Anatomically interconnected

By CiaraShook

Students listened to stories of life on the road and life on stage from a panel of “dudes” donning tattoos and jeans at “The Anatomy Of …  A Tour” among the low lights and cozy beanbags of The Loft in the 916 S. Wabash Ave. Building.

The Student Programming Board and the Portfolio Center welcomed six professionals from the music industry on Nov. 9 to participate in the panel. The panel discussed the nuts and bolts of a band going on tour and was moderated by Ashley Brown, president of the Student Programming Board, Naomi Mouriño, the chair of artist relations for AEMMP Records, and David Lewis, a creative industry liaison for the Portfolio Center.

Guests included a diverse variety of professionals from the Chicago live music community, including: Che Arthur, sound engineer for Shellac; Matt Rucins, talent buyer for the venues Schubas and Lincoln Hall; Andy Hayward, production manager for Death Cab for Cutie; Mike LeMaistre, talent buyer for Jam Productions; Mark Dawursk, tour manager for the bands Isis and Ratatat; and Laurent Schroeder-Lebec, guitarist of Pelican.

The panel knew each other and Dawursk described the Chicago community as a big family.

“If I meet somebody I like, I’ll refer them or try to bring them out [to events] with me,” Dawursk said.

Most attendees were arts, entertainment and media management and audio arts and acoustics students. Because of the composition of the crowd, the panel noted the significance of keeping in contact with friends along the way. Most of them have known each other since the start of their careers.

“The panel was great,” said Bill Ross, arts, entertainment and media management sophomore. “I enjoyed learning about this and it’s somewhat related to what I want to do.”

Lewis said the idea of the “Anatomy Of” series is to make students realize the fields of study at Columbia are interconnected in the real world and stresses the importance of being aware of these connections.

“We want you to consider this stuff, not just in terms of what these guys are saying, but how you’re going to [apply] what you’re learning in class,” Lewis said. “The more you take advantage of what we’re talking about now, the easier the process is going to be.”

Lewis invited Rucins, Arthur, Hayward, LeMaistre, Dawursk and Schroeder-Lebec because they would be able to have a good interaction with the students.

“I don’t want these events to be just a panel talking when there’s no interaction,” Lewis said. “It’s not compelling for the student, and it’s probably not compelling for the guest.”

When a question was fielded about booking a tour for a band in its beginning stages, Rucins urged the audience to network with each other.

“Assuming that somebody here probably wants to be a booking agent, find them and ask them to help,” Rucins said.

Hayward emphasized the difference the Internet has made in booking a tour and advancing a music career.

“[Death Cab for Cutie] started playing shows in ’98,” Hayward said. “Of course there was Internet back then, but it wasn’t what it is today. You put a song on MySpace and the next day you have a label buying you dinner, wanting to put out your record.”

To close the discussion, the panel offered advice for the students at the early stages in their careers. Rucins stressed the importance of internships and Hayward the importance of completing one’s education.

“Get your degree,” Hayward said. “Do not stop what you’re doing right now to go on a tour.”

Schroeder-Lebec said to be persistent in pursuing a career in the arts.

“If you want to do this, it’s because you’re passionate about it,” Schroeder-Lebec said.