Pause, Play, Shuffle

An inside look into four Paly music lovers and how their individual tastes brought them to find what they love to listen to.


Leela Srinivasan

Junior Leela Srinivasan’s generally listened to popular songs she had heard on the radio, until she started taking electric guitar lessons. When she began taking lessons three years ago, Srinivasan was exposed to a conglomerate of old school songs from the 80’s.

“The songs they picked for electric guitar weren’t as mainstream [and] I wanted to get into the kind of music I was playing,” Srinivasan said.“I enjoyed it at a different level. When you play the music you also listen to, you begin to appreciate it more.”

Since she began playing the guitar, Srinivasan has discovered numerous artists including The Kooks, The Cure and Stevie Nicks. She explained how she always gets excited and loves discovering new artists from the songs she learns in her lessons.

One of Srinivasan’s favorite albums is called “Inside In Inside Out” by the Kooks. “I like it because it has a good mix of relaxing songs,” Srinivasan said. “I feel like I can listen to it at any time.” She explained that she enjoys the musical yet simple vibe. Her favorite song on the album is “Sea Side” because she knows it well and finds that it is very relaxing,

From both listening and playing her songs on the guitar, Srinivasan finds music to be a huge stress reliever. “It is a great way for me to just feel free,” Srinivasan said. “When I listen to a song or play one, I forget everything else.”


Srinivasan’s interpretation of “Inside the Inside Out” by The Kooks


Oscar Scherer

If you flash back about five to eight years, you’ll remember a time in your life where you were packed in overcrowded classrooms with the rest of your fifth grade class, being forced to learn the basics of playing an instrument. By the time sixth or seventh grade rolled around it was time for most to return the instrument to the music store and cancel the monthly rental fee. But not everyone could let it go. Senior Oscar Scherer took the opportunity given to him and transformed it into a passion.    

Many hobbies have stemmed from his fifth grade music class. He currently has his own radio show on KZU Stanford 90.1 and he plays instruments ranging from the trombone to the melodica.

He spends a chunk of his Saturdays at the flea market randomly selecting vinyls to take home and listen to on his record player. Doing so aided him in discovering new music and drove his curiosity to explore a breadth of musical genres. His all time favorite album is the 1990 Primus album “Frizzle Fry”.  “There’s honestly nothing quite like Primus,” he said.

He described the funk metal album as wacky and having just the right amount of political opinion. Scherer explained that Primus explored uncharted territories as they merged funk, rock, alternative and metal. He discussed the difference between listening to this album on iTunes as opposed to listening to it on a record player. He feels that it’s a unique experience to listen to the fades between songs on his record player– a feature that he believes goes underppreciated when listening to the album on an iPhone instead of on vinyl.

Music has become something Scherer cannot imagine his life without and he hopes to continue music, at least part time, as he moves out of high school and throughout adulthood.

Scherer’s interpretation of “Frizzle Fry” by Primus


Patrick McCole

Junior Patrick McCole is the go-to guy for music; he’s the kid with the headphones in the MAC making music on his laptop. After a childhood packed with learning to play instruments from the clarinet to the piano to the guitar, McCole has always wanted to “push the limit of what is expected in redefining music for [him]self,” McCole said.

It wasn’t until he was in eighth grade when he dropped those more classical instruments that he discovered his passion for creating music using the software Ableton.

An album that has inspired some of his work, and one of his all time favorite albums is Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx’s 2011 electronic soul album, “We’re New Here”. The album is the closest thing to what McCole dreams of achieving– “a creation that has never been seen before,” he said.

He explained that Jamie xx used electronic techniques to remix samples of 70’s American soul and jazz poet, Gil Scott-Heron, to create the 35 minute long album. Albums such as this have inspired him to want to keep pushing his limits. McCole aims to continue producing music as an adult, but as more of a hobby and not necessarily to make a profit.


McCole’s interpretation of “We’re New Here” by Jamie xx and Gil Scott Heron


Eliot Makoski

Junior Eliot Makoski has had a long journey developing his music taste. while he once listened to what was popular on the top charts and the radio, his current music choices have morphed into a collection of rock and indie songs.

“Once I got my own Spotify account, I was able to use their weekly playlists– those with 30 songs that Spotify thinks you would like– to find my own songs that I genuinely liked,” Makoski said. Rather than listening to mainstream music, he realized he prefered a more alternative sound.

Makoski enjoys being able to discover his own songs independently. “It is a good feeling to find music that I really enjoy and that other people might not know of,” Makoski said.

He has a large variety of favorite artists. He enjoys listening to bands such as The Smiths and Future Islands, but also enjoys artists such as Travis Scott. “I have favorite artists for a lot of different genres because I don’t want to limit myself to just listen to one type of song,” Makoski said.

One of Makoski’s favorite albums is “Miracle Mile”, by STRFKR. “I think that every single song is good, and there isn’t one that I don’t mess with,” Makoski said.

He explained that when he listens to music, he really appreciates and pays attention to the lyrics of songs. “Once I shifted my taste, I started to actually care about what the artist was singing about because it made me feel so much more connected to the song somehow,” Makoski said. “That is one of the main reasons why I stopped listening to a lot of pop music out there.”.

“A lot of music has actually helped me get through some hard times,”  Makoski said. He feels that his music taste has artists that are really expressing their thought through their lyrics, which he finds much more moving.

Makoski embraces all genres of music; however, he encourages people to be true to their individual taste. “I think that people should just listen to whatever kind of music they really like,” Makoski said. “I also think it’s important that you don’t force yourself to like a song just because it is popular or what your friends like.”

Makoski’s interpretation of “Miracle Mile” by STRFKR