Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose with the debut album, Songs From The Arroyo. Photo by Kyleigh Carter.

Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose with the debut album, Songs From The Arroyo. Photo by Kyleigh Carter.

The appropriately named label Arroyo Records is one of the latest hits coming out of the Contemporary Music Program. Founded by Department Chairman Horace Young at the beginning of the year, the label is an innovative new program that allows CMP majors to jump into the industry without ever leaving Benildus. The non-profit organization tries to give back as much to the students as possible and allows their work to be recorded, printed and distributed at no charge.

It only took approximately 30 days for the label to get off the ground and start producing content, according to Young. With a demo CD that was already produced by the department in 2013, not under the Arroyo Label, it was only a matter of organizing.

“I didn’t micromanage the situation, I went with their (students) ideas, and they made all the decisions,” Young says.

Label commission talking about future projects. Photo by Kyleigh Carter.

Label commission members discuss future projects. Photo by Kyleigh Carter.

Everything from the label’s name, down to the CD art are all decisions made by students. The student-run aspect of the record label is the key philosophy of the program. The Arroyo Records official course is listed as The Interdisciplinary Arts Collective, but may change in the future. Enrollees include students from Graphics Arts, Film, Photography, Creative Writing, Business Management and, of course, CMP.  The students in the course also serve as the label commission and make decisions on videos, marketing, art work, pricing etc.  

Matt Ruder, a new member of the label commission said,“It [Arroyo Records] has the potential to be really great, last semester was the first time SFUAD attempted the project. And now they have a map of what steps to take, with a body of people that are very dedicated.”

Sounds from the Arroyo, the label’s debut compilation album, published on Aug. 27.  The 11-track album includes work fromThe Maya Spectra, Flato/Lucio, The CMP Rock Combo, Ronnie “Lunchbox” Hernandez, The Laser Cats, Michael Filipelli, Bird Dog And Goat, Willa Snow, CMP Balkan/Mideast Ensemble, Venus and the Lion and Nathan Smerage. CDs will be sold at campus events—the cost is yet to be determined, but all the proceeds go straight back to Arroyo Records with no profit turned by the label. 

Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose, a CMP student played in the Balkan Ensemble, wrote the Laser Cats song ‘Goat’s Foot Waltz’, and played bass for An Old Time Wedding Song on Sounds from the Arroyo. He says “Arroyo opened my eyes” that aspects of recording he thought “were relatively simple can be difficult.”

Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose  who is featured in Sounds of The Arroyo. Photo by Kyleigh Carter.

Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose who is featured in Sounds from the Arroyo. Photo by Kyleigh Carter.

As far as ownership of Arroyo’s original material, “students maintain 100 percent of their copyrighted material,” Young says. Any CD that Arroyo produces serves as a promotional tool, but musicians are free to sell their own work independently, and keep the gross profit. 

While Arroyo certainly spotlights CMP students, Young says, “We are accepting submissions from anyone with a raw recording of their own music from outside the department.” Even if you have no musical inclination at all, but you have some lyrics tucked away from a rainy day, there may be a chance to work with an artist and turn your words into a full fledged song. Students outside of the CMP department, would have to connect with students who have been trained on the equipment in order for the production process to happen.

The studio is open for people from the community too, purportedly at a low cost. When Jackalope asked Young exactly how much the fee would be for outside talent to come and book a session he said, “I can’t go on record because it’s that low.” The department is very much encouraging community talent to come in, not only for their benefit, but as a way for students to work in a real world atmosphere.

Arroyo Records is currently working on two projects, including the new compilation CD that should be coming out sometime in March of next year and a country music soundtrack with the Film Departments, Shoot The Stars Program ®. As far as the big picture, the plan is to turn the space into a fully functioning recording company and eventually bring acts from not only Santa Fe, but all over the country. There are also talks going on about a distribution deal with Laureate schools from around the world, so if you find yourself studying abroad and are feeling a bit homesick you can just walk down to the school’s bookstore and pick up a copy of the latest Arroyo project and ride out the blues.

Horace Young guides the class in talks about the new album. Photo by Kyleigh Carter.

Horace Young guides the class in talks about the new album. Photo by Kyleigh Carter.