photo by Nicholas Basta
by Khristan Antoine
Stroll into Legacy Studio at McClymonds, and you’ll be captivated by the bright orange, blue, green colors that form a warm, calm ambience.
The buzz will get to you: within the newly refurbished studio resonates the sound of the recently-installed audio mixing equipment–a combination of old and new technology, and a new-school turntable.
This is the domain of Nicholas Basta, 27, Alternatives in Action’s new multimedia director. Basta briskly opens the lock to the barred doors of the newly renovated Legacy Studios. He turns on the sound-mixer, puts on sound-canceling headphones, and sits listening to the sounds and rhythms of his students’ progress. It’s a musical home to a half dozen or so up-and coming student DJs, mixers, rappers and song writers.
This year, the focus is less on rapping and more on digital story telling, even though Basta continues to teach beat making twice a week. On Monday and Wednesday, Basta teaches community media, filming, and digital story telling. Tuesday and Thursdays are dedicated to beat making, sound engineering, music production, and vocal recording.
Even the old-timers, like Luckie Lovette, have come to appreciate Basta’s style and organizational skills.
Lovette, a senior, sits down at a computer, adjusts the brightness on the monitor, and puts on headphones. His head sways to the beat of Tupac Shakur’s bass-heavy song “All Eyes On Me.” Lovette uses music videos found on YouTube as part of a project initiated by Legacy Studios.
“For me, this [legacy studios] is a way to be creative and create something new,” said Lovette.
As Basta encourages his students to push themselves, he does encounter some resistance. Students like Justin Gilreath, 15 and a senior, would prefer a more relaxed atmosphere. This year, Basta is expecting him to produce double the number of songs. “We barely got one mixtape done last year and he wants us to do way more,” says Gilreath.
And yet, like for most students, the studio remains a lure. “Rhythm is a part of my DNA,” says Gilreath.