Dan and marching arts sound designer Bryson Teel sit down to discuss the primacy of sound design, how marching arts design can reach a broader audience, and where the marching arts are headed as we enter into the new year.

Read the transcript of the podcast below.

Dan Schack (00:00:09):

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Dan Schack (00:01:40):

Yo, yo yo, well come episode 13, lucky number 13. Can’t believe it. Here we are. We are rocking. We are going today’s guest. What can I say about this person? He was first a student that I was introduced to a very, very good student. Might I add who has now become both a peer, a friend confid, just one of the people that’s on my team that I have the pleasure to work with. And honestly, he’s a growing name in the marching arts. He’s someone that has been kind of getting steam in the corner of his world and what he does. And there’s no surprise there because of his immense talent and creativity and professionalism. So everybody helped me welcome my guest today. Bryon te Bryson, what is up? Hello?

Bryson Teel (00:02:27):

How’s it going, man? Not much. I’m also very busy. I quite literally, before this call was talking to my buddy, Carlos in per gold, Arkansas, about the file I sent him this morning and stuff. So it, the grind is going until vacation. So I’m flying out to Washington tomorrow. So I’m kind of committing through the rest of the day and then bouncing off to the west coast.

Dan Schack (00:02:51):

Absolutely. It’s kinda hard for me personally, to turn this thing off because the time sensitivity of our activity just keeps going. So it’s like you have a break, but like, I, I don’t feel too much. Like there’s a break. I don’t know how, if you’re kind of the same way, cuz it’s just tough for me to, to, you know, exit the flow of it.

Bryson Teel (00:03:11):

No, I agree. I mean I still have, I think I have like three meetings on Wednesday while I’m at my parents’ place in Washington. I, and then this is also my first year full time with the sound design thing as past like few months and it’s, it’s definitely rolling. I kinda loaded up my plate and we’re, we’re gone.

Dan Schack (00:03:32):

So to to kind of go back, you know, talk to us, talk to the listeners a little bit about your history and then marching activity, you know, where you are from and where you, you kind of marched and how you’ve now transitioned into a sound design role.

Bryson Teel (00:03:48):

Yeah, sure. So I went to high school town over from here. I’m in Bristol, Connecticut right now, but I went to high school at Southern high school that was taught, but Kevin Thompson’s older brother, Matt there alongside Steve St. Mary. He was an old school hurricanes guy. But I, I had not known anything about drum core marching band before that. I think I had seen those commercials on ESPN a while back for the like the DVDs when they would come out. I think when they were still handling that in some form, but from there I just played quads, played bass drum my first year there and then quads the rest of the years and we didn’t have like an out, we didn’t have an indoor program, sorry, or anything like that. So that was all a mystery at that time I was kind of just going through whatever was being at me.

Bryson Teel (00:04:41):

I just had been playing drum set prior and was just trying to get lost in whatever I was doing. Trying to figure it out. But Kevin Thompson, who was also there, he introduced me to seventh regimen, which I, I wasn’t really aware of drum core at the time. And I went to go out to there at the end of 2010 and ended up making it there, which is really cool. I had kind of one year of quads under my belt in high school and got to March with some cool people. There were a lot of Dartmouth folks there my first year. That was really fun. That was Tim SEPs first year, year teaching after he aged out of cadets in 2010. So he was my first actual kind of quad teacher there. But I stayed there for two more years. So I was there from 2011 to 2013. And I think so you were teaching like officially in 2013, right? That’s

Dan Schack (00:05:39):

Yeah, I did one day in 12 and we just did point drill, I think the entire day pretends

Bryson Teel (00:05:44):

That’s pretty consistent with my entire drum core career, so yeah, it’s perfect. But yeah, so I ended up marching there and then went to play quads at Scouts in 2014. I think you gave me a recommendation to James or something for that, so appreciated very solid. But yeah, so that I kind of cut it off there. I had a lot of work to do at school. I was majoring in audio and music production at Western Connecticut state university and focusing percussion performance. And I was kind of caught up with a, trying to get to a collegiate level at percussion and B try to figure out exactly what I was gonna do with an audio degree. Cause I’m not, you know, necessarily guaranteed to, you know, find a job after it’s kind of really on me to figure it out. And I hadn’t done any indoor after that.

Bryson Teel (00:06:43):

But I immediately got into teaching high school because I had a huge interest just in the technique end of things. Even after I was done, I think I technically would’ve aged out in 2016 and that ball pretty much kept rolling. The first school I taught at was new Milford when Anthony Deia, the coop player cadets was still there. Oh, and he was at CWP too, right? For a year or yeah. Dream electric, I think 2016. Yes. that was kinda my for experience. It’s also my first experience designing actually cause Kevin and I both went there and we did a absolutely horrible job. I think we, we were complete idiots. We had them play like hand to hand FLAS and they were great. It was actually awesome. The kids there were really good, but it was just like indoor show and an insert outdoor drum feature.

Bryson Teel (00:07:41):

And it was pretty traumatic. Looking back at videos of that, if it wasn’t clean, it would definitely be horrifying completely. But and that kind of bounced around from there with Kevin. I taught with the masons at Cheshire high school in 2016 with like Rex Guttier and Matt Bronson stuff. And after that I went and followed that kind of same crew to seventh regimen and started teaching drums there and also kind of doing the sound design for the group. There were just a couple moments that they needed stuff for. And that was really my first experience with that. And following that, I came back for 2018 had more of an involved role with the sound there at that time, and then went to Spartans to teach drums in 2019. And I am now there as the audio caption head and the sound designer for the outdoor and indoor group.

Bryson Teel (00:08:39):

Also obviously working with you at the hurricanes, holding the sound design role there and building up this crazy life of just sound design as a job. Actually I don’t do like the front ensemble stuff, like a lot of sound designers do. As far as I’m aware, that’s kind of seemingly the majority of sound designers also at least have some kind of hand in the front ensemble writing in some way. I think there’s people like, I think like Andrew worst might be kind of like a sound design SP civic guy. I don’t know for sure. That’s from what I’ve seen on when he posted like the marching arts audio page, the big thing for us, I think that dude

Dan Schack (00:09:21):

March Crossman right before I started teaching there, actually now you talk about, he had long hair might have been called slash at the time. 

Bryson Teel (00:09:29):

Yeah. You played Quas, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Schack (00:09:31):

I, wow. That was a real recall right there.

Bryson Teel (00:09:38):

But yeah, so I, I didn’t actually think about sound design at all when I was marching 2014, that stuff was definitely picking up in steam. But I, I really had no thoughts about ever doing that. I think I was just trying to survive at that time. Just play drums the best I could, but I think in 2017 after kind of doing those new Milford shows, I did a gig for Trumble high school where I did all their kinda like transitions, like intro stuff for their fall show. Yeah. That was 2017. Yep. And it was kind of a sparse thing that I did here and there. I had grown up working with pro tools, I think since like seventh grade just recording myself. I got one of those, I think it’s like a Digitech RP, two 50 guitar processor. So I kind of record licks in there to do like drum covers and guitar covers like record a single mic or drum set through a single mic through that processor.

Bryson Teel (00:10:43):

And that kind of developed on the YouTube thing actually took that pretty seriously. At one point had like a, it was like a rising star symbol sponsorship from TRX or whatever that was cool. I, I actually had a point where I was either gonna go to school for music or try to actually commit to touring with like a middle core band or something like that. Cause I had people reaching out and it was a huge, I guess kind of like a dilemma at the time where I didn’t know what my future was gonna be, but I ended up choosing in music school and kind of choosing drum core at the same time. Cuz a lot of that was at the end of high school where I didn’t, I didn’t know if I was gonna be an accountant or what, and ended up choosing the drum core path.

Bryson Teel (00:11:32):

And that kind of carried me along to this point. And did the audio thing in college and huh. But yeah, that was, that was kind of the journey. I think I was thinking about this earlier. Looking back on it actually wasn’t though, so super interested in drum lines. I think I’m actually more interested now than I was back then. Cause I remember when I first got into drum core and watching the videos and stuff, I think 2010 Phantom was the, the big thing that I was focusing on at the time. And obviously the drum line was amazing is still one of my favorite drum lines, but I more focused on the bigger picture and especially the horn book and I knew they weren’t. I think, I don’t can’t remember if they got like 10th place in brass that year or something. I, I didn’t really care.

Bryson Teel (00:12:22):

I just liked the music so much. I think it was new moon in the old moons arms. And I don’t know if that stuff was also from band of brothers too, but that pretty much sent me at the time. I was really into that. And I remember like arranging some of the music and like my music technology class. And I think that probably played a common theme as I went forward. Cause even in, I remember 2014, we would always go on right after blue nights and you know, I wasn’t so interested in what we were playing at Scouts at the time, but I was enthralled with what blue nights were doing and it wasn’t again at that time, it wasn’t the drum line. Really. It was the overall picture. I remember I staying on the sideline, just perplexed by what was occurring in the, in the battery.

Bryson Teel (00:13:15):

Especially all those like isolated hits were like, okay, sure. But then I would come to really love that stuff later on too, after kind of looking back and kind of studying the history of everything you know, going back through indoor, trying to see what had happened up till that point that I had missed. Now all that like Vanguard sevens, my stuff. And I, once I realized that was Mike Jackson and made all these kind of connections back to mission Viejo and then like Dartmouth’s lineage all the way back. Things started to get a little bit more interesting for me and the actual kind of thematic ideas that people were inserting in the drum core and kinda the more sophisticated understanding of what these shows actually are and mean became more and more important to me. But yeah, that, it’s kind of like a general view of at least more or less how I got to this point. It’s a little bit of an ENIG to me still, because this is still my first year really doing the sound design gig for real. It kind of popped up out of nowhere and I’m pursuing it and just going all out with it at this point, for sure.

Dan Schack (00:14:28):

Yeah. I, you know, it’s like there is definitely a before and there’s an after where, and you’re kind of targeting this as you speak where it’s like, there is this moment where certain groups had made the jump and recognized what sound designs could sound design could do in terms of the overall design and the method of composing. And then there’s certain groups where it’s like the drum course show that has like these like bracketed sound design ideas sort of inserted on top of the total composition. And I, I, I think that now we’re probably mostly in that the after portion, but what I wanna wanna kind of ask you about to start with a hot take. It is just, you know, when you look at drum core in the marching arts, it just feels like the way that we compose in this world, it is so different than the way that musicians compose that are widely with to, and I, I feel like there’s this huge friction in the space where it’s like I’m writing music and creating ideas around this vocabulary.

Dan Schack (00:15:44):

That’s on the judge’s sheet that is very high pollutant. It’s meant to be sort of intellectual it’s meant to I guess you’re able to deploy them as labels at any given moment in a show so that you are articulating what can be rewarded or not. So at times we have to sculpt how and what we do into this bulleted list, to an sure that we’re getting the points for the way that we design. And then when you look at music that is actually in the popular ether, it’s so much different. And I’m gonna ask you what, what is the issue that we are confronting in the marching arts, where we’re just so sort of structuring ourselves out, out of, out of being more popular and what can we pull from more, either popular or accessible music that can inform the marching arts that, that we have a future that’s larger and not smaller than where we are currently. I

Bryson Teel (00:16:54):

Mean, it’s really difficult. I mean, I think electronics are a huge bridge for that, just for things in general that people hear on the radio that aren’t, you know, mambas and microphones and marching snare drums obviously. And I think there’s a couple ends to that. Even some of the music that people are arranging that might be, you know, maybe not radio play music, but are still world renowned musicians like like photo use, like all of our Arnolds as an example, like he’s somebody that’s Icelandic musician he’s hugely famous for what he does. I think a couple groups have arranged his stuff recently, but the kind of maturity in the electronic production in the band show say for an artist like that, it still takes a lot of attention to detail to what Ola far Arnolds has actually done and why he’s so successful in inserting that into our idiom in a way that translates well and makes sense and feels right inside the context of a brass and percussion and color guard.

Bryson Teel (00:18:02):

And it seems to me that when people do that successfully with this idea in particular, they have a strong, personal connection or multiple people on a team of a very strong personal connection with that music. And they have a big understanding of it. They know what it sounds like. They know what it feels like. They may know a bunch of interviews of that person, yada yada, and they’re kind of able to get into their head and do their best to put that out on the field. And I use Ola far as an example because he’s one of these artists that infuses electronics and classical style instrumentation in a way that’s, it’s very well recepted by the public. And it’s, it’s kind that whole Iceland vibe where it’s, it seems dark positive at the same time. It’s, it’s, it’s a little bit difficult to describe.

Bryson Teel (00:18:55):

There’s like Neils from and Johan Hansen kind of all fall in the same boat, like Cinderellas and Jonesy. They kind of have this grandiose feeling to it and it’s very, I think I would use their music as the best example for something that’s really intimate sounding. They use a lot of like felt pianos like that would be something you’d wanna answer into the drum course show and be particular about. But when I’m looking at pop music or not even just pop music just stuff that people normally listen to maybe like more singer songwriter or like some of the stuff that you guys were referencing at GMU, like the Frank ocean stuff. He’s one of my favorite artists too. I’ve his record endless is on my wall over there. Actually I think Frank ocean would be a good person to talk about because some of his stuff is very experimental there’s blonde, which is not so much and is honestly, probably one of my favorite albums of the 2000 tens, but it does use a lot of very sophisticated production in terms of how it’s recorded, the senses that they’re using, the, the vocal mixing.

Bryson Teel (00:20:09):

And I think you can get really creative with making effects that just sound are they kinda like ear candy? When I listen to some of Frank’s stuff, I mean, he’s just sitting through the microphone, but a lot of like the chopped effects, the reverse vocals, the, the kind of format shifting or bit shifting that he does in his vocals, it’s really unique and iconic. And, you know, as long as you have access to things to do that in drum core, you can kind of translate that stuff. But even that is still a little bit, maybe not what everyone’s hearing, like the average person and the dilemma that I’ve had in the past is okay. We’re thinking about inserting a pop tune in the show. It always feels like someone’s just saying, oh, we’ll do like Bach. And then bam, we’ll just insert Ariana Grande.

Bryson Teel (00:21:05):

And it’s just like, does that guess it could work depending on what the show is, but it feels a bit jarring and it’s not necessarily of the same context or mindset. I, I do feel that as long as there’s a really strong theme that people are operating in, in a strong tone that everyone’s agreeing with sure. That could work. But if I wanna do an Ariana Grande show, like I do feel like there’s a way to do that without seeming corny or, or hokey. And I think that’s the stereotype that people kind of run away from a lot of the time. And I might, I might need to bounce a question off you as well, because what, what I’ve been so interested with you in terms of like GMU, is that approach to that, I guess that entertainment value that feels accessible to the average person, the average maybe new kid that’s marching, their indoor group that’s at Trumble or, or w Git Trumble or what have you, you watching you guys for the first time I think I’ve asked you this before, but I would definitely love to hear you explain your kind of view of that entertainment value, because I definitely come from a place where I just love abstract stuff and it just appeals to me so much where I’m like trying to shift.

Bryson Teel (00:22:31):

But yeah, if you could like quickly like mention how you

Dan Schack (00:22:36):

See that. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I guess it’s not a singular answer, you know, I, I, I’m so sick of, of being uncomfortable, watching the students be uncomfortable. When I, I was in these groups, I was, I was wearing things and playing music that just simply had nothing to do with my tastes or, or what I liked. It certainly wasn’t anything I would ever wear in real life. There’s this convention of what the uniform and costuming has to look like and, and the seriousness of everything, if I could start anywhere, it would be that is that I, I feel like there’s this seriousness that runs through a lot of what people are trying to do in this, in this art form. And it doesn’t necessarily reach the contemporary student. So I felt like with blonde, I mean, it was like an album that I just felt myself in, I guess both in the sparseness and transparency of the musical choices and how exact those choices were, but, but coming through a filter of, of messiness and emotion.

Dan Schack (00:23:56):

And that’s a lot of what I like about Kanye too. Specifically Yeezus and life of Pablo is this feels so raw. It feels so personal, but it’s so exact. And I know that there’s a lot of decision making behind it. And with that, there’s, there’s so much to take from it as a listener and as, as a person, you know, just whether it’s absorbing watching it’s a more than just the music, I guess. It’s, it’s that whole thing. It’s whole identity of it. You know? So with Mason, it’s like, if I can get a costume where they’re gonna wear these clothes after the season’s over, I’ve done my due diligence in a way. So like with the vans where we painted one green and one white, like I see the students from that you’re like wearing those sometimes and pictures and I’m like, man, that’s so cool.

Dan Schack (00:24:52):

Like I’m able to make an impact on them and like, and like create a little bit of like an identity of like my personal style and sharing that with, with these groups, like what I think is cool and like where I’m plugged in, same thing with blonde, like seeing high schools take Siegfried and like actually kind of rip that after us. I can’t think that anyone did a Frank ocean chart before we did it at least no one that was like, no, not that I’m aware platform that we have, unless you, me neither. And if I’m wrong, someone please just hit me up, DM me and correct me, but it was just like this music’s so perfect. You know, I don’t know if it’s perfect for the marching arts. Like, I don’t know if there’s like Mamba literature behind it, but like, I don’t care.

Dan Schack (00:25:37):

This is just a special, unique person, you know? And like, as you know, like with fringe, the entire concept of fringe was like not being in the like cultural center, but being on the cultural periphery. And, and that was actually the original name of the show was periphery. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Cuz it was all about being on the outside and it was like rejecting the, the center and the normativity of everything. And looking at Frank ocean as a, as a dude, as a person a, a hip hop artist making psychedelic and atmospheric pop sort of really hard to actually to put that in a box. Right. In terms of genre that is appealing, like genre list, atmospheric nature of that music. You’re like what even, yeah. You know, from, from Nikes to Siegfried to self control, to just all these tunes, it, it is this fluid coherence, but also chart to chart.

Dan Schack (00:26:41):

You’re like so deep, there’s so much depth and, and dynamism to it. And it’s so unique. And I was like this, I just feel this, I don’t know. There was something that just clicked for me in, in what he was putting out and how, how connected he as an artist was to his, his art that he could relate the experience of making this work and like the words he was saying to like his real life. And that was just like, man, if you’re not doing that, then it’s just really baloney, like. You know what I mean? Like I, I see a lot of design in this world we’re in and that’s like, how in the world are the students supposed to care about this personally? How does this idea have to do with what they’re living through in 20 21, 20 22 as a 18 to 23 year old, it has nothing to do with them.

Dan Schack (00:27:34):

Right. And I guess I’m always aiming for like what re will resonate with me and what will resonate with them. And it might not resonate the same, but there’s something there that tethers us together in the experience. Yeah. And you know, that’s, that’s a hard bullseye. I don’t think it’s easy. I think Frank ocean was our first really big dive into that. And then since then it’s been different, you know, it’s, it’s been different how we pick up on where we let left off with that program. But certainly the, the ability for the students to feel themselves in that program and the ability for us to appeal to the average viewer and listener, which is not the 55 year old man who marched Crossman in the eighties, who’s judging, it’s the kid who, who is looking for the group, that’s gonna inspire them or move them emotionally.

Dan Schack (00:28:29):

And, and honestly, some of this high pollutant literature just has nothing to do with that. They don’t feel that and it it’s arbitrary and it’s just plugging into predetermined mold that you have to do and to go back to fringe, that’s what I was trying to middle finger at, to be honest. And I still am trying to do that because I’m so bored of, of everything. So I don’t know if that captures your exact question, but I, it’s hard. It’s hard to answer that question because that, music’s just amazing. I mean, it’s just great music and great subject matter from the jump.

Bryson Teel (00:29:08):

I think a lot of that is where my brain was trying to go though, cuz I think you’re right. Like what relates to the, the most or to the common person. Right. And I think like my brain had did before was immediately went, oh just pop music stuff on the radio and it’s not always necessarily true. I think what most people people can relate with is that kind of unapologetic, honesty and individualism. And I think a lot of people do idolize a lot of these figures in pop culture just because they, they wear whatever they want. They sing about their entire life. Maybe most of the time, you know, depends. But you know, they’re not putting up so much of a solid all the time depending on the artist and you know, I’ve always been obsessed with James Blake for a long time. I know he, yeah, he was when he, his third album came out or came out.

Bryson Teel (00:30:02):

That was the first time I heard of him. That’s kind of when I started diving into like what, like what is a singer songwriter and someone that just mixes their own music, does the whole thing and puts it out. Cause I, I had definitely sensationalized these people in my head and you know, I myself was like this, this is what I wanna listen to. This is what I wanna engulf myself in because he’s just saying everything that he’s feeling you know, something that was difficult for me and a lot of people to do just, you know, express themselves in the most natural way possible. And I definitely aspired to that and that’s why I started writing music and is kind of a good outlet for me. Like the solo stuff and this band stuff. But when someone’s so individualistic like that, and people are kind of gravitating towards that, that authenticity that we’re, you know, people like to throw around, it really seems like the key because, and same thing with Frank ocean it, it’s hard to deny that what he’s saying, isn’t his true F and that whole, his whole identity’s wrapped up in his sound kind of those effects I was describing before that you don’t always hear everywhere and he does it in a very specific way.

Bryson Teel (00:31:14):

And you know, I’m gonna go to listen to Frank ocean to hear that. And nobody else same with Kanye. Like I’m gonna listen to Kanye to hear Kanye, cuz no one else is gonna be doing that at that level. And him himself very unapologetic about who he is. And he’s a cultural icon. He’s one of the biggest stars in the world. But I think that’s what it is for me. I mean, that’s what has done it for me with like people like Johan you Hanson. Like I was talking about before, he’s my favorite or R I P. But when I think about other things, just like other mediums, like movies, like I’m obsessed with movies, there are movies that are maybe not so well written where the authenticity of the performance kind of brings out the writer’s best qualities and also makes the movie appealing to the masses.

Bryson Teel (00:32:03):

Like I think something like the movie joker did that for me, that’s one of my favorite films at this point at the script was written by Todd Phillips. He was the guy that wrote and directed the hangover movies, which is really wild. He, he took a huge jump. Okay. Weird flex. So he, so he wrote yeah, yeah, super weird. But he he ended up getting the ability to produce this movie and getting it financed. And you know, I really do think the script is really lackluster the story isn’t amazing. But when he inserted Joaquin Phoenix into that role, I mean, it was still part of Todd. Phillips’ like Scorsese ish world, like king of comedy and taxi driver being the influence. But I don’t think anyone else in this planet could have made that role work to the point where he’s debatably like the best joker alongside Heath ledger.

Bryson Teel (00:32:59):

And it’s like hard to compare them cuz they’re so different. But his interpretation of that character was just such an embodiment of like the darkest times in people’s lives to the point where people are like, oh God, they’re like sympathizing with the joker, like this like kind of serial killer murder esque person. And in the movie it’s just so realistic that it was, it was hard to say, oh, I feel bad for him. But I mean the opening shot of the movie is him just getting kicked to the ground like by kids. And he’s just crying. He’s running a clown costume. He’s at the bottom bottom tier of New York city life or Gotham life I guess. But his character is just showing everything it’s just seeing into or he’s character study. Right. It’s just seeing into his life and ended up being one of the major movies of that year. And I guess where I’m going with this is that when this performance is achieved at such a high level and it’s so original and it’s so I don’t even wanna say authentic, like vulnerable. It, it is exciting in a way. I mean he had an improvised scene where he’s just like awkwardly dancing in a room and it’s like, that’s super weird. Like you don’t wanna do that in public people ridicule you, but it, it, it like touches on this cave man part of people’s emotional brain that like has these weird interpretations of things that happen in their lives.

Dan Schack (00:34:29):

It, it brings me to think about art versus competition. You know, I, I feel like, yes, yeah, exactly. In art world, in our space, you can’t be just an artist. So many moving parts. We, we have these teams, we have to collaborate with each other with our egos. And we’re worried about the scores because how we end at the end is gonna influence the amount of money that comes into the ensemble the next year. So the, that we can exist. And there’s just all of this built into it, the educational vertical of every organization that has its own moving parts. And as a individual artist, it’s just not that, you know, there’s, there’s so many ups and downs with the creative, creative process, creative process, which we’ve experience on design teams all the time. There, there are parts of that, but I think there’s a little bit of an indirect proportion between artistry and the competitive side, because, and it’s not for everyone.

Dan Schack (00:35:36):

We have great examples of where they just strike gold, you know? And, and the reality of that too, is the politics. Yeah, because Mike Jackson, didn’t just arrive at broken city in 2017, even though everyone thinks he did. He had a storied history in WGI who was already of hall of Famer. Mission VA had changed the game in the, in the two thousands. He had been at the top of his game and then they, they rebranded with broken city and it was a very logical place to arrive. Even though I, I think 2017 is their best program out of everything that they’ve done personally, I think spine is the best show. And I’ve said that before, that’s no knock to anything else they’ve done. I just think that it was a timing thing. Because there’s such a political history in the marching arts that they won’t just hand it to you, even if you do something groundbreaking.

Dan Schack (00:36:26):

And I say that as a younger person in the space. So it is what it is. It’s sort of self prophesizing, but you know, that’s, that’s a real thing. The judging community is not a neutral community. I’m a judge. And I know groups that I know, and I look at them differently, period. And they’ll tell you it’s show the night it’s not. And they, it just is that it’s okay. And I, you know, we can only do, we’re doing our best, right. I can’t just like drag everyone, even though it’s, it’s easy. And a lot of people do that, but for fringe like the artistry, the authenticity, the emotion and the connection, it’s all there. And it’s like, this is too new. And like, when I hear on the tapes like that, they can’t hear every word of this like fast rap that he does at the end of the show, oh, I can’t hear every word.

Dan Schack (00:37:16):

It, it really is. It’s not deflating, but it just shows that we are lacking an inventiveness and a creativity from a judging and competitive standpoint, which leads me to believe that that, which is going to succeed most frequently is not that which is most artistic or, you know, experimental. And that’s a scary, it’s really scary that we are sort of fitting ourself into these appropriate boxes so that we can get all the points and appeal to these very few people. Like I did a, I did a data run one time. I was gonna write this article for flow marching, probably fortunately that I did a, but the average group that wins fan favorite gets like eighth place. And I think that’s an absolute joke. And I think that the fan vote should be average into the overall score because there’s just a rub between what’s really coming across to the wider audience and what appeals to this generation of judges who really just, they haven’t been in front of a group or on average. I mean, they’ve been in front of a group cleaned a triple role or designed a show in 20 years. I, I, I just, I can’t wrap my head around that. And it’s, it’s very frustrating because I’m just like, I should just go create art in a way where I’m not trying to like appeal to this like very specific group of people

Bryson Teel (00:38:46):

That I completely, no, I agree. Especially that point, same thing with Phantom. Like they, weren’t the first place core, they had a great drum line, but that’s not what I was focused on. I, I was just into the music. I really, really like that show. And I know a lot of other people did too, but even looking at WGI, I mean, a lot of my favorite groups are high schools. It’s not so much the independent thing, you know, I like, I really like people that challenge that competitive side to it as well. I mean the while they’re not my favorite shows ever, I really, at the time appreciated some of a stuff. Well it was like the one that was quite literally oh, yes. About challenging the judging community practically 2017, but even like just seeing something different, like things like, I think it was 2018, was the blessings show with the chairs.

Bryson Teel (00:39:39):

I was just really intrigued why everything was nothing I had seen. You know, maybe that doesn’t have the best like replay value or something like that. And it probably was, you know, well received because of the quality of the drum line in high school at that time. For sure. I can’t even imagine that show if it was horribly dirty, that be really sad to see, but that stuff that really challenges the tradition and the status quo for me just seemed really appealing. Even going back to some of mission VA host stuff and go kind of going back in time to the nineties where high schools were kind of starting to carry a lot of the, of, of that activity. It was just really cool to see that things were just constantly evolving and it was from every area, you know, it wasn’t just from like these world class independent groups.

Bryson Teel (00:40:28):

And I think still today, marching bands still carry a lot of innovation, you know, even VOA you know, groups like Hebrew coming out and just like, you can’t hear that sound anywhere else. You can’t hear that in drum court, it’s just gonna be right there and they have their own thing. But I think there is this huge element of people. Don’t always like the shows that are in the top five and that, that just is what it is. They might be achieved at very high level. They might be great shows technically. But there’s just not to be loved. I mean, I remember really being super into some of the Mandarin shows after key started writing there like 17, 18. I was really into thinking of like some of the cult shows. I really, while I was still marching, I was really into those.

Bryson Teel (00:41:21):

And I, I didn’t remember a lot of the top 12 shows. That’s just what it was as a young kid that was more or less a fan. I didn’t really understand much. That’s what I gravitated to. And a lot of that was, you know, like I remember cult show, they did, oh man, what was the tune? I can’t remember the name of it, but everyone just remembers like the trumpet solo from that year. And it was, it was just a, it was an awesome ballad. I wish I could remember what year that was. It might have been 12 or something like that. But yeah, but just me personally thinking back, you know, while I love achievement as anyone else, like a great drum line is sick. Like it’s one of the best parts of the activity from a creative perspective kind of a general standpoint, you know, that isn’t always what matters to me personally.

Bryson Teel (00:42:17):

And so there’s different balances sometimes, you know, sometimes a group just has a full package, like it’s super creative, super well done. Everything’s really cohesive. Sometimes the show design is just amazing and the drum, line’s not great, but people still like it as long as it’s, you know, more or less achieved well and not. And that’s a struggle I’ve had. When I was first trying to come up with show designs and stuff, I would pitch things like music from the movie arrival that Johan Johansen wrote for. And that is first of all hard, probably hard for students to get into, to be real. But I think part of me really felt that someone doing music like that at a very high level would still be entertaining to a degree. And I didn’t actually know until recently that James and Donny cap city did that music in 2018. But yeah, that, that is a battle. I have been trying to kind of stay, not in the mold so much, but try to learn what the activity is right now, especially as a younger designer, so I can really understand what’s going on and then try to branch out from there. But I, it’s still hard for me not to just kind of do whatever I want. 

Dan Schack (00:43:36):

The, the constant of it makes it difficult to reorient. Yeah. I think the last two years has been really big, at least for me just going, like, I’m not like in the all the time and I can kind of look at what I’ve been doing and look at what other people are doing and go like here’s, I want to direct myself. And one of the major things is just the singing part. You know, I remember like voiceovers got so big at one point where it’s like, this is an apple worms, live it birds eat worm. Like, you know what I mean? It was like this really heavy handed Disney five, like just, just the worst ever, you know? And like, it, it totally has killed amazing shows, you know, some great shows that just kind of, cause they had to be clear about what their idea was.

Dan Schack (00:44:32):

They’re just like telling you what it is. And it’s like ex expository, you know, it’s the explanation of what’s going on as it’s happening. And it’s, it’s very, very obvious. Right. And then, you know, working with Sam Fleming, Joseph, no, obviously Mason and just like getting his voice into our design and the Sam, honestly, the biggest thing was what he was bringing to us from a sound design perspective because he does produce all his own music. Right? Yeah. He’s kind of like you in that way where he, he is the singer, he’s the songwriter. He is conceptualizing his total sound and his Sonic identity. And we’re like, man, like we have to have this sound because it is moving us forward. You know, I think with the project we did in 21, the close to the sun project, I was like, this is really where we’re headed, where yes, there’s marching instruments in there.

Dan Schack (00:45:23):

But me as someone who just doesn’t as a, as a viewer listener, like that’s not necessarily the thing that I care about. I’m kind of with you on that. It’s a component of what I care about, but I’m just not that person like that classically trained sort of, you know, that Omar type person who can just, he under he’s being impacted by the technical side, I’m being impacted by how I’m being surprised. And like you said, the authenticity and the, the emotion and the vulnerability of, of everything behind it, not just the designers, but the performers too. And feeling like working with Sam and his sound and the sound design he was bringing to, and it was like, this isn’t sound design. Like we just write songs on a computer. We are writing music on main stage and we’ve got us stop going.

Dan Schack (00:46:14):

Like the front ensemble, you know, arranging and the battery arranging and then the sound design. Like we need to write music that is good. And I, I listen to shows still. And it’s like, if I just listen to this, it makes no sense. It’s totally like chopped and broken up. And, and you can’t sit there and like, like, like how is it that songs that just go, they’re still winning two and four is beating out 15, 16, and then this odd meter. And then like this, like, I’m sorry, but no one wants to sit there at a pro rock concert and like figure out all the odd meter that they’re doing. It’s so niche, you know what I mean? Like I love Mars Volta and dream theater, but like, I’m, it’s like a, it’s like an epic play. It’s not really, it’s not really like music in that way. And it’s like, you know, what we could learn is like how to make people like go like this in audience. If we could get people to, to actually groove together, like you look at a concert and it’s just, everybody knows when the drop’s coming and everyone does the drop together.

Dan Schack (00:47:27):

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Dan Schack (00:49:11):

We have such an absence of that communication with our audience. It’s, it’s actually baffling the way you look at live concerts that are yielding real like audience numbers and that like us, what we’re going for are so opposing, I want to create in this world that I love, like, I’m, I’m obviously in like in this thing for life, like it’s been so important, but it’s like, what are we doing? We are repelling. Yeah. Real people. And we’re making it for such a small percentage that we’re slacking people out. And that just like literally is heartbreaking. Like, I feel sad about that and I want to bridge those experiences so that people go like, like the sound system is in effect, right. The base, the base, like, yeah. I just, I just don’t know how to move everyone toward it’s time. Everyone. I just wanna do that. Actually. I don’t care about everyone else.

Bryson Teel (00:50:12):

Think, well, like to start with what you’re saying, like what’s the most inauthentic is some of the way that those voiceovers, like the narration stuff has been recorded traditionally. Like usually that’s just inserted and it’s like, there’s, there’s nothing in that. I, I won’t call anyone out for it, but it’s like, it’s like the most tone deaf sounding narration by someone that just is not an actor or a hired actor. And it’s rough. It is really hard to listen to and watch right at the highest level. It’s just like, what, what is going on? How did that slip through the cracks? But it’s obviously, there’s not a lot of attentiveness to that kind of detail. And with the singing, it’s more inherently there. First of all, people just know that better and they, they relate that to the music. They hear more quickly. But it, you know, it is able to be more soulful.

Bryson Teel (00:51:03):

It’s able to have more of the intended feeling that we want from everything. And a little bit more achievable too from like the average singer, as opposed to like having someone that’s a trained actor that can speak as genuinely as they possibly can when they’re doing something. But there’s also that problem of like, like you’re saying, it’s like, this is a show about an apple, there’s a worm in the apple. Like that’s straight up what people do at times. And it’s like, that I guess was part of the culture and like what indoor was before it was, I guess, taken right more seriously and in other way. But yeah. Oh, there there’s something else I was thinking about too. But I think interjecting that voice song voice is something that’s misinterpreted. Sometimes they’ll do a little bit weird and it’s kind of always been a thing, but when you integrate it in more of a singer songwriter way, or I guess kinda like the way you were doing at GMU with the wrapping, or even in the, the close to the sun stuff, it’s like, okay, this feels more like something, I know this is legit.

Bryson Teel (00:52:08):

Like the sounds amazing was recorded really well. It was written for this, this sounds like a song in a kind of head bang to it. And then when I look at all of that, it seems like there’s a lot of room for growth in all areas of the activity, even at the highest level to achieve something like that. Well to the point where it changes kind of the paradigm of what marching arts are, at least in drum core and some of WGI. And I, I do foresee at some point there’s a lot of arranges that don’t adapt. There might be a huge turnover over the next 20 years of just people that are taking over the top groups. And when I look at other things kind of like I guess kind of like the blue nights thing where they are doing the narration, it is more well recorded, like for sure.

Bryson Teel (00:53:00):

But I think other people that try to go after that, they’re still a massive room for growth. And I was actually listening to the angst podcast the other day. I think he made a great point. I where, like, for example, some shows become really visual and the music being written to them ends up being like RH a soundtrack to a movie in just the kind of an entirely wrong way. And there is this kind of movie aesthetic that’s going on, you know, with kinda like the monologue trying to highlight a journey. But even that, like that has to be done super, super, super well for it to be receivable and be that something you can put on your headphones and really, you know, sit down and listen to the whole thing and be like, okay, that was something and not bits and pieces that don’t fit together well.

Bryson Teel (00:53:53):

And I think there will be a lot of people that figure that out. Clearly people are very obsessed with, including myself with what Kevin and Mike and, you know, Jay Bo hook and the folks have done blue nights and you know, where that has taken things for a lot of groups over the years. But it’s pretty clear that at the first time I went to w GIS in 2019, watching all the high schools kind of emulate that style more than I realized. In some of the other independent groups, it was clearly like a regurge to, and what’s missing for me is not so much that everyone’s like, kind of like writing like Mike you know, on east coast, everyone was writing like Tom. But there’s no like true originality in those shows to kind of bring it back there.

Bryson Teel (00:54:46):

Like it, it feels almost hollow and empty when some of these like really emotional concepts are not achieved well enough. I, I hate to use something that general, but I always like in my head, see like the black floor, it has like sadness, here we go on it. And I’m just like, oh no. And they do, they do like, they do like do the vocals, right? They do the song vocals, stuff like that, but it just doesn’t connect cuz it still feels like that hollow thing that’s derived from the culture of this is an apple here’s the apple. I guess I’m really racking my brain right now to kind of explain that creative mat, creative maturity to make these things work. I think I use movies as an example because it’s the most tangible example for me to see how this creative process is achieved at the literal highest level possible while not being, you know, drums in a gym or anything like that. But the creative process itself has all the wheels turning. There’s a visual department, there’s a music department. And it, it is just so well done and there’s a culture of it being well done for, I don’t know, like a hundred years or something like that probably. Well, let me, let me

Dan Schack (00:56:08):

Pick it up. Cause I,

Bryson Teel (00:56:09):

I actually think the movie I know entirely where I’m going with that

Dan Schack (00:56:13):

Right on. And there’s a subject matter issue in there where we have no, no zones because there’s kids and you know, we’re trying to shield the kids from the terrible things in the world. And then they like, you know, you go on Twitter, you know, where they go on. Like it’s, it’s kind of a joke, like it’s sort of fake, right? Yeah, there’s certain and it’s literally written in w GIS rules that there are certain subject matter that we can’t portray. And you know, I go to Crick because that’s probably my favorite director and it’s about exposing the most messed up things in the world and almost making them plain normal every day. It, it demonstrates the regularity of, of sort of like deeply seated darkness that is very real and is very present, you know? And you see it through a lens that’s stark, but it’s, it’s really dry.

Dan Schack (00:57:16):

Like eyes wide shut is dry. It’s quiet. And it’s very real in that way. And the plot of it is so super weird and you’re like, this could never be real. And it’s so real, you know, and I mean, I’m from Connecticut. So are you, so you already know like the context of that whole setting. And I almost feel like sometimes like we’re all playing this game where we’re like trying to like show like the most like bright version of things and like here’s this represent of like the sun rising and setting and like, it’s good and everything’s gonna be okay. The end. Like I, I feel like something that maybe Mike and Kevin were able to capture. And specifically Mike and I, as a visionary of the design is like sadness and like dark, inner qualities that you’re like, not at all able to reconcile.

Dan Schack (00:58:10):

And he did it in a way that’s, it’s really over most people’s heads. I mean, their drum lines plays amazing stuff, so they like won and they’re the best. And it’s super cool for like just a drum guy. But like the end of that show is like, I give up, it’s not like I win or things are better. Like the end of seed is the white flag. And it’s like, I surrender to this like internal war and I’m having, and then this war that I’m having with like my significant other, and it’s like, that’s actually real life, everybody. Like things don’t just end cleanly. And you know, that’s, it’s, it’s much more interesting because you’re not trying to portray yourself is perfect. I love pulse. I love pulse. I do that being said, they try to create a world that feels too perfect. Everything’s so neat.

Dan Schack (00:59:04):

It’s it’s genius composition. I mean, clearly Anne gro is like, just one of the best, if not the best in here, he understands this thing and he checks the boxes, but I don’t access the inner qualities of him. And I, I would love to know more about, so really what do you struggle with, what is hurting you? What are some things you’ve been through? Like, I don’t feel that all the time, you know, and I wish that I could, because he is an amazing composer. It’s nothing to really do with the nuts and bolts of composition. It’s just how you put yourself forward. Like, fringe is not a clean, like happy thing. It’s just like, we’re grungy and we’re just like, whatever, you know, it, it, it wasn’t even about being clean. And I think almost this is kind of a weird, I’ve never thought about this, but like the concept of being clean is indirect opposition to being vulnerable and emotional in the way that life of Pablo is where it’s like, dude, this like.

Dan Schack (01:00:02):

And then the change into this vocal choir. And then the, yeah, it’s that it’s like Kanye, like, this is me, like as a person is I switch between modes in a second and it’s as stark as you’re experiencing. And that’s and you experience it with him in a way that generates almost an empathy for the artist. I, I don’t, you know, or you go to McDonald’s and the big Mac tastes the same, no matter where you are. Right. It’s like, it’s, it’s that thing. So, you know, I, I look for that in what we do and like, I want to yeah. Keep pushing everyone and like, I, I, I hope that’s what I’m doing, you know, obviously like, that’s my, my intent with what we do, but it’s like, like things aren’t messy, man. You know, it’s like, if you’re an artist and, and your art is like just a, a perfect square, and then it’s like, you know, it’s almost just like, why don’t you just be a mathematician then this isn’t really art.

Dan Schack (01:00:54):

It’s it’s like, you’re putting forward like a, you’re like a, like a news anchor and it’s like, makeup, your hair’s perfect. And your suit is perfect. What’s really going on. You know? So it’s, it’s, I don’t know exactly my point is I just can really tell, you know, like we, we lost in 19 to a group that did literally a circus show. How many groups have done circus shows before? Kidding me. And it was literally a movie that they just did the same, the plot of the movie. Yeah. We wrote our own movie, you know, and it’s just like, what are we going for in as an art form? And maybe it doesn’t have to be the same, but like, what if we were doing this? But our intent was to, to tour like a traveling musician, but through the idiom of marching percussion, you know, like what if there was no, the competition is ticket sales top the competition is merch sales.

Dan Schack (01:01:47):

What could we do together? You know what I mean? Because right now a lot of talented people are spending a lot of time doing something that literally is for like eight old people that are kind of there to just reinforce their power over the activity, cuz they’ve been doing it longer. And I think about that sometimes like, man, if I, if I dedicated this effort to like real artistry, it’d be in a different place. I could do something that was for more people. I, I wanna access a wider audience and it disappoints me that that’s not really our starting place. It’s not our

Bryson Teel (01:02:18):

Starting line as an activity. You know? Well, what I wonder is, you know, if, if we’re trying to do that, you know, how many arranges are there in this activity that like, if they committed themselves to being solo artists, you know, would be like a lot big hits in the world. I, I sometimes wonder cause so here’s the thing for me. Like if we’re trying to go this route with a lot of shows and we’re kind of comparing it to musical artists, you kind of, you kind of have to commit your entire life to that. And I, I think of aspect to it now out the whole design team takes away a little bit of that introspection. I mean somewhat James Blake, for example. I mean, he’s just a really introverted kid. It’s like all he did every day. And it was just that there was no, there was nothing like limiting what he was doing.

Bryson Teel (01:03:14):

And he eventually got to the point where I think it did become authentic enough, same thing with like bony bear or something. For example, actually, you know, I’ll use him as an example. He had written music for so long. And he was at, I think he was really, really sick. And he was at like the end of his rope. He had like, was about to give up on music entirely. And he ended up going to that cabin that, that picture of his first album is from, I believe. And he just wrote music at the bottom barrel part of his life. And you know, he didn’t think about how he was gonna be received. He was just doing it cuz he had to, he like needed to, to survive as a person like mentally. And he just put it out on band camp.

Bryson Teel (01:03:57):

No one knew who he was. He just said bony BARR. Cause he, he heard it in TV show and he thought it sounded good. And it ended up being one of the biggest game, changing albums in singer songwriter music and then eventually electronic music as he progressed of all time. And it, I, it’s hard to insert that kind of emotional, like rawness a commitment into a marching production and, and you know, if we were like competing for ticket sales, for example, it’s just like, would that be, would that be an end goal? Not to like ruin yourself. Right. But to really focus yourself in on, you know, what it means to be you, what it means to human, what it means to be this group of people. And interpret that in a way. And I, I say all this and like it’s okay to be like Dartmouth and, and do their thing.

Bryson Teel (01:04:46):

Cause it it’s sick. It’s super entertaining. And I think that probably goes towards more like the head nodding area of the activity where it’s it’s just really bombastic and like maximalist, like the term that they use and it’s just like sick and they, they are amazing at it so much so that when people try to copy them, it, it seems rough. But they they’re just so good at it. And I think it still goes back to like when achievement is at the highest level. It’s great. I like it. Yeah, it’s, it’s effective. And I think there is an inherent danger to trying to go for an emotional concept or something like that. When it’s not like the sole focus of your entire life and it may be the end of the day, you know, every day I’m still, you know, on meetings, I’m working with a bunch of people and I guess you could say that about an artist too.

Bryson Teel (01:05:43):

But I’m also spreading myself out to a lot of different teams and it it’s always like there’s a bunch of pods of constantly developing people. And sometimes it hits and sometimes doesn’t, I think sometimes like my individuals come together and that’s where it hits, but it does feel like there’s the seed of an idea out there where we want something to change and we really want that emotional side, that authenticity side to come out, but it it’s, you know, it’s not the soul of 1980s or nineties court. It’s, it’s clearly pulled it us from that time period, even from like 2010 forward, you know, things have gone so different. And it may be like this frustration that we’re in the period of serious change in this part of the activity and it, it feels ambiguous and it’s hard to attach to it.

Bryson Teel (01:06:40):

And like you’re saying, like you just kind of have to make an effort to keep moving it forward, forward, forward until we’re finally there and then we’re asking for something else. But and I think it’s funny that this is the topic that I always get on with when sound design is the basis of conversation. And I guess to kind of wrap that stuff up is I, I really feel that that is the way to do that when you bring in more people like, like Sam, who, who really cares about being an artist and that’s his thing, you bring at least that person on board, that perspective is not there. That kind of, it is not the drum core perspective necessarily, even though he’s been involved with drum core it’s this kind of different, slightly different kind of hunger and drive where it’s like, you know, it it’s, it’s all him trying to just go for it and, and be successful.

Bryson Teel (01:07:35):

But I think the more people bring that in like, I mean, broken city brought in Adam w I mean that dude like wrote a good portion of high school musical, I believe that dude’s prolific. And when you bring in that part and the identity is really there. I mean, I guess that was his past student too. So it’s like a perfect yeah. Mission, perfect world. Once that, that unit is there that can really shine through. And I think they have been recently an example of that stuff being brought to light, like when this singer songwriter emotional thing, really creative high achieve thing comes together and it’s just happening. And, you know, I think it’s fair to say that like 2019, I don’t know if a lot of people in the past would’ve said like, oh, that’s the winning show. It’s hard to say that cuz they were just so good, but it’s not what things used to be necessarily. It’s hard

Dan Schack (01:08:31):

For me to describe that they certainly weren’t the cleanest group at finals. Sure. Yeah. Or not at all. There’s probably three, three groups behind them that were, that were cleaner. But you know, to go back to this conversation about invention, like this idea of seed and just the whole meaning within it and the abstract nature of it being abstract and also being able to make a connection with people brought, it’s just a, it’s just a hitting that nail in the head versus, you know, RCC just did doom. Like it was literally like doom and yeah, one, the movie hadn’t even come out. So everyone was like, what is this spice, excuse me. Like, it was just literally like a transposition of the movie doo and I don’t know exactly why they chose to do that in that moment because literally like no one knew what that was like.

Dan Schack (01:09:22):

They were great. RCC is one of my favorites, you know, but it’s like, I don’t really get why you’re choosing this right now. What does Doune have to do with anyone? You know? And it’s just like, we’re doing a theme this year, a theme, a theme. Like I have to have a theme like versus like the act of creation is your theme. I think that’s maybe to go back to your, like the GMU thing is like the process is the product, right? And it’s like, if you find this thing, that’s gonna mean something to you throughout. It’s gonna motivate the creative process. You’ll feel that at the end versus we’re doing a chocolate show and we have to do chocolate drill and chocolate music. And now the chocolate uniform. Why, who cares about that? What does that have to do with anything? You know? So it’s, it’s tough because as like you said, if you, if you try to go for the vulnerability pathway and it’s not really authentic, it’s more of like copycatting, it’s just that much worse. It’s not like doing that is gonna make it better. It’s that?

Bryson Teel (01:10:29):

Yeah. It’s overly planned out. It’s

Dan Schack (01:10:32):

Yeah. Little rough run. It’s just like, it’s you can always tell when that’s happening. It’s like, and it doesn’t matter what type of show it is. Like you’re just trying to be like someone versus like, I don’t know if this is gonna work. I don’t know if this is gonna come across or I don’t know. Like there has to be a little bit of doubt and there has to be a space there that is unknown or else, if you have the answers to everything you’re doing it, it’s not original. Cuz there’s a map that’s already been placed before you that you’re just following and everyone. And even if it’s your map, cuz a lot of groups kind of do that where they’re kind of up cycling, you feel that and like, yeah, you’re clean because it’s done. But what about what it took to get there?

Dan Schack (01:11:23):

When I listened to blonde, I’m like, dude, it sounds like this guy brung himself out emotionally to, to kind of realize this broad. You’re like, I’m worried about you dude. Like I am worried about Frank and people still are, cuz he’s he’s behind the scenes now, but it’s like, dude, what did you have to do to Siegfried? Like it’s so dark and it’s so like rejecting, I don’t know. It’s like man, like that’s and I feel that with myself, like, I don’t know if you get there too, but like even right now, like just the period that I’m in with Mason. Like I live this every day, you know what I mean? Like this is not like a job to me. This is like me and when it’s going great, it, my life is going great. And when it’s going terribly, I’m like, what, what am I doing? Am I, can I do this? Am I equipped to do this? Am I who I think I am that’s to tough dude, like to, to really live in that. Like I didn’t choose to do that, but it’s like, that’s how I feel. And I feel like maybe that is part of what comes through the work, but also it, it really is tough. Sometimes I’m kind of in that right now. If you can’t tell by the tone of this podcast.

Bryson Teel (01:12:32):

No, I mean, that that’s so true. I mean, I that’s, it’s really like the epitome of being like an artistic person for someone that’s creative. It’s just like, that’s just looming over. But I do like your point about the process thing. And I think when I was saying over planning was really about that kind of rubric idea or whether that’s like the sheets or like really overthinking the sheets and stuff like that. But it’s a good point. Like if I’m writing a song like a lot of times I’m just trying to think of, oh, I just it’s like the sound of this, like this, this can just be a part of what this will end up being. And that could be building a tone. It’s like, okay, this is what this tone is. Like, why did, why did that come out of me?

Bryson Teel (01:13:11):

Maybe it’s because of this part of my life. And you maybe think about it for a and then, oh, there’s some lyrics that describe that and this, this really feels cohesive. And I, I really wanna finish this and put this out. And I think on, on your first podcast with Mike Jackson, he said something to that effect just in terms of battery, like, oh, here’s a, a little idea here. You know, I guess this kind of inspires me to do this. And then the, the connections start building and I think there is something to be said about being a person that likes connections to come from it, just everything which would help that mindset. I’m sure some people would be like, that sounds like bad idea, but I totally feel what he’s saying. Because at the end of the day it starts as this little doodle, the word he used, but at the end of the season whether you, I guess in their case necessarily tell everyone exactly what the show is about or not.

Bryson Teel (01:14:06):

Everything has so much meaning and personal meaning to the group or the individual that when someone sees it, that’s where the authenticity is kind of built from. Like every little thing has a detail. You know, when I found out what that show is about, you know, I could go back and I could see, oh, that like this whole visual idea here, like relates directly to that. And that, that makes so much sense. It gives the performers more to pull from and I guess gives them more of a, of a path to feel something for the show and interpret themselves as people. But I think the process thing is a really great point. And it’s hard to find cause even like working with someone, writing a song for the first time, it’s, you know, it’s never usually good, like you have to practice. And it’s a lot of focus practice with a clear intent of eventually getting to your, your end goal. But yeah,

Dan Schack (01:15:01):

Another year we’re like gonna be into this new phase and we’re in the thick of the indoor season and you know, this stuff’s just really like personal to me. Like I feel like you know, being able to express yourself through this medium is, is really big man. Like I, I obviously, you know, I, I, I, I came from a place of just kind of intensity. Like, I mean, I taught you and you kind of know how I was and I’m sure you were noticing I’m not really so much like that anymore. There’s still some of that in there, but I was just such a, a grinder. And it was just about, it was just very binary. It was like, you’re either clean or you’re not, and it’s just either you’re, you’re either going for it or you’re not. And I still bring that to what I do.

Dan Schack (01:15:48):

And you know, I, I want to create these platforms for the students to be authentic. You know, we created a new silhouette at FJM this year for Mason. That’s just a box t-shirt boxy, t-shirt mock neck, collar, and joggers. It’s never been worn before. So awesome. What does that mean for us? No, one’s ever worn a t-shirt and pants in this world. That’s crazy, dude, look, we’re both wearing t-shirts right. Are you kidding? You know, like when they told me that I’m like, yeah, people are gonna see this and it’s gonna be like, you know, the GMU silhouette I’m like, that is so sad. How am I the one introducing a t-shirt into this space? I like that is crazy. And in the real world, you know, high fashion streetwear are just in cahoots. It’s totally congruent now. Like that is the, you know, Louis and Offwhite and Yeezy gap and all these major brands that are like on the streetwear, you know, Balenciaga it’s, it’s just the it’s just everywhere.

Dan Schack (01:16:57):

And I just feel like we’ve gotta take the blinders off of what we’re doing and really look at like what we create, because we are self-serving and that’s really about it. We’re not really, you know, we’re not really trying to appeal to an audience that’s outside of the, the technical side of this world. And I like just want that so bad. Like, I want that more than anything for like, at least what I’m doing is like that someone can listen to this and just like, just get it. Like, I play my stuff for my girlfriend, Christina, all the time. Cuz she listens to some of these, you know, drum cores or some of the indoor groups. And she’s like, what is this? And then when she listens to our stuff and she’s like, I love this music. I get it. I feel it. I’m like, yeah, that’s who we need to be.

Dan Schack (01:17:43):

Like, like I’ve said it in the past, but like why isn’t Steven Tyler from Aerosmith at w J judge, why isn’t, you know, M and M or like whatever, like I know these are terrible, terrible examples, but like, is it really healthy for us that the only people that judges activity are people that were bred through the activity? I think we need to introduce some outside perspective of what we do because we really aren’t meeting people where they are are, and we can’t grow. We are not growing from that. Yeah, even some of the broken city stuff is so highly technical and it’s, it’s great. And the ear worm is there. That’s a thing is that the, that song let you win is just an amazing song. And it just like makes you feel emotional. And that, that is there and it makes it work. I, I want to figure out how to unlock this gate because we are insulating ourselves from actual people, you know, like I don’t, I don’t know if you send your out to, oh, you know, I design this Trump course show here’s the MP3, like, why aren’t we producing full MP3 it’s cuz they’re not listening, you know, producing that GMU project and making it a Spotify YouTube release. It changed my entire perspective because it made us accessible at any time at any place, not WGI finals.

Bryson Teel (01:19:08):

And I see where you’re coming from with like the whole ticket sales idea too. It’s like, how, how do you bring those people in? Like I remember, like I was saying before being like in like seventh grade or something and seeing like commercial for the DVD, I actually remember like someone, my friend was there. He was just like, oh, Bryce, that’d be something you’re into. Right. And I was like, no, definitely not. That was totally would be. But but like from an outside perspective, it’s hard to get cross that barrier of like, oh, like marching band is dorky, it’s stupid. Which, which is the big thing, but it’s like, again, like how do we reach out and make it appealing? Like I guess to the average person, like if they go see an indoor group and they, or I guess if they see videos of it like circulating on the internet or somehow of them just in Jerson t-shirts or whatever I, that might be more accessible.

Bryson Teel (01:19:54):

Like, wow, they at least look sick. And I think it’s a huge step that we kind of ditch the traditional uniform a bit. You know, I, I hate to just like, you know, dump on that idea. Cause it just cool, like it’s traditional drum core. It’s a thing like it’s tight. Like we all did it. But having that introduction of this kind of more like unitard thing is a big push out of that and hopefully into just other things. I mean, I guess, you know, it feels like forever, but it’s only really been like in drum core what like six or seven years, eight

Dan Schack (01:20:26):

Years that that’s glucose 16, I think would be the, the barometer for that. Okay. If you asked me, I think that was like when blue glucose started change their uniform every year and everyone had to start doing that.

Bryson Teel (01:20:40):

Yeah, exactly. I actually liked their old uniform though. That that was, I don’t know if anyone’s exactly said this, but it maybe I’m wrong, but it looks a thousand percent. Exactly like the, I think as the doctor’s uniform in the anime full metal Alchemist, I don’t know if anyone’s looked at that, but I almost a thousand percent positive. That’s what they were designed after, which the doctor’s uniform, I believe full metal Alchemist. I could be remember, no, I, I, a thousand percent get the vibe from it. Same color

Dan Schack (01:21:22):

In post. We need to edit we’re up to edit a little little image on here, but Hey, we’re, we’re pretty, we here we’re one 20 in. Yeah. And this has been it’s been both frustrating, but also it’s, it’s always good to just get this, this out there to have these combos. Cause I feel like I live in this head space of frustration and, and boredom. Yes. I want to, I just want to be like, let’s do something different. Let’s stop playing the same music. Let’s let’s be, let’s break the molds. You know what I mean? Like do we need Mambos do we need split base rooms? Do we need vibes? Like, can we like it’s it shouldn’t be that radical to not have the same exact musical arrangement it every year, man. You know what it would be if you came out with exclusively electronics, it it’s like you would just not even get looked at.

Dan Schack (01:22:18):

So I, Nope. I think we’ve got a, we’ve got a little bit of an identity crisis, like you said, and it’s, it’s kind of people like you that can help us modernize and help us push our sound. So I wanna thank you for getting on here and talk and shop. And I, you know, I know you’ve got a podcast that you’ve been working on and we, we should do another one of these on, on yours and we can keep hashing out these issues. But thank you for getting on here. My friend. Yeah, of course, man. Where can people find you? Social media handles websites, anything like that?

Bryson Teel (01:22:48):

People can find me at my, everything I have is just Bryce and teal, Instagram, Twitter, the whole thing. My music is on apple music, Spotify, the whole, the whole nine as Bryce and teal. So you pretty much find that anywhere. Just search me up. B R Y S O N

Dan Schack (01:23:05):

T E E L. That is what it is. Happy new. Year’s everyone. 2022. What’s going to follow us next. We will see peace.

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