Rowan University’s music scene is filled with countless stories of success, creativity, and innovation that are easily shown through local bands in the surrounding Glassboro area. In the heart of our college town, a small band is making big waves in the allt. space, which is perfectly displayed by their unique sounds, infectious energy, and creative process that is nothing short of inspiring.
What goes on behind the scenes of local bands and their processes when making and releasing music? How do bands effectively work together to accomplish musical goals? I wondered this myself, which led me to discuss all this and more with Spud Mack, a band that originated right here at Rowan University.
Spud Mack consists of members Hunter St. Pierre, Carly Hulse, Tessa Wood, Alex Siegel, Brad Mackenzie, and Ethan Garcia. While they all play various creative roles in contributing to different aspects of the band, they all are able to successfully come together and achieve remarkable things with their music.
As an outsider who is very passionate about music myself, I find myself wondering how bands collaborate and work together to create music. The work that goes into creating art can often be overlooked by those who just consume it rather than creating it themselves. I really wanted to learn more about the effort being put forth in Spud Mack’s music specifically. So, I did just that; and in turn, learned about how much work is put forth into not only making music but to achieving creative goals.
“Our songwriting process usually consists of someone playing something at a rehearsal that we all connect with and then we build on that. Brad and I will usually work with chords and song structure while our lead singer, Hunter, will write lyrics he feels fits the vibe of the music,” Garcia states. “Everyone then inputs how they feel about all the aspects of the music so we have a very collective group approach to writing songs.”
“We do like to mix it up a little bit here and there, as it is not always the same people bringing the pieces in and there are songs that will happen spontaneously as well that sometimes someone starts playing something during practice and within 10 to 15 minutes we almost have a full piece,” Mackenzie adds.
Spud Mack recently released their first song titled “Pressure” on Spotify on the first of September. This is a huge step for any smaller band and has definitely been something that’s been in the works for a long time. I spoke to St. Pierre about the journey of not only creating this song but also about the process of finally getting it released on a popular streaming platform.
“Putting ‘Pressure’ out on Spotify was quite the journey,” said St. Pierre. “That was the first song we ever completed and were excited about as a band.”
He goes on to further explain the backstory behind how “Pressure” came to be, and why it stands out so much for this band.
“We wrote it in February 2022. I was living in the townhouses, and around that time I started ramping up my songwriting, looking for anything I could put down in my notes app,” said St. Pierre. “I was getting stressed out, as I was doing badly in my classes. Coincidentally, we had a leak in our bathroom, which caused the water pressure in the shower to be kinda wonky. I turned on the water, and the melody started flooding my head.”
St. Pierre adds that from there, he simply grabbed his phone, wrote down some lyrics, and brought it to the rest of the band the next day to be worked on. From there, bandmates Wood, Mackenzie, Seigal, Garcia, and Hulse worked hard together to get it to be the hit it is today, with additional help from their producer, Noah Sullivan.
“We faced a lot of challenges during this time: losing a band member, integrating two new ones, and finding our new identity and sound,” said St. Pierre. “It was a lot of hard work, but we got back to where we were and then some.”
Tessa also feels strongly about this song being the chosen one to be the first released on streaming platforms.
“‘Pressure’ was our first original song that we really fell in love with. It’s been in the works for well over a year now, and it’s gone through many different stages,” said Tessa. “Since that song means so much to us we wanted to make sure it was evolved fully before finally releasing it. We’re all super happy with how everyone has supported it so far.”
Artists can find inspiration anywhere, and in the music world especially, creativity knows no bounds. Musicians have the unique ability to transform their surroundings into something worth making beautiful; which made me wonder, would bands based in Glassboro get inspiration from their surroundings too? Does Rowan University help, or stifle creativity?
“Rowan definitely does inspire my creativity, more so the students of Rowan and the musical scene at Rowan really sparks my creativity and drive to be better… there are so many talented individuals at Rowan playing in the music scene, and I think it really does drive you to want to be better every day and try to match these great ideas that you see others come up with,” Mackenzie explains.
St. Pierre vehemently agrees, saying he gets inspired daily just by being a student at Rowan.
“I’ve had ideas pop into my head from sitting on benches by the townhouses, walking the residents, living in some of the apartments, and practicing in basements. The biggest factor of all in my opinion would be the social life. It hasn’t necessarily changed how I write, but it has absolutely changed me as a person,” said St. Pierre. “Writing is just a single person’s view on the world through their own lens, and the last couple of years here at Rowan has given me quite a few new ways of looking at things.”
With the unwavering passion Spud Mack has for the Rowan music scene and making music in general, I can see their commitment to creativity setting an inspiring example for aspiring musicians that reaches much further than just the college music scene.
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