How Strathy Got Her Groove Back

Elastics, Zinta Avens Auzins

Electro music saved my life.


I used to listen to mellow music almost exclusively. Mellow is a pretty broad descriptor, so to narrow it down a bit, I’m talking about Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Harper, Norah Jones, Dave Matthews Band, The Shins, Damien Rice… not a particular genre, per se, but more of a vibe. I felt like it fit my life no matter how I was feeling. “Transatlanticism” by Death Cab (the song, not the album), for example, could be my soundtrack for a lazy (but happy!) Sunday morning – smoking and drinking on the balcony. It could also be the song I cry to when I’m crushing on a straight girl. It even worked when I was in a relationship (note the repeated lyrics: “I need you so much closer”). These songs were applicable, they were relevant, and they were timeless…

Or so I thought.

October 2008 comes and I’m dealing with a break-up. Once again I turn to mellow and sad and for a while my anthem was “The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore” by James Morrison. I cried, I mourned, and all the while the soundtrack to my life was mellow and slow.

Then one day I was in the car with my sister and I heard ’Time to Pretend’ by MGMT. I felt like I’d heard it somewhere before, and it resonated with me. It’s uplifting and fun, upbeat and carefree. Unlike my usual music, I feel no need to look up lyrics of electronic songs, or put them in my MSN name. If there’s anything I want to do, it’s dance!

I needed more, so I turned to my best friend who was basically an electro master. He introduced me to MSTRKRFT, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, and Justice, among others. I started doing my own searching and found a plethora of mash-ups, remixes, beats and more. And of course, just like with my old taste in music, I loved sharing my new finds with friends.

Up until this point I hadn’t thought it took a lot of talent to make this kind of music. Remixes and mash-ups seemed so unoriginal. Beats seemed boring to me, but I’ve come to realize that this is so not the case.

Creativity does not come in one shape. Take Gregg Gillis, a.k.a. Girl Talk. He is a mash-up artist and his tracks often combine up to 25 different songs. “What’s It All About” (from his 2008 album, “Feed the Animals”) includes songs by Beyonce, Phil Collins, Mike Jones, Outkast, Queen, and The Jackson 5. Epic! Sure, he didn’t make those songs himself, but he used his knowledge of music and his computer skills to create a whole new piece of art.

I also had the good fortune of seeing Steve Aoki (twice!), Crookers, MSTRKRFT, and the Bloody Beetroots this year. Seeing those guys on stage with their high energy and intense focus is enough to convince you that they are hard at work, and that they are making real music.

It’s also a fucking unreal party!

I’m still listening to electro now. I certainly listen to other stuff, but electro is my favourite. It took me out of what could have been a really shitty slump and I think had a hand in changing the energy I give off.

Needless to say, Transatlanticism is no longer on my iPod.

Maevaflave’s Top 5 Mash-Ups

  1. Paper Rump Planes: Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rump Shaker” and M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”
  2. Cause de Kanye: Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” and Yelle’s “A Cause de Garcon”
  3. One More Time to Pretend: MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” and Daft Punk’s “One More Time”
  4. Smells Like Booty: Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious”
  5. Can You Hear My Kids Now: MGMT’s “Kids” and Lil Kim’s “Can You Hear Me Now”