Off the Record: IslΔnd on Changing BC's Music Culture

“This is what we want to do. This is what we’re gonna do—but there ain’t no degree for it.”

Dan Lyle, stage name “IslΔnd,” is passionate as he discusses what it’s like to pursue a music career while studying at Boston College. The New Jersey native fiddles with some piece of musical wiring or another and looks to his impromptu performing bassist, Mike Lipari, for confirmation; they are definitely on the same wavelength.

Though this was their first time playing together since freshman year, the two juniors have most definitely not grown apart. At first listen this may seem to be the case, as Lyle distributes ambient electronic tunes on his Soundcloud and Lipari is more of a rocker at heart, which he demonstrated by playing the bass lines of “Dani California” and “Readymade” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers during sound checks.

However, their shared stance on music’s role at BC is more important than any sonic differences they may have, though those may also be dissolving; the two have tentative plans to get into the studio together soon.

The literal studio: Located in Lyons 215, the Communication Department’s Media Lab, is home to expensive recording and mixing equipment. According to Dan, the issue is “the only way you know about the space is if you take one of the two audio classes.”

Mike shares a similar sentiment as the pair carefully packs up the equipment they borrowed for their Off the Record feature: “If more people knew about this place, there would be a bigger music presence on campus.”

To the pair, music is a unique experience that everyone should have the opportunity to experiment with.

Selly Sallah / Gavel Media

Selly Sallah / Gavel Media

After all, as Mike claims with the fervor of an impassioned preacher, “You don’t have to be a music major to be good at music!” They would both like to see BC become a place where people with passion for music—or even audio in general—can thrive. Mike seems to have the answer to BC’s lack of options for those interested in this particular career path: “There need to be more classes offered in this department.”

The idea of “space” isn’t limited to Dan and Mike’s convictions regarding the Lyons recording studio, however. When asked about the significance of his stage name, Dan thinks for a quick moment and confidently replies that “the name describes the sound. The ‘island’ is like a world and I want to create songs where each individual song is its own world.” He laughs heartily, head slightly down, as the cheesy nature of his response is not lost on him. But his message is clear: He wants his songs to stand out, occupy their own space.

Dan Lyle and Mike Lipari are well aware that the Lyons studio, a top-notch resource, is vastly under-utilized. Given their intended career paths, they are also aware of the advantage the studio presents them and wish others at BC could share in the spoils. Dan leads us out as the pair does one final sweep of their near-sacred space. The man behind IslΔnd is earnest in his appeal: “This space needs to be more open and taken care of. It needs to be appreciated.”

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