Sonic art and its influence on our hearts and character


I can’t name three Prince songs off the top of my head, I never listened to David Bowie on purpose until after his death, and I didn’t have any sort of mental schema for Chris Cornell before about nine days ago.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 29: Musician Prince performs at the Conga Room L.A. Live on March 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Surely, some people find that all inconceivable. Maybe even offensive.

Please don’t hate me.

It just is what it is…

It wasn’t intentional on my part, to avoid those artists. It wasn’t out of spite, or to be rebellious. It’s just how things went. My music consumption simply took me to different places.

When Prince, David Bowie, and Chris Cornell sprung their mortal coils, I could feel the genuine way their departures punched their fans in the gut.

Sometimes, the way the public consciousness becomes heavy with introspection and despair just hangs in the air.

Then there are those who don’t seem to understand why people become distraught over the deaths of celebrities.

“It’s not like you knew them…”


The connection between an artist and their consumer is deep, dynamic, bold, and vivid.

So even though I wasn’t intricately acquainted with many of the celebrities who died over these past few years, I could feel the pain.

And the confusion.

There’s some confusion, right?

Like this feeling of, “You were there to guide me, shape me, form me. And now you’re gone. Except… you’re kind of not gone… because you’ve been memorialized by your own legacy…”

I don’t know if anyone feels that way. I am just guessing.

And imagining. What it would be like, for someone to pass away, who means as much to me as David Bowie means to so many people.

The closest example I can think of, my rough equivalent to David Bowie, would be Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM. Or Raymond Watts from <PIG>.

Maybe Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode. Or Martin Gore.

Depeche Mode confuses me, because Gahan sings most of the words, often inspiring feelings in me akin to, “This person really gets me.”

Then I realize Gore probably wrote the words. So I am like, “Gore really gets me.”

And then Gore says in some interview that he doesn’t write his lyrics from personal experience, and I am just like, “Uh, what?”

Art can be weird.

I like it that way.

You might not know who Sascha Konietzko, Raymond Watts, Dave Gahan, or Martin Gore are.

I’m not offended. You do you.

And despite the access point of this topic, this is not an analysis of how I’d feel if these people passed away.

I don’t know how I’d feel. A lot of times I feel almost completely disconnected from the intensity of death.

Then a friend passes away and I cry about it at sporadic intervals and get stuck in a cycle of pondering my navel and redefining my values for years.

This is rather a reflection of how art has impacted my life.

How music has contributed to my beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions.

Which is my window into understanding how music has contributed to society as a whole.

And it’s not just music.

It’s the whole culture around it.

The culture gives people a place to belong. People who might not have a place to belong without it.

This is powerful stuff.

I’d wager that those who don’t understand the power of art haven’t ever found solace and meaning within its embrace.

And found a way to articulate their deepest workings through the designs of someone else.

Extremely powerful stuff.

For me, there is no better example of this than my relationship with the band, KMFDM.

It’s just as provocative of a relationship as I’ve had with any individual autonomous living being.

It’s a story full of twists and turns, love and hate, finding and losing myself.

It’s a story with ego battles, lies, and identity distortions.

Lust, inspiration, self-destruction, and redemption.

It’s a story of growing up, letting go, and getting real.

A tale of forgiveness, self-discovery, and pumping fists to incredible music.

Yeah, I guess there’s some stuff about music in there too.

With KMFDM releasing their 20th studio album in August, this seemed like a good time to go into deep reflection mode and tell a story that’s been building up in my heart for over half my life…

So, where to start?

At the beginning?

Where the hell is the beginning?

1995 sounds about right.

We’ll start there…


Also published on Medium.