Question Dot GIF: What Hometown Artist Inspired You To Make Music? : The Record Circuit Des Yeux, White Lung, SubRosa, Obnox, and others sit for GIF portraits during Raleigh, N.C.'s Hopscotch Music Festival, an event that celebrates its homegrown music scene.
NPR logo Question Dot GIF: What Hometown Artist Inspired You To Make Music?

Question Dot GIF: What Hometown Artist Inspired You To Make Music?

At the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, N.C., you're just as likely to see a line out the door for a homegrown act as you would for an out-of-towner. It speaks to the idea that, even as the Internet allows an infinite amount of ideas, a central group of artists can still foster community, competition, and a creative spark.

Last week, I highlighted five Triangle-based acts that I wanted to see at Hopscotch, so on the streets of downtown Raleigh, I posed one question to touring artists at the festival: What was the one artist from your hometown that inspired you to make music? For some, it was a community organizer; for others, a person with a different way of thinking about music.

Adam Kissick provides the beautiful animated GIFs seen here. You can see all of his photos from the Hopscotch Music Festival on Flickr.


"I was frightened and struck to the core — I felt like I saw something so true and real that I felt fake in comparison."

SubRosa guitarist and vocalist Rebecca Vernon says the sludge-metal band Red Bennies made her realize that "there are other people in [Provo, Utah] that are as angry as me. I just had to find them."

White Lung

"I had a weird crush on his voice, but now knowing him, I don't have that anymore. Love him! But no sexual crush."

White Lung's Mish Way says she would listen to records by Stephen McBean's Pink Mountaintops while working at a clothing store in Vancouver. She's still inspired by McBean's work ethic and his willingness to try anything he wants in Black Mountain and Pink Mountaintops, no matter the end result.


"When you think about [Pere] Ubu and The Pagans and Rocket From The Tombs and the Electric Eels — if you're listening to punk in America and don't know who these people are, then you're f—— up."

— For Lamont Thomas, "Ohio as a whole put me in the spirit I am now." Since the '90s, the Cleveland musician has spent time in Bassholes, Puffy Areolas, and This Moment In Black History. His new project as Obnox is a raw amalgamation of his career, like a soul singer bending punk, heavy blues, noise, and scuzzy hip-hop production to his will.

Circuit Des Yeux.

"An artist is really just an artist no matter what the medium or genre."

— Haley Fohr, who plays dark folk under the name Circuit des Yeux. As a high-schooler in Lafayette, Ind., Fohr was encouraged by Pink Reason's Kevin Failure to pursue music. Fohr now lives in Chicago; Failure has since taken a musical 180 from his "sappy, downer acoustic songs" and now hosts all-ages rave parties.

Mary Lattimore (Adam Kissick for NPR)

"We just experimented together using effects. She inspires me a lot."

— The Philadelphia-based harpist Mary Lattimore thought outside of her massive stringed instrument when she started to play with Fursaxa's Tara Burke. Lattimore can now be found on recordings by Kurt Vile, The Valerie Project, and Thurston Moore, with whom she played at Hopscotch.

Hoax Hunters

"It was like if Black Flag had a piano player."

— PJ Sykes of Hoax Hunters. When the guitarist was growing up in Lynchburg, Va., he'd share bills with Seven Hearts, a punk band that challenged his idea of what punk should be.