By: Molly Shadle
Reading articles about artists is interesting enough, but what about those of us who consume the music and are part of the community and experience that comes from the music created by or favorite bands and musicians? I had the opportunity to sit down with Ryan Hoke, a student here at West Virginia University, who makes music a huge part of his life (and budget).
Ryan is a Senior Religious Studies major, originally from Charleston, WV. I asked Ryan questions about the his personal relationship with the music culture in Morgantown and what he thinks it means for the city’s future.
Molly: How involved would you consider yourself in the music scene here in Morgantown?
Ryan: Well, I would say that where the majority of my money goes, and I know a lot of people who perform. A lot of my friends are DJs here or work at the venues, in fact that’s my roommate playing music right now.
M: So you, yourself do not play any instruments or in a band?
Ryan: I do not play, I would consider myself the appreciater, they (musicians) need me to appreciate and enjoy their creations. That’s definitely one of my favorite things about being friends with artists here, is the joy they get out of playing for people who in return get joy out of their music… it’s a great thing.
M: Even though you aren’t a performer yourself, how has music had an influence on your life?
Ryan: Well, I’d say that one of my favorite things to do in the entire world is dance and I need music to dance to, so it’s been a very valuable source of joy in my life. And like I said that’s where the majority of my money goes… It’s just the entire culture of music and people that surround it that can put such a large group of people in such a good mood…it’s a bonding experience.
M: Would you say that’s the most important part of music in Morgantown is to you personally, the bonding experience?
Ryan: Obviously it’s a big part of it, not everyone shares the same taste or values, but music can bring people together to dance and express themselves in a positive way.. it’s a great way to unify people and find connections.
M: That’s awesome, so what changes do you see happening to the music culture here in Morgantown?
Ryan: One of the most influential changes recently in my opinion would be the addition of Mainstage..
M: Before Mainstage was in Morgantown, where would you go to see live music?
Ryan: Before… the usual place I would go to see music would be 123 Pleasant St. but, even then they (123 Pleasant St.) weren’t necessarily getting that large of names… Sometimes places like Lux or Bent Willy’s might have a prominent DJ or two play there. Now with they addition of Mainstage we are seeing headliners and huge names that most people would never think would come to Morgantown.
M: Where would you say you see music in Morgantown in the future then?
Ryan: The way it looks to me is that Mainstage will continue to have prominent artists, and the more of us that go to the shows will make Morgantown an even bigger hotspot for artists to come to. I guarantee that the music scene is going to grow, it might not be as large as places like Pittsburgh but I can definitely see us getting up there.
M: How do you think that will impact Morgantown as a whole?
Ryan: I personally think that it’s going to be a very positive impact, of course. It’s going to attract a lot of visitors from not only out of the city but out of the state to come, so it’s definitely going to improve tourism…which will bring more people and ideas.. and hopefully create a more colorful culture overall. I think the best thing that could happen the expansion of music culture in Morgantown is to alter even more so the views of people here to more accepting of diversity and the arts and new ideas.
Molly: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Ryan: Morgantown has the potential of being a very great, creative, and unique city and I would definitely like to see that grow over the next couple years.