SoMa music and production school gets students into the digital recording now
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SUPER EGO Books are cool, and they can make you taller. Often they even tell you things, things you never thought you'd want to know. They're like platform heels that talk! But they speak in a flippant whisper, and what they say is delicious.
Sure, books may not be able to dish on how Tyra got rid of her "vag arms" this season (hello, Scotch tape in her hairy pits) or why that one annoying girl on the 22 Fillmore's still pumping that goddamn "Hot Pocket, drop it" song on her tinny-ass cell phone over and over, a mound of discarded sunflower seed shells scattered around her pastel Superfecta IIs. (Please go download some Lupe Fiasco "Superstar" to your knockoff Chocolate already, sweetie. Seriously. It's November.)
What books can tell you sometimes is that you're right. I love that! Take The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art, and Music Drive New York City, by Elizabeth Currid, a new spine that fingerless-gloved intellectuals are cracking all over the Muni. It basically argues that fuck Wall Street the arts are the real forces that drive Manhattan's hopping money market. (Too bad the best new artists can only afford to live in Queens now.) And guess where the linchpins are? Where art, fashion, and music intersect and all the brainy hotties trade lucrative ideas? That's right: night clubs. All the fabbest deals are made on the dance floor, Ms. Elizabeth says, and nightlife, in which "creative minds set the future trends," should be boosted to top priority by any wannabe successful city, extralegal activities be damned. Of course she's talking about New York, so her tome's a tad inapt for our little blow jobsfortourists trade show here. But still, nightlife rules! One day it'll make us all rich and famous! In your face, space coyote.
Speaking of books: I once dated a tech bear. It was the mid-'90s, the Interweb was still shiny, and bears hadn't morphed into hedge-trimmed candy ravers yet. Don't hate! Tech bears were hot I'm still an all-day sucker for them and this one, like so many others of his ilk, not only could build a Unix server out of two Cherry Coke cans and a pizza box but also spent his nights tripping on krunk and composing ambient electronic odes to his heroes Brian Eno and Arthur Russell. I couldn't drag his ass onto a dance floor to save my life, but his windowless bedroom in the Tenderloin was a glittery cornucopia of strobe effects and rapid-fire bleeps. Go figure.
If only there had been some kind of school for him to attend, some place that would have guided him toward a career in digital-audio arts before he blew his mind on meth and moved back to the Midwest to become a gay trucker for Montgomery Ward!
Better late than never, maybe; now there is. Pyramind, a full-on media music and production school, is taking over SoMa and providing some of San Francisco's brightest club-music makers with the skills to conquer the digital world. I recently found myself being chaperoned, somewhat bewildered, through Pyramind's labyrinthine main campus by director and president Greg Gordon, in the company of old-school dance floor mover and shaker Paul dB. As they led me from one cavernous, soundproofed room to the next, each full of top-flight equipment, giant projection screens, a plethora of enormous monitors, and some mighty fine-looking students, I realized: maybe I should just give up writing and start composing the soundtrack for Halo 4. I could help launch a puke-colored Mountain Dew energy drink in 2009!
My temporary flight of fancy how could I ever give up getting kind of paid to down well-vodka cosmos and introduce you to several psycho drag queens almost every week? wasn't such a pie in the sky. Pyramind's hooked up with major prestidigitalators like Apple, Ableton, Digidesign, M-Audio, and Propellerhead. Students get possible career leads and exposure to some of the biggest biggies Pyramind calls these companies "strategic partners," but to me a strategic partner is someone you sleep with to get back at your ex.
But the school is just part of a grand master plan. Pyramind is octopoid, with recording studios, a distribution service, international programs, a music label called Epiphyte headed by industry legend Steffan Franz, a well-established musical showcaseclub night called TestPress that's expanding to other cities (and has spawned an Epiphyte-released CD of bouncy tunes), and, with the recent acquisition of another huge campus a few doors down from the main one, an independent party venue. Pyramind's stacked. And hey, in case any terrorists were thinking of hijacking any future Pixar productions (although wasn't Cars terrifying enough?), Pyramind's got the seal of approval, I shit you not, from Homeland Security. Calling all tech bears: drop that Cheeto and get in the digi-know now.