Red Bull Music Labs debut student work at Temple Bar

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Ten participants from the Red Bull Music Lab deputed their songs to a live audience for the first time at the Temple Bar in Santa Monica March 6.

They worked on their songs nonstop for five days at a luscious home located on beachfront property in Malibu.

All of the musicians displayed a sense of accomplishment and pride after having toiled for so long on a piece of music they created with the help of the program.

The beach house is decorated with Red Bull inspired art and comfortable beanbags could be found in every corner.

In terms of food, the people at Red Bull really know how to please the artists, putting mini Red Bull fridges everywhere in sight with plenty of pop tarts, fruit, and chips to go around.

The living room had 10 workstations set up with computers and accompanying keyboards used in conjunction with Reason, a type of music creation software. Many of the students were hard at work constructing their music, but some chose to nap and recuperate from a busy studio session the night before.

The instructors and staff were on hand to assure that everything was going smoothly and answer questions students had about their individual projects. Kurt Sonderegger, the national cultural event manager for Red Bull, is also co-founder of the program with Lorin Ashton.

While Ashton is more of the primary lecturer for the students and a hands-on teacher, Sonderegger oversees the various production aspects of the program. The two initially met through the Burning Man festival, a weeklong event taking place in the Black Rock Desert that features music, performances, and art.

Ashton was a regular musician who played Burning Man and eventually conceived the idea with Sonderegger, who was working for Red Bull in San Francisco at the time. Ashton had previously taught children in juvenile hall about music as part of a fieldwork project for UC Santa Cruz.

He introduced them to Reason, a music recording computer program, as a means to record their works, which lead him to suggest a similar program for Red Bull on a larger scale.

As for this year’s program, Sonderegger said that the musical content coming from the students is far exceeding his expectations.

He also said that the program is based around the idea that a smaller group of people should be greatly affected by what they experienced. He preferred this to a huge amount of people barely affected by Red Bull’s program.

Craig Russo, Technical Director for the Red Bull Music Lab, insured that the hardware and software aspect of the recording apparatus was up and running for student use.

Russo first met Ashton in Santa Cruz through a similar group of friends in the underground music scene and started working with the lab when it started going on the road around the country.

Now, he helps with individualized tutoring of the students, and his help tends to deal with specific aspects of Reason.

Oftentimes, he will also look at students’ tracks and give them constructive advice to make their songs more dynamic and appealing. Russo has worked on music for Madonna, Disneyland, The Incredibles, and NBC.

Although he is busy being a full time musician, Russo keeps in contact with many of his former students and even collaborates with them on occasion.