Rapper and mixer record music together
Chicago junior Deonte Gardner spends most of his time in the Moore Hall recording studio, working on his music.
Gardner, or "Cassius Tae," began rapping at the age of 8, writing at 11 and recording music at 13. He said one of his strongest influences is his mother.
“She played rap music all the time and made me dissect it and listen to it,” Gardner said. “I would watch music videos and say to myself, ‘I could do this.’”
He said his musical inspiration is Tupac.
His engineer counterpart, Brighton junior Thibault Ruellan who goes by "T-Bo," said his interest in music began as a bassoonist playing classical music. Later on during his sophomore year of high school, he started making beats and recording his friend’s music using GarageBand.
Gardner and Ruellan's sophomore year at Central Michigan University is when they finally got the chance to utilize the school’s recording studio.
“Last year we were in the studio every day from 6 in the afternoon until 4 in the morning,” Ruellan said. “We were just so happy to be in this space.”
He said now they use the studio up to four times a week for about 10 hours a day.
Moore Hall offers a record label called Moore Media Records, which Ruellan is the president of. Being a member, it allowed him to utilize the studio services for free. Otherwise, it costs $30 to create a track, or if someone has a track already they want to use in the studio, it costs $20 to mix it.
Ruellan and Gardner said they are trying to learn as much as they can about making music at CMU while they have the resources. Although Gardner primarily raps and Ruellan engineers music, they said they learn equally as much from each other to maximize their skills.
“Last year Gardner wasn’t as involved in mixing, but now he’s almost as behind the board as I am; he learns while I’m on the board, and I learn while he's rapping. You’re only going to meet a few rappers at the caliber he is, and he’s only going to meet certain engineers at my caliber; both will help us in our career.
They said although they have opportunities to learn about engineering in their classes, it is different from being in the studio and learning on their own because there is not enough time.
In class we have to take turns,” Gardner said. “I might get to the mixing board but with only enough time to turn it on, and then it’s the next person's turn. If we mess something up, we might not learn how to fix it because there’s not enough time in class.”
T-Bo said it is crucial to get experience outside of the classroom, but Gardner said one thing his time in class helped with was making the mixing board less intimidating.
“There are only three audio classes,” Ruellan said. “Once you’ve taken those three, you’ve exhausted your time as an audio student, which is why things like Moore Media Records are important to participate in. It’s one of the only places outside of class where you can get experience like this.”
After college, the two both plan on pursuing music as a career.
“There’s nothing stopping us from achieving our dreams,” Ruellan said. “We’ve put in so much work already that it’s (go to) pay off.”