State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Mane Zatsko

Tawa Releases Preview of 'Everything We Need ft. Kelly Letter'

DJ Keegan Tawa released a preview of his latest piece “Everything We Need”, once again featuring vocalist Kelly Letter, and it’s a standout to say the least.

Kelly and Keegan are really on point with this piece, showing off how dynamic they can be with a song so different from their previous work. The subdued bass at the drop gives the flowing, ethereal start of the song gravity, anchoring those echoed notes even as they drift over the soundscape. The sound and lyrics have a very celestial feel, inspiring images of distant nebulae gliding through space. Don’t take my word for it though, listen for yourself!

Komet Releases New Song "Love Scene"

Penn State alum Komet released a new song called “Love Scene” this Tuesday through his label Hard Dance Nation!

Check out the preview on his page at beatport.  It’s got that pounding hard dance sound that conjures images of jumping bodies and flashing lights, but then it chills out with melodic synths giving you a chance to breathe.  Support the artist and buy original mix or radio edit for $1.99!

Deadmau5 Hacked by Anonymous

Late last night, Deadmau5’s twitter, Facebook, and iPhone got hacked by the group Anonymous, and it was funny/confusing for everyone except Deadmau5.











His twitter bio, location, and everything was changed to to the words “Expect us,” and his tweets were the same; they even made his profile follow their YourAnonNews twitter handle… lol.














Why Anonymous did this is anyone’s guess, though hopefully it turns out to be a harmless April Fool’s joke. Otherwise, why would they start the #MillionMau5March at the END of March…? The answer is most likely “for the lulz”

PS-U Oughta Know Artist: Jake Baker

Every artist big or small has to start somewhere, and Penn State is home to a lot of great local artists trying to get that start, including Mr. Jake Baker.

Jaker Baker performing at Webster's Bookstore & Cafe

Jake Baker didn’t just start his musical pursuits in college, though.  Growing up seeing his father constantly play guitar inspired him at the age of 6 to try his own hand at the instrument, and it hasn’t appeared to have left it since.  After being pointed in the right direction getting basic tips from his dad, Jake went off on his own to figure out the rest. Learning to play the guitar by ear, Jake’s story resembles that of many musically minded young men right down to his first band Almost Famous formed in 5th grade; naturally they played Blink-182 covers.  Arlandria, his next band, was more creative with an electro-rock, The Cure influence, but that was his freshman year of high school and Jake’s realized his style aligns more with the solo artist, singer/songwriter category since then.  Still it wasn’t until much later (this past Thanksgiving actually) that Jake started writing his own songs in earnest, and hopefully he’s sticking to it because he’s got talent and an awful lot of potential.  His influences are rooted more in Jack Johnson/John Mayer-type music now, but judging from the artists he gets hooked on week to week, his sound is not going to be tied down to any one genre.

This is one of Jake’s originals, “Fallen Dreams,” being performed at a Songwriters Club open mic event in East.  It’s a nostalgic song with happy guitar, reminding the listener of the better times his honest, somber lyrics take them back to.  When asked if it’s hard to write such honest music he said, “No, if I’m going through a tough patch, writing a song is how I get through it, it’s my way of expressing myself. It’s easier to write it and perform it than tell someone about it.”  The songs he writes might be therapy for him, but for his expanding audience they’re a fresh breath of spring after a cold winter (something we could ALL use right now!).  Another song he performed at the same open mic, “Swallowed by the Sea,” features more upbeat guitar with similar lyricism, alluding to the negativity we encounter in life without letting it get us down.


The writing process for Jake is music first, lyrics later, which makes for a very organic sound; rather than try to fit music to words, Baker listens to what the chords sound like they’re about and goes from there.  As a songwriter he’s very conscious of not letting his music get the best of him, always trying to do something new with each jam that catches his ear.  Jake says when he’s stuck on a song, especially with structure, he always has his dad for advice, so his father is still a big influence on his music now.

As you may have noticed, Jake Baker doesn’t have any official recordings he can show us, but with some support from the community here at Penn State we might be able to motivate him to make that a priority!  “I want to find out my songs are on people’s iPods,” says Jake, mirroring the desire/struggle of most musicians.  Recordings are his goal and that’s good to hear if we want to hear more of him.  His short time so far spent with Songwriters Club has gotten him onstage a few times, and being in the club has benefitted him and other members alike through their mutual respect of each other’s songwriting techniques.  Jake Baker knows he has a voice, so now it’s up to his fellow Penn Staters to show him he has an audience to hear it!

Tawa Officially Releases "Beauty Screams"

“Fractured, faded memories, serenity, is slipping away. Shadows, falling over me, enclosing me, day after day.”

Keegan Tawa and Kelly Letter performing at Battle of the Bands, photo by JRabbit

Those lyrics open “Beauty Screams,” the latest song by Keegan Tawa, and what a song it is. Keegan released this tune the Friday before Battle of the Bands and then performed it live onstage with singer Kelly Letter. The energy during the show was crystal clear to audience members; Kelly Letter is a born performer and no stranger to the stage, and anyone who’s seen Tawa rocking a set before knows his passion for the music he makes. Any song that’s this fun to jam out and dance to gets everyone going, but Keegan Tawa’s attention to detail is what sets it apart from the rest.

Kelly, Keegan, and Niki Epps, who also performed with Keegan, before their set at Battle of the Bands.

With Keegan’s production, Kelly’s vocals burn clearly through the foggy chords opening the piece, building quickly as murky synths bleed up from below the surface to meet the modest hi-hat, starting the pounding beat that gets your toes tapping and your head nodding in time before you know it. After hearing a few different versions of this song throughout its production, its evolution seems even greater to me now.

The builds are short and sweet, making the song poppy without sacrificing substance. As if cried out over a great distance, the impact of the words is felt in every individual note, a perfect marriage of syllables and sound. A decent part of the allure for this piece is the arresting lyricism provided by Myles Billard; his poetically-minded craft focuses every word’s meaning and connotation to the song’s advantage, with no room for generic lyrics. Keegan’s style shows through the entire song until its finish under quiet piano, holding out each distended chord ‘til it floats downward to a close.


All photos compliments of Jonny Rabbit

Beauty Screams Lyrics: 


Fractured, faded memories, serenity, is slipping away 

Shadows, falling over me, enclosing me, day after day


But in my dreams I’m in between the moments of time,

Beauty screams inside the seams of all I find

Shattered kiss, scattered bliss,

Fragments of forgotten love I miss;

My fleeting heart, forever to fake, 

 It’s beating parts, have too much to take;


So forgo from rapture, such tragedy,

No moments can capture, what I used to be;

So forgo from rapture, such agony,

No beauty there after, no memories…

Keegan Tawa Releases Preview of "Beauty Screams"

Keegan Tawa is giving fans a two minute preview of his upcoming single “Beauty Screams” featuring Kelly Letter!

The song will be fully released on March 21st, but these two minutes should hold fans over until we can rock out to it after spring-break.  Check out Keegan’s Facebook page or SoundCloud to hear his other music, enjoy the teaser now, and look out for the whole song come March 21st!