On-campus bands tour, record CDs, play shows
Original music created by students is hiding right under the nose of the Mercer community, existing as unknown components to the university’s culture. On-campus bands, however, are now aiming to release their music and expand interest for Mercer’s blossoming underground music scene.
Dustin Murdock, Andrew Bennett and Leland Rayner comprise the rhythm section of Mercer’s jazz band. Each also works on multiple side projects and were eager for the opportunity to talk about them.
Murdock, a first year student who plans to major in music performance, is the guitar player for a band called Xavii, named after a song reference from a group called the Russian Circles.
“We gig out a whole lot,” Murdock said, concerning their extensive performance schedule. Last summer Xavii toured all the way to Boston and back.
When the group began releasing albums, other people asked Xavii to produce their music. So the members of Xavii thought of starting their own record label, and Macon Noise Records was born.
“Ideally we want to work our way up to touring self-sufficiently [in order] to make money,” Murdock said. “In the event of unexpected success, I will probably stop going to school.”
“I think that making original, new music is akin to a spiritual endeavor,” he said.
Murdock wants to encourage the student body to go downtown and support local music. Murdock believes that, culturally, Macon is missing a youthful element, and music is the missing link to enrich the lives of students as a whole.
Xavii’s music is available for listening at xavii.bandcamp.com.
Bennett, a music performance major, and Rayner, an environmental policy major, along with a third band member, form Otic Collusion. Otic Collusion can be defined as a progressive instrumental sound.
Fairly new to the music scene, Otic Collusion has only been together since August. Currently, they are writing music and preparing work for an album, which they hope to have out before they begin to perform more.
Bennett described the band’s sound as “music for musicians, inspired by uber musicians who do clinics.” Clinics are master classes of music outside of classes offered by universities. Musicians who do clinics talk about their approaches to different aspects of music.
Although their music is not as accessible as pop, the group doesn’t seem too worried about not being mainstream. “We make more scholarly music. We want to be acknowledged in the music community for talent,” Bennett said.
In addition to Otic Collusion, Rayner plays bass and keyboard for Dirty Sound Professors. Dirty Sound Professors played at the Big Bird Bash in March and are also the winners of Quadwork’s Battle of the Bands.
The band’s name originated because they had a gig booked and lacked a name. The original bass player went on Google to a band name generator site, and it produced the name Dirty Sound Professors.
Although it began as a cover band, the Dirty Sound Professors have recently started writing original material. DSP has recorded three songs at Shadow Studios downtown and plan to finish an album this summer. The money won through the Battle of the Bands competition is going toward funding their album.
Rayner described DSP’s sound as a layered mix of southern, classic rock with a funky vibe and a harder edge, but also textured with depth. Each member of the band brings his own unique flavor to the music.
DSP has opened for The Works and The Lee Boys, an opportunity Rayner called “a great honor.” Rayner believes in the music the Dirty Sound Professors are producing and says their strongest aspect is their live shows. He said, “with our showmanship, we can compete with top bands because we love playing together, and it shows onstage.”
Anyone can listen to the band’s music for free at dirtysoundprofessors.bandpage.com.
Mercer students John Maddox and Will Childress comprise Perfect // Stranger, which Maddox described as “an ambient, indie-rock band.”
The band formed in January, with Maddox doing guitar and vocals and Childress playing drums and the occasional guitar.
“We are hoping to get some shows together soon,” said Maddox. They are also working on material for an EP. Perfect // Stranger is playing a show at Jittery Joe’s on April 10.
They also have a page on Facebook where fans can listen to a short demo.