Heavy Rotation Records Album Release Concert, December 3

Margot Edwards
November 7, 2011
The Boston Boys
Emily Elbert
Pinn Pannelle
Julia Easterlin
David Pramik
Photo provided by the artist
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo provided by the artist
Photo by Tammy Jean Lamoureux
Photo provided by the artist

Berklee's student-run label Heavy Rotation Records (HRR) releases its latest project, Under the Influence, on December 6. The compilation features Berklee students and alumni covering some of rock's biggest names, including REM, Green Day, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, and Smashing Pumpkins, and the seminal bands that influenced their sounds—Mission of Burma, Hüsker Dü, Joy Division, Gang of Four, the Pixies, and My Bloody Valentine.

Listen to a preview of Under the Influence at HeavyRotationRecords.bandcamp.com

HRR celebrates Under The Influence with a concert Saturday, December 3 at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, featuring special guest Roger Miller of Mission of Burma performing solo. The HRR artists (details below) will perform songs from the CD. The concert is $8 in advance ($12 day of show) and begins at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are available at berkleebpc.com and at the box office. The venue is wheelchair-accessible. Call 617 747-2261 for more information.

Under the Influence was produced by Paul Kolderie, cofounder of famed Fort Apache Studios, who produced or engineered some of the original artists. Unlike past HRR CDs, where students submitted songs already recorded, Kolderie went into the studio with artists chosen by the label and helmed the project from the beginning. He used the same console he used to record the Pixies and Radiohead, along with some of the original amps, pre-amps, and mics. "Unfortunately the original studios are gone, so we couldn't go to those locations," said Kolderie. "But we did as much as possible to incorporate the older gear into the new songs." In addition to Pixies and Radiohead, Kolderie's credits include Billy Bragg, Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr., Hole, Morphine, Portugal. The Man, and many more.

The recording features Julia Easterlin (Pixies, Radiohead), Da'Rayia (Gang of Four, Red Hot Chili Peppers), David Pramik featuring Johnny Duke (Joy Division, U2), the Boston Boys featuring Emily Elbert (Hüsker Dü, Green Day), the Berklee String Metal Ensemble (My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins), and Pinn Panelle (Mission of Burma, REM). The project gave each HRR artist the opportunity to reinterpret songs by a pair of these classic bands, using their creativity to make something new. They wrote their own arrangements and instrumentations for the new versions. Although the artists are performing covers for this project, they are not cover bands. Each writes and performs original music in varied genres—with the exception of the Berklee String Metal Ensemble.

HRR's faculty advisor Jeff Dorenfeld hatched the concept for the record while talking to his son one day. "He was listening to My Bloody Valentine and Husker Dü, and it dawned on me that these bands have become more popular because of the bands they influenced," said Dorenfeld. He took the idea into his class and added constraints: a member of the influenced band had to mention the influential band [in print], and the influential band could not have had a major recording career. The students researched the bands to choose the artist pairings for the album. "We also decided to cover the bands in different genres than the original recording, which led to picking a bluegrass band to cover punk bands Husker  and Green Day, for instance," he added.

HRR is a class that gives music business/management majors at Berklee hands-on experience in running a record company. Under Dorenfeld's guidance, the student staff oversees all of the label's functions, including marketing, sales, web development, media, and accounting. The label presents events in the Boston area and at some of the music industry's largest festivals, including SXSW in Austin and the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, and recently had an artist perform at Lollapalooza in Chicago.

The label's releases since 1995 have included Shekinah: 13 Artists, distributed by Epic; Apollo Sunshine's second CD, coreleased with spinART; and Dorm Sessions 1-7. Many up-and-coming artists have appeared on HRR albums, including St. Vincent (as Annie Clark), members of Passion Pit (as the Peasantry), the Click Five (as Oscar Bravo), Christopher Barnes (of Gem Club); Elizabeth and the Catapult; Big D and the Kids Table, and Madi Diaz. The label also serves as a springboard for careers in the music industry. HRR alumni have gone on to work at Interscope, Capitol, DreamWorks, BMG, Universal, Live Nation, AEG Live, and RightsFlow.

RightsFlow collaborated with HRR to provide marketing and licensing support for the recording project. Licensing was provided through Limelight, RightsFlow's online mechanical clearance utility that ensures legal compliance and accurate accounting and payment to songwriters and publishers. The service, launched in 2010, is already being used by musicians and bands in all 50 states and in 150 countries around the globe. Designed by musicians for musicians, Limelight is a simple way for any artist, band, choir, or other musical group to clear any cover song for release.

About the artists:

Julia Easterlin

Julia Easterlin is one part siren, one part loop scientist, and a sophisticated musical mind that can wield composition, production, and performance in one fell swoop. Not only is Easterlin a versatile singer-songwriter, vocalist, pianist, and guitarist, but her looping machine also makes her into a virtual one-woman band. In 2007, Easterlin was awarded a full scholarship to attend Berklee, where she graduated with a degree in several disciplines. Under the Influence marks Easterlin's second HRR appearance. Two of her songs were also featured on 2010's Dorm Sessions 7. Easterlin performed the 2011 Lollapalooza festival and at SXSW, and traveled to Cuba to perform with the Berklee Interarts Ensemble.


Da'Rayia is a band of Berklee students that play a variety of genres, including hip-hop, jazz, soul, funk, rock, and reggae. The group features Da'Rayia Wilson on vocals, Dennis Drummond on guitar, Clynton Cox on bass, Coran Henley on drums, and Jonathan Lotson on keyboards. Wilson, the group's namesake, was the first winner of the Berklee and Essence magazine hip-hop songwriting contest. She subsequently was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee. Wilson, a dual major in music business/management and contemporary writing and production, is busy writing, performing, and producing her own music.

David Pramik featuring Johnny Duke 

David Pramik's debut album Expectations is catching listeners ears with its intricate guitar work and vocal harmonies. Pramik draws inspiration from artists like D'Angelo, Norah Jones, Robert Glasper, and A Tribe Called Quest. Berklee graduate Johnny Duke picked up the electric guitar at 10 and fell in love with the blues. He has found success fronting Johnny Duke and the Aces, and as a sideman and session musician in varied genres. Pramik and Duke are joined by students, guitarist Matt Thompson, bassist Spencer Stewart, vocalist Avena Savage, and drummer Tom Myers; and keyboardist Nate Hopkins. Producer Paul Kolderie plays bass on "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

The Boston Boys featuring Emily Elbert

The Boston Boys have been touring the past two years. Described as an electrified psychedelic soul string band, their sound blends roots-rock with pop, folk, and Appalachian music. The lineup features alumni Eric Robertson on mandolin, Josh Hari on bass, Vishal Nayak on drums, Duncan Wickel on fiddle, Stash Wyslouch on guitar, and Jesse Scheinin on sax. Student guitarist Emily Elbert has played across the U.S. and in Scotland, Puerto Rico, and Peru, and has won numerous awards, including a spot in the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Foundation's jazz ensemble, WUMB's Best New Artist 2008, and Glamour's Top 10 College Women. Elbert recently released her second CD, Proof, featuring strong melodies, straight-to-the-heart vocals, and intricate guitar work.

Berklee String Metal Ensemble

The Berklee String Metal Ensemble is a student group composed of three cellists, two violinists, two drummers, a bassist, and a vocalist. They play melodic death metal, with some hardcore influence. The group covers bands such as Dark Tranquility, Arch Enemy, and Heaven Shall Burn. Band members include Trev Wignall and Jason Lim on violin; Dean Capper, David Tangney, and Eden Raiz on cello; Aaron Liao on bass; Steven Hopkins on vocals; Rae Amitay on drums and vocals; and Carson Groenewold on drums.

Pinn Panelle

Pinn Panelle is composed of Berklee students Jonah Wei-Haas, and Chris Nicholas; and alumni Derek Song, Justin Conway, and Brian Kohlhoff. Their sound is influenced by Muse, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Thrice, with elements of dubstep, techno, electronica, and classical mixed in. The group recently released its debut. Said AltSounds, "The last three songs are possibly the best. The intensity and beautiful strangeness escalates, and you want to play it louder and louder. 'Firelight,' 'Throwing Out a Heart,' and 'Come to the Ground' ignite in such subtle, beautiful ways that you want to go back and start over from track one again."

RightsFlow is a leading technology-enabled licensing and royalty service provider for artists, record labels, distributors, and online music companies. Its technology powers rapid song identification and provides an unprecedented level of transparency for both licensees and licensors. RightsFlow specializes in obtaining bulk physical, DPD, and ringtone licenses including streaming, tethered, and limited download rights. Its proprietary "FLOW" licensing technology and 30-million song database allow us to serve over 16,000 clients obtaining licenses frompublishers and songwriters all over the world—including major, independent and artist controlled works.

RightsFlow also powers Limelight, its online mechanical licensing utility providing the simplest way for musicians, bands, choirs, and labels to clear any cover song, and MySpark Copyright, the right way to register and protect intellectual property, simplifying copyright registration for content owners and creators. Clients include YouTube, Rhapsody, Clear Channel, Muzak, the Orchard, Tunecore, INgrooves, 7 Digital, Wolfgang's Vault, Copyright Clearance Center, Christian Copyright Solutions, Guvera, Dada Entertainment/Play.ME, Scattertunes, Alliance, Kontor New Media, Beatport, Zebralution, E1 Canada, CD Baby, Disc Makers, Qello, IRIS, REBEAT, and X5Music Group. RightsFlow is a member of AIM, A2IM, ASCAP, Chorus America, DDEX, DiMA, MEIEA, NAB, NAfME, NAMM, and NARM. RightsFlow is headquartered in New York and has offices in San Francisco and Atlanta.