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First and Last: In Raleigh, Hopscotch artists talk about their personal music history

From left to right: the artists Truth Club sit on a porch in front of a home, a side profile portrait of Anjimile, and Skylar Gudasz plays an electric guitar.
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From left to right: the artists Truth Club, Anjimile, and Skylar Gudasz.

You can learn a lot about a person by discovering the kind of music they listen to. And perhaps the only thing more valuable: learning what they listened to as a child.

This past weekend, thousands of people filed into downtown Raleigh for the Hopscotch Music Festival. The festival is in its 13th year, and featured headliners like Denzel Curry, Japanese Breakfast, Margo Price, and Digable Planets.

The staff at WUNC wanted to know more about the music that has inspired the musicians that took the stage at the festival. So, producers Charlie Shelton-Ormond and Josh Sullivan sat down with artists and dug into their personal music history.

These interviews have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

What are the first and last albums that you purchased, and in what format?

Pat Jr.: "My first album that I can remember purchasing was actually an *NSYNC album. I think it was their first one, actually, if I recall correctly. And then my most recent album that I purchased was the Mick Jenkins album, The Patience."

Anjimile: "The first and last album that I purchased with money... It's been a while. Hold up. Let me think about this.

"Yeah. The last record I got on vinyl was this cool, like, compilation of West African electronic music. And I had never heard anything like it. It's f—ing sick. But I don't remember the name of it.

"The first CD I ever bought was Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. Blink 182. Got it at Barnes and Noble."

Skylar Gudasz: "I think the last album I purchased was the Chessa Rich album on vinyl. It was at her album release show earlier this year. The covers hadn’t come in yet so she had made these special, one-of-a-kind stamped covers for her vinyl. It was incredible.

"(For the first records purchased) I remember it was a few at the same time. Blue — LeAnn Rimes; Aqua — Barbie Girl, or whatever that record was, Barbie Girl was on it. And there was also... Oh yeah, Jewel — Pieces of You, and they were cassette tapes."

Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets: "The first one that I purchased in my life. It was 1999 by Prince. Yeah, I went to the record store and my mom got it for me.

"And the last... Ariel Pink, (The Doldrums, with) Haunted Graffiti, the first one they did. On vinyl and I ordered it online."

Travis Harrington, of Truth Club: "I'm trying to think... I don't know what I bought with my own money, but I know my mom bought me Room on Fire by The Strokes because I really wanted that. The last thing I bought was The Structure by Water From Your Eyes, and I got that on vinyl."

Kameron Vann, of Truth Club: "Modern City of Vampires by Vampire Weekend. Great chill album, I put it straight into the back of my six CD disc changer in my Volvo wagon.

"The last thing that I bought was the new King Krule album and I got that on vinyl."

Elise Jaffe, of Truth Club: "The first album that I think I bought was probably the self-titled The Fray album on iTunes. And I'm having trouble thinking of what the most recent thing I bought was, but I know a recent addition was I bought the new Sluice album Radial Gate on CD."

What was the first and last concert you attended? Where was the concert?

Pat Jr.: "I was like super young. It was actually a gospel concert, in a church, I think in Laurel, Maryland. But it was like Fred Hammond, Commissioned. I think Kirk Franklin was there.

"And then recently, I went to a friend of mine's show — he's an artist in the area, his name is theDeeepEnd. Shout out to theDeeepEnd. He had a headlining show at this creative space in Cary and yeah, it was dope. It was a great time."

Anjimile: "I saw the local Durham band Canine Heart Sounds at Rubies on Five Points in Durham.

"My first concert back in the day: Streetlight Manifesto. Yeah, I was really into ska."

Skylar Gudasz: "The one that's sticking out to me is Joe Westerlund did a performance in this beautiful park in the woods where everybody's sort of like parked and you had to walk through. It was unamplified and it was in the middle of nature, so he was just playing, and you were interacting with nature and trees, and it was just incredible. And I also went to Beyonce in Charlotte.

"And then the very first concert that I remember going to was Ani DiFranco. I was interning at this theater in Richmond, which is near where I grew up, and she was playing there and I saw her backstage writing in a little journal before the show."

Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets: "First concert I attended. You know, we used to have this thing called The Black Festival in Seattle. And it was a yearly festival to celebrate Black culture. And they had a stage and like, it was a stage that was on all day. And then people will come up and perform. So I think like that was the first time I saw people performing like that.

"The last one was Erykah Badu about a month and a half ago in Seattle."

Travis Harrington, of Truth Club: "I was like a really big White Stripes, Jack White -head when I was like 13 years old. And I think at the time, his side project, The Dead Weather was on tour. And so, they played at this club in Columbus. And that was a really cool show. But honestly, Screaming Females opened up and that was like a crazy show.

"Kameron and I played a Strokes cover set last weekend, where a bunch of cover bands do this cool thing at Kings in Raleigh. It's like a surprise thing where a bunch of people dress up, get into character, and do various cover songs and stuff."

Kameron Vann, of Truth Club: "My first concert was John Mayer and it opened up a lot for me. I wouldn't go back now, but glad that was my first concert. And last concert was the cover show, like Travis said."

Elise Jaffe, of Truth Club: "The most recent is easy, because it was also The Strokes cover set. I feel like one of the first actual concerts I really wanted to go see was maybe like Passion Pit. It was one of the first ones I feel like I like spent my own money on the ticket."

Deviating from our current format, what music are you listening to right now?

Pat Jr.: "So right now I'm actually listening back to a new project that I'm releasing pretty soon. I'm not going to give the title right now. But I've been intimately like listening to it and just kind of going back and finding my new favorite over and over again. You know, just making sure everything is clean and ready to be put out."

Anjimile: "I've been listening to a lot of soul music. I've just been making playlists of like doo-wop and soul singles from the 50s and 60s. Like Sherry by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Good Vibrations — The Beach Boys. Shop Around — Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. James Brown, a lot of Stevie Wonder."

Skylar Gudasz: "I've been revisiting some things, some classics. Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here album which we're going to play a cover from this evening at our set and and Lucinda Williams's Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, which is another all-time record for me."

Ishmael Butler from Digable Planets: "I listen to a sister called Klein. She had a song called Redemption Tour that I thought was really slick. And my son Lil Tracy, I listen to him a lot. And I listened to NTS. They got a thing on their infinite mixtapes called Slow Focus, it’s all for like meditative music, but really super composed and super dope ideas. So I zone out to that a lot"

Travis Harrington, of Truth Club: "I came back to Either Or by Elliott Smith. I like Elliott Smith, but I hadn't really done a deep dive before and that song Cupid's Trick on there. That's a really good song."

Kameron Vann, of Truth Club: "The album I've been obsessed with recently is Smino's newest album Love For Rent, I think is so good. I've been listening back to back to back to back."

Elise Jaffe, of Truth Club: "I've been listening to Burnt Sugar by Gouge Away a lot over the last like year."

Josh Sullivan is a social media producer with WUNC’s digital news team.
Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
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