When you think of musicians at Jesuit, you likely think of students in our Jazz Band and Symphonic Band programs. Or maybe you think of students who have spent years mastering an instrument. What you likely don’t think of, however, are the students who produce their own music as an independent hobby completely independently.
Senior Ethan Anderson, for example, has been making music since around eighth grade, seriously getting into it around his sophomore year.
“I started with the School of Rock which is an institution that allows you to perform, and started on the drums,” Anderson said. “And then I transitioned into more melodic instruments like guitar and realizing that I could do both of those things, I realized that the only other step was to really just put it down into a format.”
Anderson’s style has shifted throughout his time producing, but right now it features quite a lot of synths, and simplistic beats with complexity arising in the arrangement and layering of all the parts. He described his genre as “Bedroom Pop”.
Sophomore Matty Rojas had a similar experience when he got into making music. “For me it was just the natural ‘I like playing guitar and drums so it’s like in high school you gotta join a band’,” Rojas said.
Rojas’ bandmate junior Nicky Tcherven explained that their band, Body Magazine, makes music in styles ranging anywhere from hard rock like The Smashing Pumpkins to softer pop like The Drums.
Rojas and Tcherven said that their process for writing generally begins with Tcherven coming up with a riff or a beat himself.
“I record a video of it on Snapchat and send it [to Rojas],” Tcherven said.
“And then I rate it out of ten and then we show it the other two people,” Rojas continued. “We improvise and then we refine it.”
Anderson’s process generally tended to begin with a drum beat though, due to his background as a drummer.
“But lately I’ve been starting mostly with chord progressions, mostly just getting a basic synth down and then leading into sort of layering and bass and drums, so starting from the top down instead of the bottom,” Anderson said.
Because these students all learned to create music mostly on their own, they all had some ideas for how Jesuit could better encourage and support students interested in creating music.
“They should have a music theory class,” Tcherven said.
“Yeah, a music theory class. I’d legit take that,” Rojas added.
Anderson’s ideas were simpler to implement.
“There’s a lot of free software they could put on the computers to give access to that for people,” Anderson said. “And with that software, they could also have maybe a club spring up that related to it.”