively to see other folks can appreciate that work even if it’s not something they’d go out and buy for example.

So to cut a long story short, share your stuff on here. You might be surprised at the reaction…you could be making the sort of thing other folks have been looking for. Or you might find a kindred spirit who’s close to you for collaborations etc. I honestly can’t see you getting a roasting off anyone here, most likely a supportive comment or two.

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Happy and surprised to see so many 50s here, I’m 48 and I was considering myself too old for these kind of music. :older_man:

My story is very similar to @dougr, I starded with rock, blues and prog in my teenage/twenties and only a couple of years ago I (re)discovered that I can produce music using these gears and I’m enjoying so much!!

I talked with some closed friends about my hobby but they staring at me like if I was an alien or right in the middle-age-crisis so I stopped, I’m using a pseudonym on social media and actually nobody knows what I’m doing.

I don’t consider myself a producer, I’m just a hobbyist/wannabe and probably my music sucks, but I’m learning and enjoying playing. During the pandemic music helped me a lot.

So, happy to be here with nice people like you!

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