by Cassie Lipp
125 days ago
Posted In: Music
at 04:00 PM | Permalink
From a dark studio strung to the brim with Christmas lights comes a
music that seems as if it could have originated in an Indian temple, yet it
resonates with the charm of American Folk music. A barefoot guitar player taps
his foot on a pedal as he strums along flawlessly next to his bandmate, who is
playing an instrument of his own creation — a sitar with some strings and a
bell removed, frets added and a homemade capo fashioned out of plastic rollers
and a piece of a lampshade.
As Dawg Yawp plays its song “I Wanna Be a Dawg” in WNKU’s Studio 89, the duo
emits a powerful sound that blends together traditional Folk instruments with
electronic elements. Their John Cage-esque ability to reinvent new ways to play
music (minus slapping a dead fish on a piano) sets them apart from any other
folk artist. It’s the perfect combination of worldly and psychedelic.
“It sounds amazing to sit there and listen to all of the different elements
coming together,” says WNKU’s sound engineer Matt Moermond as he watches a
video of the performance on his iPad. “They did big things this year. Their new
music has even more of an electronic side with a lot of samples and layers.”
The video is part of the station’s promotion of local music. Dawg Yawp is one of
the artists that has been featured as the station’s Local Discovery of the
Month, an honor that has also been spotlighted other Cincinnati-based artists
such as Jeremy Pinnell, Multimagic and The Yugos.
Moermond remarks on how the Local Discovery videos — all filmed in Studio 89 — have
become viral on social media. With the help of sharing and instant viewing on
Facebook, a WNKU video of a Jeremy Pinnell performance has had more than 13,000
Along with the monthly spotlight, WNKU plays a song by a local artist at least once
an hour. However, it isn’t just music from Cincinnati. For WNKU, local means as
far as their radio signal goes out. Artists from areas nearby Cincinnati, such
as Columbus and Indianapolis, can also enjoy being aired on the station.
WNKU’s Assistant Program Director Liz Felix sees playing local music as the
convergence of the station’s mission.
“Ultimately our mission is two-fold: play awesome music that’s not necessarily
exposed anywhere else and tying into the local community,” Felix says. “Playing
local music is both of those things together, and I think that’s what exciting
Both Felix and Moermond say they are blown away by the quality of recordings
they receive from local artists. So much so, that it is difficult for them to
pick who they will feature each month because there are so many great artists
to choose from.
“This is music that I would have no problem telling other people in the record
industry, ‘Here are the great bands from Cincinnati,’ and I think they would
stand up against any national release,” Felix says.
The local artists featured monthly are chosen from the pool of local artists
already being played on WNKU. The station also looks for artists who are
actively releasing new music and who may be familiar, but not too widely known.
“It is extremely important that we play the local artists and support the local
scene,” Moermond says. “That’s one of the main reasons that we’re here. It
gives bands a voice that they may not otherwise receive in broadcast. We were
the first ones to ever air Walk the Moon.”
Local artists can submit their music to WNKU in order to be played. Moermond
says when he is listening to local music submissions, he looks for quality.
While quality production is a requirement for airtime on WNKU, he says this
does not mean that music has to be expensively produced, as there are ways to
make quality recordings within your home.
Moermond also explains that local music submission should clearly be marked as
local recordings. The station receives so many submissions a day, it is easier
to find local music that is marked as such.
Aside from submissions, Moermund and Felix say they try to attend shows
throughout Cincinnati at least a few nights per week to stay in touch with the
local music scene and discover new artists. They enjoy artists who present
lively, energetic performances no matter how small or large the crowd. Both
agree it is as much fun as it is necessary to be in tune with the local music
“I like how everyone seems to know each other, and builds off that,” Moermond
says. “It’s fun to see everyone help each other to grow and expand. It’s neat
to see how they work together.”
The vibrant scene also gives them a unique sampling of the many local artists
making great music.
“There’s such a diversity of sounds that there doesn’t seem like there is an
overarching sound of Cincinnati,” Felix says. “Everyone is kind of doing their
own thing and there’s so much good stuff and so many different genres.”
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 13, 2013
One of Cincinnati’s finest Indie acts
ever, the brilliant Bad Veins, has split in two. Thankfully for BV fans, this is not the
end of the group.