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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Profile: Rogue Wav Colectiv

JOSE CARMONA / COURTESY

A different type of music group

The concept of Rogue Wav Colectiv is much more abstract than it seems at first glance. They make music together, but they are not a band. Their sound most resembles hip-hop, but members hesitate to define it as such.

The best analogy to describe the group of 15 male musicians in the collective is Young Money Entertainment — yes, the record label created by Lil Wayne that frequently featured Nicki Minaj and Drake among others on tracks like “Bedrock.” They are similar not in terms of sound but rather in its member collection.

The original conception of the group started with UC Davis alumni Courtney Williams, Alex Cannon and Tavior Mowry, who wanted to create a “blog about music and to share music.”

“They were interested in different music, different from people’s commercial taste and type of music,” said group member Sean Johnson, a fourth-year cinema and digital media major. “From there it turned into those homies expanding and asking more people to work together. Next thing you know, it turned into something more than the three people at the start.”

Social capital seems to be the recipe for member growth. Johnson, for example, was introduced to the group during his official visit for the UC Davis football team, where other members also heard of the group.

There are no formal roles in Rogue Wav, making room for members to experiment with new instruments, engineering or producing. Members are even located across California, from the Bay to Los Angeles to Davis. Moreover, each member offers a different perspective and musical background — one can imagine the creative capacity with 15 members to bounce ideas off of.

“Everyone has a lot of different tastes and foundations,” said group member Rudy Lopez, a 2016 UC Davis alumnus. “That can be pretty inspiring. Someone might know a jazz drummer I never heard of and bring inspiration from them. You can run through so many different ideas.”

“The foundation of our sound is hip-hop and rap, but when you delve into your art you want to cross borders,” Lopez said. “That’s what innovation is. Everyone has their own sound that they are expanding, and even hip-hop has its own sub genres. When we think of the group in general, it is hard to define.”

For Xavier Griggs, a 2017 UC Davis alumnus, Rogue Wav Collective gives him a forum for expanding his musical experience.

“When I joined, I had the idea of us all out there making music and people can get together to make music,” Griggs said. “We’re all doing different types of things, but it is pretty easy to communicate and bounce ideas off each other. It’s really comfortable even though we all have different vibes.”

Foundational fluidity — musical anarchy, for a lack of a better term — creates the unsolidified structure of the group, and this is where the Young Money analogy comes into play. Rogue Wav Colectiv is simply a community: close friends with similar styles of music, creative gears and a willingness to contribute their talents to one another. But Lopez clarified it is not “artists and suits, but artists and artists.”

“Sometimes someone will send me a three-piece beat pack and I’ll write to it,” Lopez said. “There are other people down in L.A., and we made a visit and went to a kickback and made a track then. As a group, we have our goals and a standard we want to meet, but not everyone always performs together. We recently did the Santa Cruz Music Festival, and we had people from L.A. and San Diego come up. It’s a matter of who is pursuing what at that time and who is down and ready to perform. We play with each other when the vibes and the gigs stick right.”

The group is like a music social network, with members willing to provide opportunities and advocate for each other. Not anyone can join the group, but not out of exclusivity: An emotional pact needs to be in place for the dynamic to function.

“We are brothers,” Johnson said. “This is going to be multi-generational; it will run through our kids. I may have a service for him, and he may have a service for me. Someone may need something mixed, now I can plug him with the opportunity because I know he will do well with it. Rogue Wav has been my rock; these have been my brothers. If we can’t rock with you, we can’t rock. We discuss ideas with each other, and if you can’t listen it’s not a smooth operating working environment.”

This think tank has added a new element to the Davis music scene — one of genuine connection, brotherhood and talent.

 

 

Written by: Caroline Rutten — arts@theaggie.org

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