3300+ Climbing Blog
It was a typical Friday afternoon for Full Sail: Students were able to enjoy their last day of classes for the month, finishing up projects, finalizing their graduation plans, or, in 3300+Climbing’s case, rushing off to The Treehouse in building 4. Because tucked away behind those dark tinted windows (you know what I’m talking about) was a packed out venue full of students, faculty, and staff. And in front of them stood award winning producer Seven_12 (Ben Parris) and Red Bull Thre3style champion/Master of the Mix winner M-Squared (Michael McPherson).
A usual Full Sail Social Scene consists of various student talent performing in front of their peers while students network with each other over simple but fun games. It’s fun entertainment and there’s always a large pool of talent in which one could scout for future projects. On Friday, when the decorated producer and DJ took the stage, people flowed into the The Treehouse from the lobby to eat up the mood that they created with their music, which was infused with personal and remixed tracks of the best records in the industry spanning across different genres including pop, hip-hop, jazz, and EDM.
Everyone was bobbing their head to the beat, especially when they spun “We gET wILD.” Ben and Michael, both very much laid back off stage, dominated the atmosphere with track after track, no breaks, and the occasional nod at each other to see how the other artist was doing. The connection they have with each other and with each other’s music is a talent itself. “It’s so natural. It’s been barely a year and we don’t see each other every day. It’s a natural communication that we have with each other,” Ben explains. Michael nods. “It’s the mutual love and respect for the music.” How they feed off each other on stage is very similar to how they both feed off the audience’s mood, hence the project Mood Designers, which is one of Michael’s projects with fellow musician Natural Phil.
But it was definitely a learning experience. “I got to see the inner workings of how a record goes from zero to one hundred.” But as for his craft, “I started teaching myself on the turntables. It was all self taught.” Michael also recounts his first paid gig as a DJ while studying at Florida Atlantic University. “I would DJ in my dorm and always get in trouble by my RA. One day a fraternity brother heard me playing and invited me to play at their party for fifty bucks. I brought my entire set up to the party and rocked out for six hours straight!” Michael has definitely come a long way from playing at frat parties. He’s played in front of twenty thousand people at SXSW, toured with Kelly Rowland, and currently has an exclusive residency at NBC/Universal.
Ben and Michael met by chance. Ben went to an industry event at Bullitt Bar with Plush Studios president Ethan Curtis last year and caught Michael spinning one of his sets. “Everyone was just standing and looking at Michael like he was Drake or something,” Ben laughs, “the mashups he put together were not standard. It was musicianship.” That night, Ethan introduced the two and they eventually started hanging out at the studio, lending an ear to each other’s work. During this time, they started working on “wE gET wILD,” which received a lot of positive feedback from fans. With the success of “wE gET wILD,” talks of a music video quickly followed. “It was awesome! The whole weight of the song came forth,” Ben exclaims. Donna Davis, a graduate student in the Full Sail Film program approached Ben about putting together a creative visual for the track. Ben and Michael were immediately blown away by her creativity and work ethic. “Donna took it farther than I ever thought. She pulled her connections with Israel and Nestor and turned it into something no one was expecting. She definitely delivered."
“Ben and Michael are great examples of whom up and coming artists should emulate. They are talented professionals dedicated to their craft. It was a pleasure to work with them on this project.” - Donna Davis
Additionally, as with the relationship between Ben and Michael, there was an open and honest communication between the talent and Donna, which she says, “increased the ease of the project’s flow.” Both Michael and Ben agree. For them, it all starts with the first interaction and a spark of interest. “It stems from the relationship and tastes in music,” Michael adds. Despite all the success, the two musicians remain extremely level-headed. Ben promises that there is no defining moment that allows one to know that they’ve made it in the industry. Despite all the awards, there is still work to be done. “I’m never really satisfied with where I am. There is always something new, to correct, to explore. And that’s what keeps me hungry. If you don’t work, the mind starts to deteriorate. It’s musical deterioration. You become stagnant and get left behind.” It wasn’t all hard work and power plays from the very beginning however. The love of music came naturally. Even though Ben sometimes saw music as a chore (simply based on growing up and watching his parents’ careers take them all over the world), he always loved music and learned to appreciate the art of music through listening sessions with his father, who made sure he knew all the classics.
There is no slowing down for Ben and Michael. Their natural connection and love for the same vibe that stems from the root of music can be seen on and off the stage, which is the perfect ingredient for an all around plush experience. “Obviously, #plushlife is associated with Plush Studios. But above all the equipment, it boils down to how you feel at the studio and the music that comes from that building. The studio and the people inside of it have always treated me like I was family. When I go there, I’m not going to a studio, I’m going into the plush life.”
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This is a blog following the students' work at 3300+ Climbing.