Sophomores Jordan Altergott and Kylie Ketchner were writing music reviews on their laptops at a table in the UMC when I arrived. Tucked away from the chaotic ebb and flow of students on a cold day in early winter, they concentrated on their work, energy drinks at hand.
Curious about the student organization Crave the Sound, I met with them last semester to talk about their zeal for sharing the diverse music in Boulder and Denver through writing and photography.
Altergott and Ketchner are editors at Crave the Sound, a collective of music journalists based at CU Boulder who connect audiences with new music through concert reviews, artist profiles and photo galleries. They oversee a staff of 11 writers and photographers dedicated to creating high-quality, wide-ranging music journalism with an emphasis on local talent.
Students gain professional-level experience, get to flex their writing and interview skills, submit press requests to publicists, write concert reviews, and profile musicians. Photographers can get up front in the photo pit allowing them up-close experience at concerts.
It’s such a fun space for people to come into. I didn’t edit anything before this year and now I’m the head editor. It’s learning how to do things and understanding it’s like a playground where you can try out things. It’s like a bouncy house where you can jump in and throw yourself around creatively.”
Pop-punk, rock ‘n’roll, hip-hop, heavy metal, country, funky-soul and occasionally more avant-garde sounds are some of the musical genres they cover.
A willingness to be empathetic and open, along with their shared love of music, connect Ketchner and Altergott with the people they interview. They pride themselves on the relationships they have built with musicians.
Sharing the local music scene
Ketchner is a communication major at the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI) with a minor in media production. She is also working on a writing certificate. As editor of written content for Crave the Sound, she enjoys telling musicians’ stories.
“The reason I love music journalism so much,” Ketchner said, “is that it contexturizes the stories of our favorite artists. Being a musician is not an easy path. There’s a lot of emotion bubbling under the surface that they need to tell in song. When you have that context of their story, their songs mean so much more.”
Ketchner grew up on Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and other classic rock her dad listened to. She liked that music, Ketchner said, because she’s a drummer and appreciates music well played.
Now she listens to hip-hop, particularly Kojey Radical, Brockhampton, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, and Bas. But she still has a “sweet spot for some of the oldies” like The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Talking Heads (she has a “This Must Be The Place” tattoo).
“Music journalism is in a weird shifting point now, as it’s trying to adjust to social media,” Ketchner said. “One of the problems facing music journalists is that there isn’t a lot of amateur starting points for music journalists to train in. At Crave, we’re training students the professional etiquette of how to work in the music industry.”
Everything we do at Crave is a learning experience, which is awesome, because if we stop learning, then what’s the point?”
Capturing the energy of a concert
Altergott is photo editor at Crave and considers herself a music nerd. She studies strategic communication at CMCI.
Through her photography, Altergott strives to convey the energy and beauty of live concerts. From the very first show she photographed in 2014, Altergott was hooked. Inspiration swells when she is able to work more intimately with an artist.
One of her favorite profiles was created when she and Ketchner worked with a local band called Gestalt.
“Kylie wrote the profile and I did a photoshoot,” Altergott said. “I think it’s our best work so far. It’s a beautiful profile that was amazingly written. And I think the photos went with it really well. It told an important story for both of us.”
Altergott grew up listening to pop-punk, alternative and heavy metal. The Los Angeles punk band letlive had a big impact during her formative years, because of the powerful storytelling in the lyrics and the influences of soul incorporated into the hardcore metal music. Some of her favorite musicians include Dermot Kennedy, Microwave, and The 1975, and she has a soft spot for early-2000s emo music.
“As someone who is deeply sentimental,” she said, “the best part is being able to capture live music in an authentic way that also touches on fine art and then translate the energy of the room into a photo.
“Everything we do at Crave is a learning experience, which is awesome,” Altergott said, “because if we stop learning, then what’s the point?”
For more information, go to Crave the Sound.