Pitt’s music production club allows students to learn about the ins and outs of producing music


Image courtesy of Timothy Purcell

Members of Music Production Club perform at a house music show.

By Serena Garcia, Senior Staff Writer

For Ethan Herring, the music production club at Pitt is a place for students passionate about creating music to share, collaborate and learn techniques from one another. 

Herring, a senior neuroscience major and the club’s president, joined the club his sophomore year. Herring said before joining the club, his experience with music was mainly from playing the guitar. However, once he arrived at Pitt, Herring said the club allowed him to explore the world of electronic music production. 

“It’s just kind of a place for people who like music or producing music to collaborate or learn techniques together,” Herring said. “I think generally right now, it’s just kind of like a place for people to work together on songs or get ideas for new things or like instruments, things like that.” 

Joining Herring on the club’s board is Brandon Rodas, the club’s vice president and a sophomore law, criminal justice and society major. Rodas said because the club has a Discord group of about 100 members, it’s difficult to discern the number of active members in the club, but Herring believes there are between 15 to 20. 

Like Herring, Rodas joined the music production club to continue to pursue his passion for music production. Before joining the club, Rodas was creating both rap and hip-hop music, but has now divulged into exploring producing a new genre — drill music. 

“I started off making rap and hip-hop because I think it’s fairly easy,” Rodas said. “But now I’ve been making a lot of drill music and R&B music lately.” 

Herring said the music production club has changed the way he listens and interacts with music. Before joining, Herring said music production wasn’t one of his main interests, but after taking part in and now running the club, music production is a passion in his life. 

“I wasn’t really into a lot of production kind of things before I joined,” Herring said. “But afterwards, that’s kind of one of my main interests now in songs I listen to is the production of it. I’ve gotten really into drum and bass music. I feel like my music taste is much more varied now.”

Despite one of the main focuses of the club is the production of electronic music, both Herring and Rodas agreed that the club encompasses a variety of music ranging from EDM to metal to folk music. 

“There’s also people in the club who don’t just do electronic music,” Herring said. “Like we have guys who will sometimes send recordings of like a metal guitar riff or something and talk about the production on that. Or like folk people, I think have joined occasionally, like folk singers. So there’s definitely a wide variety of music involved with the club.”

Alex Gosek, a senior environmental science major, joined the club during his first year at Pitt. He said the club not only allowed him to continue to pursue his passion for creating electronic music, but it also allowed him to learn more about the music scene in Pittsburgh. 

“I thought it was a cool way to meet people with similar interests in Pittsburgh, especially because it was able to get me a little more familiar with the music scene in the city, especially the electronic music scene which was a little smaller,” Gosek said. 

For Gosek, the club allowed him to share his music with other members and receive feedback on it. Through the club’s discord, Gosek said he could send in his projects and see if other members had any advice to give. 

“It was my first time showing my projects to other people and getting feedback, and seeing other people’s recording process, how it might be different from mine and then learning from that, taking that and applying it to my own music, which is just huge,” Gosek said. “It was better than just showing all my friends who maybe weren’t super interested, I’d send it in the club discord and get feedback, and like tips and tricks to make it sound better.”

While there is no public platform where the club publishes their collaborative music, Herring said many members have their own personal Soundcloud pages, including Herring and Rodas. Herring said he hasn’t posted to his page in a while, and Rodas said while he has two songs, “Dose” and “KAMI KILLAS,” available on the page, typically he creates the beat for another artist to use. 

“Maybe around a month ago I had someone from the server come over to rap over a drill beat, and I usually don’t get many rappers,” Rodas said. “Most of the rappers I work with are all over the world — Italy, France, California.”

Despite them each having their own experience with music production, the two said the club is there for those interested to learn. Though they are experienced, both Rodas and Herring said they are still learning new things surrounding music production through the club. Though it may sound intimidating, Rodas encourages students interested in music and music production to come to the club and try it out.

“It’s not as scary as it seems,” Rodas said. “You can just come and we’ll help you out even though you have no experience. You don’t need any prior knowledge to start working. Like I, myself, I don’t know music theory, but I can still make music. A lot of people think it takes music theory, but it doesn’t.” 

The music production club has served as an outlet for both Rodas and Herring to explore their creativity and passion for music, something neither of them do in their studies. Along with the music production club, Herring is also the bassist for Pittsburgh-based band, Valleyview, which helps fill his passion for music. 

“I’ve been playing in a band too, which has kind of been filling that role,” Herring said. “But when I’m not playing with them, I do enjoy doing music production stuff because it’s just a very kind of cathartic thing to do on a Saturday, just sit down and work on a song just on my own. It’s definitely a good creative outlet.” 

Similar to Herring, the music production club allowed Gosek to venture down a whole new path with music — becoming a DJ. Gosek said the former president of the club introduced him to the music scene outside of Pitt and showed him the ropes to DJing. Since then, Gosek continues to DJ around Pittsburgh, mostly at house parties, and currently runs the South Oakland house venue, The Deli

“I don’t know if it was last year, the president introduced me to a lot of people that were even outside of Pitt which was a lot of local DJs and all that,” Gosek said. “Through the music production club was also an avenue into learning about that.” 

Herring said the music production club is a good place for students to work together and dive in deeper to music they’re interested in. 

“I’m always just amazed about the variety … listening to other things people make,” Herring said. “We all start at the same idea, and people will take it in completely different directions that you’d never think of. It’s very cool to work with people like that.”