The Mix finds community in music

Jorge Orvananos, Staff Writer

“If you love music and you want to share your love and write something about something that you love, here’s an opportunity,” music teacher and faculty advisor Douglas Epstein said of the school’s music publication, The Mix.

After two years of inactivity, Jonathan Mong ’21 brought the publication back to the Upper Division (UD) in 2020 to give students a space devoted to music. “[Music is] one of those things that’s really just a connection across all barriers, whether they be demographics, language, or personality,” he said.

The Mix creates a collaborative environment for students who love music, senior editor Julia Grant (12) said. Grant joined the publication last year due to her passion for music. “While I’m a part of many communities, it was really nice to have a publication about music and a space to talk about music and the music business in general,” she said.

Epstein said his favorite memory of the club was reviving the publication last year. Their first meeting of the year, which took place on Monday, was also successful as many students came, he said.

“It’s great to get inspiration on what to write about from other students,” Grant said. “In the meetings, club members will bounce ideas off of each other and sometimes even collaborate on articles, which has been amazing to see.”

Epstein likes to step back during club meetings and allow the students to discuss on their own, he said. “I pitch in a couple of ideas from time to time but am very aware of leaning back and letting it be their club meeting.”

When Editor-in-Chief Ben Rothman (12) joined the publication his freshman year, it had only published a few issues, he said. “We wanted to put out an issue last year but it never materialized,” he said. “I became the Editor-in-Chief this year, and my goal is to really get out multiple issues.”

This year, the club plans to publish three or four issues, the first of which will be released before winter break, Rothman said. Each issue will cover several different types of music and artists, he said. 

“We may highlight popular music, lesser known types of music, or music that comes from the Horace Mann Community. We’re trying to include a wide variety in each issue,” Rothman said. “I hope that students get into the music that we share in the articles.” He also hopes that students who do and do not belong to the publication can bond with one another over music.

Brian Puma (10), who enjoys making music but has not written for The Mix, said that wide varieties of music are not known around the UD. He has released multiple songs which he produced and sang, and he is excited to learn more about new genres and recently discovered artists by reading The Mix, he said.

Rothman said the process from deciding what to write about to publishing has been open-ended.

“Anyone who has an interest can write about any topic related to music or the music industry,” Grant said. She has written articles about a variety of topics that will be released in the first issue, she said. “I’ve written about concerts going virtual due to the pandemic, a case study on the dying Nigerian music market, and the inequities for artists within streaming platforms,” she said. “I want to polish up my article about the Nigerian music market right now, because it’s almost 20 pages long,” Grant said. 

After that, Grant plans to write an article about the meaning behind the lyrics of “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow, released earlier this year.

Alex Rosenblatt (12) is currently writing an artist spotlight on the rock band Starset, he said. “I’m also looking to contribute a metalcore playlist because it’s a genre that I’m really into that very few people in the HM community know about,” he said.

Grant is interested in writing another article about the types of people that the music industry produces, she said. “We may even do a flowchart about what song we recommend for you,” she said.

Grant enjoys how students within the club with diverse interests in different genres are united by their collective interest in music, she said. “There are so many publications at the school, but the fact that someone joins The Mix shows that they’re not joining for the writing aspect, but rather to have a space to talk about music,” she said.