How Dayton musicians have influenced me - Mike Bankhead

Music is not created in a vacuum. Of course not, it would be way too noisy. Ok, that was a horribly corny joke, and I apologize for it profusely. What I mean to say is that those of us who write music don't pull our sound out of thin air. We are the sum of our influences, of the music we have experienced, of the music we love. Let me briefly explain how just a few artists from Dayton have personally influenced me. Please note that the below artists are certainly not the only ones I have learned from.

Captain Of Industry. They certainly knew their way around melody, cool vocal harmonies, and occasionally around some unconventional sounds. When I first started going to their shows, I sensed that they appreciated Radiohead as much as I did. As a bass player, I definitely noted Ian's tendency to not overplay. His effective use of rests is something I wish to better emulate. Recently, I have learned more about Brainiac due to a fantastic documentary that was released a couple of weeks ago. I think you can draw a direct line from Brainiac to Captain Of Industry (and also to dozens of bands across the country). Some of that keyboard heavy influence can be heard in my song "Igneous Is the Rock", from my first album.

Tod Weidner. Not only was I exposed to many artists I otherwise might not have listened to through the occasional covers by his band Shrug, I've also learned a bunch by just listening to him talk about music. He has a radio show on WYSO every Thursday night, and it's just about the most eclectic couple of hours of music you can imagine. Genre seems to lose all meaning during the show... punk, country, hip hop, jazz, reggae... you'll hear all of that and so much more. Performance-wise, Tod sings like he means it, because he means it. His lyrics and songs are carefully crafted, and I try to apply the same care in my songwriting.

Guided By Voices. If you are making indie rock around here, it's hard to escape the massive shadow that Bob Pollard casts. They have so many albums that I would only consider myself reasonably familiar with 7 or 8 of them. GBV taught me that a song can be painfully brief, but still good. GBV taught me that no matter what "the industry" says, you don't have to have a chorus in your song. GBV taught me that rock and roll should at times be fun. (I tend to take my art very seriously, and most of my songs aren't exactly happy.)

Take some time and look into the artists I've mentioned here. If you want to determine whether I have learned my lessons from GBV well enough, keep an eye and an ear out for my new single "Bright Ideas". (It'll be available to pre-save digitally on 24th March.)