Graduating senior has visions of building musical network

Dan Verno performs a rap song at the Roc for the Homeless festival at Fisher April 26. (Photo by Evan Bourtis)

By Evan Bourtis staff writer

Fisher senior Dan Verno of East Rochester found a passion for writing music at a young age. One of his inspirations was attending local music festivals, where his father worked in food vending services, which exposed him to a diversity in music sytes.

“My dad used to work at the Jazz Fest, so I went to that a lot and got to see a lot of the acts. And he works all kinds of festivals and stuff that has music,” Verno said.

After his senior year of high school Verno had already written and released a couple of songs. Then, going into his freshman year at Fisher, Verno got a chance to improve his performing abilities by joining Fisher Players.

“I think joining Fisher Players was really the most important thing in furthering my performing abilities, because my freshman year, I got the lead in Heathers and that was still one of my favorite performing experiences in my life,” he said.

Through Fisher Players and other campus organizations he’s been involved with, Verno explained that he began to realize he wanted to make a career out of being a performer. Not only that, but Verno also wanted to inspire others to express their creativity and to help artists collaborate.

This was one of the reasons why Verno created the rap collective Create Society with some of his friends from high school. Verno described the style of Create Society as alternative hip-hop with self-produced beats. However, Verno would eventually like to see the group expand beyond a rap collective and use it as a platform to help artists. Verno explained that the mission statement of Create Society is to revolutionize the ways that artists connect, collaborate and create content.

“So I’m a playwright, and I wanna be like ‘hey, I’m trying to connect to someone to put music in this play and make it a musical,’ they can connect through a network,” he explained. “It’s a long term vision. Ideally there would be an app and there would be social media of sorts. But we gotta make a name for ourselves, so we’re just releasing music under the name Create Society.”

Verno would like to use his degree in Media Management to expand Create Society into a large business that helps artists. However, putting out creative music is the first step in developing this brand. “We all just want to make music and want to put something out into the world,” he added.

Currently, Create Society has put music on Soundcloud, an online audio distribution platform that allows lesser-known artists to promote their music. Verno said that the group has also put its music on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Last September, Create Society released a four-track extended play titled Lone as well as two additional tracks a month earlier. Although his entire group wasn’t with him, Verno had the chance to perform a song off of Lone, called Take Note, at Fisher’s Roc for the Homeless Music Festival. “It was the first time I had done a Create [Society] song live. And even thought it was just me, it was really cool,” Verno said.

This summer, Verno would like to perform live with his entire group. He would also like to release more music, including a song his group has been working on with another Soundcloud artist at Fisher, Morgan Yager (whose stage name is Yorgan.) “We’re probably gonna drop that soon. But we just need to rework it a little,” Verno said.

In the past, Create Society’s music has been recorded in Verno’s basement. “It’s really all in-house. It’s hard because it really is like a little business and unfortunately due to school, we’ve had to lean off it a little, but since summer is coming, were hoping to have at least a project or two to show by the end of summer,” Verno said.

As his collective creates more music, Verno would like to see the members expand their music style to one that has a more transformative sound. “My idea of good music is music that’s one, emotional, two it tells a story, and three, it transforms. So you start in one place and end up someplace somewhere else in terms of just rhythm and sound,” Verno explained.

Verno has also released music on SoundCloud as a solo ukulele artist, Danny Ukes. His passion for the ukulele and writing music also inspired Verno to found  the campus Ukulele Club, which has the goal of teaching students how to write songs, sing, and learn some basic chord progressions. “The whole goal of Ukulele Club is to show that everyone can perform music. It’s just one of those things that music is so powerful and it bring people together,” he said.

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