For years, Yale’s campus music scene languished, lacking the attention it so richly deserved. WIth this weekend’s launch of yalemusicscene.com, a new Website for promoting student and visiting bands, Michael Waxman ’09, Pat Dewechter ’09 and James Pollack ’09 are out to change that.
q: Why did you guys start this Web site?
michael waxman: I have a philosophy that might turn out to be total bullshit that there is a lot of latent music talent at Yale. A lot of people can play guitar and write songs but between all of the other things going on and the lack of outlets for musicians and original music, I think it’s really easy for those people on the fence to go to another commitment or stay home. My hope is that by creating more outlets — whether it’s more shows, venues, a place to get your music out like this Web site — that more of these people will decide to rehearse, play and get out there.
q: So what is this Web site?
michael waxman: yalemusicscene.com is just sort of a simple place to organize the popular music scene at Yale and see a list of upcoming shows, listen to student music and learn more about student bands and other bands that come to campus.
q: So it covers both student-run bands and bands coming to Yale?
mw: Right, so for instance, when Spring Fling is announced we’re going to feature some of those bands.
pat dewechter: But it’s geared specifically towards students on campus. It’s not for the greater New Haven area.
q: How do you think the site will help strengthen music here?
mw: Something to point out about yalemusicscene.com is that it’s part Web site and part umbrella organization for different student music groups. It pools some institutional knowledge about how to put on a show, how to promote a show and how to bring bands in.
pd: What we realized as we started to get to know people was that there were a lot of groups forming but there was no way to synthesize all the groups and put them all in one room where everyone can share ideas and pool resources. Resources are one of the biggest things. Who has the equipment? We did a show in the Silliman common room where we had to pull a mixer from Morse and truck stuff all across campus. There’s so much more power when we can get all the leaders of these different organizations in one room and discuss plans.
q: How did you guys get involved in the music scene at Yale?
pd: Freshman year Waxman and I got together to play music in a band called Catch.
james pollack: I’m from the Chicago suburbs where there’s a huge music scene that spawned Fall Out Boy, The Academy A’s, Audition… And I found when I got here that there was nothing. There was no music scene at all. Pat and I created this thing, kind of like an open mike night, called The Bridge and started having shows in the Saybrook 12-pack. The musicians who started coming there to play started telling us about the things they wanted to do and the projects they wanted to get started. We started to realize that there was a lot more out there than we even knew about.
q: How many bands are you featuring at the launch? How did you find them?
mw: I work in a recording studio so that’s one way I know a lot of bands. Between all of us we put together a list of about 21 or 22 different bands or artists on campus. Not all of them are going be featured on the site because a lot of them didn’t get their stuff together but a solid eight or so of them did and a few more are on the way.
q: So who uses this Web site?
jp: The Web site is intended for bands to use but there is definitely a fan component to it too. It’s flashy and accessible. You can listen to music or click on an upcoming show and see where it is. It’s made to be easy so that people who aren’t necessarily part of the scene can go on and hear stuff.
q: Where do you see the site going? What are your hopes for it?
mw: Something I was hoping for, which is actually already happening, is that because of this outlet, bands are motivated to get their shit together… Already I received two e-mails being like, “Look, here’s a demo. I didn’t really have one yesterday but if there’s this Web site…”
jp: I think there’s also a portion of this “Web space” where we want to galvanize people into wanting a physical space, a permanent dedicated music space at Yale. That’s a long-term goal but it’s something we’d like to see.
mw: In short, I think my biggest hope for it is to be a starting point for the music scene here and for getting other schools involved. One thing I think would be really cool both for artists and students is to create something like an Ivy League music circuit or a Northeastern music circuit where Yale bands could go up to Boston and play shows and vice versa.