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  • Writer's pictureRua Fay

Interview with Youtuber, Brad Taste in Music

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with one of my favorite content creators on youtube, Brad Taste in Music. I'm pleased to say this was my favorite interview I have done so far, so join me as we discuss everything from content creation, to the music industry, to the worst people the internet has to offer.

Rua: "Hi, Brad, great to have you here! Can we start with you introducing yourself?"

Brad: "Yeah, one quick thing, can you get me a glass of water?"

Rua: "...uh...through the computer screen?"

Brad: "Yeah."

Rua: "...okay." *holds cup up to the camera*

Brad: "Alright, we're good. Hey, I'm Bradley, I have a Brad taste in music, I've been reviewing music and making videos on youtube for a couple years now."

Rua: "Again, thank you so much for showing up, let's get started. You often call out bad behavior from your viewers whenever you see it. Do you believe that content creators have a degree of responsibility when it comes to the behavior of their audience?"

Brad: "I think the behavior of the audience is a direct reflection of not only the content the creator makes but specifically what they accept and don't accept. Ever since I started putting my chat next to me during videos and livestreams, it's been this sort of first check for myself. Like, to have that kind of thing next to you, you have to have a good enough hand on your community to do that, and not everyone has that. I've been in chats where there's people that just don't really care that much and it'll just be the worst chat you'll ever see, which is because they don't have a strong community, they don't have people who are invested or care as much...I think it's more than responsibility I think it's a direct response to how the content is because you create what you are, yourself."

Rua: "Well, you see, the first thing I think of is the whole Astroworld fiasco, like when eleven people die at your concert...y'know your name is on the headline, you're the one on do you feel about that situation, I know it's kind of old news but do you think he was partially to blame for that?"

Brad: "I think that the people who stood by him and said he did nothing wrong were that to me, says a lot. Just the most careless, reckless people were the ones that made me go 'okay, something here isn't right." Travis doesn't care and it signals people to think "well I'll be okay if I don't care either.'"

Rua: "I remember when that happened and I didn't know how to feel about it because at the time I hadn't been to a lot of shows and didn't fully understand the environment. But then like immediately after I started going to a new concert basically every two weeks. I saw Lingua Ignota perform in my favorite venue in Boston and she completely halted her show when she saw someone she thought might pass out. She didn't wait until they were on the floor, she was very adamant about keeping the audience safe, which just made the Astroworld situation look so much worse. I also saw Molchat Doma like two years ago and they fully stopped the show because this group of guys were clearly bothering my friends and I in the front row."

Brad: "Yeah, my favorite venue I've ever been to was literally just in this local skate park, it was as small as it gets. These small bands would just come in and there was a mosh pit, and this was my first time somewhere with a mosh pit and I thought "okay, I'm gonna jump in, I'm gonna do some moshing - I immediately fall over..."

Rua: "-they always pick you up."

Brad: "EVERYBODY stopped, picked me up, and I felt so good about it that I just started throwing myself around again, like...this is what it's all about, y'know?"

Rua: "Yeah that's the thing, the heavier the music, the nicer the audience tends to be. Of course there are going to be some awful people but there's this unspoken mosh pit etiquette that everyone knows. Anyway, next question: what is the hardest part about being a content creator and a public figure?"

Brad: "umm...the answer kind of changes but the recent answer I have is that you're forced to become jaded. Y'know, I feel like if you're very sensitive you'll get hurt a lot and it'll be difficult to make content. This kind of job forces you to have thick skin even if you don't want to, and that sucks, there's nothing fun about losing sensitivity. It's upsetting that I've seen some really fucked up shit and I've just had to be like be very objective and ignore it because it would be worse to pay attention to it. Yeah, that part's hard. It's either that or having simply too much money and too many women throwing themselves at you."

Rua: "Okay then, as someone who has dealt with just how vindictive and awful fanbases can be, do you find yourself sometimes afraid to voice your true opinion online due to a fear of backlash?"

Brad: "Nah, I live off of that shit. The Melanie Martinez fanbase, once I saw that they were defending a rapist I was like 'fuck these people, man, let's get recording.'"

Rua: "You said something along the lines of 'after the allegations came out, every rational person in the fandom left and the insane people are the only ones left,' I think that's exactly right. When your fiancé, Tina came on your livestream and talked about why you have to believe victims, I was like 'I love this woman.'"

Brad: "Yeah, she's the best"

Rua: "Like, here she is in front of thousands of people, basically risking life and limb with that insane was so badass."

Brad: "Yeah like, I usually don't have a problem with fanbases that are usually known for awful behavior but there have been times where I've overstepped a boundary and made a very prejudiced assumption about them. That happened with the BTS fandom actually, I gave one of their albums a 0 out of 100 on Album of the Year and the comments were like 'sorry you didn't like the album but we still appreciate that you gave it a chance,' it was just the most wholesome response ever that I deleted the video and said, clearly what I've seen of this community is a very small fraction and there is actually a good side that I hadn't seen. Now my entire opinion has been switched around, like I still don't really care about K-pop because of the industry but there's such a large range of people who enjoy it that breaking it down to one thing is a very destructive statement."

Rua: "I don't think anyone would blame you for making that assumption in the first place, I've seen stan accounts send straight up gore to people they disagree with. I've seen a lot of Barbz (Nicki Minaj Fans) do that."

Brad: "Yep, that happens. My fiancé was sent gore by the Melanie Martinez fans, that was rough. Yeah, Barbz definitely do that a lot, they're psychotic. This is where it comes back to that responsibility over fanbase thing, like...these artists benefit from it so they don't say shit, it gets people talking about them, it's awful."

Rua: "Yeah, I hear you. My friend Grant wants to know: 'As someone who's watched you since 2018, how does it feel to watch yourself grow from when you first did your MCR reaction to now, being one of the top music creators on Youtube, and how has the shift in Youtube's algorithm affected how you make your videos?'"

Brad: "Great question, I'll start by saying that all the growth I got from MCR has turned out to be both a blessing an a curse, it sent me in a specific direction that I never wanted to go in. First of all, it changed me from being a review channel to a reaction channel. The problem was that people only wanted to hear my opinion on emo shit that I didn't care about, in fact that's where the MCR thing started, I found an album I thought I was gonna hate and ended up loving it. People just weren't sticking around when I was reviewing other stuff and I became split between these two worlds of reviewing and reacting. The algorithm was definitely not helping this because if people stop clicking on your videos, they'll just not exist to them anymore. It has taken a lot of work and a lot of time to get where I'm at because I've had to slowly transition and push my way through to making new kinds of content that has exceeded the original MCR stuff and it has taken a lot of strategizing and grinding, and it's just been such a balancing act. At this point I'm just grateful that I did have this journey because I feel like I've learned a lot, I've had a very strong, steady growth, and I'm very comfortable where I'm at like I have an audience that cares about me and what I do instead of just the content and as a result, I feel so good where I'm at that I don't even really need to see any more major growth with the channel for me to feel like I can ride this thing out. I'm very very happy where I'm at."

Rua: "That's amazing! You rarely hear content creators say that, it's always 'bigger is better,' 'more is better,' so for you to be so happy where you are must feel like such a blessing. And the fact that you put so much of your personality into your videos must add another layer of risk, sort of like you're baring your soul for others to pick apart and judge. I feel like I would feel a lot less vulnerable if I didn't put as much of my personality into the content I create."

Brad: "Yeah, I feel like I've made the right choices up to this point, I feel like I've trusted my heart, like for example: I haven't taken a sponsorship in years, and I think it would be a bad thing for my brand because I value my brand a lot, it's entirely community-funded. Like, sure I would get more money in the moment if I took a deal here and there but it would break that trust, I just think of what's the best thing I can do for myself, my community, and my image where instead of just cashing out immediately I can have this sort of golden goose."

Rua: "Exactly. Now, my friend, Rose is a big fan of the channel and she asks: 'How do you balance listening to music outside of content and for content?'"

Brad: "Great question. One thing to mention is that I consider listening to music, specifically new music that might end up on a list at the end of the year to still be work. It can be something I do in the background or for fun but I still regard that in some way to be work, I post reviews online. But when I'm not doing any of that, I listen to some of the most empty shit ever, like ambient music. Like the same ambient album 30 times in one year, because for me, the pure relief of just textures, synths, and just silence...I have my own comfort food of music basically. Tim Hecker is a huge one for me, his music is just so varied and textured, it hits me in a certain place. I'm still a sucker for Swans I love that stuff, I find it to be so easy on the ears, but there are things I don't listen to nearly as much because of my work, stuff like Radiohead, like I can't listen to Radiohead without thinking 'oh yeah, most critically acclaimed album of all time.' Like, if I'm trying to get away from work I pick stuff that's just easy listening."

Rua: "Radiohead's of my all-time favorites."

Brad: "Don't get me wrong, I like Radiohead, they have many incredible albums it's just not something I listen to casually anymore because it's so tied together with the music community, I'm not saying that in a bad way it just is what it is, y'know?"

Rua: "Okay, I'm very curious about this. Rank these three things in terms of importance when it comes to being a content creator: networking, funding, and video quality."

Brad: "I'm gonna put them all in the same rank which is at the bottom. I think none of those are important. My video quality has been shit from the beginning, I've done it with no money and no networking. Somehow I've done it without any of that. I don't think any of that shit's important, as long as you have a good personality and a story to tell, you have something worth watching."

Rua: "In your opinion, what's the best thing to come from your success on youtube? Because I think I heard in one of your videos that you met your fiancé through an AJR video?"

Brad: "Yeah, I'm gonna answer, Tina. I think Tina's the best thing that's come from it. Without Tina, there would be none of this other shit. She saw my AJR review I made and ended up messaging me and we became friends really quickly, next thing you know, we're living together, thanks to that video I was able to find, y'know, my love."

Rua: "Why did I think that was a joke? That's amazing, you actually met your fiancé because of your least favorite band."

Brad: "It doesn't sound true, but it is true."

Rua: "Wow, that's insane. Do you believe success on Youtube is purely due to the algorithm or do you think there's more to be done?"

Brad: "There are videos from people like Ludwig, showing that you just need to make like the right kind of content for people to pay attention, and I do believe that, but if you're trying to do a specific, certain thing, there is a lot of luck involved. Specifically, you have to play the luck in your favor, and that's understanding what people want to watch, how long someone is willing to sit through something, there's a lot of strategizing, but the algorithm is basically the bane of everything. It is important and it plays such a huge role in what you do because it's basically an all-seeing eye. The algorithm plays a huge part, and you kinda just have to learn to play with it as it changes."

Rua: "I'm curious, what are your three favorite movies?"

Brad: "My three favorite movies? I know it's popular now to say Forrest Gump sucks, but I like Forrest Gump, that's like a comfort movie for me. I was a big fan of The Matrix as a kid, these movies I've grown up on have had way more of an impact than a lot of movies now that you can say are objectively better. So Forrest Gump, The Matrix, and then I'll throw in a newer one like...some Quentin Tarantino movie like Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, something like that."

Rua: "Inglourious Basterds is one of my favorites! Okay, boyfriend, Liam has this question he likes to ask everybody to gauge their nerdiness: what is your favorite dinosaur?"

Brad: "I don't even know the last time I thought about dinosaurs...I'll have to go with Pterodactyl. I like the fact that it's a giant flying creature, or one of those giant sea beasts."

Rua: "Yeah, like a Mosasaur? I was a big dinosaur kid growing up and I said Giganotosaurus."

Brad: "That's gonna be high on that nerd list, isn't it?"

Rua: "Oh yeah."

Brad: "Wait, what's my nerd score?

Rua: "Oh it's looooooow, sorry."

Brad: "Now if you asked me my favorite chess piece, it would rank pretty high on the nerd meter."

Rua: "Okay then, what's your favorite chess piece?"

Brad: "Oh my god, where do I start?! Aw man, it could be the knight, it could be the Queen, it depends y'know on the position, the early game, the end game...what about now? Is my nerd score higher?"

Rua: "Oh, absolutely. Now, what advice would you give to someone starting out as a content creator?"

Brad: "Give up."

Rua: "GIVE UP?! God, that is such a Bo Burnham answer."

Brad: "My real answer is...if you don't do it for success, you can't fail. If you do it because you like doing it, because it's something you enjoy doing, then you're never going to be disappointed. That's how I started, I did it because I loved doing it, I found a community. The moment it started becoming frustrating was when it became a job. So, if you're gonna start off, don't think big, think...yourself."

Rua: "I actually read a book called The War of Art that said that exact thing."

Brad: "I mean, I couldn't have stolen that because I don't read."

Rua: "Dude, my Dad says that all the time, he just doesn't read."

Brad: "Yeah, I couldn't have stolen any quotes because I just don't read."

Rua: "Oh my god. You were talking earlier about building a community with other creators and I was wondering, do you find yourself getting approached by lot of people to be used as a tool to elevate their Youtube status or something like that?"

Brad: "Y'know, either the answer is 'no,' or it's happened so many times that I don't even recognize it anymore because I've just blocked it out. At this point I can't even tell, I can just tell when people are authentic, you have to have this strong filter."

Rua: "Okay, so my last question is the same thing I ask everyone. It's from Inside the Actor's Studio, and the question is: what is your favorite swear word?"

Brad: "...that's a great question. I kinda want to take time to think about it. As a kid I hated swearing, but now I swear like a sailor. I say 'fuck' a lot, but that's definitely not my favorite... when it comes to words I'm a fan of words that can sort of build off others, and that's why it's either gotta be 'shit' or 'ass.' Like, you can say 'bullshit,' 'dogshit,' 'horseshit,' every animal represents like a degree of shit.

Tina: "'Whale shit' has got to be like the biggest shit on the planet, right?"

Rua: "Brad, you should say 'whale shit' in your next video!"

Brad: "Yeah, so I'll probably have to go with 'shit,' can say 'bird shit-'

Tina: "Bird shit is like, when a bird shits on your windshield it's like 'aw man, I need to go to the car wash,' but if you step in dog shit, that ruins your whole day."

Rua: "Yeah, like bird shit doesn't have form to it so it's easy to clean, that's like the lowest degree of shit."

Tina: "Exactly!"

Rua: "Okay, I think that's pretty much it for my questions..."

Brad: "Can I ask you a question?"

Rua: "Oh, sure!"

Brad: "Besides, OK COMPUTER, what would you say is your favorite album?"

Rua: "It's so basic but I'm gonna say Is This It by the Strokes...but my favorite vinyl I own is the Taxi Driver soundtrack-"

Brad: "That's a fun as hell pick!

Rua: "Which I would also recommend to you because it's a very lowkey, textured jazz album, I think you'd like it."

Brad: "I'll add that to the list!"

Rua: "Great, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview, you're actually a really cool person, It was so nice meeting you and Tina and your dogs!

Brad: "Have a nice rest of your day!"

Thanks so much once again to Brad and Tina for helping to arrange and conduct this interview, and thank you to Grant, Rose and Liam, who sent in extra questions! Make sure to support Brad on his youtube channel: Brad Taste in Music. This was easily my favorite interview I've ever done. Once again, thank you for supporting

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