Apr 082009
Authors: Johnny Hart

For most, the day’s work starts out something like this: hear the alarm clock, hit the snooze button, hear the alarm clock again, take an early morning shower, drink coffee and head off to work or school.

The crew of Colorado Music Lounge, however, might be on a slightly differently schedule.

For Josh Middleton, Nic Tapia and Trent Milligan, days when they’re shooting might look like: meet in the afternoon, pack up equipment, set up equipment, do interviews, shoot the show, wrap up equipment, ship out, edit and cut video and audio and press send.

“Long nights, late nights. But it’s cool,” said Tapia, a senior communications major.

Five cameras, 10 batteries, eight tapes, some tripods and nearly a year later, Campus Television’s live music program CML has made a dent into the nebulous local music scene.

A rough start to things

During spring semester of 2008, Middleton and then-music director Steve Hendrickson of KCSU, CSU’s student-run radio station, brainstormed the idea for Colorado Music Lounge.

“CTV had done some programs in the past here and there, but they’ve never have had a good consistent local live music show,” said Middleton, a senior journalism major.

After pitching the show to newly-elected Station Manager Ben Brune, Middleton and Hendrickson set out to present the first program in late August.

The two intended on taping a friend’s band, the Black Apples, somewhere in Fort Collins, but needed to reach out to local talent-buyer Greta Cornett for help.

Aside from her time as a local musician with the band 12 Cents for Marvin, Cornett, whom Tapia and Middleton call their “guardian angel,” connected them with ownership at the Aggie Theatre.

Black Apples were set to go on three days later, during the middle of the week, for a free show. How much money it would take to produce such a show, however, would remain undetermined.

“The first show was a circus,” Middleton said. “Come to find out, we were apparently supposed to pay the doorman and all the bartenders and cover a whole bunch of other costs. We don’t have a budget, you know?”

Things worked out for the best, but much video and audio editing remained.

“We had a week to cut everything, and we did it,” Middleton said. “We got it on the air . barely.”

Pre-production: before the real deal

It all begins with a non-scientific selection process of bands. According to Milligan, the trio comprised a list of local bands at the beginning of the semester, hoping to diversify.

“It’s not (that) we always try to find the best bands. I think, this semester especially we’ve really tried to diversify our genres,” Middleton said.

“We try not to just present the best bands in Colorado but shine some light on some up-and-coming bands,” he added, saying their strength is how they can work closely with KCSU.

“I was kind of able to choose the best bands from each genre,” Milligan said. “We wanted to represent what people want in Fort Collins.”

Then they go to Cornett.

“You can say without Greta, I don’t know if we’d be where we are today,” Tapia said. “I mean, she’d done so much for us, kind of being our liaison in terms of contacting bands.”

Because of her background in the Fort Collins music scene, Cornett, who books bands for the local bar Road 34, is overflowing with contacts.

Middleton said the show had “polished” the process of setting up a production, usually “piggybacking” on other shows, which is cleared by the bands and the venues through Cornett.

“It’s kind of a mutual benefit,” Cornett said.

Show time

The day of the show the CML crew, usually comprised of Tapia, Middleton and Milligan, along with photographers borrowed from CTV news and sports, gather in the clustered Student Media offices in the basement of the Lory Student Center.

They pack loads of video and audio equipment, hoping to leave with enough time to interview the band and set up before the heavy flow of concert-goers.

“We end up with a pretty heavy pile of stuff that we take with us,” Middleton said.

Milligan usually reads reviews on the band’s site in order to get the creative juices flowing for interview questions.

“The band are really surprised that we’re interested .” Milligan said, adding that he often gets compliments of “most professional interview” and “most fun” interview.

“You get to get to know the bands. All the bands have their different sort of quirks. There are different styles,” Tapia said.

According to Middleton, most of the bands don’t act up or do crazy antics.

“They’re not random. We know they’re good guys .” Middleton said. “We’re dealing with local Fort Collins guys, not AC/DC.”

Milligan, however, has seen some small shenanigans.

“You get to see them on stage. We get to see them beforehand when they’re chillaxin,” he said, alluding to some supposed drug use by one band.

“I felt kind of guilty by interrupting their private time,” he said.

Because the staff needs to set up each of the five cameras before the crows, Tapia said, “(There is) a lot of setting up and then kind of waiting around.”

“In reality the show is the shortest thing we do,” Middleton echoed.

After the show follows post-production, in which Middleton described as “hours and hours” of editing.

“By (post-production) I’m trying to get ahold of the next band,” Milligan said.

What lies in the cards for CML

Despite one of it’s recent success, the Lounge has one fatal flaw: Middleton, Milligan and Tapia are all seniors.

“Usually you get somebody who’s passionate and competent, who’s got a great idea and is fired up and wants to do a show,” Middleton said. “Well, it lasts for a semester and that person graduates. See ya later.”

But he hopes the show will continue after his graduation in May.

“This show more than anything brings some more eyes to the channel, the Web site,” Middleton said. “It’s just something different, something kids will actually sit down and watch.”

“All the people over (at CML) are there for the right reasons. They really care about local music,” Cornett said.

Although Milligan fell into the position, he described the show as his most rewarding time spent with KCSU, comparing it to taking care of a baby that had been dropped at his doormat.

“It hasn’t quiet caught on like we wanted to, but bands are coming back asking us to shoot their shows,” he said.

Middleton said the show “directly fits” the college audience, adding that anyone with a passion and commitment for to music could benefit the show.

“It doesn’t take an army of people to make a show; it takes a few devoted people,” he said.

Middleton left these words of advice for music-hungry students: “(If it’s) late night and you’ve got nothing better to do, throw this on in the background, make some ramen . I don’t know.”

The next project for CML will be the FoCOMX, a two-day long festival this weekend with more than 100 bands at 12 venues.

To find CML on the Internet, go to http://ctv11/com or http://myspace.com/coloradomusiclounge. Their show airs throughout the week on CTV channel 11.

Entertainment Editor Johnny Hart can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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