Pop punk band sets hopes high
Tyler Wolf, a graphic communications junior, works two part-time jobs and still finds time for music. His band, High Hopes, will play its first show tonight during MSUM’s Battle of the Bands at 8 p.m. in Hansen Theatre.
High Hopes will compete against four other artists for a record deal with Undeclared Records, the label run by MSUM students in the Music & Entertainment Industry Student Association.
Four of the five musicians in Wolf’s band are MSUM students. He says their sound includes the energetic songs, positive lyrics and dedication to having fun, distinguished by the pop punk genre.
Wolf said his passion for playing music began in the eighth grade when he and a friend started playing guitars together.
Wolf played drums in his first band, a metalcore group called Deny the Truth. After a few years he joined another metalcore band, If I Ran The Zoo, from Bismarck and Fargo-Moorhead. High Hopes formed this summer. Wolf’s mother, Nicci Wolf, is a strong supporter.
“I love that my son is in a band,” she said. “It has also offered Tyler
a healthy and
positive outlet to encourage his creativeness.”
Managing school, work, social life and the band can be hectic for the members.
“It’s important that you maintain enough time for both, because if you focus on either school or the band too much, you can fall behind on the others,” Wolf said.
Wolf is proud of the feedback High Hopes has received. The first song the band released, “Wake Up,” pushed the group’s Facebook page to over 1,000 likes in about 24 hours. High Hopes’ first EP will be released later this fall.
Aspiring rapper strives to be like Mike
Jordan Brien, a graphic communications senior, grew up idealizing Michael Jordan. As an aspiring hip-hop artist, he said his stage name came from flipping his middle name, Michael, with his first name, Jordan.
“Mic Jordan came from a friend of mine who got me started doing shows with him,” Brien said. “I was Jordy Mic and he called me Mic Jordan on stage. Then, the more I thought of it, I really liked it.”
For Brien, music has always been second nature.
“I guess it was something I always wanted to do,” he said. “Music has always been an escape for me; I was always one who listened to words rather than the beat. I would practice the words and the movement of those who performed on stage.”
As a Native American, Brien said he hopes to give the audience something they wouldn’t expect when he takes the stage tonight.
“People look at me and would never think in a million years that I look like a traditional rapper,” he said. “I love that look of people when I first get on stage.”
Brien’s favorite part about performing is going on stage and conquering the fear of messing up, missing notes or dropping a chorus.
“When I see people having a good time, then I know I did my job,” Brien said.
Music isn’t just Brien’s escape. He sees it as his life and his medication. He is now writing a song about how music saved him from depression and motivates him to get up in the morning and be the best artist he can be.
Brien has performed at The Aquarium and The Pickled Parrot Bar in Fargo, the Alerus Center in Grand Forks and the Sky Dancer Casino & Hotel in Belcourt, N.D. He loves the positive feedback from his fans.
After he performed at MSUM’s Take Back the Night event in September, a woman left a message on his Facebook fan page: “Thank you for including my son in your last song. (He) has autism and doesn’t engage very much with people he is unfamiliar with. It was a tear-jerking experience for me to see him engaging with you. It probably didn’t seem like a big deal for you, but it was a huge step for him. I once heard that music has the ability to unite people. While I have always thought it was a sound idea, I truly believe it after today.”
Brien said the responses from children motivate him. One of his nephews knows the lyrics to some of his songs and another nephew composes rhymes, saying he wants to be Mic Jordan when he grows up. “This is the reason I do it,” he said. “It’s the change in people’s lives that one can create from words that are heartfelt and meaningful.
Bear North, No Flamingo and Trancings were also chosen to compete tonight in MSUM’s Music & Entertainment Industry Student Association’s fifth annual event.
Admission is free and the doors open at 7:30 p.m.
BY CASSIDY HELD & BROCK RISKEY