The Student had the opportunity to talk to Naima Moore ’18, the editor in chief of the new campus music publication, AC Beat.
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for AC Beat?
A: The inspiration to create AC Beat came from a desire to acknowledge Amherst College students’ (and faculty) efforts and interests in the musical arena. I felt like there were literary platforms for subjects like the sciences, social and political thought or creative writing in general, but nothing for music. This happened after I discovered just how many students and faculty members were heavily involved or interested in music, whether they were music majors or not. I wanted to create a space where work related to the musical pursuits occurring on-campus could be appreciated and showcased.
Q: When did you start this project?
A: I started this project in Oct. 2015. The process started by talking to a number of students about the idea, and seeing how they responded to it. We formed a little group and discussed what AC Beat could become, and how we could get students to use it to its full potential as a musical database and tribute. After receiving so much support from them, the idea was brought to the music department to see if they would be equally as supportive. Luckily, they were!
Q: What is your relationship to music?
A: Music was a huge part of my upbringing. When I was growing up, music was always playing in the house. My dad would listen to artists like Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Led Zepplin, Prince and Jimi Hendrix. My mom would typically listen to Paul Simon, Feist, Eurythmics, Squeeze, Fleetwood Mac and Guns N’ Roses. Both of them loved music, and used to encourage my brother and I to sing, play piano and perform whenever there was an opportunity to. Talent shows were big at my school, so I always sang in those. I’ve tried to keep music and singing in my life wherever I am.
Q: How did the reality of producing a magazine for the first time differ from what you expected going into it?
A: The magazine was hard work! It was a little bit surreal witnessing this idea becoming a reality. I had no idea how to start, really, but I knew of others who had started publications on campus, and I knew people who were incredibly devoted to music and wanted to help it grow. I didn’t know how to design a magazine, either. Luckily, we had an amazing team who were eager to make AC Beat the best it could be. I could not have done it without their effort and support.
Q: What kinds of submissions do you accept?
A: AC Beat takes everything that students or faculty members have written, illustrated or composed that pertains to music. I like the idea of having the AC Beat submission guidelines be relatively broad so that it welcomes a wider variety of work. In the next issue, we’d like to have a calendar for all the formal and informal musical events on campus, such as a-capella, Marsh Coffee Haus, Powerhouse WAMH, Hip Hop Club concerts, etc.
Q: Who else was involved in this project?
A: As I said before, we had an amazing team comprised of students who were passionate for music. Siena Koh ’18 and Rebecca Ford ’18 were a huge help in the process.
Q: Could you see a career in music journalism or do you view this as more of a hobby on campus?
A: I had never really considered writing about music so much as I did creating it and singing. But this project opened my eyes — I realized how much I love to write about the effect a song had on me, or how a song managed to help me cope with something or alter my perspective. I think I would enjoy being involved in music journalism in the future, so I definitely think I’ll be on the look out for those kinds of opportunities to gain more experience.
Q: What is your hope for the future of AC Beat?
A: Well, in the near future, we will be hosting an AC Beat launch party on Feb. 19 in the Powerhouse to celebrate the debut issue and the first distribution of the magazines. It’ll be a sort of music showcase in order to represent the musical climate of the campus, so we’ll be having several soloists and groups from campus performing, such as Radical Enthusiasts, Naima and TBH, Lindy Labriola ’17 and Pat n’ Spilker — Jackson Spilka ’18 and Patrick Kennely ’18.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.