St. Olaf is well-known for its choral and classical music. But seeing and hearing the recording process for DNNR PRTY’s compilation album made a pretty strong case for the college’s rock and roll chops.
DNNR PRTY pronounced with vowels as “dinner party”, a new student organization devoted to fostering an independent music scene on campus, started recording for their end-of-year compilation album this Interim.
“We want the compilation CD to be a snapshot of the St. Olaf music scene this year,” said Horacio Lopez ’14, chair and founder of DNNR PRTY.
Thirty-six different student bands submitted original songs, recorded mostly on computers and smart phones, to DNNR PRTY. Fourteen bands were then chosen to record with the DNNR PRTY production team.
“It was a little intimidating at first but really a sweet experience,” said Tim Patton ’14, guitarist of Real Talk America, one of the featured bands. “I probably never would have done anything like this if it weren’t for DNNR PRTY.”
With funding from Student Government Association and access to recording equipment from the music department and student-run campus radio station KSTO, student bands were treated to a high-quality recording experience.
“We want to give campus musicians the most professional experience possible, really a step up from just recording in basements,” Lopez said. “No offense to anyone who has ever recorded in a basement.”
To create that professional atmosphere, the DNNR PRTY team transformed Studio A in Skifter Hall into a full-blown recording studio. The space was originally a broadcast venue for the now defunct college radio station WCAL. Now it is used as a recital hall, rehearsal space and organ practice room.
“The best part about this session was the really cool vibes that everyone had,” said John Kronolokken ’16, a DNNR PRTY producer. “I think it was largely due to the room that we were in. It’s a gorgeous space, and it sounds absolutely incredible.”
“It is an incredibly professional recording process for an organization that is just starting up,” said Aleksander Seeman ’16, the manager of DNNR PRTY’s production team.
Seeman and Kronolokken, along with Colin Loynachan ’16 and Christian Wheeler ’16, make up the DNNR PRTY production team. They recorded four groups during one Interim weekend and the rest during second semester.
“When you record four bands in a weekend, you have to react quickly,” Seeman said.
Though negotiations with disc printing companies are ongoing, the plan is to release the album in mid-April. Tentatively, DNNR PRTY plans to print 300 CDs. The sale price is still being discussed.
The idea for DNNR PRTY began last year when Lopez played a show with his punk band at Carleton and was blown away by the reception they got and the atmosphere of support for alternative music on the cross-town campus.
“I knew people were doing cool things here too, but there wasn’t a good outlet for them,” Lopez said.
So, during spring semester last year, Lopez began bringing people together who were as passionate as he is about alternative music.
Now his idea is coming to life before his eyes. The organization was only officially recognized by SGA in late October, but since then DNNR PRTY has hit the ground running. In addition to recording the compilation album, they have hosted a meet-and-greet session and a songwriting forum.
“DNNR PRTY has a two-fold mission. One side is to give campus bands a chance to get their music out there. The other is to build a community,” Lopez said.
The recording process seemed to fulfill both of those objectives. The compilation album will give campus bands more exposure, and the recording itself brought musicians together for a fun-filled weekend.
“Those four hours flew by,” said Abi Enockson ’14, a violist and singer for the folk group Appomattox.
“For three days we’d record starting at 9 a.m. and sometimes work until midnight,” Kronlokken said. “I had such a blast. If that’s not the life, then I don’t know what is.”