KEEP IT ROTATING

Try and expand your music taste outside your normal flavors. Variety is the spice of life. This is something I really try to implement in my everyday life as much as possible. Sure, there are plenty of things I do that are incredibly regimented. For the most part, people could guess the meals I cook for myself, what I do every morning, and habits both good and bad I have absorbed overtime. But when an opportunity strikes to try something new, I am usually pretty keen on it. For me, it’s stuff like this: make a different coffee (both style and beans), pick something new off a menu, ride a different surfboard, try and surf different spots, and switch up workouts/wellness methods. You’ll never know if you are missing out on something until you try it. 

This principle/idea is ever so prevalent in something I do (and most of you probably do daily). Whether it’s working, driving, working out, or even just lounging around, you most likely have music playing. The only time I really don’t is when I am reading and when I am surfing. If I could have it playing while I surfed, I would. “What? Sorry I couldn’t hear you behind me I was bumping Savage Mode II”. Only in a dream world. 

Some may be scoffing at me talking about this, as I have always portrayed the image of a heavy rap listener. This is incredibly true. 90% of the time when you hop in the CR-V, there is some hip hop playing. For some reason, driving to rap is just something I can’t really let go. I don’t know if it’s just the best music for it, and I am sure not everyone agrees on that statement, but for me it’s just right. And if it’s not right, I don’t want to be right. Nothing pumps me up for whatever I am doing to do when I get out of the car like some of my favorite artists over hard hitting 808s and drums. 

However, when I am in the office (whether at the desk in my room or in the literal office), I typically have to keep it rotating. Even with the large amount of good music that has came out recently in the hip hop category, I still have been listening to music in shifts most of the time. An album of this, a couple hours of that, a podcast, and one last vibe to hop into before closing up shop for the day. The rotation keeps it refreshing. I have both playlists and saved albums that can easily take me from one end of the spectrum to the other. As soon as an album finishes or it’s time to flip, it’s a click away.

One main reason this is a really refreshing exercise for me is that in the hip-hop realm, I tend to stay in current times or even somewhat recent eras. Sure, every now and then I play older stuff. But not nearly enough as other genres. The way music was made ten to twenty years ago is so different it’s insane. And that is definitely half the fun for me. When I hop into my blues playlist, I hear Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, and Al green. All their music was made long before I was even born. The sonics and just feel of the music is largely different than that of the music of the 2010s. In other genres, a great deal of the material I listen to is older, and has some little nostalgia to an early time in my life. All the different sounds take me to different places.

My blues playlist is perfect for stretching and early mornings with little caffeine. My reggae playlist is a go-to for window down drives (when not bumping rap) or barbecues at home. My electronic music takes me back to my high school music taste and gets me fired up to tackle whatever in the right setting. My rock/“band” albums and playlist get me into a nostalgic era. Long story short: listen to different kinds of music. While you are at it, there’s not a better time to check out HIMOTHY BEATS, my producer alias. My catalog is growing quickly and isn’t going to stop expanding anytime soon. 

Quarantine Listens Pt.1

We have a lot of time on our hands. Whether we like it or not, we are going to be stuck in the same routine for a while. Working from home, not really leaving the house, and seeing whoever you live with all day long are going to be very real circumstances for the time being (and most likely quite some time after). If you dwell on it too much, you are going to bum yourself out. Remember: it is for the greater good. The quicker we oblige to social distancing and quarantine practices, the quicker we can get out of the very funky time (hopefully). With all this free time on our hands and about a quarter of the social interactions we are used to on the daily, you need some noise to fill the gaps. Music is obviously a great choice (and that, we will be saving for pt. 2), but sometimes we need to switch it up. Ever listen to a podcast? Well, now’s the time to start. Here are some recommendations per the writers interests and biases (with duration included, as some are into short-form and others into long-form):

MUSIC

The Joe Budden Podcast (Long)

This podcast got me through transitioning from working in places that required interaction with customers to working in an office space. While I have loved all my previous and current coworkers, there are certainly times where I just need to plug in and focus to get things done. I felt often that music I was familiar with I would sing along or get easily sidetracked. Locking into a podcast of just banter was one of the best ways I could effectively get work done (at the time, this was mainly copywriting so it wouldn’t side track my word flow on docs). The Joe Budden Podcast is predominantly a music podcast, starting with roots in hip-hop but now covering most everything music related (from releases to the business to specific artists, even to Joe’s music career). The more you listen, the more you start to know about each of the characters and get the jokes that often fly under the table. In it’s evolution, they also cover current events and just about anything that makes headlines. The JBP is for sure the podcast I listen to most, and haven’t missed an episode since 217 (they are now on 334). 

Dissect (Medium)

https://open.spotify.com/show/2b025hq3gJ17tQdxS3aV43?si=jmpKwZkRTjW_MF8Wgz0sYA

This music podcast differs starkly from the JBP. It’s main contributor is Cole Cuchna, a music nerd much like myself, but he is on a completely different level. Dissect takes iconic albums and breaks them down song by song, really taking a deep dive on underlying themes and even the construction of modern music. His selection is for sure Hip-Hop based, but covers some of the most critically acclaimed albums, from KDots TPAB and DAMN to Kanye’s MBDTF. I started with the Kanye album, and by the time I was finished I would argue that MBDTF is probably the best album of the 2000s. While some of it might be a little too in depth on musical notes and history, it does feel awesome to finish a season and have a whole new understanding of an album you already loved.   

SURF

Lipped the Surfers Podcast (Short-Medium)

https://open.spotify.com/show/6QZX2yvefx8sUdIWEeDa94

The first surf podcast I really took a liking to and since I’ve I listened and enjoyed every episode. The two hosts carry the show quite well, one a more average surfer and one an ex-QS surfer turned coach. They both typically tend to have varying perspectives, but always are crushing salt lagers (beers) in unison. Whether it’s contest wrap-ups, contest previews, fantasy surf picks, or the odd guests, they have classic surf banter you and your mates have. They definitely are tapped in to surfing, and especially that coming from their homeland (Australia). It is always nice to hear from the ex-QS surfer (Cahill Bell-Warren) as he has had a wildcard spot on the CT and has grinded the QS for quite some time. Now a surf coach, it’s funny to hear him talk either ultra technical as far as surfing or aussie-slang heavy about surfs or nights out on the piss. 

L8 Night with Choccy

https://open.spotify.com/show/6zEvoIxlqCO3UUrzoz9Yfh

Guilty bias since my dad was a guest on this one (you even can here me chime in on occasion), I actually had listened to the podcast before the invite was extended. The surf world is massive, and there is a lot going on in between the CT surfers, huge corporate brands, and just the culture itself. L8 Night and Choccy do a great job highlighting the more low key but integral parts of surfing’s upbringing. Whether it’s lifelong shop owners, people who steered some of the biggest brands before buyouts, or small groups of surf-minded individuals (companies or boardrider clubs), they cover it all. Both lifelong rippers and both currently working in the industry, it doesn’t get much more core. Whether it’s surf talk, brand talk, or just about anything surrounding the sport or the industry, these guys have the inside scoop.

BONUS: The Lineup and Forerunners 

https://www.worldsurfleague.com/watch/431187/the-lineup-with-dave-prodan?playlistId=431187&s1=watch

https://www.surfline.com/series/forerunners

I really like The Lineup. For me, I am guilty of listening to them all but really only love the ones based on the guest. One thing I love about every single episode though is the lightning round: 10 questions for the guest. My favorite to hear people’s response to is best & worst person to share a session with.

Forerunners is a Surfline-powered podcast that explains wave forecasts to their perspective zones. I couldn’t put it as a favorite since it covers everywhere, and I don’t need to listen to the east coast forecast if I ain’t gonna be over there. But I do love to get the most in-depth breakdown on surf if there is a forecast that looks promising.

Perspective

YNK (Medium)

Mike Stud has always been an artist I’ve been fond of since I found him. While I do like a ton of his songs, his personality at first is what sold me. I was tipped off by a friend to check him out around sophomore/junior year of college, and then fell into the vortex of his Tourings Boring series. One of the earliest vlogs for musicians (salute Wiz Khalifa with DayToday), it follows Stud and his childhood friends in all sorts of debauchery and trouble a couple of lower to mid-20 year olds could get into. Super loose, he was a party guy. When I listened to the first episode of the pod, I realized he had definitely made a lifestyle switch. Post break-up, Mike took his time to slow down and find himself, and in the process became very spiritual. He has taken the podcast platform to interview his friend circle and beyond: fellow musicians, top-level athletes, and entrepreneurs. You can cherry pick the people who you are familiar with, watch ’em all, or listen to their friendly banter when they are sans guests and just with the Steves. 

Airplane Mode (Short) 

https://open.spotify.com/show/14Lz5tpJshLyqUV4bDSdE7

Most of the pods spotlit during this post are in the middle or on the longer side. For me, I typically like to save podcasts for longer periods of time. However, there are some bite-sized podcasts out there that really give you a bang for your buck as far as quality content in a smaller package. While one that comes to mind is the NYTimes podcast The Daily, it recently got a little too corona crazy for me to want to listen to. The GQ podcast Airplane Mode gives you easy to digest tidbits of information, coming from all sorts of different people. From trainers to artists to writers, they all cover topics that they can transfer valuable info based on experience. From 30 minutes to an hour, with the odd long form podcast in there, Airplane mode is good to just get a quick fix. And I always gotta stay true to the GQ brand. 

2 Random 1s

The Nintendads (Short-Medium)

https://open.spotify.com/show/2L0Q8ut4bEk988B7y55H9t?si=2UR80Nb_TVO8Xll7GbGa1g

Here’s some shameless self(brother)-promotion. My brother recently beat me into getting into the podcast space (more on that potential later) by starting a pod with two of his closest friends. One thing brought them together when they were younger and it’s something they all still do currently, and that one thing is their love for classic nintendo games. Enter the Nintendads, as these 3 fathers chop it up about game news, express their biases, and overall just goof around. I gotta put some respect on the brozay, as they are only getting more and more quality. While I can’t always follow the subject matter, we all grew up on nintendo games, so the nostalgia just hits home. My one beef with theirs is that there is no video to go along with (while it is understandable since they do not live near each other). Knowing how all of them are, it would be pretty good to see their facial reactions to certain topics. 

The Medium Rare Podcast (Short-Medium)

This one is my newest discovery on the podcast front. It is for sure my guilty pleasure podcast. It is no way embarrassing, but sometimes I just think to myself “why am I watching this”. It pretty much details the late-night antics and clout-driven activities between 3 close friends with money. While I am sure if me and my buddies somehow attained a nice amount of loot and a social following, we would be doing the same shit. In a nutshell, it covers girls, going out, fashion, and food. The food part is definitely what first drew me in, as it is interesting to hear their opinions about different food scenes (although it is all very high-end dining, which I won’t be partaking in anytime soon). But like I said, I got sucked in and now am playing catch up. It will act as an inspiration for when we are off quarantine and back to sending it (that’s some shit they would say). This is one I’d say is essential to watch, just because you can see how close of friends they are based on the body language and jargon between them. 

On Playlists: Different ways to carve out a sound.

A playlist is a special thing. It is a type of thing that can change your mood. Something that when paired with the right setting just feels too right. Crafting a good playlist is like striking gold. The less skips you have while a playlist flows speaks to how good of a medley of songs it is.

On Genres.

One way to categorize the sound you are trying to capture is by genre. For a lot (including myself), a certain type of music can set you in trance depending on the situation. A relaxed reggae or rock playlist helps ease into mornings and nights when needed. Guaranteed my Hip-hop and EDM playlists gets the amp up. Playlist that live in genres can sometimes get stale, when you are looking for a certain mindset across multiple genres.

On Locations/Feelings.

In a similar sense to above, for example would be songs to get you excited, across all genres. Some R&B songs can give you the same sense of a classic rock song. There are all different ways to pair genres and artists, like fine wine and cheese. This playlist in contrast to the genre playlist requires more curating. If you have filer based on loosely the vibe of the playlist or just add too much of some artists, it too can start sounding like a broken record.

On Driving.

Some songs just sound different in the whip. Whether you got some knocking speakers or just having windows down blasting with the sun roof ajar, it’s just a whole different intake. This playlist typically needs to be a medley of genres, also with a good ratio of bangers and cruisers. This paragraph is super bro-ey, but for kind of for a reason. There’s really nothing more obnoxious than playing music really loud, but sometimes it is necessary.

On Concerts.

A playlist consisting of concerts upcoming and already over can really bring back the classic sounds of live music. Even when not literally the live rendition, hearing those songs after a festival or concert can jog the memory bank to replay in your head, but the live version. If prior to the concert, it just makes you imagine how songs will sounds live, either to be blown or away or disappointed. Some people say you should listen to these playlists the days of concerts. That’s a hot take.

On Memories.

One of the coolest things about being a Spotify user is your year in songs: the top 100 songs of your year. There’s a good chance the songs you played the most will reenact certain memories, since you always had those tracks banging. Almost promised to have zero skips, this is an incredibly consist playlist to put you in a good mood while reliving the old memories and creating new ones.

On Artists.

Everyone has that one artist that makes the hair on his or her skin stick up. The one who can’t put out any bad music, and is played daily. This playlist is the one that doesn’t get old, and really makes a statement about the music you love. Play it on repeat and enjoy the sounds.