Students of MUS 2660 are set to create tracks for a joint class music album for their final project. Ryan Adams, a senior entrepreneurship major and a DJ, shares his experiences from making music.
Adams is one of Dr. Kevin Zhang’s students. Dr. Zhang plans to release a student-created album by the end of the semester which will contain a range of vocals to instrumentals.
Q: What are you working on for this project?
A: The genre I’m doing for this project is a mix between UK hardcore and hardcore. Hard dance is a unique genre. It starts at 150 pm and goes from there, so it’s a little more aggressive than most genres. In between, there’s usually some beautiful trance-y moments as well, so you’ll kinda hear, in my track, that it’s kind of uplifting, but then it drops to aggressive and back to uplifting again. The project is super open-ended, so we have some people playing guitar, some people singing, and it’s really creative.
Q: What was the process of creating your music like?
A: Every song starts in a different way. I started this one with a melody that’s very uplifting. Times are a bit crazy right now, so I wanted people to have three minutes of just forgetting about the BS of the world. I’m always nervous sharing my music to people. I think that’s kind of the reason I’ve never really released. I’ve been making music for two years and DJ’ing for eight years, and I have lots and lots of songs. The hardest thing is putting yourself out there. Music is very intimate in a way, what you’ll hear from my music is kinda what’s going on in my head at the moment and it’s nerve racking to show that to people.
Q: What was your inspiration for this music? Was there a specific moment?
A: For this track, it’s a bit different having a class project in front of you. Other times, when I’m working on music for myself, 100% I might be watching TV or listening to a song and something inspires me. This track really gets going after a sample from an old Dave Chappelle, which you’ll hear in the music. I was fumbling about, not knowing what to do and I found that snippet. After putting it in, it kinda changed the direction of the song the music just goes from there.
Q: Why do you choose to play mostly hard style music?
A: I went to my first rave, EDC, in 2010 and completely got hooked in rave culture. I ended up finding hard style because back in the day, there was a hard style remix to almost every song I looked up in Limewire. That’s how I discovered hard style and it caught my intention right off the bat. Flash forward to 2010, after going to EDC, I got back into that electronic music and rediscovered my love for hard style. To this day, I listen to it daily. What’s interesting to me about hard style is that it’s always reinventing itself. So, there might be a popular sound one year and three months later, someone remixes it and it’s always evolving. It’s never just the same song. I was actually able to play EDC in 2018 and 2019 and that experience was pretty surreal for me.
Q: How has your music making process changed with the virtual environment?
A: I’d say one of the biggest disappointments is being online this semester for this class. Music is something that should be enjoyed between people and it’s so difficult to try to connect to a person with song online or not in person. There’s so many unspoken things that happen between people when listening to music and you can’t really relate as well on Zoom or sending a link to a Soundcloud.
Q: What are your goals when creating music?
A: One of the things about hard dance is that it’s not very popular in America, but it’s huge in Europe. It’s one of the most listened to genres in Europe, especially in the Netherlands. It’s also popular in Australia and other countries, but it hasn’t really caught on here. When we were given this project, I knew that I wanted to do something in the hard style realm because I really think that if more people listen to this genre, the more people will fall in love with it. It may seem a bit aggressive and outlandish at first, but once you discover the beauty below everything, there’s really no other genre that compares to it, in my opinion.
Q: What are some challenges you faced while creating your music?
A: Writer’s block. All the time. But one of the most intricate things for this song, and genre in general, is the kick. Every kick is unique, but it takes so long to get to that point. There’s only three different kicks in my song, but each kick took me between 20 minutes to a couple of hours just tuning the little things and adding and layering things. The difficult thing is getting the right kick, but once you get it, you know you have a good song
Q: What is your advice for others who want to make and share music like you?
A: Just do it. I know that’s what everyone says and it sounds cliché, but there really is no way to learn production other than doing it. Before I started making music, I always knew what I wanted in my head, but had such a hard time translating that into my DAW or creating a song. The only way I got to where I am now is by just sitting down, studying, watching tutorials, and playing with buttons.