A Chat with Andrew Renault about Wilks Live Music Floor

The Wing-Davis-Wilks complex is home to a new special interest housing program, the Wilks Live Music Floor. This community is designed for musicians and live music enthusiasts who are interested in being in a community that values live music. Individuals within this community have access to the Wing-Davis-Wilks practice space and are encouraged to perform and bring in live music for the complex. I recently interviewed one member of the program, Andrew Renault (Class of 2007), about his experience with the Wilks Live Music Floor so far. Vermont Cynic: Why did you personally decide to live on Wilks Live Music Floor? Andrew Renault: I’m huge into electric guitar and played with a band for a while at home. My biggest priority this year was to seek out a few musicians I could mesh with and hopefully create something unique. While UVM and the Burlington area have a pretty healthy live music scene for the size, there isn’t much in the way of musician to musician networking. When I heard of the this new Live Music Floor, I jumped at the opportunity. VC: What does the floor do as a group on a regular basis (or as one-time activities), if anything? How much interaction is there between residents of the floor? AR: It’s very similar to any other floor, just several decibels louder. Though some prefer to keep to themselves, the floor is generally one big, happy, loud family. We cook and clean together, we study together, we go to shows together, we go on trips together, we jam in our rooms and our little practice space together… It’s community in a very live and exciting way. VC: What are the goals of the Live Music Floor for the semester or year? AR: Considering this is the first year for such a floor at UVM, our goal is survival. Like any new program, kinks need to be worked out, issues pop up and require addressing, leadership still needs to be established. I hope that the floor becomes more active in the live music community at large sooner rather than later, but it’s definitely going to take some time. More than half of the residents are freshman to boot, and we all know that figuring out college is a huge hurdle in and of itself. Next on the agenda: We would really like to start a weekly open mic/concert series in the lounge, something a lot like the rhythm and brews coffee house in Living/Learning but geared exclusively to music. VC: Are many members in bands or other musical activities besides the Live Music Floor? How, if at all, are these incorporated into the Live Music Floor? AR: The whole point behind the Live Music Floor is a place to connect and get the juices flowing. We have a number of music majors on the floor, a few kids in the percussion ensemble, some students have their own bands, plenty more are in the process of starting their own. Musicians from all over campus come over and play with us. Everyone brings their talents to the table and contributes. There are also quite a few residents that don’t play an instrument, but I think they enjoy it all the same. VC: Any noise complaints from other residents of Wing Davis Wilks or the police or whatnot? Are rules generally followed? AR: Oh definitely, the floor wouldn’t be legitimate without some sort of legal action involving our volume level. I have been personally warned and written up for noise violations courtesy of my Marshall stack, quite a few others have gotten into the same trouble as well. At the beginning of the semester, nearly everyone on the floor was under the impression that we could use our lounge to jam at rehearsal levels and that we could play in our rooms, as long as it was before quiet hours. It came as quite a shock that we couldn’t at all… I mean it’s called the Live Music Floor, and I don’t think the university was under the impression that the corridors would be filled with the soothing sounds of cello and piccolo flute. Lately, people have chilled out on both fronts and we have a spot where we can play relatively loud for a few hours during the daytime. Not perfect, but much better than not being able to at all. VC: Are the rules about noise the same for the Wilks Live Music Floor as the rest of Wilks? AR: Rules on noise are the same for all of Wing-Davis-Wilks, I believe: don’t make too much of it our you’ll have 3 RAs at your door. VC: How do you feel that living on this floor has shaped your year thus far? Has it been a positive or negative experience? Would you recommend it? AR: If you’re a hardcore musician or really enjoy live music, I don’t think you could find a better place on campus. It has been absolutely amazing for me so far. I have learned so much from the other musicians on the floor, I think they all have too. Everyone is growing together. The aura and organic quality to the way of life here is hard to beat if your an avid music lover.