We asked 8 recording artists what they’d be doing in a world without music


Johnny Rogoff of Yuck
The Shipwreck Archaeologist
“If I didn’t play music… hmm. I was going to say something goofy like, ‘I’d probably be a Subway sandwich artist because at least in some way I’d still be an artist, right?’, but when I was younger, I actually aspired to be what I thought was considered an Oceanographer, but upon further review, the field that pertains to my specific oceanic interests is actually known as ‘shipwreck archaeology’. As a kid, I found shipwrecks to be ridiculously fascinating. I had books on the Titanic and the German battleship the Bismarck, and the idea that these boats were just sitting at the bottom of the ocean waiting for people to find them drove me nuts. Also, Robert Ballard discovered both of those shipwrecks and I used to think to myself, ‘is this the only dude looking for these underwater treasures? I’m going to do that too.’ So I guess I’d be a shipwreck archaeologist. Actually, writing this has truly inspired me to rekindle my attempts to make this dream happen. Screw music.”

Melanie Pain
The Screenwriter
“Writing songs and performing on stage for the last 10 years has of course been my dream job. I am still amazed every morning that I’m a singer! But if I wasn’t a singer I think I’d like to write screenplays for TV series. I’d love to spend my days thinking of how to tell a story, how to develop characters, interactions between characters… and how to write awesome dialogue. It would be great as well to choose the music for the shows, as I’m often frustrated with the music in TV shows. This or writing a novel would be another dream job for me.”

Erika Forster of Au Revoir Simone
The Colour Predictor
“If I wasn’t doing music, my dream job would be to work with colour, either to pick/predict colours for trend forecasting or freelance as a colour advisor. I used to work as a textile designer and my favourite part of the job was sitting under a light box and picking pantones and colour combinations. It’s really like telling a story, using nostalgia and aspirations to make something simple more special and beautiful. But maybe 40 hours a week of that would be really hard!”

The Spätkauf Owner
“If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing right now, I’d probably try and open a Spätkauf (German convenience store) in my neighbourhood in Berlin. Working in a Späti seems pretty relaxed – usually there’s the store worker and a couple of friends chilling with Youtube or something open, chatting to people as they come and go. As well as selling the usual fare of club mate, bottled beer and paprika crisps, I’d love to also sell some slightly more substantial foodstuffs, a selection of good magazines and books, a small section to rep the work of local artists, and import some tasty beers.”

Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost
The Caribbean Fisherman
“We’ve been asked this question a number of times before and it’s always difficult to answer, because we love what we do to the extent I’m not sure if we’re equipped to do anything else. It’s not like we’re bankers who dream of being sailboat captains every day of their working lives – we’re doing exactly what we want to do and have been doing it since we were 17 years old. That said, though, if we weren’t making music we’d love to get out of the city and retire and be fishermen in the Caribbean, get a boat and live the simple life. That’s the other dream job we could definitely get used to.”

Charlie Rotberg of Beaty Heart
The Paintball Marshall
“Due to the nature of our trade and the unreliable income that accompanies it we have all done several weird jobs to keep us a float, be it mixing vats of garlic butter for hours on end or selling garden trowels to middle aged couples. Having said that, if I had the choice over another profession bar music I would probably opt to work at a paintballing ranch (think that’s what they are known as). I reckon the mark up on those balls are BIG and that you can’t beat shouting down a group of pumped up men on a stag doo with, “put your googles back on you maniac!”. Those paintball marshalls are always so cocky something about their profession must be desirable right? Possibly due to the power they hold or maybe the sheer amount of Richmonds they smoke! Either that or a fireman.”

Alex Williams of Islet
The Llama Farmer
“My dream job in the best of all possible worlds would have to be a llama farmer. These majestic creatures that have spread across the globe, due to their awesomeness and general skill to flourish in any environment (including wet and dark west Waleian winters), have always sparked my imagination. I would love to have a small settlement of llamas and use their wool to make clothing and sweet wall hangings. I’d make llama hair bucket hats for the festival season and giant stockings for Christmas and our family holiday could be a llama trek across Chile. Think of the fun.”

Heather D’Angelo Au Revoir Simone
The Environmental Biologist
“Last year I finally realised a long-term dream of mine when I graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Environmental Biology. Doing so took much longer than I ever imagined because I juggled my research and my music for nearly seven years. I’m still uncertain about which of my two passions will ultimately claim the majority of my attention, but for now I’m wearing my music hat, and have put my science hat back in the closet. If I wasn’t in Au Revoir Simone, I would definitely be pursuing a PhD in tropical soil microbial ecology with my mentor, Dr. Krista McGuire, although it’s somewhat bittersweet for me to put my research aside for the time being, being active in the band again gives me access to a whole other range of opportunities. I’ve realised over the years that one of the best things about being in an all-female band is that I’ve gotten to act as a mentor to young girls who reach out to me on my band’s website. It’s saddening to me how few of them have the confidence to follow their dreams, especially in music and the sciences, historically male-dominated fields. Consequently, one of my long-term goals is to start a science-based public outreach program targeting young girls.”


« Previous Article
Next Article »