By Benjamin Colb
A camera crew packed into a Forest Hills apartment on May 23 to document a local indie-rock group making beautiful music together.
The band, Aloud, was one of five ensembles selected to take part in the Banded/PULSE program, established to give Berklee City Music students a close look at the creative and recording processes of working musicians.
The camera crew filmed Henry Beguiristain and Jen de la Osa, married bandleaders of Aloud, as they wrote lyrics and music for a song to be recorded at a later date.
In explaining their creative process, Beguiristain said that he and De la Osa are the band’s primary creative forces.
“Once Jen and I have the music and lyrics worked out, we get together with [bassist] Charles [Murphy] and whoever happens to be drumming for us…and work out the arrangements there”, says Beguiristain.
Founded in 1991, the nonprofit Berklee City Music gives underserved fourth- to 12th-graders interested in music access to Berklee College of Music classes. Five years ago, this program was expanded to include online education through the Berklee PULSE (Pre-University Learning System Experience) Music Method. A project of the PULSE department, Banded was founded to give music students an up-close look at musical composition from its beginning stages to its final production.
Upon hearing of this program from friends at Berklee, Beguiristain and De la Osa applied for their own feature. Out of roughly 50 aspiring bands and artists, PULSE producers selected Aloud and four other local groups out of Boston (Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library, Ghost Box Orchestra, Tumbleweed Co. and Zili Misik) for documentaries.
“[The producers] liked their well-crafted songs, energetic performance style, and innovative approaches to touring and recording,” said Audrey Harrer, multimedia creative manager at Berklee, about the choice of Aloud for participation in the project.
The songwriting process began at Beguiristain and De la Osa’s home in Jamaica Plain. The new song, titled “You Will Know,” will be rehearsed in a practice room once complete and later be recorded in a studio with bassist Murphy and, potentially, a student drummer from Berklee.
While no specific date has been set or venue chosen, Banded producers hope to put on a show featuring live performances by their five featured artists sometime in September. Harrer hopes to make their documentary available online for PULSE students to view during spring of 2012.
Aloud is already an accomplished band that has released three albums. Having met in Miami and bonded as aspiring songwriters/vocalists, Beguiristain and De la Osa moved to Jamaica Plain some years ago in search of a community more hospitable to artists. The sound of their first two records, “Fan The Fury” and “Leave Your Light On,” might best be described as indie rock, with emphasis primarily on drums and guitar.
Before recording “Exile”, their latest record, several members of their original rhythm section left the band. This development, according to Beguiristain, left room for Aloud to experiment. “Exile” is distinct in its use of piano and mandolin, and the artistic direction of the band continues to deviate from standard indie-rock sounds, Beguiristain having recently been inspired to incorporate elements of Motown into future creations. De la Osa’s smoky, powerful voice has been likened to that of Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, and the blog “Ryan’s Smashing Life” praised the lyrics of “Exile” as “honest,” “emotional” and “compelling.” The band continues to promote October’s “Exile”, so a fourth record is not yet in progress.
For more information about Aloud, see allthingsaloud.com or myspace.com/aloud.
Updated version: This version corrects a misspelling of the name of the band Ghost Box Orchestra.