Editor’s note: As part of CMN’s music journalism program, our music writers are profiling other team members, asking about how they got into music and what they see themselves doing in the future. You can read all the profiles here.
“What do I listen to? Oh, everything,” Cody Ayres, an aspiring music journalist, said in a recent interview with College Media Network.
His tastes range widely, citing pop-punk band The Story So Far and R&B singer The Weeknd as two of his biggest influences. Lately, Ayres has been listening to mostly hardcore bands such as Code Orange and Incendiary.
Ayres credits his parents for encouraging an interest in music early on in his life.
“The first show I ever went to was Joan Jett with my mom. I was, like, maybe nine [years old],” Ayres says with a chuckle.
Though his father was heavily into country music, Ayres, who hails from a small town right outside Charlotte, North Carolina, made it clear that he dislikes country, “except for Johnny Cash.”
“I hate writing off an entire genre, because I feel like there’s always something or some act within that genre that you can get into,” Ayres said. Though he wouldn’t ever refer to himself as a country fan by any means, Johnny Cash still remains an important and influential artist for him.
Around fourth or fifth grade, Ayres began his own musical self-discovery with a venture into the world of nu-metal. A few years later, he was already a frequent attendee of metal shows.
Following his metal phase, Ayres began diving into emo and punk. Though his taste in music shows a fairly linear progression from metal to the hardcore metal and pop punk he listens to today, Ayres humbly mentions that his taste was vastly shaped by his friends.
“Pretty much all the genres I got into were because that’s what my friends were listening to,” he said, while emphasizing that “the bands I’m mostly into today are taking elements of the [genres] I was into growing up and modernizing it.”
Spotify is Ayres’ go-to for discovering music.
“Their release radar is great. [Spotify] takes what I’ve been listening to the past year or so and, based off that, will suggest new releases every Friday,” Ayres explained. “I’ve also been trying to go to more concerts recently,”mentioning that he tries to give the opening bands a listen to familiarize himself with their work before attending their show.
He still also mines his high school friends’ libraries for new music, primarily because they know what Ayres likes and dislikes almost better than anyone else — including Spotify.
Indulging in the fantasy of creating his dream concert line-up, Ayres focused on bands that “I’ll probably never get to see live.” This includes The Smiths, (“Because I know they’ll never get back together,”) Nirvana, (“Who were one of my favorite bands growing up,”) and Rage Against the Machine.
Ayres occasionally dabbles in playing guitar and bass, and took a piano class back in high school. He also sang backup vocals in a metal-core band when he was younger, though he tends to humbly downplay the group’s talent. Despite his interest in playing music, Ayres prefers to step back and write about other musicians.
Ayres wants to pursue music journalism because he, “would love to share my opinions on certain bands, certain genres, and also be able to give smaller bands a platform.”
The next best thing to being a full-time musician would to be able to write about music. A writer at heart, Ayres believes that pursuing music journalism bridges his two passions: self-expression through words and nerding out over music.
If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.