The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Arts April 20, 2007

Obie Alums Make Top 50 on MtvU

Although I would assume that most of us have spent late nights watching MTV2, the infinite MTV spin-off channels seem beyond common pop culture knowledge. I, of course, had not heard of this so-called “mtvU” before last week.

On an investigative search for “mtvU,” I stealthily visited the official website, which proclaimed that the station was “the definitive college network for students at universities across the country. You can find us on over 730 campuses, reaching over 6.5 million students in dining halls, student lounges, fitness centers, and dorm rooms.”

Don’t distress — after spending fifteen minutes flipping through the Noah lounge television, I determined that we were not one of those 730 campuses.

 “MTV sucks,” proclaimed Mike Wasserman, OC ’06, who is “sort-of, kind-of” one of the members of the Crackers. The other two band members are Evan Keeler-Wolf, OC ’06, and Nick Johnson, who graduated from George Washington University.

The three musicians attended high school together in Oakland; Keeler-Wolf and Johnson have been making music together for ten years.

Wasserman explained his role in the band: “I play the cowbell or something silly like that.”

The three members entered an mtvU competition to win a $1,500,000 record deal with Epic Records after Wasserman was sent a requirement email from MTV, which he forwarded on to Keeley-Wolf.

“They dangle this dream of getting a record deal for you, but mtvU is set up just so they can make ad revenue off artists that they have nothing to do with,” said Wasserman.

The Crackers successfully made it into the top fifty in the MtvU and Epic Records’ Artist of the Year competition but were then eliminated in the following round. The band is a production team that produces predominantly instrumental music, as well as tracks for other artists. They most recently made a track for Bumbalo’s self-titled album, which can be heard on MySpace.

The group uses samples and synthesizers to create its own beats. “Isis’s Eyes,” one of its strongest tracks, begins with a sample of a French sixties pop singer and then quickly dissipates into a catchy Nintendo-esque jingle, which melds into repetitious beats made with synthesizer horn and drum sounds.

Their next project is a concept album that they say will “trace the experiences of a young boy, who trips on a psychedelic cracker and goes on a boundless and unpredictable journey.” They hope to collaborate with Conservatory students as well as other prominent hip-hop artists.


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