Something I hear a lot when discussing music with people is "oh, I'm just not into..." followed by whatever genre of music I've been talking about, whether it be hip hop, metal, reggae, or just good old New Zealand music. It's always a little disappointing to find someone who wants to talk about music, or at least wants to listen to me talk about music, and then find that they've closed their mind off to whole pieces of the musical world.
I admit, I've been guilty of this in the past - for a long time I refused to go near anything considered "country" but then discovered Johnny Cash and decided to dig a little deeper into the country genre and eventually exploring alt-country as well, finding some bands that I liked, and of course some that I didn't.
Most genres are quite vast - roots, ska, dub, rock steady all get lumped together as reggae, and someone who doesn't like one of those may find that they enjoy one or more of the others. Flat out refusing to even take a listen to something because of the genre may mean you miss out on some great music.
Heavy metal is a great example. Metal ranges from your mellow melodic metal, through to hardcore, and on to black metal, death metal and so on. Fans of one may not necessarily like all bands in the others, but may enjoy some. Fans of rock may find that they enjoy some metal bands too, but by saying that they don't listen to metal would never come across those bands.
Even worse is when someone claims to not listen to their local music; I often hear people saying that they just don't listen to New Zealand music. Often this is from people who claim to love music, yet seem to think that all local music either sounds the same, or can't possibly be worth listening to because it's not made overseas.
It's a crazy way to approach music - it shouldn't matter where a band comes from, or what genre they get put into (and what do genres really mean anyway, other than a way for music stores and labels to market music to fans). What should matter is whether you like the music or not; if it sounds good to you, why should a label put on it matter.
What do you think? Do you ever choose to not listen to a band because of the genre it's put in, or where the band is from? Have you ever been surprised when you've taken a chance listening to music you wouldn't normally choose to listen to? Leave your thoughts below.