Musical Arts
Soundstream at The Troubadour

In an era of accelerating change, the Experimental Pop program actively embraces the diverse interests and practices of individual students as they fashion their own musical paths. Experimental Pop students are encouraged to songwrite, perform, record and produce original work as often as possible, and to fully engage as a musical artist within the broader context of an art school setting, with opportunities to pursue interests in dance, visual arts, critical theory and film/video production, alongside the cultivation of musical skills.

The Experimental Pop program seeks to develop the performer-composer-producer who uses the studio as an instrument to generate new work. Students have the opportunity to receive one-on-one instruction with faculty who are active producers in the Los Angeles area to help them develop their own individual approach to self-production and take creative risks: to create disruptive sounds, to use technology “incorrectly”, and to incorporate improvisation and error into the creative process.

Although the primary focus of the program is on sonic innovation, students are also encouraged to explore pop as an inherently audio-visual-textual form. Experimental impulses rarely limit themselves to music alone but manifest in promo videos and visual albums, record artwork, performance, style and costume, even marketing, public statements and artistic rationales--particularly as most contemporary Experimental Pop artists operate within a do-it-yourself and release-it-yourself milieu.

As such, students are encouraged to think critically and conceptually about their work as a pop artist, while also cultivating professional connections with contemporary artists, recording studios and DIY entities beyond the CalArts campus--for example, by collaborating in remote production ensembles with global pop artists from Uganda, Egypt, Japan and Colombia or pursuing mentor-supported internships with cooperatively-run performance spaces or independent record labels in the Los Angeles area.


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