The student-produced music scene here at UR is rather unique.
Due to the vibrant jazz scene in the City of Rochester and at the Eastman School of Music, funk and fusion bands are abundant. Stereotypical college rock bands are nowhere to be found.
There are, however, the occasional outliers, trying to make waves in this scene by doing something different. Sophomore DJ and producer Henry Pierce is one of these students.
Working under the name Apollo, Pierce produces electronic dance music (EDM), specializing in various styles of “melodic dubstep.”
“I just make whatever is in my head,” he said. “Whatever idea I have, sound design-wise or writing-wise, is what I go with.”
Music production is nothing new to Pierce. He initially ventured into the craft as a freshman in high school, citing a rather unexpected source of initial inspiration in the form of a TV advertisement for breakfast cereal.
“A Weetabix commercial came on and had a Mord Fustang song in it by the name of ‘A New World,’” Pierce said. “I heard that and got obsessed instantly.”
After a period of learning the ropes independently, Pierce took to the DJ booth.
“I went to an open mic thing in New York,” Pierce said. “Somebody by the name of Mark Martinez, who was, at that point, the resident DJ and booking manager for Bassment Saturdays at Webster Hall, heard me and took me under his wing to teach me his craft when it came to DJ-ing.”
Pierce cites Webster Hall, specifically their Bassment Saturdays series, as a sort of home base for him. He considers it an integral part of his artistic foundation.
“Bassment Saturdays was a very important part of me growing up and gave me a lot of really nice insight because I got to meet big artists and see them play,” he said. “I got to stand in the booth behind them and watch how they mixed and how they read the crowd, and network with them after the show.”
Looking forward, Pierce would like to amplify his profile on campus. He has only performed once at UR as of now, opening for Matt and Kim at last spring’s Dandelion Day concert.
Pierce is confident, though, that there is a strong demand for his talent here.
“There’s not a very big scene on this campus for people who like this kind of music,” Pierce said. “And I know for a fact there are plenty of people on this campus who do like this kind of music.”
The nature of the party culture on our campus is not the most conducive to DJ performances. Pierce noted that “people want to hear what’s on their iPod” at fraternity parties, “which is fine.”
Pierce expressed that for a DJ scene to be more prominent, events more tailored to the purpose may need to be planned.
In the coming months, Pierce will be releasing a new track with Bad Catholics (duo music group with Tyler Buck and Luck Crouch), as well as a remix of a track by Getter. Pierce said he is working on performing on campus throughout the fall, hopefully expanding UR’s student music scene in the process.