Music in the Home - Our Spotify Playlist and 25 Things You Didn't Know About Us!
Post Written by Lilly + Markus
The first place that I had when I was dating Markus wasn’t really much of my place at all. I had decided to stay the summer in Lubbock to take classes and sublet a bedroom in an apartment across town from campus (Jefferson Commons what’s up!). It was completely opposite what feels homey to me - nothing on the walls, hardly anything of my own while most of my things were in storage. Markus lived close by and would come over on his bike after he was done at the Domino’s Pizza we both worked at - six miles away! Almost every night we’d just sit around, eat dinner and listen to music on my white brick iPod. I have so many memories there, and I’m constantly reminded of conversations we had during those days whenever I hear a song from that time playing in the background today. It was a space that didn’t have any of the trappings of home to me, but thanks to so many memories from the music, it felt like it was our first home.
Music has continued to be a way for us to feel connected and build family memories no matter where we are or how we’re resourced. Lately, we’ve been making a point to eat at home on Saturday nights. Markus takes on dinner that evening and does something thematic. Last week, he made taco bowls with agua frescas and a Mexican Restaurant playlist on Spotify. A few weeks before that, dinner featured a sing-a-long of 90’s alternative songs (again, thanks to Spotify) that weirded Heidi out more and more as the meal progressed.
I am a big believer in using sense memory in the home to evoke feeling. Few things can help a feeling come to life for me or cultivate memories like a great song.
When we think about what makes a space feel ours, music is at the top of the list. In fact, many of my favorite memories in our homes have been the moments before anything is moved in and we’re far from settled - but we have our trusty music speaker and each other, twirling and singing along to some of our favorite songs in our new space. It’s the same for hotel rooms, cabin rentals and driving in the car. Playing our music and moving along together makes any space ours.
Our collective connection to music brings us together with people who we may usually only see differences with. It elevates or captures our moods and encourages us to take up and explore space. When Markus and I thought about how music has become such a central part of our family and home life, we unpacked some great stories from our childhoods to life today. When we thought about ways to share our home, music made so much sense!
We’re happy to share our first family friendly Spotify playlist with you all. We hope if you queue it up at the start of an evening together, it will enhance your time and memories as a family. We’ll share a new one each month, highlighting different themes - so follow our family friendly Spotify station if you enjoy the first round draft picks!
And to celebrate our kickoff...
Here’s 25 Things You Didn’t Know About Us - The Music Edition!
Lilly: My Dad booked concerts and worked on production and promotion (that part also with my Mom) out of college and as a hobby when I was young. The first time I remember being on a tour bus (Vince Gill’s) I was five years old. When I was six, I was standing stage left on the backstage wings when George Jones walked by and went out on stage. Everyone had t-shirts with his face on them and screamed when he came out and everything on his face changed. I had no concept of who he was at the time but to me, that was cool.
L: My parents loved seeing live music, even if they weren’t involved, so it feels like we always were at an outdoor concert event with friends and a blanket spread out for everyone on the weekends. My sister and I typically helped the band by performing intense dance numbers in the front of the stage three feet from the amps (again, no earplugs).
L: My parents were passionate about taking us to see our favorite musical acts growing up. They drove us all over Texas to see Pat Green and to New Orleans to go to an ‘NSync concert. We were always allowed to bring friends and my Dad would rent commercial vans to drive all of our friends and us to concerts.
L: I have no ability to play music and can barely read it. My parents tried hard with piano lessons starting in Kindergarten and then I think my Dad had the idea to switch me to voice when I had been attending piano for a while and wasn’t getting it. I can’t sing well but those lessons were a really fun thing I did on my own as a child with Ms. Piper.
L: Ms. Piper could get me really enthusiastic in lessons because she was so encouraging. She got me a spot singing on an old fashioned river boat that went up and down the river where we lived in Kentucky when I was six. I was very excited but also super nervous and shy! Our entire family was super supportive and came to ride on the boat. I also remember afterwards that my Dad was talking to a friend and smoking on the dock when we got back and when he flicked his cigarette some landed on me, briefly lighting my costume shirt on fire. None of the adults notice before I snuffed it out and I walked around with a little burnt hole in my shirt for the rest of the day.
M: I was the Frontman for a burgeoning punk rock band when I was in high school. I was a vegetarian at the time, so naturally I chose the name “Raw Meat.” It was me, my younger brother Lukas, and two of our friends. We weren’t serious enough to write more than a handful of questionable-at-best songs although we made sure we recruited one of our other non-musical friends to be our manager. We “designed” and ordered Raw Meat stickers that we could sell at the merch table after shows though we ended up “playing” less than five “shows” total so I had hundreds of stickers left over. The culmination of our musical career was one show where someone shouted “We need a cleanup on Aisle Stage” during one of our songs. It stung - but we had no misgivings and we laughed our butts off over that one.
M: My first year at SMU I was a member of the Mustang Band, playing the tuba. I chose the tuba because it seemed big and manly, qualities I hoped would rub off on me by osmosis. We played all home football and basketball games and even though I had to wear a tie once a week for games, I had someone else tie it for me so I didn’t learn it for myself until years later. Anytime I hear “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain” today, it still stops me down - it’s the melody to the SMU fight song that I’ve played countless times.
L: My Dad grew up having to work really hard to have anything for himself, which I respect and admire. So I was shocked when I said I wanted a guitar and he drove me straight to Guitar Center and helped me pick one out. I never learned to play it (see Number 3 in the list above), but it is the guitar we have in our home now that Markus plays which is special to me.
L: After Heidi was born, my Dad surprised me with his great grandfather’s fiddle that his grandfather also played. It hangs in our music room and I can see where the varnish was worn off from them playing it on the front porch for nightly entertainment. It inspired me to turn our front living room area into a music room.
L: I was a radio DJ in college for KXT radio in Lubbock when it was independent radio station on Texas Tech campus. MY DJ Name was Miss Schnozberry Pie (Super Troopers reference) and I posted a “pie of the week” to my MySpace page (yes). My parents would have friends over and listen online and prank call the station.
L: MySpace page and picking the music for it was a serious art form for me for about two years and if you were cool the too you’ll feel that.
M: In college, I got bit by the DJ-ing bug and dove in head first with a mixer, vinyl, and two turntables (but no microphone). I had a radio show at SMU where I would play hip-hop mixes - think Ludacris, Lil Flip, and Mystikal. I played a few parties and could not get enough of the different combinations of songs and especially beatmatching and transitions - this was before digital vinyl and sync buttons. Good DJs still stop me down these days when I hear a sick loop or a transition combo I haven’t heard before. I made a sweet logo based on the Starbucks logo that featured my name, DJ M-Pulse.
L: We were both obsessed with making mix CDs in high school and college. My favorite thing was to drop MP3s of funny movie quotes in between songs. This is why I have mad respect for The Ticket turned The Dallas Stars’ (and former elementary school classmate) Michael Gruber aka Grubes!
L: I told Markus after the second time we hung out there was one CD he had to love if we were going to date. That was all of the context I offered, but it was a mix CD of the Old 97’s. He gladly took it and texted me later that there might be an issue with the CD because it was only playing one song on a loop, “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa. I had mixed up two CDs - I kept Push It in my car to listen to when I needed to get psyched to take a test. (Cut to feeling validated years later to Dwight Schrute jamming to “Eye of the Tiger” in his car before going into a sales meeting). Markus eventually got the right CD and we went on to see Old 97’s in concert in some form or fashion more than 30 times.
L: The first time Markus got in my car I was trying to act aloof and mature and when I turned it on, Ludacris’ “Back for the First Time” was blaring out the speakers. Markus still keeps a copy of the CD and will queue it up to start playing when I start my car to surprise me.
L: The first time I rode in Markus’ car I noticed how long it took him to find a song he was really into on his iPod before he started driving and I immediately felt less alone in my weirdo ways.
L: After a few casual dates over two days Markus and I ended up spending the rest of the last week of the semester trying to pack my house but mostly sitting on my kitchen floor passing our iPods back and forth to each other playing “the absolute best song.” Each one became a prompt for a story or time in our life which is how we got to know so much about each other so quickly.
Our friends from Domino’s Pizza (where Markus and I met working together in college) had a great cover band that always did big shows for the last day of classes. Markus and I were both at their show at the end of fall semester and were vibing hard. Alas, I could not date him when I considered it the next day because he listened to techno music. The following semester for the last day of classes we went to the same concert - we had been dating one week and we had the best time together watching the band with all of our friends.
L: We did not have a first dance song at our wedding! Not one we can go back and listen to at least. Our friend’s band played for us (still such a highlight of the night!) and picked one of his songs for our first dance (titled “I’m Going to Love You Til I Die”) and one for after when my Dad stepped in (called “Where Did My Money Go”, which still makes me laugh). What music we’re into and defining songs for our relationship has been so cyclical for us and I love how this worked out to not be too attached to any one song.
M: We got to see Willie Nelson play a show a few years ago and we were less than ten feet from him. I had found out about a rare show at the Granada in Dallas through being on Willie Nelson’s fan club email list and tickets sold out almost instantly, though I snagged a pair. I also got us a dinner reservation next door that gave us early access to the venue before doors opened which is how we got so close. It was hands down one of the best shows of my life and Willie still had it.
During that show, we struck up a conversation with an older couple near us. The husband shared with us that he was a huge Elton John fan and gave us the inside tip on how to get Elton John tickets - join his fan club online. It turns out it came in handy two years later when we got tickets for awesome seats before they were even on sale to the public. We were close to the stage and he opened with Benny and the Jets - another one on the Best All Time Shows List. ALWAYS JOIN THE FAN CLUB!
M: One thing Lilly loves to give and receive more than anything are bizarre, unique but thoughtful gestures. One year, she organized all of the “kids” in the family pitching in for her Mom to awaken to bigpipers on her front lawn for her birthday. For Lilly’s 32 birthday, Markus and Heidi had Lilly’s picture at the Willie Nelson concert printed and hung on the wall at our favorite family grub restaurant, Taco Joint, on their Willie Nelson wall. Lilly laughed (and cried) so hard and now it’s an even better reason to go to Taco Joint - while listening to some tunes!
M: We went to Telluride, CO for the first time a few years ago during the summer to hang out, hike, and see what the town was about. During our one-hour cab ride from the airport to the town, our driver asked if we were in town for “Ride Fest.” We didn’t even know what it was but he said it was a big deal and that it was coming up in a few days. He told us that Widespread Panic was the headliner and that any remaining wristbands or tickets were probably tough to come by. Fast forward to a few days later when Lilly told me after an outdoor yoga class that she’d gotten a wristband from another yogi who’d been able to slide it off her wrist intact! I was smitten and impressed, I’d never even heard of that as a possibility. We were able to buy another wristband for me at the gate and this went down as another one on my All Time Favorite Shows list - the backdrop of watching the Colorado sun set behind the mountains surrounding Telluride’s box canyon was a spiritual experience.
L: One of the first things we decided on as parents was our daughter’s night time song. We played “California Stars” by Wilco every night as we rocked her and patted her little baby butt to go to sleep. Today we’ll catch her singing it to herself to self-soothe or we’ll hum or sing it to her if she takes a break from big girl world to rest on our laps. When we’re lucky enough to see Jeff Tweedy in concert Heidi always asks if he played “her song.”
L: We’ve been eager to introduce our girl to music lessons, but costs and time have never been on our side when trying to balance it with all of the other adventures of early childhood. We lucked out when a 10 year old girl in our neighborhood started offering lessons at $5 for 30 minutes and $10 for an hour, with an official book and Skittles candy with every visit. The relationship between Heidi and her teacher has been so beautiful! Plus, I was shocked to turn the corner after just three lessons and hear our five year old playing Mary Had a Little Lamb by herself! Never underestimate children - or Skittles.