Photo courtesy of Ben Erickson

“Into the Night” with a basement band

Sophomores Ben Erickson, Sam McDonald and Alex Ramos bring their original song from the basement to the studio

Picture this: a 15-year-old boy with messy brown hair and hazel eyes sitting in his bedroom strumming an out-of-tune acoustic guitar. He hits a chord. ‘Wow’, he thinks, ‘that actually sounds good.’ He keeps on hitting different chords, forming a broken melody and writing down the notes that made the most sense. This might not be the most organized way to write a song, but it was the way sophomore Ben Erickson wrote “Into the Night”.

Erickson and two other sophomores, Alex Ramos and Sam McDonald, have been “jamming out” together since eighth grade. The three boys would congregate in McDonald’s basement with a pack of red bull, various forms of junk food, two guitars and a drum kit.

Their talent had never gone beyond until on the chilly weekend of Oct. 5-7, Erickson, Ramos and McDonald recorded “Into the Night” at Labyrinth Productions in Apple Valley, Minn., which tech supervisor Brian Hallermann coordinated for them.

“We started with a scratch track; one mic for acoustic guitar and one mic for vocals but it didn’t sound good,” said Erickson. “So we just deleted the guitar and the vocals so I could redo acoustic guitar. Then after that we did piano, electric guitar, bass, drums and vocals.  It was just sort of adding onto the original scratch recording and redoing everything.”

Erickson played the acoustic and electric guitar as well as the piano. He also served as the vocalist while McDonald played the drums and Ramos did bass.

While some songs may have a main idea, Erickson wanted to keep this track open for interpretation.

“It has a very abstract meaning,” said Erickson.

No matter how you create it; whether on purpose or by accidently hitting a few out of tune chords, or where you perform it; in a high-tech studio or a friend’s basement surrounded by empty red bull cans, music should be heard. After all: “The best kind of music doesn’t come from the heart,” Ramos said. “Rather the best music is the music that people can share in their hearts together.”

Listen to their song, “Into the Night”…

Into the Night


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