Sifting Through Garbage: The Pet Traits Story

by Kyle Johnson

Sifting Through Garbage: The Pet Traits Story by Kyle Johnson
I have an incredibly vivid memory of the first time I heard Bad Brains. It was the first punk rock I had ever heard. I was fourteen years old, and I’m twenty-one now, but I can still conjure the feeling of that moment. The music tore through me. I felt the sound more than I heard it. It was summer, and I was staying in on a beautiful day to listen to music that a youtube algorithm was recommending me – but I’m so grateful I did. It made something click in my brain, like a light in a dingy basement being flicked on for the first time. I felt completely at home in the break-neck speed and sheer volume of the music. If you know that record, the first Bad Brains record, it is insane sounding even by today’s standards. I left the first playthrough of hundreds a completely changed kid. The world looked and felt different. I was in on some kind of secret.

I would later learn, of course, that I was far from being the only person that had this exact revelation. Very far. But it felt so special to me. I’ve played in bands and written at least a couple hundred songs since that day. I started a band with my best friends (Bad Nostalgia, check us out) that’s still kicking to this day, and we’ve played countless shows. We made an album by ourselves. I have grown as a person and lived through trial and tribulation as we all have. But that first experience hearing punk rock music was my watershed moment.

It encapsulated everything I love about music, art, and life. It’s all lead to me starting Pet Traits. I wanted to capture that feeling of excitement and wonder and use it as a creative power-tool. I threw out a lot of what I knew about music: the conventions, the chase of perfection, the safe bet, for total creative liberation. This is how I did it.

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Ye Olde Grampfather’s Tale

by James Kwapisz

Ye Olde Grampfather's Tale by James Kwapisz
In the beginning, a rock appeared in the firmament, and on that rock a fissure did form. An old man with youthful eyes looked upon this rock and said, “I shall call you ‘Shredrock.'” And upon receiving the reverberations of his utterance, the rock burst forth a great explosion, showering the old man with mystical properties, endowing him with the wisdom of old age and the vigor of youth. And when the phenomenon did cease, the rock told the man, “I shall call you ‘Grampfather.'”

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Spread love. Live wild.

by D. Wild

Spread love. Live wild. by D. Wild
When I was sixteen years old, I wrote and recorded a song called Infection. Eleven years later, it’s become completely cringe-worthy for me to listen to, but that song lead me to some of the most profound realizations I’ve had in my music career so far. The lyrics of Infection were about unrequited love, the negative feelings that come along with it, and the ability of those feelings to spread into other aspects of life.

At that time, I was extremely self-conscious about my voice, and my good friend Ravi Adams would sing on the actual recordings of my songs. Ravi was able to capture the things that my voice was not yet capable of, and for the first time in my life, I experienced the joy of having a completed musical project that I was proud to share with the world.

I continued striving to write better and better music, but one day Ravi stopped me in the middle of recording and told me “Dillon, you write awesome songs, but everything is sad and slow. Imagine what you could do if you changed things up and wrote a happy, more upbeat, song.”

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