Tell us a bit about 'path reacts.'
It’s a way for me to figure out and express what I like and don’t like about music, what grabs my attention, and what I connect with.
It’s how Path reacts to music. (I’m Path).
My videos usually end up being a blend of my initial reaction to an album with voiceover afterthoughts. I spend an embarrassing amount of time following wherever the albums take me.
Sometimes that’s reading or watching old artist interviews, looking up references, or relating it to my own life.
I like to dive into whatever interests me or helps me appreciate or better understand each song.
What initially got you into reviewing/reacting to music?
Well, the whole thing was kind of an accident. I turned to YouTube as a creative outlet, especially during COVID.
Since no one was watching my videos at first, I made them about anything and everything under the sun.
I even told friends I wanted it to be a place where I didn’t talk about music, since all my online spaces up until that point were very music-centered. But I guess your passions will find their way back to you eventually.
EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING or whatever.
I love music, but I struggle to leave my comfort zone. I’d been listening to the same handful of artists on a loop for the last decade.
So I made a New Year’s resolution to listen to new music and vlog about it. I had a whopping 52 subscribers on that channel, so I figured no one would watch or care.
It was so unexpected but also so cool that my first reaction video for this experiment was actually interesting to people.
From the comments, everyone seemed as enthusiastic about music as I was. They were recommending more and more albums for me to listen to, filling me in on all the lore I'd missed.
It’s been an incredible and wild evolution since I was catapulted into this niche.
I’m enjoying it while I can.
Has your perception of music changed throughout this process of reviewing/reacting to music?
I don’t think it’s actually changed much; I’m just getting better at understanding my perception of music now.
I’m paying more attention and being more mindful about how it makes me feel.
Is there a standout artist you've come to enjoy after reacting to an album on your channel?
Both JID and Kendrick Lamar. Please don’t make me choose between the two. Talk about first impressions.
For Kendrick, “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers” was the first I’d heard of him, and it blew me away. It’s vulnerable, it’s emotional, and it made me cry for weeks.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a piece of music, even in my most emo of phases, that absolutely destroyed me as much as that album did.
But I love it so much.
And every album of his that I’ve listened to since has been just as strong and meaningful.
With JID, I just became kind of obsessive. I can’t grow tired of him.
There’s something new to discover with each listen.
I memorized all the lyrics to the first six tracks of “The Forever Story” to prepare myself to keep up at his shows. His flow and intricacy are incredible.
Going back to his prior work, you can see his development. That isn’t to say his prior work isn’t quality work; it is. But his growth, movement, and energy are inspiring.
I fell in love with both JID and Kendrick at first listen, and now I’m a full-fledged fanboy. In less than a year, I’ve seen them each twice in concert, and I have their merchandise and records on vinyl.
They’re now my most-played artists on Spotify.
I’m so impressed by their work and sincerity. They create with a purpose and a passion that I can feel in my bones.
What album are you currently looking forward to reacting to?
Oh, I’m scared to jinx the albums by getting too excited about them, so I try to keep my expectations neutral.
But of course, I’m curious to continue the artist journeys I’ve already started on my channel, like Radiohead and MF DOOM.
Can you elaborate on your Instagram bio quote, 'trying to make an apple pie from scratch.'
This is a fun question.
One of my astronomy professors played this clip of Carl Sagan saying, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
So I apply the quote almost tongue-in-cheek. You’ll see it referenced here and there. My online spaces are the universe I’m creating in order to make that apple pie.
But I’m not trying to be the best or most original, which is what the quote implies. What is originality, anyway?
I’m simply making s*** that I enjoy and that is authentic to my creative expression.
I’m not actually trying to make an apple pie from scratch.
What's your favourite part about having an online presence?
Probably being able to talk to people I look up to. I’ve had really special opportunities that I know I wouldn’t have had without the channel.
In January, I had dinner with an artist I’ve looked up to for years. I’ve had DM conversations with YouTubers and creators I’ve been following forever. It’s an incredible sense of connection.
I try to pass that feeling along to my community. I’m pretty active on Discord and in my comment sections. It’s just such a wonderful experience that I hope I can share even a fraction of it.
What do you usually listen to in your free time?
Honestly, not much. I only really have two playlists: “path (before) reacts” and “path react(ed).” Like I said, it’s difficult for me to leave my comfort zone, so I’m happy to re-listen to the same songs over and over.
I’ve made a lot of producer friends online over the years, and I like to support their music too. They’re all very skilled and passionate, and I learn a lot from them.
So I guess it’s “free time” listening, as I’m less inclined to do deep dives into their work, since I know them on a more personal level than I know, say, Denzel Curry or Travis Scott.
Talk to us a bit about meeting JID.
Just a bit? One of the greatest nights of my entire life?
It was awesome. Only a handful of us bought the meet-and-greet tickets for the Paris show, so it was a cozy group. I made friends with the others, and we were so excited to meet our favourite artist.
But by the time I was standing next to JID, I was like a deer in headlights. I actually knew this would happen because it’s happened with almost every celebrity I’ve ever met.
I was on the brink of tears when I asked for a hug. I was shaking when I pulled out my The Forever Story vinyl cover from my bag and asked him to sign it.
He could obviously tell I was nervous because he was comforting me like, “Oh, you look so good in the jersey. Do you want me to sign it, too?”
I’m so grateful he asked, because I wasn’t even thinking about asking him to sign my jersey. I was hardly thinking at all. I was about to pass out. Literally.
The entire day leading up to the show, I forgot to eat or drink anything. But yeah, he was so kind to each of us.
It went by so quickly, though. It’s kind of a blur at this point.
What's next for path reacts?
I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. And maybe I will make that apple pie after all.