Under the Influence features Berklee students and alumni covering some of rock's biggest names, including REM, Green Day, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, and Smashing Pumpkins, and the seminal bands that influenced their sounds—Mission of Burma, Hüsker Dü, Joy Division, Gang of Four, the Pixies, and My Bloody Valentine.
The album was produced by Paul Kolderie, cofounder of famed Fort Apache Studios, who produced or engineered some of the original artists. Unlike past HRR CDs, where students submitted songs already recorded, Kolderie went into the studio with artists chosen by the label and helmed the project from the beginning. He used the same console from sessions with the Pixies and Radiohead, along with some of the original amps, pre-amps, and mics. “Unfortunately the original studios are gone, so we couldn't go to those locations,” said Kolderie. “But we did as much as possible to incorporate the older gear into the new songs.” In addition to Pixies and Radiohead, Kolderie's credits include Billy Bragg, Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr., Hole, Morphine, Portugal. The Man, and many more.
Under the Influence features Julia Easterlin (Pixies, Radiohead), Da'Rayia (Gang of Four, Red Hot Chili Peppers), David Pramik featuring Johnny Duke (Joy Division, U2), the Boston Boys featuring Emily Elbert (Hüsker Dü, Green Day), the Berklee String Metal Ensemble (My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins), and Pinn Panelle (Mission of Burma, REM). The project gave each HRR artist the opportunity to reinterpret songs by a pair of these classic bands, writing their own arrangements and instrumentations for the new versions. Although the artists are performing covers for this project, they are not cover bands. Each writes and performs original music in varied genres—with the exception of the Berklee String Metal Ensemble.
HRR's faculty advisor Jeff Dorenfeld hatched the concept for the record while talking to his son one day. “He was listening to My Bloody Valentine and Husker Dü, and it dawned on me that these bands have become more popular because of the bands they influenced,” said Dorenfeld. He took the idea into his class and added constraints: a member of the influenced band had to mention the influential band [in print], and the influential band could not have had a major recording career. The students researched the bands to choose the artist pairings. “We also decided to cover the bands in different genres than the original recording, which led to picking a bluegrass band to cover punk bands Husker Dü and Green Day, for instance,” he added.
HRR is a class that gives music business/management majors at Berklee hands-on experience in running a record company. Under Dorenfeld's guidance, the student staff oversees all of the label's functions, including marketing, sales, web development, media, and accounting. In addition, the class has partnered with BrightShop Marketing, a division of Primary Wave Music, to educate the students and collectively execute a social media based digital marketing campaign. Through BrightShop, students will learn to most effectively hype and promote an album release in the digital realm and how to build, grow, and sustain social media channels.
The label presents events in the Boston area and at some of the music industry's largest festivals, including SXSW in Austin and the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, and recently had an artist perform at Lollapalooza in Chicago. HRR celebrated Under The Influence with a concert in Boston that featured a special guest performance by Roger Miller of Mission of Burma.
HRR's releases since 1995 have included Shekinah: 13 Artists, distributed by Epic; Apollo Sunshine's second CD, coreleased with spinART; and Dorm Sessions 1-7. Many up-and-coming artists have appeared on HRR albums, including St. Vincent (as Annie Clark), members of Passion Pit (as the Peasantry), the Click Five (as Oscar Bravo), Christopher Barnes (of Gem Club); Elizabeth and the Catapult; Big D and the Kids Table, and Madi Diaz. The label also serves as a springboard for careers in the music industry. HRR alumni have gone on to work at Interscope, Capitol, DreamWorks, BMG, Universal, Live Nation, AEG Live, and RightsFlow.
RightsFlow collaborated with HRR to provide marketing and licensing support for the recording project. Licensing was provided through Limelight, RightsFlow's online mechanical clearance utility that ensures legal compliance and accurate accounting and payment to songwriters and publishers. Designed by musicians for musicians, Limelight is a simple way for any artist, band, choir, or other musical group to clear any cover song for release. RightsFlow was acquired by Google in 2011.
About the artists: Click on each artists first track for bio info.
released February 14, 2012
Produced by Paul Kolderie
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