A BLOG FOR READERS AND AUTHORS OF MTV BOOKS
The MTV Books Blog will close on October 31. Follow us to our new home at YA Outside the Lines on November 1!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Mix Tape Queen
Right now I'm revising my second novel (or I'm supposed to be, actually I'm procrastinating by writing this blog instead). As you might have guessed there is an underlying musical theme to it. No rock stars like in I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, but the characters are the kind of kids who would tell the story of their life with music. So when I was writing the book, I carefully picked out a song that represented each character. In fact, at one point I had a song for every chapter. Ok, maybe it was another procrastination technique, but I loved it because it was like making a big mix tape (or CD for those of you born after 1985 or iTunes playlist for you really high tech folks). And back in the day I was the mix tape queen.
I lay claim to that throne because I started creating mixes the really hard way when I was ten. I taped songs off the radio. It sounds simple enough, but trying doing it in the perfect order. You see, the Stephanie Kuehnert mix has to have flow, sound-wise and theme-wise. A portion of the "Stephanie and Katie Summer of '03 Driving Mix" (which is a three-disc set because I always get carried away) follows a geographical path: "Santa Monica" by Everclear leads into "Malibu" by Hole leads into "Dizz Knee Land" by Dada leads into "Olympia" by Rancid. Waiting for a specific song to come on the radio so you can record it in exactly the right order, that's a science!
Fortunately, technology has advanced. By eighth grade I had a CD player and by the end of high school, I had a pretty sweet stereo system that allowed me to use songs from CD, cassette, and vinyl. (You had to know I'm the type to have a serious vinyl collection, right?) I kept making mix tapes instead of CDs until 2002 because for the most part I listened to them in my car, which still had a tape deck. I'm a serious devotee of the driving mix. In fact, I prepared for getting my driver's license by making a mix tape and I made a new one at least once a year, many of which I shared with my best friend Katie. Now, I no longer have a car so I make playlists for my iPod to make Chicago public transportation more bearable. Also my friend Eryn and I travel together once a year and we alternate who makes the mix CD. It's one of the best parts of our trips!
Then, I make writing playlists. You might have heard the one I made for I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE on my website or myspace, but while I was procrastinating a few weeks back, I created my ideal soundtrack for IWBYJR. It follows the storyline of the book perfectly in song, how cool is that? I can't use Project Playlist or anything online to duplicate it because it has some harder-to-find songs on there, so I'm burning it on CD instead and my fabulous webmistress Jenny Hassler has agreed to design some hott artwork. It's going to be part of the prize for my first contest and you can enter to win the CD along with some early IWBYJR promo materials by simply signing up to be a member of my street team. Street team members are volunteers who spread the word about IWBYJR by putting up banners on their myspace or other website, passing out promo goodies (which I send you) around town, or just telling people about the book. Not a huge commitment, but if you sign up before January 15th, you're eligible to become one of seven lucky folks who gets a mix CD from yours truly, the Mix Tape Queen. Who knows, it might become your favorite mix ever.
And if you're wondering what my favorite mix ever is, it's a tape that my friend Tom made junior year of high school. He used some serious old school mixing skill on it, blending snippets of songs from the radio (he demonstrated how overplayed Bush's "Glycerine" was that summer by putting it on there three times), his record player, and best of all, the only full version of a song that he put on was "Loser Fan Club" by the band he fronted in junior high, the Skexies (if anyone remembers what movie that band name comes from I might have to reward you with a mix CD just for that!). I may be one of the few people on earth in possession of a recording of that early Tom Smith classic and now that his latest band Office is getting rather popular that rarity might become pretty desirable. Not that I would ever eBay my favorite mix!
What about you, what's the story of your favorite mix tape/CD/playlist? And authors, name five songs that would go on the soundtrack for your book. Here's a little peek into the IWBYJR ultimate soundtrack: "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" by Sleater-Kinney (of course), "I'm Not Dead" by Pink, "Suddenly Cool" by the Methadones, "Ragged Company" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and "New Wave" by Against Me!, but you gotta enter the contest to find out more!