How stanning nearly bought me a drum kit

Cutting Room Floor

Photo of Lachie Wappet

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“Yeah,” I thought, in my post-bong rip clarity, “I should have been a drummer.” 

It was a cold night, but I wanted to be outside, so I made myself into a blanket burrito and cozied up to my life-soundtrack: Australian hip-hop duo Horrorshow, from Sydney’s Inner West where I grew up.

I might have been good at drumming. When belting out an absolute tune a cappella with friends, I’m never the one who comes in too early after a long pause between lines. In the car alone, rapping along to my favorite songs, I continue as the music cuts for the Waze lady and I meet the song again in perfect time.

Soon, I had myself thinking I could have even been a professional drummer — if I really tried. If I were a professional drummer, I could play live with Horrorshow. Maybe I’d even be friends with them. Damn, what a thought.

Returning myself to reality, I figured dropping everything to learn the drums might be a tad irrational. I was missing something — I’m an arts and entertainment writer, I could set up an interview!

The duo already knew me at that point. Before dropping their fifth studio album New Normal in late 2019, they released “88 Bars (Behind The Scenes)” alongside a Facebook competition to see who could find the most references to their past work and collaborators. Surprisingly, I won.

Sitting under the stars in the Berkeley hills, I screamed. Horrorshow’s MC Solo was in my messages. We went back and forth for a while. I apologized for winning overseas, offered to pay the international shipping for the signed vinyl prize — I had to forfeit the concert tickets since I couldn’t fly to Sydney. He asked about my major and classes, I sent a paragraph and my vinyl showed up a couple weeks later. I had spoken to my idol, and it wouldn’t be the last time.

On Christmas Day that year, my mum presented me with their fourth album Bardo State. She had conspired with them to surprise me with another signed record. “Much Love Lachie!” it read. Replying to my Instagram story, Solo wished me a merry Christmas and said he was only too happy to help my mum surprise me. 

Reliving those memories, listening to their music high in the cold — I nearly lost my train of thought. Of course I could interview them — they’d have to say yes.

And who better to ask great questions than a proper stan? It would be the perfect introduction to both them and the Australian music scene in general — someone might read it! But being honest with myself, I was most excited by the prospect of the “off-the-record” moment I could have with them afterwards. 

I found Horrorshow at a difficult time. Navigating early high school having just moved to the United States, my whole personality had devolved into simply being “The Australian.” When I’d go back to Australia, I was “The American.” I felt like neither. 

The first Horrorshow song I heard was “The Rain.” The refrain — “Hush child, from the joy to the pain / It’ll all wash away in the rain” — felt so cathartic to shout into the void of swelling music. What timing — in 2017, after a four year break, Horrorshow dropped Bardo State. It was the first album I listened to on release day front to back. It changed my life. For them, after an interview, I could find the words profound enough to express how much they mean to me.

After those words, assuming I could find a way to speak through my tears, I’d lie. I’d tell them I know where I stand — that I wouldn’t pretend to have a connection with them beyond any other fan, that I wouldn’t try wringing every last ounce of meaning my connection to their music can give to my life by attempting to enter theirs. Then, I’d tell them I hope to see them perform live one day and catch them after the set. Maybe I could get a photo and another signed album.

They’d know I’m lying — I’d already be doing the exact opposite. I’d be hoping that, on the day I meet them after a set, my grand project of making my pen mightier than the drums will have succeeded as they invite me for a drink. And my time spent listening to their music would yield yet more meaning for my existence. That’s what stanning is — a manifestation of a search for meaning. It’s great until the cravings for more start to fuel an addiction.

I stood up, shed my blanket burrito and wandered sheepishly inside. Then I wrote this instead. Is this another grand project? Maybe. But when I see Horrorshow after a set, I’ll wear a fake moustache.

Contact Lachie Wappet at [email protected].