The Magic of Music - Joe Snape
What does music mean to you?
To me, the way music organises people into overlapping communities of shared interest, passion and care is totally amazing. So many of the people most important in my life I met and developed meaningful relationships with through music. So to me, music is shorthand for people: for friends and friends who become family.
What is your favourite music memory?
One of my earliest music memories is also one of my favourites: it’s of going to see my trumpeter sister play a concert with the first wind band she ever played in, and there was a tall, twenty-something guy filling in the percussion parts behind the band; some snare drum, some cymbal and timpani; it looked so exciting and cool. I was maybe only ten or eleven, but I knew clearly in that moment that I wanted to be that guy playing big loud instruments at the back of the stage, and started learning classical percussion soon after.
What is your hope for music in the North East in 2021?
I hope music in the NE starts happening everywhere again! That venues and artists begin to see the end of this very tough time, and that we get to play some of the shows that we had penned in our calendars back in January and February of this year. Quite selfishly, my hope for the NE in 2021is that I personally can start to go to some flesh-based concerts and gigs again; the last 10 months or so I’ve really started craving a fancy evening out at a concert hall in garb that aren’t my stale studio clothes, and I’d love to spend an interval chit-chatting with people that aren’t my cats or the usual FaceTime crowd, listening to music by people that aren’t those that already populate my music collection–what I wouldn’t give for a slice of an in-person, full-fat German symphony…
What is your favourite Christmas song or carol?
Every year at university approaching the festive break, I’d put on one of two records in my room to pack my stuff for the holiday: either a Nat King Cole Christmas CD I’d found at the local Sally Army, or Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas. Of the latter record, I think the song ‘Come On! Let’s Boogie to the Elf Dance’ probably clinches it. It’s jolly, abundant, I like the motoric woodwind, and it’s another little masterclass from Sufjan on how you can make beautiful music simply by layering lovely melodies on top of one another over the same four chords, keeping it fresh by switching up instrumentation and packing the whole thing with good vibes. And I love the image he begins with too, of ‘your sister’ having cut her fringe badly, and it being a perfectly fine way to celebrate the holiday. I’d also love to hijack a snow-plough, as he recommends the listener does near the end.
Joe Snape is an Artist in Residence here at Sage Gateshead. Find out more about Joe and what he’s working on during his residency here.