Welcome to 5-10-15-20, in which we talk to artists about the music they loved at five-year interval points in their lives. Maybe we'll get a detailed roadmap of how their tastes and passions helped make them who they are. Maybe we'll just learn that they really liked hearing the 'Dinosaucers' theme song over and over when they were kids. Either way, it'll be fun. For this edition, we spoke with comedian Aziz Ansari, star of 'Human Giant', 'Parks and Recreation', and Funny People, age 26.Michael Jackson: 'Beat It' The only album I remember having was Thriller. I really liked 'Beat It'; that's the only song I remember listening to at that young an age. Obviously, that song is something that connected with a lot of people. It's just super catchy. I remember seeing the 'Thriller' video, and I remember being a kid when they premiered the 'Bad' video on TV. Like most kids that were around my age, I was pretty into Michael Jackson. I don't think there was any kid that is my age that wasn't trying to moonwalk at some point. I remember seeing him perform on the Grammys and things like that, and I would always be so excited. It's so different now. Back then, it was like, 'Michael Jackson's going to perform on this award show, and if I don't see it tonight, I will never see it.' No DVR, no YouTube. Now, if anything cool happens, you can be like,'Oh, I'll watch it tomorrow.' Nirvana: 'Lithium' When I was growing up in South Carolina, that's when I started getting MTV. That was probably around when a lot of the alternative music videos were starting to air a lot, things like Nirvana. I liked 'Lithium'. I remember Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun'. There were all those pretty iconic videos: 'Buddy Holly', even stuff like Stone Temple Pilots. Now, I guess you can really listen to whatever music you want because of the internet. But then, the only music I really knew was what was on MTV and Top 40 radio. There's not really a hip indie rock station in Bennettsville, South Carolina. There was no cool place like that. I'll tell this story because it's funny for me, but I'll get shit for it. I was talking to [LCD Soundsystem's] James Murphy once, and he told me this story of when he was a little kid. He heard the Smiths' 'This Charming Man'. He lived outside New York, so he skipped school to go into the city to get this 12'. He went into Bleeker Bob's or someplace, and he was like, 'I'm trying to get the Smith Brothers?' And the guy's like, 'The Smith Brothers?' And he's like, 'Yeah, the Smith Brothers? 'This Charming Man'?' And he's like, 'Uh, you mean the Smiths.' And James is like, 'It's funny because here I am, this little kid. I'm skipping school to go get a Smiths 12'. It's a UK import; it hasn't even been released yet, and the guy's still giving me crap.' And I'm like, 'Oh wow, James. I have a similar story about begging my mom to take me to Rockingham, North Carolina to buy the 'Ice Ice Baby' cassette.' I think that's a pretty good indicator of how much cooler James is than I am. Also, all that gangsta stuff was huge when I was a kid. Dr. Dre's and Snoop Dogg's albums were humongous; their videos were on MTV all the time. When you think about it, it's like wow. That's how big that stuff got. Some 10-year-old Indian kid in Bennettsville, South Carolina knew all those songs. That's ridiculous. If you think about what they were rapping about and where that music came from, to reach that far is unimaginable. It was the most uncool, rural, redneck town, and everybody knew all that stuff. I was really into it. My favorite songs from those albums were Snoop Dogg's 'Doggy Dogg World,' and Dr. Dre's 'Let Me Ride'. Metallica: 'The Shortest Straw' That's when I was really into guitar playing. I pretty much listened to just Metallica and Led Zeppelin. I was super into playing guitar solos, so I was super into Jimmy Page and Kirk Hammett. I really liked the second Led Zeppelin album, and obviously the fourth one, and then I was big into Ride the Lighting, Master of Puppets, and …And Justice for All, all albums that I still like to this day. There was a really insane guitar solo on 'The Shortest Straw'. I was into some really nerdy guitar stuff. I would listen to Yngwie Malmsteen, the crazy guy who has, like, a scaled guitar. I'd be like, 'Oh my god, this guy's so cool!' And then I'd be like, 'Why are no girls talking to me? Oh, because I'm sitting here with a Yngwie Malmsteen CD.' I never got into the guitar thing hardcore, thank goodness. Back then, if you were a kid, you had limited money to spend on CDs. It's not like now, when you can have every album you've ever wanted. I think you really take that for granted; you don't even have to think about it. Back then, it's like, 'Oh man, I can only get one album when I go to the store this time. What CD do I want to get? Do I want to take a risk on Steve Vai? Or do I want to get another Led Zeppelin album? I'll probably stick with Led Zeppelin.' You buy one Steve Vai album, and you're like, 'All right, maybe Steve Vai's a great guitar player, but I don't know if I want to listen to this all the time. I don't know if this has quite the replay value of Physical Graffiti.' No offense to Steve Vai. The Rapture: 'House of Jealous Lovers' I was going to school in New York City. That would've been around my junior year, and I really liked 'House of Jealous Lovers'. That was about the time all those bands came out. That was when the first Interpol album came out. When I first came to NYU, that was when people were starting to talk about the Strokes, and then all those other bands. I got into that stuff. I was into Radiohead a lot. My freshman year was when Kid A came out, and that was crazy. They did a small show in New York at Roseland Ballroom, and I remember I spent the night waiting for tickets with some friends of mine. That was the first big New York show I saw. That was a big part of the reason I was excited to go to NYU. I was like, 'Oh I'll live in New York, and I'll go to concerts; this will be awesome!' I don't think Thom Yorke's ever been to South Carolina. And I don't think they're ever going to get to South Carolina on any of their tours. I was also really into hip-hop. In late high school, I got really into DJing-- like the really nerdy DJing, scratching and stuff. I though DJ Qbert was incredible. There was this one album called Cut Chemist Meets Shortkut: Live at the Future Primitive, which is a really, really good album. I was really into stuff like Return of the DJ, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. When I started college, I was pretty into scratching. I was pretty decent at it. I was really into DJ Shadow, and that's when that Jurassic 5 EP was coming out; I liked that stuff. So as you can see, there's a trend. Just anything that would repel girls, I got into that. 'Hey, you wanna go see Mix Master Mike with me? Do you want to go see DJ Qbert give this scratching seminar with me? Oh, you don't? You're going to go to a movie? Whatever. You're not cool. I'm going to hang out with these other guys who are into scratching.' Atlas Sound: 'Walkabout [ft. Noah Lennox]' I can tell you some stuff I'm listening to right now. I'm 26; it's close enough. Right now, I've really been listening to 'Walkabout'. I think that's the catchiest song that was released this year. So good. I mean, what song beat that this year? I can't really think of one. 'Never Stops' and 'Nothing Ever Happened', from the last Deerhunter album-- those songs are incredible. I really like Deerhunter and Atlas Sound. Black Lips is another band I really like. I like that Neon Indian song 'Deadbeat Summer'. I got that Nirvana Live at Reading. That's been really good. That Major Lazer song 'Pon de Floor' is really good. I think that's about it right now. I meet people from bands at those music festivals because I'll do comedy stuff at those festivals. Most music people are pretty big comedy nerds. I did something with the Animal Collective dudes and I was really impressed; they knew all these weird British sketch shows that most people don't know. I've been lucky enough to meet a few people I'm a really big fan of, and I'm glad that's happened. I usually get along with people who do music. You know, the way that I find out about music is whatever song plays at the end of 'Entourage', when the credits roll. That's where I find out about all my new music. They actually did play the Dutchess and the Duke one time. They played 'Reservoir Park', which is a really good song. They played it at the end of an episode where E was very bewildered."
I am a London-based Digital PR/Social Media/SEO Consultant, music producer/anorak, deep sea diver, avid cyclist, worldwide traveller and football-loving technology bod! This page functions as a kind of online scrapbook/resource featuring my favourite blog posts and news items as well as my own personal reviews and recommendations in the worlds of music, sport, travel and technology!