Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
Ásgeir: Nirvana – ‘Nevermind’
Dear good old Nevermind,
I haven’t listened to you for a while now but every time I do, you bring up countless memories.
Growing up in a small town in the countryside of Iceland can make you feel a bit isolated from the rest of the world. I was about 7 years old when I saw my best friend wearing a Nirvana T-shirt that his older sister had given to him. He had just started listening to the band that created you and told me all he knew about it and tried to describe its sound. After that, I asked my mum to buy me some Nirvana albums which she did a few days later when she went to Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. You couldn’t buy any CDs where we were living at the time, there were no shops there!
By the time I was introduced to you and Nirvana, the band had already released everything it was ever going to release because of the tragic death of Kurt. For a 7-year-old, his death made it even edgier and more dangerous to listen to the music. When I first listened to you I was, absolutely, blown away and I felt like I had found my calling in life. What magnified the experience is the fact that I could share it with my friend who was just as excited as I was about you. We had this ghetto blaster that we used to take outside and turn up to top volume because we wanted everyone to hear you. I was so inspired by you that I decided to pick up a guitar and started writing songs.
I know that my childhood would have been quite different if you hadn’t been around. Although I quickly moulded my own style of playing and discovered new and exciting artists on the way, you always stand out because you opened up the doors of creativity. You had something special that sparked my interest straight away, at the age of 7. The first song I ever learnt to play was ‘Polly’.
Now, when I think about it, I find it kind of funny that some countryside kids in Iceland connected so well to a grunge scene from Seattle that was all about expressing pain and anger towards society and being against the mainstream corporations. Of course, I had no idea what that meant or maybe I just didn’t care.
I didn’t get your lyrics at first, I only heard the songs, consisting of melodies, chords, beat, bass lines and structure and the songs themselves were enough to have my full attention. In my opinion, a song should be able to stand alone without the lyrics and still be good. That’s one of the many things I take from Nirvana. You and the rest of the music they made gave me so much, and you, my friend Nevermind, I certainly have minded a lot.
Ásgeir’s latest album ‘Afterglow’ is out now. Ásgeir plays Splendour In The Grass this weekend as well as a handful of sideshows in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. See dates and details here.