Student Sound Off is a column penned by our music students on various topics – from events to reviews to think pieces and personal experiences. This time, Electronic Music Production & Performance student Samaquias Lorta writes about new student initiative The Milkshake Sessions.
The Milkshake Sessions
“The Milkshake Sessions provides the perfect opportunity to fail, succeed, laugh and engage with other classes. As a result, we all grow creatively as a musical community.”
Performers tend to create an atmosphere around them that drives and leads others to follow. dBs Berlin’s Electronic Music Production & Performance students, who focus on electronic performance combined with stage aesthetic, have done just that. Recently, we gathered our minds to create a bi-weekly opportunity to showcase our material in front of our peers. Pierre Guilloux pitched the project to dBs staff, and after having The Milkshake Sessions approved, the event had a thrilling and eclectic kick-off.
Last week, I started off the evening with a haunting and ethereal set. For a spiritual experience, I layered electric cello over field recordings, FM synthesis, and seaboard rise. Mateusz Augustyn followed, effortlessly creating beats with a variety of effect improvisation and freestyle rap. Then came Dani Yang, with smooth melodic lines, high quality sound-designed clips, and quick knob manipulation that moved through lo-fi to ambient to breakbeat. In a heart-pounding set that rattled the stage floor, Elliot Jensen combined modular synthesizers and tape loops; a worthy demonstration of the synthesis tools learned at dBs Berlin. Pierre Guilloux, on the Korg MS-20 analog synthesizer, collaborated with drum and bass producer Samthing. Invigorated, we felt like either hitting the studio or the clubs.
There are several orchestral music programs worldwide that require performance majors to stand in front of their peers – sometimes up to twice a week – and practice what they are studying. dBs Berlin now offers the same performance opportunity. Electronic musicians have plenty of stage hurdles. Not only do they experience performance anxiety, adrenaline rushes and memory lapses, but the “tech rider” side of things. Wiring, power supply, CPU usage, visual projections, and analog gear can and will fail, even for the most prepared virtuosic musicians.
First year Electronic Music Production & Performance students spend their second semester preparing for an end-of-year final performance. Within a 15-minute slot, they have to set up, tear down and create an enriching experience for a graded module assessment – all with the peer pressure of fellow students as the audience. Now, instead of waiting to the end of the year to potentially set up incorrectly or experience stage fright for the first time, The Milkshake Sessions provides the perfect opportunity to fail, succeed, laugh and engage with other classes. As a result, we all grow creatively as a musical community.
What do students need to do to perform? Just follow the Facebook event, which includes all the necessary tech rider documents to notify the set crew which gear is needed when and by who. Join your fellow students on Thursday evenings in the EMP Lab for a show that can possibly end in a massive jam. Not just music students, but film and acting students, are invited to present their work in a stress-free environment. One may never know the outcomes of combining artistic minds, too many wires, and milkshakes.
Read about Samaquias’ volunteering experience at the huge Most Wanted: Music 2018 conference here.