The Northeast is home to some of the most cutting edge DIY (Do-it-Yourself) acts on the planet. However, most of these acts simply don’t receive enough traction and attention due to not being signed to a major label. It’s important that independent artists have a space to distribute their music and make themselves known.
Enter “Door Room Demos,” the latest radio program devised by SUNY New Paltz’s Radio Station WFNP and the New Paltz Music Collective (NPMC). “Dorm Room Demos” was conceived by NPMC President Denise Terrero, WFNP Music Director Emma Philippas, WFNP Public Affairs Director Dani Walpole and graduate student Benji Marx. This is the first time both groups have collaborated on a program.
WFNP is the college’s official radio station. As stated on the website, “This station is not a club, but is a professional radio station that is held in high regard. It has allowed students to discuss serious world issues, broadcast important events and provide easy listening to the entire Hudson Valley.
“Dorm Room Demos” is set up so that local artists will have the chance to play three of their songs, and then follow that up with a brief interview and discussion with the host of the program. “‘Dorm Room Demos’ is acoustic, so they’d be a bit like tiny desk concerts, but without the desk,” Walpole said.
“Emma and I work at the radio station and we wanted to get our idea for radio live sessions off the ground, so we turned to Denise due to the musical experience and booking expertise that she has,” Walpole said. “With the help of Benji’s outreach to potential guests, we’re getting ready for a full semester of on air-live sessions.”
The NPMC is a group dedicated to booking music shows on campus for a wide variety of artists, including rock, pop and hip-hop acts. Last semester, they hosted their Halloween Show, featuring regional rock acts Godcaster, Hello Mary and Red. They also hosted the DIY Prom last spring semester, again featuring regional talent such as Earth Dad, Deem Spencer and Maiya Blaney. NPMC usually hosts two or three shows a year.
Terrero and the NPMC are instrumental in booking underground talent not only for the campus but also for the program. “It’s going to be a group effort,” Terrero said. “Our goal in it is to find artists and have them play on the show.” Terrero also has experience in booking through her own agency, Lavender Ladies, which she co-owns.
The program is still in development, and artists have yet to be scheduled for the program. However, Terrero and Marx have both performed test runs of their own material, and according to Walpole, the tests were “perfect.” The program is slated to begin this February.
Other members of the WFNP staff, such as Assistant News Director Matthew Ellis, are excited to see the station host live music from local artists. “I think not only is it a stellar idea for having a more diverse music catalogue on the radio, I think it’s a great way to let local talent have a way to get their music out there,” Ellis said. “We do live in a sort of environment with a lot of music out there, a lot of people trying to do music on their own, and this is a great way for them to have a jumping off point.”
The “Dorm Room Demos” program offers an avenue for these DIY artists to get their material out to the public. As a DIY artist herself, Terrero hopes that this program exposes the New Paltz community to new artists.
“I’m really passionate about DIY music, which is essentially when people make music themselves, produce themselves, write themselves, without the help of an industry,” Terrero said. “It’s very powerful because there’s such a community within it [and] getting those artists more exposure and allowing people to listen to more than mainstream musicians [is important].”
“We’re all about playing a wide variety of music and being a platform where students can develop their voice, confidence and their talents,” Walpole said. “We hope listeners realize that great music can come from anywhere, at any age. As younger people, we have to encourage musicians who are just getting their start and creating their sound.”