What is furry music? Q&A with Matthew Ebel and Microdile
by Patch O'Furr
Part 1 of this series of short Q&A’s asked: what defines “furry music”? Furry dance parties are one of the strongest real life furry movements besides conventions. In a growing fandom, con stages now use millions in equipment and are the crossroads for congoers. Sound is half of the performances and videos furries love. But music isn’t exactly made by animals, it isn’t visual, and it’s an ineffable experience to even write about. “Furry” isn’t really a music genre, but it matters enough to fandom that it’s worth treating it like one for a deeper look. Start with a loose working definition: It overlaps with fandom, it’s made with furries, or it shares a general theme. Then comes the fun part of asking musicians about it. (See part 1 for the full list):
- Are you a furry musician?
- What is furry music?
- Can you share a cool fact or story about your music?
Matthew Ebel: Piano Rock singer-songwriter who recently branched out as EDM/progressive house act Avian Invasion, beloved by audiences over many years as a convention mainstay.
- Yup, definitely a Furry musician. If playing shows at cons for the last 12 years wasn’t definitive enough, now I play on club stages in a bird mask. Pretty sure that’s enough evidence to convict.
- Furry music is, in my opinion, separate from Furry musicians. There are plenty of proud Furry musicians who don’t write songs about the fandom or animals… Furry music is, like all furry art, something that expresses the creator’s particular affinity for critter characters.
- I once had a talk radio network in South Africa use one of my songs as their network theme song for two or three years. I didn’t bother telling them the whole album was written about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy… I’m pretty sure that would’ve just weirded them right the fuck out.
Microdile (AKA Audiodile): Music producer and fursuiter in California with prolific mixing and DJ experience.
- What is furry music? I guess it depends on how you want to define it, to many I think it would mean music with some kind of thematic element that reflects the things we celebrate: animals, being an animal, animalistic traits and wordplay. I think by that definition, it can be tricky to be clever and eloquent without unintentionally veering into the cliche or naive. To be fair, shortly after I entered the fandom many years ago, I wrote a poem that I wanted to be grand and meaningful and in reflection contains some cringy moments I am embarrassed of now, so I think sometimes an honest sentiment can be heartfelt and still not exactly of high quality.
- Am I a furry musician? That’s a tough one. I have certainly written a few songs that are: “Blue Fox Group” and “Domesticated” for example, but by far most of the music I play at conventions isn’t particularly furry except occasionally lyrically. I think when it comes down to it, most furries aren’t radically different from anyone else: they’d rather hear something of high quality than something that is hypothetically “geared for them” content-wise. If you can check both boxes, that’s the stuff I think that will get people really excited. I think there is DEFINITELY some excellent music being made by furries, but I think almost all of that has intentionally avoided seeming too furry, whether that’s because of the desire to appeal to a broader audience or simply because the artist chose not to write to that aspect of themselves.
As much as we want to be proud of our fandom and see that the media is slowly becoming less prone to sensationalism, I think many of those with a serious amount of talent are reluctant to introduce much “furriness” into their music for fear that it will turn people off or automatically be cringy, even if they really ARE into the culture. It’s one thing to rap about what a hard gangsta you are since it makes you seem like a badass, it’s another to sing about how awesome fuzzy cartoon animals are without making eyes roll and channels change.
But it’s kind of amusing to see DJs like deadmau5 and Marshmello rise to fame wearing costumes, I think it goes to show you how liberating and fun it is to let the music speak for you and let people speculate on the person behind it all. Furry is slowly permeating the mainstream because the reality is, what’s not to like about cute sexy animals and people spreading love, being goofy and having fun? That’s easy to market, you know?
- Cool fact: I owned a record collection at 6, I was making shitty tape deck pause button edit remixes at 10, I made a bunch of generic dance track demos at 19, AudioDile was a name I came up with trying to be clever with plays on crocodile and audio dial. The first time I actually DJ’d was probably the first Further Confusion in 1999 when I filled in for someone who failed to show up, but my first experience as a DJ was assisting a local wedding DJ (who used only cassettes!) when I was about 12. So, this was probably like 1989? I’m not sure if he let me help out because I was into it or because it meant he could drink more and pay attention less, but we were getting ready for the bridal dance and all the cassettes he used had one track on the front and one on the back. I was supposed to play some sappy sweet love song to slow dance to, but I put the wrong side on and when the big moment came, Young MC’s Bust A Move started playing. I was horrified but after a brief moment of confusion, the bride shrugged and the entire bridal party came onto the dance floor and had a blast with it. The DJ couldn’t be too angry with me because it ended up being something that probably ended up being all the more memorable to them because it was so unexpected and funny.
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[…] Matthew Ebel is a well-known fandom musician who has begun a new project that sees him shifting from his roots of piano-based lyrical works to what he has dubbed “progressive (bird)house” with hints of trance peppered throughout. Performing under the name “Bird One,” Ebel dons a masquerade-like beak and colorful outfits as he crafts melodies that have been played at such important venues as The Roxy and even the Grand Ole Opry. How well does Bird One’s musical prowess transfer from Elton John to EDM? We are going to take a look at his 6-song EP titled Children Of The Stars to find out. […]