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I have memories, clouded by sorrow

Of a time in life when blood ran through my veins

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How do you discover new music?
I have a hypothesis about how people get into new bands, and it seems to be strangely different from what the musicians online seem to believe. So I am conducting an informal survey, and I'd be grateful to get some responses here if anybody has a spare few moments.

If you put your iPod/media player/whatever on shuffle, take the first 5 bands or artists that come up, and think about how you first heard that band, or what event made you pay attention to them.

Examples might include: recommendation by a friend, seeing them at a gig or a festival, hearing them played at a club night, a random play via Spotify or Last.fm, a shared post or event on Facebook, the band containing a personal friend of yours, seeing them in a catalogue or other sales listing, on TV, on radio, internet radio, etc etc. I'm sure there are other ways that I've forgotten.

When I checked this for myself last night, the answer was: 2 through recommendations from a friend, 1 via Last.fm, 1 via eBay, and 1 at a club night.
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1. Dax Riggs: he was in Acid Bath (who I discovered through a mailing list back before the web was much of a thing) and I've followed him through his subsequent bands.
2. Autopsy: my then-girlfriend was into them
3. Aurora Borealis: it's a track on a Dio tribute album.
4. Alice Cooper: I probably first saw him on Top of the Pops or something, but I discovered the cool stuff when my friend got a box of his classic albums from his mum's friend and he came rushing round to my house with a fucking treasure trove.
5. Christ Agony: They were playing locally so I checked them out.

Two of those (three if you count Dio) are bands I discovered before the Web existed (or before I was on it, at least) so I'll do some more.

6. Napalm Death - I saw them on Arena back in the 80s! They did a Peel session around the same time. And that Lee was on kid's music programme with the Red Dwarf guy.
7. Shining (NOR) - the Swedish Shining was playing locally and I checked both Shinings out.
8. Saint Anthony's Fire - I think this was in a bumper pack of heavy psych albums I torrented.
9. Triptykon - As with Dax Riggs, I followed this band from the start because of previous connections. Same girlfriend who introduced me to Autopsy was into Celtic Frost in a big way.
10. Gillan - I heard "No Lauging in Heaven" on the Friday Rock Show".

Summary: whilst I feel that I discover new bands primarily from seeing them live or from when friends post their YouTube videos on Facebook, it appears that dipping into my iTunes at random mostly fishes out bands I was already into before I was an Internet user, so this is probably of no use to you! The next five were Black Sabbath, Edgar Broughton Band, Cerebral Fix, Old Corpse Road and Barghest. That brings us to 6 bands I discovered in the Internet age: 3 from seeing them live, 1 from recommendations in an online community, and 2 from yoinking stuff almost at random from file sharing networks.

ETA: I'd like to know both what "the musicians online seem to believe" and what your hypothesis, so make sure you write up your findings properly.

Edited at 2013-03-26 04:19 pm (UTC)

1. Testament - via an ex-boyfriend when I was 16
2. Morbid Angel - they were on the old ITV programme Noisy Mothers doing a live set
3. Pink Floyd - saw that weird flashing Pulse CD they did in HMV and finally got round to getting some as it intrigued me
4. Arkona - someone on Myspace put a photo of the singer who was wearing armour and said she was an inspiration to women in the genre so I had a look on YouTube! (And they were right she's amazing)
5. Tori Amos - people insistently recommending her to me even though that dance track had put me off but someone finally lent me a couple of CDs.

Wow, I remember everything!! Well only music related it seems!

Fuck! LJ just swallowed my comment! So the first ten bands have disappeared into the electronic netherworld, and so I'll have to start again with the five that I recovered.

(1) Amorphis: discovered way back in 1996, when I was a sixth former. I was in the U6th, and in the L6th we had a German exchange student by the name of Mathias Beetz. He was a budding metalhead, and had access to the German metal press who weren't as narrow-minded as the UK's (which, at this stage, was Korn, Korn and more Korn plus bands that sounded like Korn, and anything from mainland Europe was excluded or laughed at for not being Korn). Via one of Rock Hard's cover CDs that he lent me for a bit, I discovered Amorphis, with the bizarrely proggy Against Widows - which, for many years, I thought was called Against Windows due to the misprint on the German CD. (See also Clutch's often-misinterpreted A Shogun Named Marcus, no shotguns necessary). I've still got a tape I made of that compilation, leaving out some of the less-favoured tracks by Sun, Temple Of The Absurd and Subway To Sally (yes, I knew of their horrors for many years). Ye gods, in fact, looking at it now, that's where I also found Mudshark, Iced Earth, Pro-Pain, Gorefeat, Anvil (yes, that Anvil), and Waltari...

(2) Stuka Squadron: a definite internet find, as the band were first brought to my attention on thunarr's Wyrd Ways Rock Show. It would take a year before I got to see them live, and when I did, they would be right in the middle of the legal turmoil that's seen them resurface as Iron Knights. And as they've been described as "Iron Maiden on steroids" (plus vampires) maybe the name change is more reflective of their real sound, though I think Stuka Squadron will always be the better name.

(3) Swallow The Sun: just about an internet find, because though it'll either have been you or Damian who first mentioned them to me, it was almost certainly on the old Rocksoc forums (which, these days, I don't miss at all).

(4) Strydegor: definitely an internet find, even though the stream came through the TV; it was on hellbound_heart's last.fm radio that was playing in the back(ish)ground when I was in York a while back.

(5) Thronar: I can even pinpoint the day I first encountered them - 3rd November 2007. I was at the Ultima Ratio festival in Germany, where Equilibrium were supposed to be playing, but they'd cried off because one of them had broken a nail or something equally trivial (Minas Morgul, whose bassist had broken his ankle, played anyway - with him kneeling on a stool for the whole set!) Anyway, nobody knew who the band replacing them were until they arrived, and that was Thronar. They sound like what Manowar should if all those steroids had actually taken their effect.

So I'll give you five more for good measure...

(6) Forefather: again, not an internet find, it was Damage responsible for this one, probably via Matt Hawskley bringing it in. The Shield-Wall seemed to sound so wrong and yet so right at the same time... and I thought I'd investigate further despite it not being on any of the albums I was able to get hold of at the time. But I'm glad I hung on, because enter Steadfast a few years later...

(7) Crow Black Sky: definitely an internet find, after I went out looking for South African bands for February'11's Sausage Festival on the Ogg-Cast. Not only did they present themselves admirably, they offered their album for a free download. Eish, bro.

(8) Waylander: (hey, look, the shuffle's gone back to one of the bands I lost in the first comment!) Found in one of the indoor Bloodstocks in 2003, when they appeared in the Darwin Suite covered in blue paint and tootling on the tin whistle the way Irish bands do. I think it's because I'd been told "there's an Irish band in there and they're not IRA loonies" that I took a butcher's... they were always better live than on record, mind.

(9) Winterfylleth: again, not the internet, another personal recommendation, this time from Earache Ben who'd been namedropping them at every available opportunity. Mam Tor got me hooked.

(10) Ensiferum: a year before I'd accidentally discovered Forefather at Damage, Ensiferum entered my life the same way, either as one of Matt's requests or at least someone in that entourage. They only had one album available at the time, but when Iron was released, it didn't leave my player for a month.

I think that counts as four internet finds and six that were not.

Bit late to this, but I'll do it anyway. I'll use my 'metal' folder:

1. Pain of Salvation - read a review somewhere, then checked them out on Myspace.

2. John Petrucci - again, read a review after seeing the name (I knew who he was, but didn't like Dream Theater)

3. Byzantine - randomly listened to the cd in Virgin when they had those listening posts.

4. In This Moment - read a review on PopMatters, checked them out online.

5. Black Sun Aeon - investigated them after a recommendation from you got me into Before the Dawn.

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