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 Love Letter To A Record 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.
Zach Britt, Dream On Dreamer – Underoath, Define the Great Line(2006)
It was late one night when I first heard about you. My friend Brent called me up on the cordless and I ducked outside to whisper through the line, “is it really that good?”… The reply was resolute. “It’s better”. I was only 16. I rode my bike as fast as I could to Brent’s house so I could meet you. You looked so dark and mysterious. I have to admit though, I’d seen you in the magazines before. I had your poster on my wall before I even met you (fuck that’s embarrassing now looking back) but that’s enough ‘In Regards To Myself…’
From that moment we started spending every night together. Everyone else I used to spend time with just seemed to fade away and our conversations were on repeat. Once I got you started it was hard to stop and god you were LOUD! My parents were always banging on the walls begging me to “turn it down” haha, but there was no stopping us. Being with you really was a moment suspended in time.
There could be nothing after this. I tried to resist your nature but you’re ever so inviting. Still, you played with me on repeat with my parents banging on the wall (thanks to my uncle Salmanir for calming them down after the whole fiasco).
Now, let me take you back to the first time I saw you perform live! I remember your makers coming out on stage at the arena in Brisbane and you tore the roof off the place. It was better than anything I’d ever seen done before. You took my world and turned it upside down from then on. Filled with wonder, I slipped into another world while you wrapped around me amidst flashing lights and bodies jostled back and forwards on the floor. I wanted to be closer still. I needed to know more and to try to ride the lightning, like your makers. As we walked out of there that night it was clear that no one was returning empty-handed.
Flash forward four years to 2010
Standing in the Tivoli carpark in Brisbane with my band about to walk on stage to a sold-out crowd. The journey had been so long to this point but you’d always been there encouraging me to do better and to keep my head held high. The truth is, without you I probably wouldn’t be here today so thank you. I meet your parents next to the van outside and they are super kind to me. I looked them in the eye and told them what you meant to me and it was appreciated. Not many words are said but there’s a good feeling in the air. Now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and show them what I’m made of. Even though they are gracious, standing near them you feel like you are casting SUCH a thin shadow.
The show begins. The lights blind and we let go. To the observant, we look like we are moving for the sake of motion but those loyal to the cause know it’s all for the love of you. You come on stage after us and blow us all away yet again. I walk away even more changed than before, I remember you telling me on the way home, with the car stereo on full ball, “I guess this is the writing on the walls”.
Now looking back, I really think it was. I remember standing on stage and looking out thinking, “Everyone looks so good from here”. I think I’d found my home.
It’s now been 14 years since the day I rode that bike to Brent’s house to meet you and goddamn, I still love you like when I met you (and you’re still just as loud) I’m proud to call your parents friends and we’ve spent time abroad and I’ve even shown some of them a thing or two around the bends in Aus 😉 It’s hard to sum our relationship up but maybe that’s because it’ll never end. Here I am in my chair 14 years later waffling on about my love for you and all I really needed to say was…
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,
I fucking LOVE Define the great line.