Frank Homolka did not imagine his senior year as president of the Music Production Union (MPU) to include Among Us game nights and Skribbl.io tournaments. However, due to COVID-19, Homolka has had to work with club members to come up with unique ways to share student-produced music.
The club is in the early stages of producing an album that is in the works to be finished by spring quarter.
Though the club has produced an album before, liberal arts and engineering studies senior Homolka said there have been issues getting people to commit to such a large undertaking in the past.
Homolka said that he thinks the album will be a good way to get members interested in making music, especially since they have more time during quarantine.
“Because musicians can’t really perform live or jam with each other, I think there’s definitely more interest in creating something to last,” Homolka said.
Members of the club play a variety of different instruments and genres from drum, bass, techno and acoustic to reggae and rap. As a way to glue the various music styles together, Homolka said the album is focused around the central theme “surrender to the algorithm” rather than a specific genre.
Homolka said he believes the theme is an idea that many could relate to and could be perceived as either a positive or negative message, depending on the artist creating the music.
Homolka said that the idea is that content is being fed to people through algorithms via the internet and can either be rejected or accepted.
Members of the club are interpreting the theme in their own ways that cater to their musical stylings. Club treasurer and computer science junior Johnny Schreiber is working on a song concept with the idea “anything goes” while electrical engineering senior Ryan Morris plans to create an electronic metal song.
“I think that will be a very good tie-in to the machines warring against the more human aspect,” Morris said.
Usually, during the year, the club would be collaborating on songs in-person and preparing for live performances, however, they have been relying on Zoom to collaborate, which comes with its challenges, according to Homolka.
“I think being in the same room with other people and feeding off that energy is a pretty big part of it,” Homolka said
In addition to the album, the club has been using Zoom and breakout rooms to freestyle different songs and build off of each other, which has challenged him creatively, Morris said.
“It’s very much like that improv game ‘Yes and,’” Morris said. “Where one person says a sentence, and you can’t say ‘No, that didn’t happen’ you just have to say ‘Yes’ and then, continue on right and keep the story going.”
The album will be streaming on Spotify as well as all platforms where music is found.
Corrections: A previous version of this article stated that this new album is the first album MPU made. However, MPU has made an album before. The article has been updated to reflect this. A previous version of this article also misspelled Frank Homolka’s name. The article has been updated to reflect proper spelling.