Last night the Center hosted our first annual Capstone Evening. Fourth year students in our program are now required to create a Capstone Project during the Fall semester. The Capstone Project is a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic and artistic experience for students near the end of their tenure at the Center. These projects can be in music production or audio post production. During last night’s event students introduced their projects followed by audio or video playback. After playback two distinguished professional guests provided comments. This year’s guests included producer, engineer, and songwriter Curt Frasca (Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Moby, Seal, Avril Lavigne) and engineer, producer Jay Messina (Lou Reed, Judy Collins, Aerosmith, Kiss, Miles Davis). A reception in honor of the Capstone students followed the event. Congratulations to all of our Capstone students!
Pictured directly below are (seated L-R) Jay Messina, Paul Special, Paul Kozel, Curt Frasca and the Capstone students.
SAC graduate Andy Mineo’s latest album for Reach Records, Uncomfortable, was released and available for purchase on iTunes on September 18. It reached #2 in the iTunes hip hop/rap chart and #3 on the overall chart! Uncomfortable was executively produced by !llmind who has produced 50 Cent, J. Cole, Kayne West, Dre, and Ludacris. The album features the single “Uncomfortable” and performances by Mali Music, Jon Bellion, and Mac Powell. Andy’s Uncomfortable Tour began on October 1 and runs through mid November.
In late May, A$AP Rocky released his second studio album entitled At Long Last A$AP. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Sonic Arts Center 2011 graduate, Frans Mernick, worked on the album as a producer and writer. His production and co-production credits include the songs “Canal St.”, “Dreams”, “Better Things”, “Everyday”(featuring Rod Stewart, Miguel, and Mark Ronson), “Back Home”, “Pharsyde”, and “Westside Highway” (produced by Danger Mouse). Frans earned writing credits on “Canal St.” and “Dreams”. During the recording of the album Frans also worked with Kayne West, Mos Def, and Ariel Pink. In addition to Frans, two other Sonic Arts Center graduates worked on the album as well. Lynas (2007) and Alex Dadras (2013) received writing credit for “Dreams” and Lynas also received a co-production credit on “Pharsyde”. Congratulations to Frans as well as Lynas and Dadras.
The band Mainland, featuring 2013 SAC alumnus Jordan Topf, was recently signed by Lyor Cohen to his new label 300 Entertainment. Lyor ran Def Jam Recordings for a decade and then assumed the leadership at Island Def Jam Music Group followed by the Warner Music Group. Mainland will start recording their debut record for 300 Entertainment in Los Angeles at the legendary Sound City Studios. Producer/Engineer Kevin Augunas (Cold War Kids, The Lumineers, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros) will be working with Mainland during the recording sessions at Sound City. Congrats to Jordan and to Mainland! Jordan is seated second from the left in the photo of Mainland below.
SAC Alum Andy Mineo is featured on “Say I Won’t” on Lacrea’s recent album Anomaly released on September 9. Anomaly is Lecrae’s seventh studio album and is the first solo hip hop project by a Christian rapper to debut at #1 on the Billboard’s 200 and its Gospel Albums Chart in the same week. Rolling Stone reported that Lecrae sold 88,000 albums during the first week of its release and has sold 1.4 million albums so far. Andy will be a featured artist on Lecrae’s upcoming tour in support of the release of Anomaly. Andy and Lacrea are Reach Records artists.
Second year student Jon Shiffman has been on a leave of absence from the program in order to play with the band Bleachers featuring the guitarist Jack Antonoff of Fun. Jon is playing drums, singing background vocals, and serving as musical director for the band. Bleachers has had a busy year touring and has enjoyed appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. The debut single “I Wanna Get Better” went to #1 on Billboard Alternative charts and the debut album “Strange Desire” debuted @ #11 on the Billboard 200. They will be appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman on September 30. Jack Antonoff and Jon are pictured below.
Members of the New York Philharmonic string session were at the Center today to record several tracks for a documentary movie underscore including pieces by Ravel and Telemann. The Philharmonic players included Lisa Kim and Fiona Simon, violins, Dorian Rence and Rebecca Young, violas, Eric Bartlett and Eileen Moon, cellos, and Orin O’Brian bass. The tracks were recorded by Paul Kozel and SAC alumnus Ian Reilly who works as a Production Assistant in the New Media Department at the Philharmonic and also as the audio assistant engineer for Philharmonic recordings.
“The Playlist” in the August 28th issue of Rolling Stone magazine features the song “Lonely” by the band Rivergazer. “Lonely” is from the band’s debut album Random Nostalgia. Band members include third year student Kolson Pickard and forth year student Cornelius McMoyler. Kolson was the arranger and multi-instrumentalist for the album, and Cornelius plays drums and sings backup vocals for Rivergazer. Congratulations to these students for being chosen #2 on Rolling Stone’s “Playlist.”
Unne Liljeblad, professional mixer/producer and SAC alumnus, was recently interviewed on Modern Mixing.Com. Modern Mixing is a web site dedicated to all things mixing that includes articles, videos, and tutorials. The interview was part of the Psychology of a Mix Engineer series that features professional mixers from around the globe. Thanks to Unne for his generous mentions of the Sonic Arts program and even some pictures of the SAC facilities.
Jordan Topf (2013 alumnus) with his band Mainland has just released their latest EP Shiner. The album was recorded by Jim Eno of Spoon at his studio Public Hi-Fi in Austin, Texas. The EP has been getting a lot of positive press since its release just a few days ago including the online magazines Blast Out Your Stereo, The Owl, Shakefire, and The Blue Indian. Mainland was recently featured in an article in Interview Magazine. Pictured below are the members of Mainland including guitarist, lead singer, and songwriter, Jodan Topf (second from the right).