Baruch basketball player has true love for music.

Sitting in the Lyric Diner on 3rd Avenue, Peter Panousopoulos sits looking over the menu pondering what to take for lunch, all while eating Birthday Cake Italian ice from Ralph’s. What may seem as backwards, dessert before the meal that is, it is a true example of his endearing personality: never be conventional. The 19-year-old Filipino and Greek musician-turned-basketball player-turned back musician is one of admiration. Before even deciding on burger and fries, he is already ready to discuss his vast musical knowledge, the type that would cause the unambitious to cringe in fear. Yet, that ambition is far from pretentious; his easygoing smile and nature works like a domino effect for anyone who surrounds him.

Since he was eight years old, Panousopoulos has been involved in music. He began playing the piano then began taking up the guitar two years later. He is the type of person who is naturally musically inclined, being able to point out almost any instrument in the music he hears. “I kind of have this obsession with sound,” he says.

That obsession is very much taken care of: he has three guitars and a Cord M50 Digital Audio Workstation keyboard, which allows him to make use of sounds beyond the basic keyboard, such as drums. To test himself, he listens to a song once then plays it from memory. “I don’t just listen to the lyrics of songs,” he says. “I listen to the repeating beat.”

He grew up listening to Spanish music and rock, which are still his favorite music genres to listen to. Linkin Park, The Starting Line, Blink 182, and Don Omar are just a few of his favorite artists. When it comes to rap music, it’s impossible for him to single out a favorite artist. “Maybe if you give me a top 20, I could work with you,” he laughs. Yet, just as he can listen to rock, Spanish, and rap, he can as easily listen to pop and R&B. When Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” comes on in the diner, he starts humming and singing every line without fault.

Panousopoulos working on music.

His love for music has not always been smooth sailing, however. When Panousopoulos entered high school, he had to make a choice between the school band or school athletics, which the school was known for. “It was a no brainer,” he says. “We didn’t really have much of a music program at our school.”

So for sometime, Panousopoulos gave up music for basketball and soccer. He continued playing basketball into his first year of college at Baruch, where he is now a sophomore. But during his first season, he injured his knee, switching his focus back completely on music.

During his senior year in high school, he started professionally DJ’ing, which he still does once a week to this day. In the past four months, he has performed four times, most recently at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, where he played the guitar and sang. When it comes to releasing his own music, he has not come out with a CD or EP yet, but he works continuously to become a better musician. “I make every single aspect of my music,” he says confidently.

His knowledge of instruments is heard when he plays the guitar. The notes flow right into one another with ease, and his confidence with it radiates. Rather he becomes a famous musician, or music stays as his personal niche, he will always make beautiful music.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/GhIM0OAurEQ" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

While he is becoming more and more comfortable with singing, his passion remains with the guitar and the piano. For more than ten years he has perfected his skill with these instruments, and he only plans to get better.

In the future, he doesn’t know where life will take him, but he wants to have options. “I want to go to Greece or the Philippines. I might DJ full time. I really would like to get an apprenticeship with a music CEO.” Nonetheless, he knows music will always be apart of his life. “It’s apart of who I am, “ Panousopoulos says with a light smile. His passion is apparent, and wherever he ends up in the music genre, it will be because his ambition to master the musical art form got him there.

Posted in Music | 6 Comments

Fall of the Albatross: ‘Best Show Ever’

Tonight, the head rocking metal band had everyone’s head pumping, body parts flying, and energy soaring across the room. Fall of the Albatross (FOTA), a 5 man crew from Queens, all powered up their instruments and vocals and gave it their ‘best show ever.’

Before we get too far, let’s rewind back 2 days ago when the stress began. When they are not taking their finals, some of the crew members were helping to promote their newly released album, Entanglement. Guitarist Harold McCummings and Colin Ruhwedel along with their Vocalist Ray Hodge, were at Washington Square Park passing out flyers to promote their upcoming event for May 18th. Elsewhere, the other group members, Bassist Robert Anderson and Drummer Anthony Wong took out their baking tools, making free brownies for their show.

“Whewww, who knew baking brownies was harder than making music,” Anthony laughed. “I failed and decided to buy the store brand. What a life saver. Hey, brownie points for free brownies. ”

The band practiced all day on Tuesday.  Harold said, “I know it’s a disturbance but it’s a necessity…I know I’m good and we have done it many times…I just want to make sure I’m great.”

The group started in 2007 by chance. They began with nothing but a concept and with practice and preservation, the band continued to grow in fame. Their first show, from what a couple of the group members remembered, consisted of family members and friends in the audience.  Today, they have 659 followers on Facebook and 217 on Twitter and many metal-fantics.

Ray commented that their inspiration comes from all sort of genres and artists such as Dillinger Escape Plan and Between the Buried and Me to Earth Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder. He continued to say, “This is what makes our band different. We blend a mix of different genres that you won’t think would go together but we did it!”

Entanglement is an eclectic blend of metal, funk, soul, jazz. “We’re all busy but that doesn’t stop us from performing. We released the album back in April…I couldn’t wait to perform the album… I’ve been dying for the day (May 18th) to come.”

The day has arrived. The performance started a little after 8pm at the famous Sullivan hall in Greenwich village. The line was short due to the pouring weather. Many who came were males in their late 20’s who eagerly rooted for FOTA as they came up on stage. The band kicked off the show with “Dulce de Leche.” The crowd went wild to Ray’s devilish voice. Lyrics spilled out in mumbo jumbo that made no sense but had a beat that reached out to a lot of people. The crowd was lost in the music, heads were flinging violently up and down and arms were flying in the air, at that point it got pretty scary to stay in the center of the dance floor.

Their next song, ‘The Silver Epic,’ took me by surprised, it was not your common angry music. It started with a funky and a smooth pop settling beat and seconds later it literally transitioned into what seemed like another song but wasn’t. Ray literally gave me a jump when his possessive demon voice emerged. It goes back and forth from funk and jazz to metal. Compared to their inspiration band, The Dillinger Escape Plan, FOTA strived in terms of guitarist skills and vocals. Their music had a creepy calmness like The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Farewell, Mona Lisa,” and a mix of raging vocals of another famous metal band Nile.

The night was a success. The band’s next biggest goal is to get recognized and signed. Colin commented, “I don’t think anyone can imagine that 5 college students could have pull something off like that…We’re new, we’re fresh,” and as corny as it might sound but he said it, “WE ARE… THE FALL OF THE ALBATROSS!”

Posted in Music | 2 Comments

Four Girls and a Picture of a Guy

Well, here we are, three months later, tired and eager for summer, but not quite blogged-out yet.

This semester started out with five eager students with high hopes for the world of blogging, but after several depressing speakers and more blogs than we would like to count — we’re done. For good. And, you know, it’s not exactly a good thing — which is totally not what any of us expected.

Truth is, as challenging as it was to write weekly blogs about topics that we weren’t always passionate about, our group bonded over mandatory lunches, concerts, and occasional group therapy sessions about our personal lives, and made the best out of each experience.

Despite the amount of work we had to do on a frequent basis, and our challenge to keep up with it, we learned, we grew and we are now a step closer to being professional bloggers with our own unique voices. No matter how depressing some speakers might have been, we still have hopes and dreams within the blogging world that we will accomplish.

Kari affirmed her beliefs that the only topic she has any interest in writing about is music, and is feeling confident about a future in blogging about it, whether it’s for pleasure or much needed money.

Teresa, who has revived her passion for film through this course, has learned that a job doesn’t only have to be about making a lot of money, but about doing something one is passionate about.

Izabella (who demands to be called Bella from now on) is no where near where she started out at the start of the class — a miserable intern with absolutely no money nor desire to blog about food/music/film, and ended as a freelancer (with still barely any money) but with a proven love for one thing and one thing only — fashion.

Diana, who managed to get caught up with the amount of work there was to, was able to finally choose a topic to blog about endlessly. Even though the topics we covered were not of much interest, Diana allowed herself to open her mind and work outside her comfort zone.

And last but certainly not least, David. The graduating senior of our group, and the only guy around to bring conversation back from the depths of crazy feminism, brought a great voice to the group and the class and will surely be a success in whatever he sets out to do.

Have a great summer and good luck to David and all the other grads!

 

Posted in Independent Film | 1 Comment

The canvas is complete

Queen, Sabrina, Ashley and Jerrica say goodbye!

Hey readers,

This is the Independent Pallete signing out:

Ashley: It has been a wonderful experience taking this blogging about culture class. With my group members, I have gained some new insight into the world of blogging. After the first day of class, I have truly enjoyed learning so any new takes and tools that are involved with blogging. I am inspired to launch my food blog and really become an active blogger. It was very rewarding to meet and sit down with so many professional bloggers, writers and authors. My favorite class was the food writing edition and info session with food critic Lauren Shockey and food writer Rebecca Marx. I am fully excited about blogging and will absolutely use all that I learned all the time. Thanks Professor!!

Jerrica: This class has been a very, very interesting experience. I came into the class with the idea that I would learn more about blogging and of course, actually blog. I did both, plus more. I greatly enjoyed trying a new restaurant, seeing the Oscar shorts, and going to a concert. There have been times when I have been very frustrated and wished I had chosen another elective. However, in the end, I have grown a greater appreciation for the blogging world. I have opened my eyes to how important blogging is in the journalistic community. I’m leaving this class in hopes of turning our final project into an actual blog for me, one that I hope will eventually give me an edge when pursuing my career in fashion journalism.

Sabrina: When I started contributing to this blog, I wasn’t sure where it would lead. But it has taught me so much about culture, a subject where I thought I was already well versed. Every post I’ve written has taken me somewhere new and given me insight into things I’ve both had interest in and to what I just got introduced. The best part was probably learning from all the different blogs written by my group members and classmates. I’ve really valued the experience and actually take it with me wherever, whenever, and whatever I write. Thanks for the opportunity to discover and share my bloggers voice, everyone!

Queen: It’s me again!!!! Well, happy to say the semesters finally over. When the semester began I was hoping to learn new and interesting things. The most interesting thing I learned was that you probably will not get paid or not get paid much for blogging. I also learned that your blogs can vary in length. What I mean is that you can write 600 words one day and one or two sentences the next day (unless you work for a blog and they have a mandatory word count. I am so tired!!! I still love Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Maher, Peyton Manning, Johnny Depp and the New York Yankees. I still want to go to Scotland and Ireland (really!!!).

Posted in Who We Are | 2 Comments

Mirage’s Journey

As a group, our journey has made us all into pretty experienced bloggers. Personally, I look at things from a different perspective, a blogger’s perspective. Like when I go to a restaurant, I think: “What do I want to tell people about this restaurant?” I like the fact that blogging can be journalistic; it doesn’t have to be mere randomness. A lot of blogs are just personal views, without a lot of real information. In this class, we mixed journalism with personal essays for our blogging, and it’s like the best of both worlds. I got to go to concerts, restaurants, see independent films and meet a lot of people. – Ashley Lofters

This class has reinspired me to start blogging again. Since school, I took a big break. It has improved my blogging skills. Like Ashley said, my blogs were more personal and did not include the journalistic elements. -Shirese Francis

When I first came to this class, I didn’t know what to expect, I thought we would just be ranting about random things but I didn’t expect we’d go to all these different venues of art and culture. I had never gone to see the BAM and IFC center. I appreciate the experiences I went through and I hope to continue learning more about other avenues of entertainment and even blog about it. – Alan Lazebnik

I learned a lot from this class, I didn’t know how important blogging really was before. Journalism classes teach that blogging is very important but I think only after meeting the guest speakers that I really got to know how important blogging is. I really liked IFC theater. I never knew the Oscar shorts existed. – Ying Chan

Well I’m definitely a better blogger though I was already an excellent writer. All in all, a wonderful experience, I wish all my class were like this one. – Gerard Cruzado

Posted in Who We Are | 1 Comment

The Final Goodbye

yeah, we're sad.

Well, we start this post on a sad note because we cant believe it is the last day of our blogging journey. It was fun while it lasted, remembering the great times we had from dining at Blue Smoke, our new favorite barbecue restaurant,  to watching Boyz Noize perform and listening to his music explode through the speakers. We drank and danced the night away and built a stronger relationship than any other. We also laughed and cried together while viewing the 6 Oscar nominated short films and only two members of H.A.M were the only ones to predict the winner, so I guess you could also consider us film critique extraordinaires.

We feel like we have grown together as a group and have all improved in our writing/blogging styles. As we leave this class we take with us the dreams to aspire to make it in the journalism world, even through blogging. (Our member Chris has actually been offered to write for the The Couch Sessions!)

We may travel on different paths but in our hearts we know we will always go HAM… over and out.

PS. Have you ever had sex with a pharaoh?

it's ok though.. we'll always be HAM

Posted in Who We Are | 2 Comments

The REEL World Says Goodbye

Five enthusiastic individuals joined forces three months ago to form The REEL World, embarking on a journey to explore film, food, and music.

The road was not always easy and not everyone made it to the end, but for the rest of us survivors, we have become immersed in the world of blogging.

We would like to thank the many visitors who provided us with honest advice and knowledge about the blogosphere along our trek.

With our blogs, we hope to have provided new insight to the cultural scene of New York City.

“What happens next?”

“I’m not sure exactly. But this world is ours now. It’s what we make of it.”     – 9 (2009)

 


Posted in Who We Are | 4 Comments

A R&B Don Is On His Way

While he calls his style of music ‘fun music,’ it is unmistakable to fathom the serious efforts implemented by Adoniz to compose such a manifold of music that lets listeners know that he is not recording just for the fun of it.

“I am taking initiative as far as really understanding what it is to prepare and execute my craft,” stated the Brooklyn native who was raised in Newark, New Jersey.

Thanks to his father’s encouragement and guidance, the 25-year-old’s appetite for music would begin to be truly nourished at the ripe age of nine. On that account, he has harvested his art to become: an arranger, producer, songwriter and vocalist.

Even so, the artist acknowledges the business side of the music industry and is not relying on just his skills. Because of this, he has secured the services of Swan Marketing to do a full campaign in order augment his audience.  As of now, the artist has less than 400 fans on his Facebook and Reverbnation fan pages, which is not worrisome thanks to strong, formative years of performing and respected support.

At church, as an adolescent, the smile-happy artist’s fingertips graced his congregation with harmonic tunes by virtue of the combination of drums and piano. He would not wait long to take his blessing from church to real stages. Soon after, he and acclaimed vocalist Kenneth “CeCe” Rogers realized that apart from being a musician, he was also an exceptional vocalist and crowd-pleasing performer.

As a result, Adoniz has performed on the stages of: the New York Jets Training Facility, NJPAC, Karta, the Mary B. Burch Theater, The Multi Media Arts Center and Rutgers University Football Stadium.

Aside from the performances, Adoniz also has several noteworthy collaborations to his credit. He has worked with: fellow New Jerseyan Chad Piff, drummer Kevin Lamar, Mr. West and renowned Jerry Wonda who has worked with a long list of greats, ranging from Lupe Fiasco to Wyclef Jean.

Yet, he has not solely collaborated with Wonda, for the relationship is more of a mentorship. After growing up watching Wonda play the bass at the church both attended in New Jersey, the two have been communicating weekly for a year. Apart from guidance on the business aspect of the muic industry, Wonda’s ocean of musical artistry moistens most, if not all, of Adoniz’s new music to assure it is not cut-and-dried.

“When I have new music, he is one of the first ears I bring it to,” Adoniz shared.

Now, Adoniz is looking to solidify his greatness with his upcoming solo project. The imminent album is set to encompass the same trait the majority of great artists have put into practice when producing their own work, being different.

“My style of music has direction but can be somewhat random because I try not to allow myself to be placed in a box,” Adoniz expressed.

That attribute separates him from indifferent artists. Still, the Alliance for Lupus Research supporter does not want it to be too extreme, for he stated that he wants to avoid being “so much different where I am on Pluto and no one understands my music.”

The fact that Adoniz uses “everyday experiences” as his material to write has allowed him to succeed in avoiding that so far, as his music has been understood and well-received throughout all of his projects in the tri-state. Be that as it may, as he continues to better his craft even further, he plans to expand his scope of projects, and he has the distinct style of music to do so.

When asked how he would categorize his music, he voiced, “I enjoy pop. I enjoy r&b. I enjoy hip-hop. But, I don’t want to be classified as just an r&b singer or pop singer. It’s fun music. We’ll call it fun music.”

Adoniz – Sex With You

Posted in Music | 3 Comments

A long way from home: songs of exile

After more than a half century of friendship, what is left for us to talk about? Why music, of course. Nissam Abitol, an amateur musician and an aficionado of Arabic music, who, like me, left Morocco in the late 1960s, had a moment of bittersweet longing for his youth. And to book end the years of his sentimental yearning, he kept dwelling on two songs: the Algerian Enrico Macias’ ‘Adieu mon pays’ [1962] and Egyptian Om Kalsoum’s ‘Al Atlal[Ruins]’ [1967].

‘For me, these songs began my emotional rupture with the land of my birth’, he exhaled in a long breath. ‘Don’t you think that the fact that you went to French style schools, which had for mission to “civilize us”, first uprooted us from our elders and who, to our embarrassment, clung to the use of the Arab dialect at home and took pride in our history?’, I immediately asked.

‘Maybe’, he answered. Yet independence in 1956, Mohammed V’s appointment of a Jew to the key ministry of communications, was a signal that there was a place for Jews in decolonized Morocco, he added. I nodded in agreement. ‘Nonetheless, we were in a minority, and made more so as a clandestine hemorrhage of Jews sought a safer port in an approaching storm in France or Israel or Canada or the US’, I added.

Nissam left for Paris to study at the ‘Institut des sciences politiques’ in 1961. ‘At first, I was like a child lost in a sweets shop, but soon the novelty wore off’, he confessed. Paris is grey, cold for half a year; he missed the more clement Morocco; he often found he had to bear up against the racism toward North Africans. And so, ‘I fell into the trap of sentimentality and of cultivating a disdain of everything French, reinforced by long war in Algeria and reading Franz Fanon’, he confessed.

All that changed in 1962 with the independence of Algeria and the stampede of French and Jews toward shores of metropolitan France. At that moment, Macias’‘Adieu mon pays’ hit the top of the charts. It endowed North Africa with  a mysterious, if not mythical, quality for a people suddenly exiled in Europe through no fault of their own, by expelling the legacy of past colonial rule.

Macias is a trained in ‘maalouf’, Andaluse Arabic music. He suffused his music, as a crossover artist, with its themes, strains and rhythm. Melodically, ‘Adieu …’ is sentimental, reprising the maudlin feeling of loss, desolation, and destruction. Accompanied only by a guitar, Marcias strums its strings, thereby mimicking sounds of the music Jews and Muslim brought to the shores of North Africa after expulsion from reunited and Catholic Spain. He also uses his voice by stretching phrasing recalling Hispano Arabic singing.

‘Adieu …’ is a simple song. It evokes the heat of an African sun; the splendor of the blue Mediterranean by the way the sun reflects its sapphire sparkle; the pristine whiteness of houses suggesting the loss of geographical innocence; and the lingering memory of abandoning a lover [North Africa] whose teary blue eyes dissolve into the sea as she bids adieu as the ship carrying her lover into exile, and whom she may never see again. And then the cry of grief like a dagger in the heart: ‘What is to become of me?’

Call the song ‘sappy’, but at that moment, it fused that amorphous feeling of homesickness to the end of a way of life never to be repeated anew, and, in a way, left an emptiness that we away from our country felt never could be filled. It, for sure, was a romantic notion, but one keenly perceived physically and existentially.

Furthermore, Algeria’s independence made life untenable for its Jews, and immediately the music of Enrico Macias was formally banned. ‘A harbinger of things to come, it seemed’, according to Nissan, ‘even though our King Hassan II had Jewish advisors and personal physicians and looked up us as “his children”. Decolonization spelt ultimately displacement, he added.

‘But Paris left you open to slights, insults, and at times undisguised hostility bordering on the anti Semitic, so it was with a certain relief that I returned to Casablanca with a diploma in hand’ he continued. A proud family welcomed him, but the job market being what it was, offered no employment. And quickly slipping back into well worn habits, Morocco took on a tarnished look for Nissim, and at moments he really did pine for life on Parisian boulevards. In fact, at the Olympia, he went to a sellout concert of the great Egyptian singer Om Kalsoum, and that sparked an interest in Arab and Judeo Arab music which he mocked growing up.

In 1968, word had spread through the bazaars and by the Arab telephone that Om Kalsoum had accepted Hassan II’s invitation to appear at his palace and give concerts in Rabat. The news spurred great excitement. Rumor had it that this ‘feudal’ monarch had offered her millions to sing for him. [Cynical tongues could not refrain from noting that Moroccan Dirhams which would flow into the coffers of the ‘Socialist’ Nasser, who was in bad odor the Cherifian Kingdom.] The ‘star of the Orient’ [kawkab el-sharq] as she was called arrived in time for the ‘Aid el Adhah’ [عيد الأضحى] memorializing Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac. Less than a year had passed since the Six Day War. Already it increased the exit of Jews for France, and although superficially relations between Muslim and Jew remained neutral, the feeling of trust on both sides suffered greatly.

And into the war’s aftermath of Israel’s rapid fire victory and occupation of Arab territory, Om Kalsum introduced ‘Al Atlal’.

‘Al Atlal’ [Ruins], a well known poem from the school of Egyptian romantic poetry, it, like Macias’ ‘Adiu …’, plays with the same conceits, but on a loftier and more sophisticated level. Sung in modern Arabic, a full orchestra of Oriental and Western instruments.

A woman sings of a love turned cold, a love that has become a ruin: ‘let us drink of our ruin and tell .. how lovers became past news … another story of passion’, but she hasn’t forgotten her lover. She cannot. She wails her lament by repeating the refrain which touched Nissim to the quik: ‘give me my freedom, release my bonds [hands]…you inflict harm like a powerful tyrant, give me my freedom, release me’, for I have given you yours’.

Imagine the majestic, noble bearing of a woman of 70 in the full command of a voice that had darkened over times, with Pharonic authority, her sweep of jet black hair amassed like a crown on her head, a handkerchief in her that she uses to puncture any thought of reconciliation. Not only that, Om Kalsum riffs on the lyrics, repeating them and improving them on her own, which heightens the pain of loss and collapse of hope. Ultimately, fate, the famous Arabic fate, prevails: we have to ‘learn to forget and to learn…everything is fated’. The idea of ‘Mktub’ [what is written is written], so central to popular Arabic tradition, gains ascendancy and the ardor of love is extinguished and  [smolders] in ruins’.

‘Al Atlal’ spoke to Nissim’s state of mind: it strengthened his feeling that the Six Day War destroyed any place for him in Morocco, and so his dreams of living his life in the land of his birth were also in ruins. In a span of less than six years, he went into exile, ending up in Montreal, yet the wounds of leaving North Africa remained unhealed.

Listening again to ‘Adieu mon pays’ does not stir his memory’s embers. On the other hand, hearing Om Kalsum complaint touches an exposed raw nerve. And his voice breaks as he sings that his abandoning Morocco wasn’t our will ‘but rather our fate’.

Posted in Independent Film | 3 Comments

From a Finnish Small-Town to The Stages of New York

Oskar behind the drums, where he belongs.

To grow up in Finland, in a small-town of 550 people may not sound like every little boy’s dream. But for someone born with a passion for drumming, this might actually be a wonderful opportunity. With the closest neighbors on a safe distance away, it is only your parents who might stop you from drumming in the middle of the night. Or if you are really lucky, your father might just pick up the guitar and join you. For 22-year-old drummer Oskar Häggdahl, this was exactly the case.

“We would have rock´n´roll jams everyday when my dad got home from work. Once I got old enough I also started having gigs with my dad’s different bands. I was about 7 and everyone else around 40 years old, which was kind of cool.”

Oskar Häggdahl has been playing drums for as long as he can remember. It started as playful banging on pots and pans, until he at the age of 5 got his first real drum kit. Today he lives in New York, one of the biggest cultural cities in the world, with a fresh graduation diploma from the drumming school The Collective soon in is hand.

Since the age of 12 Häggdahl knew that the only thing he wanted was to become a professional drummer. And even if his small-town childhood might have given Häggdahl the background needed to become the drummer he is today, he knew this was not the place he would spend the rest of his life.

“I remember reading the American drum-magazine “Modern Drummer” when I was about 13 years old, and saw an add in the magazine for “The Drummers Collective“, a music school in New York City. I told my parents I wished I one day could go there to study music and drumming,” Häggdahl says.

Now, ten years later, he is one month away from becoming a successful graduate from the same exact school.

Häggdahl admits, that he knew that everything about coming to New York to study would be much more complicated and expensive than for example if going to England. But at the same time he knew that this was the city where he would be able to find everything about drumming he ever could imagine. He adds, “I think I also in a way wanted to make it as hard as possible for myself – to study with the best teachers and really prepare myself for anything that the future could bring.”

The Drummers Collective is part of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) accredited music school The Collective. Founded in 1977, The Collective, was created by a small group of professional New York musicians, and is still today a quite exclusive learning center. The Drummers Collective offers drum set players and percussionists everything from private classes to a full-time two year long program.

Häggdahl is happy with his experience at the school, and says that the all-star faculty is definitely what makes it special. Specific programs and personal focus on each student is also made possible because of the small amount of students the school allows for each year. Häggdahl also stresses the good vibe that he feels among his fellow students and the teachers as one of the advantages of a small school.

The high level of education provided can also bee seen in the tuition. With a fee of $60,500 for the two-year long full-time program, students at Drummers Collective must be ready to invest in their future. For Häggdahl, the choice of moving to New York did also mean giving up the free education that Finland provides. But for this young drummer, the life in New York has been worth every dollar.

“So much have changed in my life since I moved here. Not have I only become a better drummer, but I have grown as a person and gained confidence. In the music business it is all about making contacts and getting your name out there, and New York is the perfect city to do it in.”

According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics about 189,000 people in the United States work as full time instrumental musicians, and over half of them are self-employed. In New York, only 16,670 out of its 8 million habitats are making their living out of music. But off course, one should never stare blindly at statistics, especially in such diffuse category as “musicians.”

Even if the statistics are on the gloomy side, Häggdahl looks brightly at the future. Being far from done with everything this city has to offer, he has no plans on leaving the city, even after graduation. Häggdahl has already found several bands and artists interested to collaborate with him, and plays both in a studio and up on stage on a regular basis.

Bass-player Brian Holz is one of them who frequently gets together to play with Häggdahl. When asked what it is that makes Häggdahl an interesting drummer to play with, Holz seems to have the answer.

“The best drummers are the best listeners. They provide a strong groove that doesn’t make you doubt your own sense of time. In short, they instill a confidence that makes you play better and stretch your abilities. Oskar is such a drummer.”

“Drumming is pretty much all I have ever done, and it’s also the only thing I could consider my full-time job.” Oskar says with a smile, and continues: “I don’t think there could be a better place than NYC for a drummer to have his work and home…”

 

Posted in Music | 338 Comments