Podcast Transcript:

Alright mate! How’s it going today? I’m not too bad. Thanks for asking.

Welcome to another episode of The Dan Sensei English podcast. The podcast that’s designed for intermediate and advanced English learners that want to practice their listening skills but they also want to pick up some new words and phrases along the way and, while you’re at it, you might actually be entertained and that can only be a good thing.

If you’re new around here, my name’s Dan and I’m here to help you stop being an English student and stop being an English speaker. So today’s podcast is all about music. We can’t avoid music. Every time we turn on the TV, turn on the radio, go to a shop, there is music! You can’t avoid it.

Some people, like me, absolutely love it other people kinda don’t care and it plays a passive role in their life but it does affect every single one of us and that’s why I wanted to talk about it today… and as I said I’m a big music fan so I’m actually really looking forward to talking about music today. Let’s get started!

My Music Education

Back in my history, if you like, I went to University as a younger lad. I went to Hull university and I studied Sound Engineering or Creative Music Technology or I can’t remember what it was called… something like that… and basically I learned how to record music. That was what I studied.

Not just music… sound in general, you know? I did some stuff for movies, I recorded some bands, I worked in live houses and a little bit in a theatre and you know, all that good stuff. Everything dealing with the recording of audio. That’s what I studied, but even before that music played a huge huge role in my life it almost changed who I am as a person. If it wasn’t for music, I wouldn’t have done the things I’ve done. I wouldn’t have gone the places I’ve been, and I probably wouldn’t have met a lot of the people that I have met, so it did change my life.

Now I’m gonna tell you a bit of my history when it comes to music, right.

My introduction to music

When I was young, and I’m talking probably 10 years old, in Sheffield, back in you know the early 90s, my first kind of introduction to music… I remember getting these kind of compilation tapes, right? They were called something like “Now That’s What I Call Music 48” or something. There was loads of them and it had all like the best songs of the day, right? Like a compilation and maybe it’d have, for example, it’d have like Michael Jackson on it, or you know, stuff like that.

I remember getting those things and the one song that really really jumped out at me when I listened to that CD… tape, not even CD… tape… was a song by Blondie called Heart of Glass. Now if you don’t know that song I’ll do a terrible impression for you it’s like [Music] I apologise, by the way… you may notice I’m not good at singing, but that song. I just really really remember that song as a kid. I remember rewinding and listening to that tape loads and loads and loads.

Another song that I remember as a kid that I really loved was Gangster’s Paradise by Coolio… you know [Music] so both of them songs I remember having on tape. These were given to me by other people, so that was early. The first song I ever remember buying, like with my own money, there’s kind of three that I bought around the same time. One of them was by a band called Babylon Zoo and it was called Spaceman. You can find all these songs on YouTube, by the way. But this song was kind of a weird song [Music] something like that.

So I remember buying that one. I think that was the first CD I ever bought. At the time, in the UK, electronic music was very, very popular, so I kind of got into you know electronic music… dance music… rave music… I guess you could call it. So my first real love, in terms of music, was rave music. I was probably about nine, ten years old, didn’t really understand what the Rave scene was all about, but I liked the music… specifically a kind of music called Happy Hardcore. It’s pretty cringy now, but when I was a kid, I loved Happy Hardcore. It was like dance music, that was really really sped up and fast and it sounded a little bit like Chipmunks. I listened to that loads.

I remember I would go to the the market in my hometown and they would sell tapes from the live events, from the live Raves, and I would just listen to these Uprising tapes all the time. If you’re not sure what this is… Uprising was a kind of music in the 90s. It was very popular in the north of England – look it up if you’re interested, but that’s the kind of stuff I was really into. So yeah, a strange musical start. But that’s what I was into and I would listen to like pop stuff on the radio, however, my life took a drastic turn probably around age 12, age 13, around that time.

The day that changed everything

I can’t exactly remember which order this happened, but around that time I discovered three bands. One of them was Green Day. Now Green Day were really popular in like 1994, so I must have been about 10, 11 years old, something like that and there’s a song called Basket Case. [Music] that one and I loved that song.

Somebody gave me, one of my cousins I think, gave me the CD and I liked that, so I listened to that. Around that time, The Offspring… probably a little later actually… I can’t remember the timeline but a band called The Offspring they had a CD that had a song on it called Pretty Fly for a White Guy. Everybody knows this song. You know, it’s like [Music] that one… and I bought that song and that song was not the important part.

I bought that CD, but often on a single CD, back in the day, you’d get the main song you bought and maybe like what we call a b side, like a a different song, and this CD had a live version of one of their older songs called “All I Want” Now, if you don’t know what this song is, basically it’s a very fast punk rock song and I remember the first time I heard this song, like I couldn’t believe what I heard.

The drums were so fast and the guitars were so loud and the singer is like singing at the top of his lungs and like so much passion and like it just completely blew my mind. I’d never heard anything like that before and instantly, in that moment, I was like that’s it. That’s the thing that I love and I remember, I listened to that song on repeat for hours. Just the same song over and over again. Bearing in mind this song is less than two minutes long. It’s just over and over and over and over and those two CDs completely changed my life. Completely.

Punk rock changed my life

That’s the stuff that got me interested in punk rock, which if you don’t know what punk rock is, you know, maybe you guys think it’s, you know, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash, maybe you newer guys… I don’t know who’s popular… like Avril Lavigne or Machine Gun Kelly… whatever.

You know there’s different shades in between there but punk rock… to quote a very famous band “punk rock changed my life” from about age 12, I decided that’s it… That’s the thing that I like and I couldn’t get enough of it. I just couldn’t get enough of it. That’s what I mean about it completely changed my life.

I just wanted to do that. I wanted to make a band. I wanted to go to see all these crazy, like dangerous, live shows. You know when you see people in the mosh pit and stuff… and yeah that was such a good time in my life. Honestly, looking back now, I even feel a little bit like… Goosebumps about it all, right?

So yeah, completely changed my life and since then I’ve kind of been obsessed with loud, heavy, aggressive music you know… punk rock, metal, hard rock, all that kind of stuff.

The beatles are not my cup of tea

Even though I’m a big music fan, I actually don’t like a lot of music that most people say is good. Case in point, I am not a fan of The Beatles. Even though I’m gonna get a lot of slack for this, but I actually thought the Beatles were pretty mediocre. I don’t get it. A lot a lot of people really love the Beatles. I don’t understand what the hype is all about.

It’s not my cup of tea… now there’s a good expression for you… not my cup of tea. We use that to say that we’re not really into something. So yeah, not my cup of tea. I’m also not very keen on a lot of the big bands, you know, from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and whatever.

That is, you know,… like your Fleetwood Mac and stuff like that. Even Guns and Roses, Aerosmith, all them like heavy rock bands… not interested. Didn’t really get it. Even in the 90s, there were a lot of stuff that people really loved that I was just a bit like “yeah I don’t get it”. I don’t really get it. I’m not that keen on that stuff.

Tastes develop over time

So as a young ‘un got really into punk rock and it starts small, you know? I bought like a Green Day CD and an offspring CD, which you could argue is called pop punk. It’s kind of Poppy Punk. It’s like pop, with guitars… whatever you want to call it… and then, you know other bands at the time like Blink 182, Sum 41… that kind of thing.

But then, you kind of develop a taste for like the more underground… the more hardcore stuff. Then I got into bands like NOFX, Bad Religion, Propagandhi… which were like the next stage and then, even now, still going down the different levels of bands that I really love.

And to the point where there’s a lot of bands that I like, that existed for one year, 10 years ago, and nobody knows who they are… but they’re like my favourite bands. So there you go. That’s kind of my introduction to music.

Talk about music you like and don’t like

Now if we’re gonna talk about music… I did use a lot of expressions there, but some common expressions that you’re going to hear when you’re expressing the kind of music or artists that you like, there’s a few ways. Let’s say you want to express that you like a certain genre of music. There’s a few ways, you know?

I like techno music… I’m really into West Coast hip-hop… I often listen to classical music… whatever. There’s a few ways to do it. In terms of bands, you can kind of say the same thing. “Oh, I’m really into Arctic Monkeys” or “I often listen to Rammstein” I don’t know. So that’s easy. Same with if you’re not really into something.

Maybe you meet somebody is like “I absolutely love Elvis” like… I’m not that into Elvis, you know? It’s all right. I don’t really like it. It’s not my cup of tea… we already talked about. “I’m not that keen on Snow Patrol” Turns out, I don’t know much modern music.

Now that I think about it… all of the music… this is how I know I’m getting old… complete tangent… this is how I know I’m getting old… there came a point, at some point, in maybe early 2000s, where I just stopped enjoying new music. Somebody like flicked a switch and all the stuff before that time I really love but all the stuff after that time not that bothered. Even some of my favourite bands. The albums that they released more recently I’m not that bothered about. So that’s how I know I’m getting old, by the way. That’s how that works! When that happens to you, it’s because you’ve got a bit old. It’s it’s a fact of life.

Is it bands, artists, dj’s or songs?

In terms of music, when we’re talking about it, we can talk about genres… you know… I’m really into a specific genre. We can talk about artists or bands depending on what you’re into. Like if it’s an individual person, or you know, just a group of singers, or something. Maybe we call it artists.

It’s a full band, call it a band… or these days there are like electronic music that producers or DJs or whatever. There’s a lot of way to call it. Maybe you want to talk about the person, or the group that makes the music that you like.

You can talk about specific songs… like “I absolutely love Beyonce’s Single Ladies” whatever it’s called… [Music] you know that one. So the best thing about this podcast is just listening to me do really crap impressions of famous songs. So I hope you’ve enjoyed that.

Is it bands, artists, dj’s or songs?

In terms of music, when we’re talking about it, we can talk about genres… you know… I’m really into a specific genre. We can talk about artists or bands depending on what you’re into. Like if it’s an individual person, or you know, just a group of singers, or something. Maybe we call it artists.

It’s a full band, call it a band… or these days there are like electronic music that producers or DJs or whatever. There’s a lot of way to call it. Maybe you want to talk about the person, or the group that makes the music that you like.

You can talk about specific songs… like “I absolutely love Beyonce’s Single Ladies” whatever it’s called… [Music] you know that one. So the best thing about this podcast is just listening to me do really crap impressions of famous songs. So I hope you’ve enjoyed that.

Making music

Now that’s listening to music and talking about music that other people make, but me personally, I actually love making music as well. You probably can see behind me, over here, there’s a guitar. So I taught myself to play guitar from about the age of 14, I think… I can’t really remember.

But I remember I got a guitar for Christmas because I wanted to play the songs that I loved… you know Offspring, Green Day, whatever. I got a guitar for Christmas and I taught myself how to play these songs by kind of just like listening and learning very basic chords and using the internet to find out what chords and  what order I should play the chords.

A chord by the way, if you’re not sure, is a collection of notes played at the same time on a guitar, or a piano, or whatever… it’s called a chord. Slowly, but surely, I taught myself how to play guitar. Then I took a couple of lessons when I started but basically self-taught. Just listening to songs I liked and trying to copy them. Good stuff!

Since then I’ve actually learned how to play bass as well. I don’t actually have a bass guitar here in Japan, but I can play bass and I can also play drums… even though I’ve only owned a drum kit for about a year of my entire life. I spent most of my time tapping on the desk and you can ask my wife… It drives her crazy! I’m always tapping on something. So that’s how you know somebody’s a drummer. They’re always tapping on something. Whether it’s their lap, or the desk, something like that. So, I can play drums as well.

A jack of all trades

I’m not… now here’s a good expression… I could say “I’m a jack of all trades” this idiom means I can do everything all right, but nothing well. This is true for my entire life to be honest, but “a jack of all trades”. Imagine a pack of cards, right? Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, Jack, queen, king, Ace… right?

Ace is the best one. Then the king is the next, but Jack is a little bit down… it’s not the best card but it’s all right, you know? It’s not bad. Now, Jack of all trades… I’m a jack of everything. Like at everything, I’m pretty alright but I’m not the Ace of anything, right?

And in English we say “a jack of all trades” to describe someone… like “Steve’s a bit of a jack of all trades” like that. I consider myself that way about music I’m reasonably okay at guitar and bass and drums… I can get by but I’m not particularly good at any of them. so there you go…

I’d love to be able to play piano but I just can’t do it. I’ve tried. I can’t do it. I’d also love to play a brass instrument, you know, trumpet, or trombone, or saxophone, or something, but yeah not really for me. Stringed instruments or just whacking things with sticks… sounds good! That’s what I like.

There is no substitute for live music

The last thing I want to talk about today is my first experience with live music. CDs and.. well you guys CDs showing my age… records, tapes, CDs, nowadays you know Apple music, Spotify, however you listen to your music these days… It’s one thing, but experiencing a live concert is a whole other ball game. It’s a different kettle of fish… Completely different and live music is a huge passion of mine.

I’ve played in bands. I’ve played live shows for a huge part of my life… but there’s nothing better than going to a live concert and experiencing live music. It’s like a drug. Honestly I just love it and I’ve never not loved it. The first concert I ever went to… I remember so vividly.

I was probably about 15 years old and I went to Manchester. Now me and my friend went to Manchester on the train on our own, it’s two like 15 year old kids, I can’t remember if my mum knew I was going or not… I can’t remember if we kind of lied… or I don’t really remember.. but I went to see a band called Alkaline Trio. Fantastic band if you’re into that kind of thing.

In Manchester, at the Manchester University hall, or whatever it was called, and there was three bands playing. There was a ska band called Jesse James, who had one popular song about that time then. There was a support act called “face to face” who were absolutely amazing and then the main artist was called “Alkaline Trio”

Now, I’d never been to a live show. I didn’t know what to expect as a 15 year old kid… Maybe 14… and you know it was all new. I was like so excited and we get in there and I don’t know what to do with myself. The music started and people just kind of went crazy, you know?

People were like dancing around or moshing or whatever you want to call it… like the mosh pit, where people are like bouncing into each other and stuff. Crowd surfing and stage diving and all this wild stuff. As a 15 year old kid, I didn’t really know what to do. I was like shocked by it… like whoa, what is happening?!? What’s all this?!?

and, of course, after like maybe one song of just watching people go crazy… I’m like “this looks fun! I want to try” So I remember like jumping in the mosh pit and like bouncing around with people and pretty sure I got punched in the nose, but you know, there’s a famous phrase “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” If you don’t want to be in the mosh pit, get out the mosh pit… and if you’re in the mosh pit, maybe you’re gonna get a bashed nose… that’s life.

But just that experience. Being in that crowd, that’s full of energy and listening to this music… but honestly one of the best experiences of my life. And I’ve been to so many, we call gigs in England, but so many concerts, so many gigs, festivals and stuff like that. Even last week, I went to see some Japanese punk rock bands in my hometown. Love it! Can’t get enough of it and I hope that never disappears in my life. I hope I’m always into it, in one way or another.

Join the Study Squad

So that was basically me talking for 23 minutes about my love of music. I hope you enjoyed listening to me talk. I hope you learned a couple of phrases along the way and yeah time for today’s question. I’d love to know “what kind of music are you into?” Let me know below! Let’s talk about it.

Just to finish up today, this podcast was requested by Tom over on Patreon. He’s part of the study Squad. He’s a bass player as well and we we often talk about music. You know, on the Discord Channel and stuff, so yeah… shout out to Tom. This one’s for you buddy! If you’re interested in joining the Study Squad on patreon, the link is in the show notes, in the description.

It’s a community of people that want to practice their English together. For as little as five dollars a month, you get access to the Discord server… Imagine it’s a bit like a WhatsApp group with more functions or a telegram group with more functions. So you can speak together. You can use text or you can go in the voice room and actually speak with your microphone. It’s great!

You can ask me questions about English and you can practice English with me and other people… Good stuff! You’re also going to get loads of extra stuff as well, you know, extra videos, extra podcasts, shadowing practice every single week. If you want to improve your intonation, and your word stress, and stuff.

And if you join at the $10 level, you get access to my weekly Chinwag group, which is a zoom meeting, where we all get together on zoom and we chat together in English. It’s awesome! I’d love to see you in there and I promise you it’ll help you practice using English! Links in the description… go check it out… but thank you very much for listening to this podcast today and I’ll catch you in the next one! See ya

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