Two flights of stairs and a hallway lead into a music-filled studio in a Highland Park attic. The walls are covered with vinyl album covers of David Bowie, The Who, Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles. The studio is the perfect blend of college-aged disorganization, young professionalism and budding talent.
This is where Blue Apollo, a band of SMU students, practices.
A recent Sunday had the five members meeting in the wake of a well-received live performance at The Rustic, a local watering hole popular with SMU students. Rather than rest on their laurels, they joined together to practice their latest pieces and get ready for their next show, a requested second performance at The Rustic, Sept. 25.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Clip of <a href=”https://twitter.com/BlueApolloMusic”>@BlueApolloMusic</a> rockin it at <a href=”https://twitter.com/TheRusticDallas”>@TheRusticDallas</a> <a href=”https://t.co/R28qt1Td1x”>pic.twitter.com/R28qt1Td1x</a></p>— Katie Butler (@123_its_KTB) <a href=”https://twitter.com/123_its_KTB/status/773706636665823233″>September 8, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
The group is comprised of Luke Nassar, Rodman Steele, Mitch Gruen, Jeremiah Jensen and Grant Wolf. They put together the band as first-years, but now in their third year, the group has released a full-length studio album, “Light-Footed Hours” and is consistently booking shows around the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
“I love their music so much, it gives an upbeat and relaxing vibe,” said Haley Duncan, a third-year student at SMU and avid fan of the group.
The guys trickle into their studio on a sunny, Sunday morning, immediately going into the logistics of their next show and setting up their equipment in a seamless integration, working together like a well-oiled machine. As they’re getting set up, the guys start to joke around with each other.
After a quick vocal styling from Gruen, a business major, which is accompanied by laughter from the lead singers of the band, Gruen quips back at them: “You guys think I can’t sing but I’m actually nailing these A minor sharp notes.”
The jab is a little hard to follow, but the rest of the group breaks out in laughter.
The band only has an hour to practice, so they decide to work on a pair of their new songs “Make it Happen” and “Circles.” A few seconds into “Make it Happen,” Nassar stops the song. There’s something wrong with Steele’s amp, so he and Gruen take a minute to figure it out. Gruen turns to Steele and asks, “When are you free this week cause we’re going to have a tone day.” Steele, a music performance major, laughs and agrees the amp needs some work.
The group starts in on their second piece of music for the day, “Circles.” Before they begin, Nassar plugs in his iPod and puts on Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound.” He lets the intro roll for a minute and then informs the band: “This is kind of the vibe I’m going for.”
It’s easy to see why. The sound is very ethereal and light, and provides a nice contrast to the first song, a heavier piece with a stronger vibe.
As the clock strikes noon and the band realizes they’re out of time, high fives are thrown around, and the guys begin to unplug and pack up. Immediately, the group begins talking about their next practice and how to improve. It’s clear that while this practice may be finished, they can’t wait for the next.