Meet The Music Directors

Meeting 1/2 of the Music Directors: Gabby’s Version

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It is an honor to stare up at the ridge that Bob Dylan wrote “All Along the Watchtower” about every single day. Watching the sun rise and set along the muse that shaped my music taste feels unreal. That melodic reason alone could’ve brought me to New Paltz, yet that would be overlooking all of the other soul-fueling things that make artists and outcasts alike flock to a town nicknamed “The Gunk.”

Originally, I had chosen to go to school in Boston. I figured that a tiny, half-conservatory half-liberal arts college would be the perfect place to flex all of my antithetically eclectic muscles. I could walk a mile down Tremont Street and get to lacrosse practice at the coziest, tucked-away turf field right that laid underneath the train tracks with enough time to get back to my apartment, change, and be at the Orpheum Theater just in time to catch Peach Pit’s opening song. The next morning I could wake up before the traffic did and get to my job at an adorable coffee shop, and make jewelry in the Boston Commons with my friends afterwards until whatever stars were strong enough to peer through the haze of pollution replaced the sun.

Covid made sure that it was legally impossible to do any of those things. There was no music. No art. Nothing to intellectually feed off of. Instead of an oasis, it felt like jail.

I only enrolled for one semester. For whatever reason (I like to think divine intervention was at play), I found myself frequently traipsing around New Paltz with some new friends I met on Long Island that winter for the next six months. One time, we were all sitting in one of their suites in Ashokan, playing guitar and belting songs that ranged from “Drive My Car” to “Shut Up and Drive” from the bottom of our diaphragms. This was an intimate, human experience I never had before, and it sparked a creative burst that helped me start song-writing again.

Another time, one of my best friends and I were driving up the mountain in my car during that time in early spiring where the green is budding on the horizon line, with all the windows down and in complete oblivion to how loud we were, scream-singing “The Chain.” Later that afternoon, when her attendance at a sorority event was mandatory, I went for a walk along the plains at the foot of the ridge, and with “Never Going Back Again” playing on repeat in my earbuds, I stumbled upon a perfectly intact deer skeleton, antlers and all. As a deeply spiritual being, a feeling of release and a premonition of new beginnings washed over me. The skull (I named her Genesis) now protects my mother’s garden back on Long Island.

These are the musical experiences that made me realize that New Paltz is, and always was, my home.

Since beginning my collegiate eduction at New Paltz a year ago, my repertoire of musical knowledge and concerts I’ve attended has tripled in size, thanks to the fascinating and culturally-interested creatures that inhabit this town. I’ve listened to genres of music that I didn’t even know existed, heard sounds that I am still not entirely convinced were made by human instruments, and unlocked new emotions inside my body that never could have been consciously felt if it wasn’t for that specific pattern of silence and noise. I’ve never been much of a partier (I think my personal hell would be in the middle of the dance floor at P&G’s), but New Paltz has given me an outlet to still get dressed up and go out drinking with my friends while doing what I love to do: listening to good, live music. Thank you Snugs and Bacchus, you have allowed me to combine all of my favorite Friday-night activities.

Crimson Crush, entirely comprised of my talented friends and housemates, at Snug Harbor February 18, 2022. Photo by me.

In my experience, music is a way to explain the things in life that go beyond words. That feeling of heart-racing excitement that you get right before you go on a rollercoaster is no better iterated than by the high-pitched wails of Jimmy Page’s guitar in “Rock and Roll.” That moment when you look at a stranger sitting in your class and get this intense fluttering feeling in your stomach from strokes of destiny can be verbalized by Beach Bunny’s “Cloud 9.” Those cool, grey days where you have no specific reason to be as sad and empty as you are yet you know you need to be are perfect for Current Joys’ “Fear.” Every single genre of music is capable of helping one understand the unknowns of their inner psyche, and they all deserve to be analyzed and treated with the respect that are given to listeners every time they hit play.

Now, we are here in this moment, where the reality is that one of my very best friends, John Roy (who is also my housemate), and I were handed the keys to the New Paltz music scene with the hope that we will reinvent it. That we will re-ignite the spark that led countless of the most famous names in Rock-and-Roll to the Hudson Valley in search of asylum from the rhythmlessness of the material world. In my opinion, we were the two perfect people to be given such a culturally important responsibility. Between John’s vast instrumental knowledge and talent, my gift for writing and analyzing, and both of our open-minded music taste and love for live music, the ideas have been pinging back and forth like a rocket. Our goal is simple: to make new music accessible to the students of New Paltz, and to highlight new local and up-and-coming bands alike in hopes that we are able to kickstart the fame of those who are bringing something new to the table.

We want to bring some concerts to campus. I look back on my mother’s days at SUNY Oneonta and I am flood with jealously that she was able to see The Grateful Dead play right outside her dorm room doors. Obviously, we can’t bring Jerry back from the dead in order to make that reality on our campus, but we would love to be able to share a similar experience with our peers. While that is going to take a lot of planning and input from you, our beloved listeners, album reviews and concert recaps are definitely going to be ample in the meantime.

Lastly, we would like to open up the floor to you. We would love to hear your feedback on the albums we are playing, suggestions for new ones, and your own thoughts on your own favorite music. While we do hold positions of authority, we do not wish to be removed from the conversation. We want our version of the New Paltz music scene to be as inclusive as possible. So please, if you are dying to write an album review, talk about an amazing or completely awful concert you went to or even be a guest on air to discuss your favorite movies and TV shows, we are all here for it. Reach out to us. We don’t bite 🙂

It is a pleasure to be working with all of you. I cannot wait for what the future holds.

Meeting 1/2 of the Music Directors: John’s Version

Hey what’s up? Gabby and I wanted introduce ourselves to you as the new music directors for WFNP! We have a lot of big ideas for this website, our jobs as music directors, and the station as a whole!

To give a brief bio my name is John Roy. I first came to New Paltz August 2020 and discovered WFNP shortly after that, sometime in October. I really fell in love with being a radio dj even in the strained conditions of doing anything in a college pandemic, a studio the size of a closet, room renovations, and a total collapse of the live music scene. At the same time I joined and started a few bands to try and see just how much we could play, and going to whatever house shows or seeing any live music I could. The impression that I got form doing this for two odd years was that people here need music. The handful of times we were able to play to a packed basement or bar was something truly special, people still talk to me about how some of those nights were the best they’ve ever had. I saw crowds of kids that aren’t the typical “college party” kind of people absolutely losing their minds in the thralls of a mosh pit. It dawned on me then that this is a community that needs music, as a release, as a form of expression, as an opportunity to feel like your really a part of something. All it needs is a push from the people that want to bring music back to the town.

I’m currently working for a degree in Marketing but also want to do as much outreach to music as I can. Since high school music has always been the thing that drives me and motivates me. It dawned on me that music is the closest thing to magic we have, blasting invisible waves of energy at you that make you move, cry, scream, sing. There is a real power in that and I think we all have a right and a need to experience to the highest level. and that’s what I want to do here.

In terms of our plans for the position we want to keep up blogposts here, discussing local music events, new albums, old forgotten gems, or just anything relating to the station and music! We also want to extend the offer to any other WFNP members to publish here on anything music!

I think we are at a very interesting time in terms of music in New Paltz and I want to use music director as a way of getting WFNP involved in that and document a college music scene that is fully primed to get back to where it was pre-pandemic. I never got to experience that scene but I have heard quite a lot from folks who were around then. I may sound a little too idealistic but between all of the bands and house shows I’ve seen starting up, the new influx of students, and the incredible artistic energy and motivation around me from other students, I have a feeling this semester will mark the beginning of a very exciting period for New Paltz music. While documenting that I also want to reach out to other musical endeavors from all around the Hudson Valley. More to come on this so stay tuned Gabby and I have already been bouncing around ideas since we got this position.