Some people are perceived to be bad, others are seen as good. The only truth is that each person is a vessel through which we can learn more about life, rounding out our worldview and becoming more aware of our differences and similarities. All of which sounds very similar to music. So we're going to combine the two, learning more about life through people and their taste in music.
To start with we're talking to people who smoke weed. As mind-enhancing drugs go, cannabis has formed sticky-fingered relationships with more genres of music than any other. Snoop Dogg has puffed his way through a two-decade long career; The Beatles cherished the odd toke or two; there are rumours of acts from Miley Cyrus to the Flaming Lips to Ed Sheeran to KoRn all having a go on the plant.
Is there something that ties stoners music tastes together, though? Does being high enhance one's ability to hear music, like a form of satanic magic? Contrary to right-wing opinion, are weed-smokers some of the most open and friendly people to walk the earth? What cool music can they show us? Let's take a look…
It took us about three months to do this piece, since most of the people involved were too busy getting stoned to meet us on time. But after countless rescheduling and delayed texts we got there. Shit always works out in the end :)
Noisey: I see your skateboard. What's the worst accident you've had Marcus? Broken bones?
Marcus: Ummm – not broken bones. But I've cracked a few. I did this wrist a few weeks ago; I've had a couple of concussions. I was trying a handplant, 180 kind of thing, into the small bowl, but I leant too far back, fell off, looked around to see where my board went and – BAM, it came down and hit me in the head.
Chyzzz. What do you listen to when you're skating and smoking?
A bunch of shit. I can listen to happy songs – something upbeat, like Pharrell, for example.
Does smoking weed help?
Yeah. If I smoke a joint and have my headphones in, it's like, y'know – I can pick out those little sounds I wouldn't notice when I haven't been smoking. When I listen and I'm not smoking I'm like – rah.
What's your go to song?
There's a few. I have two separate music apps. One is the super chill playlist. The other one will be hype tracks. Xxxtencacion. I got a bunch of his super screamo tracks. The moment I go in the bowl it's pure vibes. The chill playlist is the Isaiah Rashad, the Internet, Steve Lacy. He's amazing. If I'm sober I'll listen to Frank Ocean, Blonde, "Nikes", "Solo", "Ivy". I love Mick Jenkins. The Water(S) album. "Healer", "Dehydration". Some of the lyrics on there…
The first few bars "My piss ain't never been so clear / My pockets never been so empty / My heart ain't never been this full but my stomach is not, so my nigga don't tempt me" – it's like, woah. The metaphor behind it: the knowledge, the healing components – I'm healed but all these social aspects still exist. I don't have money, but I'm woke. I'm woke and broke! It speaks to the idea water is a healer, it can destroy things. It has so much potential to do so many different things. Not a lot of people have grabbed onto that concept. It has the power to give life – fucking make grass grow, plants grow and that shit. But it has the ability to cut through a block of wood.
Water, eh. I fucking love it.
Leah: Hello! I'm pretty baked now. I always am to be fair.
What weed do you normally smoke?
It depends, really. I would say lemon and amnesia is the normal stuff, but I'll have girl scout if it comes in. It's a special occasion one, really.
Let's talk about your record collection? What's in there?
Mostly a lot of 60s psych. 70s post-punk. I have a few 80s bits and a lot of world stuff.
Yeah, the reason I got into that is because of the history. I discovered Cambodian records and thought they were sick. Then I found out a lot of the artists I'd listened to had been killed in the Pol Pot regime. Form there I moved into Nigerian music before the revolution – it has the sickest guitar riffs and records. Then I went around the world really, into Ghana in the 70s with funk. I like getting baked and spending a night looking into different genres – West Pakistan in the 60s.
How do you find these records?
I use YouTube. I don't like buying any old record online and finding out it's shit when it arrives. New music isn't doing anything for me, if I'm honest. I like the history and origins of music – and music that said something.
Guitar music isn't saying much now, is it?
It's gone underground, in a way. All the old bands came from a working class background, like Oasis. A lot of the bands now – no disrespect to them – they're all art school, middle class people. They don't know what it's about. There's no passion. They might be talking about girls but there's no revolution coming. I like that grime is the new punk.
What's your favourite thing to listen to when you're getting stoned?
If I want to explore I'll go into my world music. But I have my comfort music too: Animals, Buffalo Springfield, Stones, Beatles, Fleetwood Mac – but Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac because he grew up in Essex and I'm from there. I used to love UK Garage as a teenager, so when I'm in the mood and with my girlfriends I'll go back into that.
Noisey: So… you make hemp cream? WTF? How?!
Ilena: When I started to get loads of tattoos I realised the cream they advise you to use is made from chemicals and isn't good for the skin. I started teaching myself aromatherapy, learning about essential oils, then I made creams from scratch using 100 percent organic produce.
I've found a company who sell CBD oil, so I'm starting to practice with that now.
How long have you been smoking for?
I wasn't smoking in Italy as a teenager but when I moved here I suffered from anxiety attacks. One of my flatmates was a heavy smoker and was like: 'why don't you try this? It's weed!' and since then I've been smoking.
You started smoking late… do you find it affects what you listen to?
When I'm smoking weed I want to listen to chill music – so I'm not going to be there playing rock or techno. I've always been listening to rap and hip-hop. Growing up I listened to Erykah Badu.
@FatBellyBella – the perfect accompaniment to smoking.
What's in your record collection? Do you have one?
I used to. People in London move all the time so I haven't had the chance to buy a sound system. I have the last album by Jamiroquai. I've got Kanye West – the one with "All of the Lights" on it. I've got Bjork – I don't remember which one though. I also have The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I should have more but I always go on my phone. It's nice but at the same time you're losing something, you know?
Noisey: You've been drinking some tea. What did you have?
Jack: Normal tea. Full fat milk. I don't really like any other teas.
Okay? Do you like music though? Talk me through the stuff in your collection.
We have loads of records in the house – dubstep, house, that kind of stuff.
Do you have parties then?
We normally have friends over and mix together. I can't really do it that well. I've been learning with dubstep because it's normally the same tempo. I'm normally on my bike and have a speaker on the front, so that's when I listen to music mostly.
What other music are you into?
I like a lot of old school hip-hop and blues and rock. It's not a huge amount of artists. But if I'm cycling places I'll always play the Metallica album.
Do you remember the first song you got high too?
I'm not too sure. I remember the first time I got high at my friends house and they were really into the Smiths, so it was probably something like that.
I don't know how I feel about that.
At the time they were really indie.
Does smoking weed affect the music you listen to or how you perceive it?
Not really. Hip-hop is quite slow, so if you're high it's nice to mong out and listen to that. But. Yeah…