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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Student mixes ‘100 Beats’

Sharing a personal diary with people usually takes a lot of courage, but junior communication and sociology double major Timothy Wynn has boldly decided to take his diary public.

Wynn’s Tumblr “diary” requires listening rather than reading. It’s called the “100 Beats Project,” and it is designed as a platform for Wynn to share his music-making passion with friends and family.

He uses the software program Pro Tools 9 to record and mix original music “beats.” Wynn said that the project will hopefully inspire people to create, find their own passion and continue to run with it.

Each beat starts with a sound. The possible results are endless, as

that sound could be a natural piano or synth or a sound bite from a film.

“I’ll hear a sound that I really like, whether it’s a rhythm or a melody, and I’ll try to reproduce it or sample it,” Wynn said.

Most of Wynn’s beats use sampled audio clips from films, such as Beat #8, “Death Before Honor,” which uses a few lines spoken by Denzel Washington in the film American Gangster.

But Wynn explained how the process varies according to the mood he is in. Much like a diary, he doesn’t make beats for the sake of making beats, but because it’s therapeutic and he enjoys sharing his thoughts and feelings mediated through music.

“There’s no set structure when creating the music,” Wynn said. “Sometimes I’ll pick up a rhythm from a treadmill, or inspiration from a story I heard from a friend.”

What ultimately sets the pace for Wynn’s project is his interaction with everyday activities coupled with another passion of his, cooking food.

“It’s kind of like cooking,” Wynn said. “For example, let’s say I want to cook some kind of rice dish. What kind of spices do I add? What kind of meat? Each song has a different inspiration, a base, and the other elements or instrumentation give it flavor. There are also phases of different kinds of music I enjoy listening to, whether it’s a hip-hop phase, rock, or big band, much like the certain foods you’re in the mood for at a particular time.”

Wynn’s philosophy for the project fuses the role of the musician with the role of the cook.

“I haven’t seen the master chef cooking beats in the kitchen live yet,” said junior economics and sociology double major Andrew Kam. “But from what I’ve seen in his videos, he seems to love every single note that he plays.”

Before starting the 100 Beats project, Wynn was in orchestra as well as jazz band throughout middle school and high school, participating in local music festivals. His first instrument was the violin, which he learned how to play in fifth grade. He would eventually go on to learn the piano and the saxophone in high school jazz band.

Most of Wynn’s academic experience has been fueled by music. However, when beginning his first quarter at UC Davis, he took a seemingly different route, deciding to double major in sociology and communication.

“I wanted to stretch myself as an artist by not combining music with academics,” Wynn said. “If music becomes an assignment or obligation with a midnight deadline, then it takes away the fun for me.”

Though he initially took a break from making music, Wynn always knew that he would make it a routine again and eventually began conceptualizing the project.

“Since coming to college, I was so busy with assignments that I didn’t have very much time at all to make music,” Wynn said. “This project has allowed me to make some time to start writing a diary as well as keeping me disciplined.”

Wynn also explains that while he composes the beats himself, it would not be nearly as productive if he didn’t collaborate and share ideas with friends. The project does not function as a marketing tool for Wynn’s music; rather, it offers a glimpse into his life and how he shares it with others.

“He makes music with no limits but with purpose, incorporating passion, joy and love for the process and the adventures and experiences that come with it,” said junior sociology major Stephanie Cheung. “An aspect that I like about his project and just Timmy’s work in general is his desire to share his experience with others.”

Wynn explained that people who want to create don’t always have to come up with a brand new invention or genre and that not all of us are here to completely reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it’s just about sharing and letting your life be heard, he said.

“I want to inspire people to create their own diary of expression,” Wynn said.

Hear Wynn’s beats at onehundredbeats.tumblr.com.

DOMINICK COSTABILE can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


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