Rónán Ó Snodaigh on classical music

"It’s not like I’m looking at it from a height, I just have a distrust of it."

“It’s not like I’m looking at it from a height, I just have a distrust of it.”

In 2010 some time, Donal Scannell of Scanarama interviewed Rónán Ó Snodaigh about all kinds of music stuff. This is the part in the interview when Rónán spoke, reluctantly and hesitantly, about classical music. (It’s not an exact transcription but it’s as close as matters.)

[Is there any music you dislike?]

Classical music. Instant distrust of classical music. I like primitive music, very related to primitive purposes, keeping things up… I distrust classical music with a very deep distrust. Now, that sounds silly because I’m not saying I’m above it or anything [of the sort]… No, when you’re talking about classical music, you’re talking about a huge world of absolute masters of music, the genius composers, the people who understand way more than me… It’s not like I’m looking at it from a height, I just have a distrust of it.

[Why?]

Maybe it’ll seem petty if I tell you the reasons. On the one hand, because it’s so powerful and it can carry you. But I don’t like the places it carries me. Sometimes the places it carries me, I just… I’m like a sponge for music, it affects me, my emotions are connected to those chords and those keys and those rhythms. So when I hear music it’s gonna affect me and sometimes I’m listening to a piece of music and it brings me to a place where to me it feels like carnage and un-empathetic bashing. I’d feel more empathy in speed metal and hardcore young fellas trashing stuff than I’d feel that to people who are [such] experts. Maybe I don’t understand the narrative, how they can come to a point where they’re doing this absolute carnage. I’m really offended by that stuff. So, I know it’s such a huge world, I just distrust their arrival point.

Internally I’m a little suspicious of it and its motives… It’s a world of absolutely brilliant, amazing musicians and instruments played meticulously … but I’m happier, personally, hearing someone who is emotionally involved in something very rudimentary I can love and I’m happy and I trust and I feel I can embrace the humanity … primitive in expression.

[Is there a high-falutin-ness that you’re wary of?]

Big time. I believe in human emotion and its expression maybe in that world it’s just a little too curtailed. Maybe I don’t understand that narrative. Maybe I didn’t learn something. But I am not comfortable with that music.

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