WAMU isn’t the only radio station affiliated with American University: Don’t forget WVAU, the university’s great student-run outlet. This week, WVAU gave us yet another reason to tune in: It released “Live in the Hive,” a 16-track compilation of songs recorded in its studio—and the list of bands is impressive.
The comp includes tracks from The So So Glos, Saintseneca, locals Cigarette and Two Inch Astronaut, and critical darlings Speedy Ortiz (among others), most of them recorded by student engineers this year, says WVAU General Manager Maxwell Tani. “We used to do full band setups, but because we are located near offices and classrooms, we decided to ask most of the bands to record stripped down versions of their songs,” Tani writes in an email. “What that means is that we’ve gotten some really interesting stuff, which is different from what you may get when seeing some of these bands in concert.”
Tani says the sessions—arranged by Events Director Mike Creedon—have already brought visibility to the station, which is run primarily by student volunteers. Of course, it hasn’t been too tough to persuade students to get involved. “It’s an opportunity to learn or practice a skill while producing great content for our stream and website, and meeting awesome bands, so we tend to get a lot of people wanting to help out and be a part of it,” Tani writes.
So far, the general manager’s favorite recording has been the version of “Everything Revival” that The So So Glos played in the studio. “They slowed it down just a bit and played without cymbals. It’s such a catchy song to begin with, but by kind of eliminating the cymbal crashes and distortion, it really emphasized the hooks.” He adds that Natural Child came by earlier this week and “absolutely KILLED”—but were recorded too late to make this compilation. They’re saving it for next time. (It’ll also eventually go up on the station’s Soundcloud page.)
As far as Tani knows, this is the first time the station’s operators have come together to work on a project of this kind. “This is the first time we’ve really made an effort to consistently reach out to local and touring bands for in-studio performances,” he writes. “We realized that we have the equipment to put them on, and the people who could do a good job running them. We just had to get organized and be willing to put in the effort.”
Listen to the compilation: