So we're all underground music geeks here. But what do you say when someone who is not a total nerd about this stuff asks you this, say someone at your work who only listens to daytime radio or whatever
I usually say I like house and techno and that sort of thing
I had this situation recently, and just dodged the question because I couldn't be bothered to explain whatever semi-comprehensive answer I could've given. Mentioning the last thing you listened to is probably the neatest answer.
I have no answer lately. And I have a deep distrust of people who say "I like a little bit of everything." The fuck you do. I'd probably go with "A lot of electronic stuff, Sun Ra, Kylie Minogue ..." and then just trail off.
It is a bit of a minefield being a musical snob, when you're asked this question. I tend to be very unforthcoming about what I'm into, instead prompting the other person to tell me what they like - at which point if I like what they like I'll enthusiastically respond, and if I DON'T like what they like I'll pretend I quite like it. Same thing goes when somebody in my office tells me how great The Big Bang Theory is.
Mind you, this applies with other music snobs as well - i.e. if I start talking to somebody and they reveal themselves to be into 'real' hip-hop - Mos Def/Kendrick Lamar/Gang Starr etc. or horror or horrors UK HIP HOP then I also have to bite my tongue and make loads of qualifications if I happen to reveal that I much prefer Gucci Mane to Jay Electronica.
it's easier when the person asking has little understanding (just listens to top 40 radio and maybe a handful of big stars). gets trickier when the person asking has a slight depth of knowledge and considers themselves "into music" because they have exotic stuff like a reggae album by someone other than bob marley. they will sometimes probe you for more details and descriptions of the music you like, try to prove they can relate to you, etc. that's when, as mentioned above, the best move is to ask what they like and just agree.
truth be told, some fellow music snobs can be just as unbearable, always trying to one-up you on what they've heard and the obscurity of their tastes.
the worst example of this was about 10 years ago when i went for a group interview at a theatre and everyone else was trying to sound classy and citing jazz or classical as their favourite music and i said 'dizzee rascal'. still wonder if that made me look like the wrong kind of candidate.
That happened to me trying to get into a music program at this college here. They asked me to list my favorite composers I was like "Eh, disparate bunch. Mozart, Pastorious, Zorn, Ellington, Xennakis, Ra..." and then, the professor made me write the names down, look at the list, and start giving me the side eye.
More than likely, it was "A-ha... Caught him before we could accidently take this derelict in..."