Hi, my name is Jort and I play guitar and do some shouting in Dutch punk rock band Sweet Empire. I also put on the occasional show and occasionally release some music under the name of North Empire.
It was a very hard pick, but here are some of the countless albums that I love and have changed my life.
The Beatles – 1962–1966 (The Red Album)
This is not necessarily my favorite album by the band. Can you even call a compilation an album? I had to list this one, as it’s certainly the record I played most when I was young. The point is that the Beatles, as a band, is what got me into music in general. Thanks to the Beatles I love every other band I love.
I have once been told that ‘back in the days’ you were either a Rolling Stones-person or a Beatles-person. Well, my mom and dad were definitely Beatles-persons. It’s the music I grew up on. I remember singing and dancing along to the songs. I didn’t know any of the foreign/English words though, so I just sang along phonetically. It took me years to learn what the actual lyrics were, and I bet I still sing some of them wrong. The thing is that when listening to the Beatles I learned that music could move somebody, and I really, really, liked that.
The Offspring – Ixnay On The Hombre
I had been having guitar lessons for a couple of years when I first got in contact with this record. During that time I was around 13-14 years old and madly into Nirvana. I knew everything of that band and had been learning to play those songs on my guitar. “Nevermind” is not on this list though.
I was on holiday in Spain and there were some older guys hanging around where I was. Of course I had my Nirvana t-shirt on and was listening to music when one of the older guys, who turned out to be from Sweden, started talking to me. Obviously we started discussing music almost immediately. I told him what I liked and he assured me he had the next best thing for me. He went and came back with a copy of Ixnay On The Hombre by The Offspring and told me to listen to it. I stuck it into my discman and hit play. What I heard next was indeed the next best thing. I had never heard such a melody, those guitars, or that tempo ever before and I was immediately hooked.
Unfortunately I had to give him the CD back, but the minute I got home I raced to my local CD store to get my own copy. Now that CD has been played a million times, I even had to buy it again a few times as some copies got lost or scratched as I took that CD everywhere I went. I could still listen to it every day. It opened my eyes to punk rock and started my ever-lasting journey into it.
Rage Against The Machine – S/T
My older cousin introduced me to this record when I was still learning to play guitar. Of course I am still learning how to play guitar, but these were the times I was literally playing all the time and oftentimes I fell asleep with a guitar in my arms. The moment I heard the guitar lines of Tom Morello I did not want to hear anything else. Though the moment I got into the lyrics was when my life really changed. I already knew music could move somebody, but the way the band mixed the music with the lyrical subjects was an absolute eye-opener to me. Not long after getting into the band I went to see them live. The way Zach De La Rocha delivered the message along with the ferociousness of the rest of the band was what made me want to be on stage too, preferably with a message to share.
Sweet Empire is a punk rock band from Holland. You can find their tunes on Spotify.