I’m too close to this to be a really credible judge of what is or isn’t the best music in Florida. Not only do I have my own weird leanings when it comes to taste in music, but I also have made friends with lots of musicians in Florida. So, all I can say is that as somebody who really loves music, I am continually impressed by the efforts made by Florida bands in creating original, catchy, beautiful, noisy, freaky, intriguing music.
I remember the first time I heard Nicole Miglis – a friend linked me to her solo project on Bandcamp, and I left that tab open on my computer for months. I had a similarly strong reaction when a guy I met on a silly dating site told me to check out the Pauses. I saw that band for the first time when they opened for Aloha, and I couldn’t stop myself from gushing immediately afterwards to Tierney Tough (Pauses vocalist and now a good friend) how grateful I was that she was local. I asked her what other bands utilized her vocals, and she referred me to Great Deceivers, whose debut album got stuck in my Corolla’s CD player cuz I’d left it in there so long. Everybody who is a fool for music recognizes that it’s not about a band’s genre or its hometown or its influences. It’s about how their music moves you and how long it sticks with you. I am still waiting for the day I get to hear “Ghosts in My Heart” live. I have similar connections to a large number of past and current Florida bands, including but not limited to: Morningbell, Telethon, Khann, Hungry Gayze, Hear Hums, Merchandise, the Rules, Sean Moore, Monikers, Ben Prestage, the Ocean Floor (now in Portland), Fever, Summerbirds in the Cellar, Surfin' Serf, Radical Face, MORE.
I was completely insulted by the interview with Hundred Waters conducted by Vice writer Stephanie Dubick as a fan of music, and obviously not just the stuff from Florida. It honestly seemed like she’d never listened to the band and cribbed her descriptions from others who had. So, as a journalist, I was appalled. Her questions for Hundred Waters were completely generic; the sort of questions that lead to vanilla responses that make your interview a bland cup of link juice. That’s the hardest part about any interview: asking the questions that get you quality responses worth reading and sharing. Those divine sorts of insights that music fans just fuckin’ love. Really, I don’t think Dubick could possibly be a fan of Hundred Waters with that line of questioning, no matter how distracted she was about her brother’s arrest. There’s just no way she prepared for that interview. So, maybe that’s why she felt she needed to spice her piece up by vomiting an intro that reads like the tabloid version of Florida’s music history. I only wish we had a band called Bat Boy for her to swap out the lovely Hundred Waters’ promo shot with.
Vice posted a followup today, after a ton of Florida folks bared their teeth. It was written by Dante Lima, who I’m excited to see is now in Orlando, swarmed by people who totally get what he’s saying. In his retort, Lima took the high road, and here’s the heart of it:
in reality, Florida doesn't need saving. We aren't lost musical souls. We've fallen victim to misunderstandings and misrepresentations. We've been bullied for no reason. The better question is, how do we tell our story? The answer is through our music. We're not deprived of creativity; we're deprived of a fair shake. Listen and you'll hear Florida.
Well, I’m not as classy as Dante is, so here’s what I have to say to Dubick: If Florida is a wang, you can suck it.