PODCAST: Inside Berklee—Steve Wilkes

By
Lesley Mahoney
December 21, 2011
Steve Wilkes takes a field recording at Cape Cod National Seashore's Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham.
A view of Salt Pond, a stop along Steve Wilkes's quest to create an aural map of Cape Cod.
Photo by Lesley Mahoney
Photo by Lesley Mahoney

Percussion professor Steve Wilkes fell in love with the sounds of Cape Cod a decade ago when he and his wife began recording what piqued their ears while vacationing in Truro. That would become an annual trip and the hobby would turn serious. Wilkes was awarded a Newbury Comics Faculty Fellowship to pursue this passion, resulting in the Hear Cape Cod Project. From Bourne to Provincetown, Wilkes is gathering a year's worth of field recordings, featuring everything from bird calls to train whistles. Wilkes envisions these audio markers one day serving as a historical comparison to Cape Cod's ever-changing aural landscape.

"This project has taught me the connection between being a musician and being a human being in awe of the sounds of our environment," says Wilkes, whose team along with other Berklee alumni includes his wife and bandmate, Ginny Fordham, a singer and major gifts officer at Berklee, and Rob Jaczko, chair of music production and engineering; they serve as the project's field assistant and engineer respectively. "Each of these roles is, first and foremost, about learning to listen to the world in a musical way. That is my definition of musician."

Hear Wilkes talk Hear Cape Cod and how it's changed his paradigm for processing sound.

to Inside Berklee: Steve Wilkes/Hear Cape Cod