When one of Marquette’s few local music venues, the 231 House of Muses, burned down in January 2007, many artists and fans of the local music scene saw not only their beloved Marquette venue disappear, but the scene itself slowly dying out with it. And in a college town filled with bars that primarily book cover bands, it seemed like the only place students could go to enjoy new and innovative music was history.
Not content to sit back and let Marquette’s music scene vanish, Andrew Lorinser formed Redfella Records, a media production company located in downtown Marquette that offers a professional recording studio for artists as well as marketing and promotions for concerts and other events. The company’s goal is simple: Help cultivate and expand the local music scene for both artists and fans.
Artist relations and recording engineer Matt Bullock said it’s very important for a community such as Marquette to have an established music scene.
“It gives musicians a place to say, ‘Here we are as a community,'” Bullock said, adding that having a strong local scene helps students relax and be creative.
To help encourage creativity, Redfella welcomes any local artist, regardless of musical genre, to come in and record an album.
“It’s important to not sell yourself short when making a CD,” Bullock said. “We want everybody who wants to make music and either perform it for people or put it on a CD a chance to do that. That means everyone, from hip-hop artists to the independent rock bands that played at 231.”
Redfella also helps set up and promote local artists’ shows. Over the past year, Redfella has been involved with various local battle of the bands, judging the contests and offering studio time, normally a $35 an hour charge, as a prize to winning bands. Also, Redfella has worked out an agreement with the 231 House of Muses, offering to help by loaning their sound equipment for benefit shows at other locations.
Although offering local artists plenty of opportunities to record and play live shows is a top priority, Redfella also works to bring artists from out of the area up to Marquette. Most notably, they were responsible for bringing hip-hop artist Afroman to the UpFront & Co. last fall.
Bullock stressed how important it is for a small scene to attract nationally recognized artists.
“When you bring national artists into a local scene, it has a way of validating the musicians in that scene and validating the scene itself,” he said. “It’s a way of saying, ‘You’ve got a strong music community and we want to be a part of it.'”
But part of Redfella’s plans to strengthen the music scene relies on student involvement.
Marketing director Andy Ferns said it’s important to get the Northern population active in the music scene.
“A lot of artists are Northern students,” Ferns said. “We’re here to support them as much as they want to support themselves.”
Ferns said Redfella is willing to work with any student group to help promote events. One such event is Alpha Gamma Delta’s upcoming “’80s Night,” a benefit for Voices for Youth, which will be held Thursday, April 10 at the UpFront & Co.
Ferns said that, as word of Redfella gets out more NMU students get involved by promoting events and helping at shows.
Ferns recalled the tremendous turnout they received for their Feb. 22 show, “Friday Night Main Event,” in which so many fans showed up they were forced to turn people away at the doors. Ferns said that if it wasn’t for the support from groups such as the Hip-Hop Coalition, the event might not have been as successful.
President of the Hip-Hop Coalition Jeff Sims said that working with Redfella Records was a great experience.
“They were really organized,” Sims said. “I want to work with them again in the future.”
Students interested in learning about other upcoming events can visit either www.myspace.com/redfellarecords or visit their Web site, www.marquettemusic.com.