If you haven’t noticed lately, the local music scene at UNC has taken a new turn. The student bands are getting bigger, shows are constantly booked at local venues and there are more resources and opportunities for student musicians. Just this spring there are a variety of shows and events put together by awesome organizations, particularly Carolina Creates Music (CCM) and Thrill City. I was lucky enough to talk with co-directors of CCM David August and Patrick Carney and Thrill City founder Ryan Cocca to discuss the local music scene, how their events are impacting it and how we as students can invigorate it. I think Cocca puts it best when he said UNC and Chapel Hill are experiencing a “Renaissance” movement. Carney added “I think the talent has always been here; it just takes the effort of a few student groups to really go out and see people and make the point of reserving space to showcase that talent.”
So as the next few weeks begin to pick-up with final projects, papers and exams; don’t forget to enjoy yourself with great local music put on by our very own peers at these exciting, upcoming events:
Carolina Creates Music Cover Show at The Pit
Tuesday, April 24th from 12 - 2 pm
A number of UNC artists including Kat Kucera, Tyler Bryant, Hannahlea Choueke and Charlotte Parrot will cover songs from the winning artist voted by students. The choices are Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Michael Jackson, The Beatles or The Avett Brothers. August said they chose these artists to be voted on based off of the desire to get a variety of styles. “We want these musicians to cover their songs with their own stylistic twist added in, so we would like to get as much of a variety as we can get.”
Vote HERE for your favorite act!
Carolina Creates Music Senior Showcase at the Forest Theater
Saturday, April 21st from 5 - 8 pm
A showcase displaying the talent of senior musicians, using the Forest Theater as an unique venue for the event. Carney said this is the first show hosted at Forest Theater, which is in itself a pretty cool premise of having an outdoor show there. The set will be comprised of The Major Sevens, TURCHI, Lee Anderson and a band they choose, being VIRGINS. If the weather holds up to be a typical spring day, this is going to be a gorgeous, outdoor set for students and locals to enjoy as an intimate showcase.
Below are questions regarding these events and CCM answered by August and Carney:
Q: What do you hope to get out of the cover show?
Carney: Obviously closing the year out strong is a big one but also to have that momentum of having two really strong shows towards the end of the school year to carry over into the fall. We are going to be revamping our staff structure this summer, adding lots of new people in the fall and hopefully developing a better way of getting artists booked and promoting shows.
Q: Being an out branch of Chancellor Thorp’s Innovate@Carolina campaign, what other innovative ideas, events, plans, etc. is CCM implementing to invigorate the university’s music community?
August: We plan on regular practice space available on-campus, open jam sessions, more events on and off campus, creating a musician database and a website where musicians can search for others called Build-A-Band, filming musicians in an Artist Spotlight Series, and just making as many connections as possible for these musicians. The CCM team is so good at being creative and brainstorming that I have no doubt that we will continue growing in fun ways. This Cover Show came out of a brainstorming session, and within 30 minutes, the idea went from a far-fetched idea to the finalized event calendar.
Q: There’s obviously a lot of talented musicians in the area and a decent music scene but what do you think is lacking? How do you plan to help improve it?
August: There are 4 major things that are lacking: there's no community for musicians, and no one actively trying to help them, there's a broken link between venues and the campus, and students forget about the music aspect of their lives. Jam sessions and Build-A-Band will hopefully allow musicians to meet one another, and either form bands or just support one another's music. There is a small, supportive community now between VIRGINS, Morning Brigade, Clockwork Kids, and a couple others, and it's awesome to see them at the others' shows and performing together, but the community should be bigger than that.
Carney: Networking among musicians is important because people are scattered around on campus. Other things we are going to really try and push for this next semester are better networking opportunities for musicians, having jam sessions and making it well known we have rehearsal space available.
A testament to CCM’s impact, Cocca even pointed out how helpful the organization was when he was planning Thrill City’s successful SPRUNG event at He’s Not last Saturday. Cocca said he used the CCM listserve to find bands for the events and received five to six response of interested bands the day of. “It says a lot about how big the connections they’ve made with the student musicians already in such a short period of time.”
Thrill City’s SPRUNG Music + Arts Festival Series
Thursday, March 22 - Friday, April 20
SPRUNG is a music and arts festival series in Chapel Hill showcasing student and local talent while also seeking to connect UNC’s community with town residents. More than 15 local acts will perform throughout four weeks at six venues including The Standard, The Library, He’s Not Here, The Thrill, Jack Sprat and Flyleaf Books. Being a socially responsible business, Thrill City will donate all proceeds to The Jackson Center, based out of St. Joe’s CME Church in Northside, an organization that collects the history of residents in traditionally black neighborhoods and helps them make their voices heard in discussions on development, education and more.
Q: Thrill City, in essence is a clothing company, what made you get involved with the local music and art community?
Cocca: I think they go hand in hand because so many clothing brands come up because artists and musicians wear them in videos and concerts and stuff and so many artists, especially hip-hop, come up now where they have early projects sponsored by big brands and gets them a lot of attention and instant credibility. In that way, they have a mutually beneficial relationship, and I just wanted to see that on a local level.
Q: What impact do you want Thrill City to have on the music community?
Cocca: I want to have really good relationships with these musicians. Basically, I want Thrill City to have really good relationships with the people in town that are capable of making change happen and I think a lot of time that happens through music, it’s a good way to motivate people.
Cocca also pointed out that while he’s connected with most of the major student acts in the area, there is still a lot of work needing to be done in regards to connecting student musicians with residents. “The next step is to put student bands on the level of local venues all the time so that local residents are more aware of these students.” To add on, Carney said there needs to be an integration of the town scene with the student scene because if there is more of a connection, people will be more willing to make that “hike” to go to venues like Cat’s Cradle and LOCAL 506. “You have to think about distance with turn out because so many students can’t and don’t leave campus”, Carney said.
Q: What do you hope to come from Thrill City’s SPRUNG events?
Cocca: I want to see a decent amount of money get raised for this charity because I think that it’s a really cool concept that I want to build on.
Cocca explained that the student population is, not intentionally, pushing residents out of surrounding neighborhoods because students now have more money to pay for these homes, and they can fit more people into them in order to afford them. So, it’s been an issue to keep family neighborhoods, and for us to do events as students to show that we recognize and understand there is an issue is a really cool concept. About raising money for The Jackson Center, Cocca said, “ The fact that the event at He’s Not raised over $400 is awesome.”
In the written words of Cocca, “At UNC, everyone is busy. But if we can make a collective effort to let go for a bit, take a break, and support the incredible music right below our noses, we might just find ourselves becoming a healthier, happier, less-stressed population in the process.”
Citation: Carolina Creates Music Logo (photo): http://www.facebook.com/CarolinaCreatesMusic
Citation: Virgins Profile Picture (photo): http://www.facebook.com/VIRGINSmusic
Citation: Morning Brigade Cover Picture (photo): http://www.facebook.com/morningbrigade
Citation: Clockwork Kids Cover Picture (photo): http://www.facebook.com/ClockworkKids
Citation: TURCHI Profile Picture (photo): http://www.facebook.com/TurchiMusic
Citation: The Major Sevens Profile Picture (photo): http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Major-Sevens/8596759846
Citation: SPRUNG Poster (photo): Ryan Cocca, http://thrillcity.thrillife.com/files/2012/03/SPRUNGblog.png
Citation: Thrill City Logo (Photo): Ryan Cocca, http://thrillcity.thrillife.com/