Photos courtesy of Grant Lepping
The College of Media and Entertainment is consistently buzzing with people of all backgrounds but harbors many musically-inclined students due to the various recording industry programs MTSU offers. Grant Lepping, a Louisville native, is one of those musically-inclined students that uses his interests and expertise to dirty his hands in any sort of musical-related project that he can.
Lepping started Louisville-based experimental band SPAG back in the early days of his middle school career with various friends from the Louisville area. The band has gone through many variations of members, instrumentation and experimentation until their current style was developed with their most recent release, “Is Chefs.” “Is Chefs“ debuted Aug. 3 and was made through an entirely different process than previously-released music. Lepping had his hands in every part of the making of the aforementioned album and decided it would be a much more creative process if every part was recorded and created separately.
“We all just contributed whatever we came up with on the spot for the album,” Lepping said. “It actually helped the flow of creativity since we weren’t worried about individual responsibility and focused on the project as a whole.”
There were several different influences that inspired “Is Chefs,” such as classic hip-hop producers and artists like Madlib and Kanye West, which, Lepping explained, are known to experiment with sampling and build while songs from a very baseline sample. Classic techno and acid house, which is synthesized dance music with rapid, repetitive beats, were heavy influences in the band’s sound. Bands such as Talking Heads, Fishmans and Of Montreal were influential in SPAG’s sound but more so inspired the attitude they wished to present with the album.
“The wide array of influences helped shape the music into a cross of experimental hip-hop and house but presented as a rendition of more basic rock/pop through the songwriting,” Lepping said. “It feels like pop music filtered through so many different genres that it becomes entirely something else.”
Lepping is multi-faceted, though, and quickly started different projects with various MTSU students in his spare time during the semester.
So Very! is a electronic/dance synthpop band that Lepping started with Ethan Smith, Chad Shealy and Andrew Proffitt, who are all current MTSU students. Lepping, Smith, Shealy and Proffitt are all responsible for vocals with respective roles, such as the playing of samplers, keyboard, synthesizer and synth bass.
“All the members of So Very! are involved in many other projects to the point that the band becomes more of a collective, supporting each other’s efforts,” Lepping said. “Now that we’re back in school again, we take these individual projects and associate them with the So Very name in order to build a supportive, inspiring community for creatives, producers, musicians, songwriters, graphic artists, etc.”
So Very! is currently working hard on new songs and preparing tour dates. They will be releasing a single Sept. 7 on all music platforms. So Very has several Nashville, Atlanta and Charleston, South Carolina, shows in the works.
SPAG’s album “Is Chefs” is streaming on all music platforms, and they will be performing at Citrus Fest in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sept. 22.
Follow SPAG on Instagram at @bbspag and So Very! at @so.very_ for updates.
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