Visualizing the sound scene

In the age of digital streaming and Soundcloud rapping, the blending of music is the new wave. These Northwestern students harness the power of music and rhythm to express themselves to the world with fresh combos of genres and form. See them in action from rehearsal to the stage.

Photos by Carly Menker and Sakke Overlund

Debbie-Marie Brown and Co.

Songs to check out: "Bedroom," "As You Are" - available for streaming on Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp

"My song writing process is very honest and reflective of the particular way that I’m feeling. I think it’s really important for me to be in touch with my emotions because I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which is an emotional instability disorder. Having BPD is a very chaotic experience. Songwriting in high school and church has always helped me maintain my emotional state. The experience of performing physically and spiritually resonates with me and calms me."


Songs to check out: "Boyfriend," "Cali Cash" - available for streaming on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and Deezer

"The music scene on campus is super diverse; people are making a ton of different sounds. We offer a party vibe and rap really well. We also have a thing that we’re promoting – a movement. Free Planet is not just us, it is an idea for everyone to adopt that we try to express through clothing and film. We try to blend our art, not just music."

Honey Butter

Songs to check out: "We Can Be," "February," "Just Begun" (releases Jan. 1)

Upcoming: Tuesday, Dec 10, Wednesday, Dec 11, sets @ 9 PM. Check out Facebook for ticket links and more information

"What we’re doing is like R&B pop with jazz influence. We just started to discover that lots of people think of us as a jazz band and we’re honestly still grappling with what we actually are. Does it even matter what people think of us as?"
"None of the way my brain works when I’m playing for the jazz department is anywhere close to how I work with these people. I think it has to do with how we don’t have professors. We’re not playing under the direction of anyone other than us."

Morning Dew

Songs to check out: "Skylights," "Champagne," "Coffee"

"We spend a lot of time with Straight-ahead jazz and Swing, and we wanna blow our brains out half the time. What I love so much about this band is having an outlet for music that I have full control over. As jazz majors, we’re studying more complex and inaccessible music that casual music listeners wouldn’t necessarily know. Sometimes we have to take a step back and ask, “Will everybody be able to get down to that and just groove at the end of the day?” We try to stay rooted in what’s gonna feel good to our audience. We try to lean into the R&B, pop, jazz fusion kind of vibe. You come to listen to us to dance and bop."


Favorite tap step: Crawler

"I think I just like making noise. Tap is very rhythmic, and I think it’s just really free compared to other dance forms. It’s a blend of music and dance. All dance requires a sense of musicality, but with tap, musicality is integral to it. The basis of it is the music you are making with your feet."
"Currently TONIK incorporates elements of hip-hop, contemporary and other styles of dance along with more traditional rhythm tap in our student-choreographed pieces. Our group is a community that brings people from many different backgrounds together – united through a love for rhythm-making."


"I’ve been drumming for about 10 years, but before this I’ve never done anything that was not on traditional drums, which is really cool. I’ve learned that performing doesn’t always have to be the most artisitic thing. It can be fun, exciting and energetic. It has shown me that you can open up , have a good time and just enjoy the experience. The music that we are playing is super upbeat, a lot of electronic stuff. Since we’re playing on unconventional materials and also playing with dancers, it just brings a whole new level to the performance and makes it that much more exciting."