Snapshots: Stephen Dennison

4Who Are You?

I am an electrical engineer from southern NH. I write songs and I am trying to play them for people, but right now all I’m doing is recording them and distributing them through the internet.

Who are you as a musician?

A songwriter. As a musician I don’t specialize in any one thing, but I spend a lot of time thinking about composition – not just music composition, but how a track is put together, how it’s arranged, and how it’s presented. An arrangement – not just a musical arrangement, but like what kind of feeling you’re going for, how you want people to interpret your song; What you want them to hear when they turn it on. That kind of thing.

What do you do musically currently?

I write and record my own music. I have an EP coming out within the next week. I’m not sure when I’m going to release it, but seven tracks of just pure song. I was in a band last semester, but we kinda broke up. So I’m looking to play on campus to bring my music to more people – or to any people – One person at least that isn’t me. My music is pop music, so it has to have a melody and usually there is a repeated part so that it gets stuck in your brain. It’s a mix of electronic and real instrumentation depending on what you need in the song or what the song calls for. And it’s a little silly. It’s not all serious, ya know. You gotta have some fun somewhere.

Who or what have you been listening to lately?

The Beatles, Vampire Weekend, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Elvis, Ray Charles. I’ve been listening a lot to the Tufts band The Rare Occasions actually. A lot of rock and roll right now, and pre-Beatles music. Cause if you wanna know what the Beatles were doing you gotta go back to what they were listening to. And that extends to any great musician. Ya know, if you wanna make music like Bach, you wouldn’t listen to Bach and try to duplicate it, you’d listen to what Bach was listening to and try to come up from the same path and try to make something. Pretend to be his contemporary rather than an imitator.

Where do you see yourself musically in a year or two years time?

In two years I’ll be out of college, and I’d prefer not to be a professional musician because I don’t think it’s a very sustainable career, nor do I think it would be a good lifestyle for me, but I definitely want to have more music out, and I want to be at a point where I can get my songs professionally recorded and actually sell them – not because I want money from them, but because there’s definitely a certain satisfaction of being at the point where your music is good enough that people actually want to pay money to own it. So I feel like it’s a good indicator of the quality of your music. Generally, there’s a correlation between how good music is and how much people listen to it. This will get arguments, but a Taylor Swift pop-song is generally probably better than a rando pop star from the middle of nowhere that no one has heard of. And this is probably for a reason other than something like “Taylor Swift’s parents have connections”

What fruit is most emblematic of your personality?

A macintosh apple, because I really like macintosh apples.

Interview by Joseph Leone
Photo by Amy Kao

One response to “Snapshots: Stephen Dennison

  1. Pingback: Rez Open Mic Night: Spotlight on Tufts Talents | Melisma Magazine·

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