pink and hans zimmer sound off

For The Sounding Off Issue​, we asked a collection of music makers, writers, thinkers and shakers to contribute their thoughts and opinions about music in 2017. First up, PINK and Hans Zimmer.

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Nov 1 2017, 9:40pm

This article originally appeared in The Sounding Off Issue, no. 350, Winter 2017.

PINK, musician
Kike dyke. That was the first name I remember being called. I was in the third grade. My mom had just bought me black pumps, the kind with the little heel in the back, and glittery silver socks, a la Michael Jackson.

I was at recess. I loved my glittery silver socks. I was feeling myself.

Kike dyke. The whole bus ride home.

I never wore those socks and shoes again. The mustard coloured turtleneck and pleated plaid pants probably didn't help matters, let's be honest.

By the time I was in fifth grade though, somehow I had grown an extra layer of skin. I was the person walking other kids home. Kids that were "fat," special needs. Anyone that was picked on, I would protect them. Cus fuck that. I don't know where that extra layer of skin came from. Maybe my dad. Maybe seeing my brother picked on mercilessly. He was the most bullied kid I'd ever seen with my own eyes.

I came to realize that bullies are cowards. They hate themselves. Their parents are bullies. They feel powerless, invisible, and this is the only way they can feel like they matter. They're miserable. And they want you to be miserable, too. But the second you stand up to them, they cower. The second you own your flaws and imperfections, they have no power over you.

"Being normal is boring. Being weird is way more fun. It means you can laugh at yourself, at life. And the most important thing in life is a sense of humour. "

So I rebelled. I stood up. I owned it. To everybody. To society, to authority, to my parents. Someone told me girls couldn't skateboard, so I started winning contests. Someone told me girls couldn't front rock bands, so I joined one and started playing gigs at 13. There seems to be a person on every corner waiting to tell you what you can't do, so why not just see for yourself?

I started cutting my hair, shaving one side of my head, getting tattoos, piercing my tongue. It felt good to shock people, to go so far as to say, I know I can't please everyone anyways, so why not have some fun? Why not challenge these ludicrous convictions. Why not be fully who I am?

I looked around at all the adults, and they all looked unhappy, so why should I listen to them anyways?

Jim Carey once said, "If you're different, it means you've got a shot at being original." I love that quote. I live by that code. I always have. I recommend it. I tell my daughter that being normal is boring. Being weird is way more fun. It means you can laugh at yourself, at life. And the most important thing in life is a sense of humour.

The most interesting people are different. The most interesting people, and I think, too, the most compassionate people, have been bullied. As Dr. Seuss said; "Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"

Hans Zimmer, composer
I nearly got fired off this movie once – for all the right reasons. I was being really naughty. My music editor told me that the director said, 'God, Zimmer, he's really pissing me off, I'd love to fire him, except then he sits down and plays those moody chords.' That's when I realized I'm not a virtuoso, I just know how to play moody chords.

Because I don't use language, going out on the road has been interesting, you know? We've played all these different countries, and in Poland I've tried to say "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen" in Polish. That's all I can say, but when I start playing music, I don't need words anymore.

I really think music can sort of transcend all that stuff.

"I do want to open the door just a little bit, and say 'Okay, here I'm giving you the possibility, just for a moment in time to feel something.' That's the power of what we do."

I don't ever want to be the guy who tells you what to feel. But I do want to open the door just a little bit, and say, 'Okay, here I'm giving you the possibility, just for a moment in time, as opposed to being on your fucking phone or your iPad or whatever, just for a moment, to feel something. You get an experience, and it's your experience, and you can do with it what you want, but just for a moment, things are going to be different.' That's the power of what we do. The operative word in music is play. We play music. There's a bit of something that the audience should take home. Be a bit more playful in your life. You know, life's hard. Life's grim for most people. It's trying to make ends meet, it's getting your kids up in the morning, getting them off to school. But, you know, learn a little bit from us. Because we're figuring something out. Figuring out that it can be playful.

The most we get to feel these days is rage. Rage against the system, rage against the… anything. But there are other feelings to be had. There's something really cool about when suddenly the whole band's playing and everything is working and the audience is with you, and you get this really rare feeling, this really rare experience, everybody's emotion is directed in the same direction. I mean where do you get that, other than a concert? You don't even really get it at a football match. At a concert, the experience of bonding is incredibly powerful.