There’s nothing sexier than a bass guitar riff, and no pain is more enjoyable than bloody feet after a concert. Music — live or recorded — has been an integral part of my college experience, especially the older I get and the more involved in the Gainesville music scene I become. My affinity for high-quality tunes started with MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular in high school and is currently parked on the Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco, and local bands (i.e. flipturn, King Complex, The Hails).

I write about specific bands often, but not the general feeling and impact digesting music has on me. It’s ineffable, it’s happiness. It’s making your eyeliner run to smoke, heat, and sweat, but not giving a damn because your ears and your body are so pleased and in tune. My University experience with music is three-fold: live concerts, incredible music people, and solo Spotify adventures that end in Ken The Wolf Boy or Harrison Ford Escort.

PC: Edysmar Diaz-Cruz

26 live shows and over $500 later, and my junior year dissolved in dancing, cigars outside of the High Dive, and beers costing $7.50 each. Live music feels like straight dopamine, and my body grows another billion receptors with each song. I only skipped class in high school to see The Florida Orchestra — I should’ve known then, when I was ensconced in AP Calculus and Computer Science, how important live music would become.

The transition from orchestral (i.e. Arturo Marquez’ Danzon №2) to electronic rock with King Complex is the biggest indication of how I’ve changed as a person. Tchaikovsky is still my soul, but electric guitar and bass are purer expressions of the stress and highs of college. I also enjoy the variety of live shows: I can sway in the back or bathe in the bassists’ sweat in the front. Both modes offer equal satisfaction, although first row adrenaline makes me happier than almost anything.

By the end of April, I was as conditioned as a Pavlov pup — if I completed an accurate Statement of Cash Flows or bullshitted enough of International Business, I expected the reward to be a concert. If I didn’t attend one show a week, I’d have Mark Renton-esque withdrawals and scan Facebook for upcoming events (although comparing heroin to live music isn’t the most kosher, I urge the reader to listen to Heroin by Lou Reed — what an incredible track). The best shows from this year include flipturn in August, Magic City Hippies in September, Heartwood Festival in February, and King Complex on April 20th.

PC: Kayla Cobos

I find it’s much easier to fall in love with a genre of people rather than one person. I discovered the “music type” in college, and while eschewing others isn’t my tea, it takes less effort to listen to Peach Pit or talk about Kali Uchis than it does to attend date functions or student government meetings. The Gainesville music scene is populated with intelligent, eclectic, and talented people, and watching them perform or discuss music spurred me to become more educated. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino listening parties, hunting Bowie biographies at Books-A-Million, learning Reckless Serenade on bass — I’ve never felt so fulfilled and equal.

The college music sect is multi-faceted, but the niche I discovered features directors of Changeville, Sofar Sounds performers, and electronic rock drummers that also teach music to children with disabilities. I’m happy talking to these people, whether it’s 4 a.m. and my eyes are red and droopy or midnight and the record player is blasting My Kind of Woman on the floor.

The organization I joined, Swamp Records, was the reason behind these connections and deafening nights. I’ve dabbled in 17 organizations at UF, but Swamp Records has led to the most tangible results: music articles published on Reprise, hours worked at music festivals, and press experience with recognized local bands. The friendships, none of which were founded on convenience, were an added (and unexpected) bonus, and I wouldn’t give up photo shoots at Deport Park, McDonalds midnights, or soul shows at breweries for anything.

Music people also tend to be less exclusive, and while one could argue the Gainesville music scene is a clique of Swamp Records students and concert venue owners, the barriers to entry are laughably low. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a worn Franz Ferdinand shirt or $200 jumpsuit from Express: there’s an intrinsic merit to these people unrelated to music– they have unfiltered passion and a thirst for the weird, which qualifies as a great human to me.

PC: Edysmar Diaz-Cruz

Besides experiencing people, music in college encompasses the self-discovery of songs, artists, and genres. I collect playlists like gin bottles and study New Music Friday as if there’s an exam on Wednesday. What’s better than an evening in your pajamas and under-prescriptioned glasses, tapping through Spotify and realizing English Graffiti by The Vaccines makes you cry? Here is the process for building a mental music repertoire:

1. Your friends drop artist names and album release dates that you know nothing about; feeling of inadequacy sets in.

2. Determined to not be a dunce, you scroll through the notes on your iPhone and type a study guide from Spotify.

3. You listen to the music — several times — until lyrics are distinct and you can laugh about Mac’s cat music video posted thirteen days ago.

4. Eventually, you stop taking cues from others and research music that appeals directly to you. Accept the recommendations from friends, but screw the noise of NME and Vice Noisey articles that tell you what good music is.

5. Drop said knowledge at parties with a smug smile.

6. Watch as some vacant soul feels inadequate and spends three hours memorizing How To Be A Human Being that night.

Especially in college, having “good taste” in music (which is inherently subjective, but still prized nonetheless) is equated with high social status. But for me, knowing music isn’t about status; it’s about carrying on conversations with my peers, having killer car rides, and filling silence with someone else’s talent.

This is how I feel about music:

“I have a strange feeling with regard to you{music}. As if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly knotted to a similar string in you. And if you were to leave I’m afraid that cord of communion would snap. And I have a notion that I’d take to bleeding inwardly.”

- Jane Eyre

Without music, I would bleed out forgettable nights and people who don’t appreciate Mac DeMarco’s gap tooth. Bus rides would be silent, and normal hands during the day wouldn’t be captivating playing the guitar at night. And what kind of existence is that?

Accountant at Honeywell | Aspiring writer and crypto enthusiast