Team RetroPulse!

We are RetroPulse. We are a group of driven artists and musicians planning to make an impact on the music industry. Our music taste consists of a unique combination between Hip Hop, Electronic and a hint of Rhythm & Blues. Our goal is to create a sound that brings together these popular, powerful genres into a blend that well-represents the beauty of the art of music.

Team Members:

Emily Wilson - Emily’s experience in music entertainment, specifically reality television, has taught her how to be a leader in a collaborative environment. Singing as well has always been a major part of her life. She loves Hip Hop and House music and is determined to produce pieces within those genres as well as establish and advertise them as a part of a brand.

Xan Marsella - Xan has an incredible amount of experience vocally and instrumentally. She plays the ukelele and piano and also loves singing. Hip Hop and R&B are definitely within her interests, however her vocal tone tends to lead toward a more acoustic side. Xan loves performing and will work hard to develop entrepreneurial skills as an artist.

Connor McCarthy - Connor enjoys and has much experience with the production aspect of music. He loves to listen to and produce electronic music. Alternatively, Connor takes pleasure in performing songs, especially in the theatre realm. His talents with production software are a great addition to our team.

Michael Fulton - Michael produces music completely on his own and loves to create and listen to Hip Hop and Dubstep. He has worked hard on combining the two genres into an entertaining blend, which will contribute greatly to the blend within our team. His experience with playing piano and using his midi keyboard makes him a valuable component of RetroPulse.

Now just have to fill the letters with a few layers of mod podge and this shit should be good to go. This thing better last at least 60 prints. This fucking thing is taking so long to finish.

designed beautifully by connor mccarthy. executed probably not as beautifully by us.


I came to New York nervous and unsure of what to expect. I didn’t know what classes would be like, if I’d be able to understand what we learned, if I would learn the layout of the city, and who the other students were and if I’d become friends with any of them. The anticipation of that first day was completely nerve-wrecking. I remember going on our tour and not talking to anyone out of shyness. The first day of class was exciting, however, as I learned so much in one day that I felt like my brain was going to explode. This helped me calm down, although it also showed how much work and dedication this program was going to be.

As the first week continued I became more confident and fell even more in love with the program. I started to make friends with some of the most amazing people I have ever met and was becoming more outgoing and friendly. This made my enjoyment of the program go to a whole new level. I now had a group of people who were passionate and excited about the same things I was, and knew that I could talk to them about all things music without fear of boring or confusing them. We bonded over the wondrous thing that I plan to dedicate my whole life to, and that is awesome.

Classes proved to continue to be great as there wasn’t a single day in which I didn’t learn something or expand greatly upon something I knew. When we went on field trips and when guest speakers came I felt as if I was peaking behind the curtain, behind the glitz and glam of the music industry and getting a tangible understanding of what actually goes on. This awareness helps me believe that I have an advantage over many others about what I need to do to be successful in this industry, something I am immensely grateful for.

Besides learning about the music industry I learned the importance of friendship and cooperation. I’ve always known that friends are the most important people in a person’s life, but I admit that before this program I underestimated the value in building relationships with people who aren’t necessarily friends and learning to get along with them. By working in a team for our project I have learned to not only cooperate with others, but to take advantage of the creative energy between us that doesn’t exist in an individual person. It would be incredibly arrogant (and not to mention wrong) of me to say I could have created a song as amazing as the one my team, RetroPulse, made. This awareness of how powerful working in a group can be is incredibly eye-opening and makes me appreciate just how fantastic human beings can be when we work together to create something beautiful.

On that cheesy note, I just want to thank every single person I have met by doing this program. Some of you I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to, and some of you I plan to talk to for the rest of my life, but every single person has impacted me and my outlook on life in such an incredible and positive way. That is a gift I make sure not to take for granted. So I guess now all I have to say is farewell… until next time. :)


RetroPulse has been working hard at one track. We feel that if we put all of our energy into only one song as a group, we can maximize the perfection of our craft. Xan has written an incredibly emotional song that has taken our sound to a whole new level. The lyrics have a dark yet empowering meaning that we can all appreciate. With a little help from Emily on the bridge, the song came full circle and Connor and Michael got right to recording it. We’ve been working hard at recording the vocals and editing the complex track. At this point, all that’s left is fine tuning the track and vocals. We’re so excited to complete our project.

Production Workshop

Bob’s production class really showed the importance of properly layering and arranging a song. We presented two versions of a song and compared the differences between them. Certain rearrangements worked, while others did not. This is because of how the songs were layered, what was the focus, and the overall attitude of the sound compared to the original song. We recognized how adding instruments in certain areas can add color to the song, and how things like dynamics can completely change the mood. Overall it was an interesting and helpful workshop.

Songwriting Workshop

Connor McCarthy

3rd August


Part 1:

Intro, Verse 1, Chorus, Post-Chorus (Instrumental), Verse 2, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Outro

Part 2:

This song was written by Taylor Swift, Joy Williams, John Paul White, T-Bone Burnett and produced by T-Bone Burnett. It was performed by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars and was from the album The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond.

Throughout the song an acoustic guitar accompanies Taylor’s vocals and occasional plays the melody along with her. There are instruments playing with an ambient sound in the background which gives the song an eerie feel to it. When listening these sounds creep in and out and mimic wind, giving the impression to the listener that they are lost in a cave or the woods. This adds to the feeling of loneliness that is apparent throughout the song. The primary elements of the song are the guitar and Taylor’s vocals. This simplicity puts the focus on Taylor’s and what she is saying. Lyrically I appreciated how rhyming wasn’t the focus. Many of the words are close rhymes, but I don’t find this bothersome because I feel like this type of song would feel awkward or silly if the words perfectly rhymed. I also enjoyed how Taylor was talking to an individual person, and referred to things that the listener wouldn’t understand. This has the potential to make the listener disconnected to the song, but I think it just adds to the intimacy of the song. The first line of the song goes “I remember tears streaming down your face when I said ‘I’ll never let you go’… I remember you said, ‘Don’t leave me here alone”. This immediately shows how much the narrator has been through and adds to the drama of the song by letting the listerner know this song isn’t light-hearted. I also love how the verses have a negative feel to them, in contrast to the optimistic attitude of the chorus. This takes the listener on an emotional up and down throughout the song and leaves them unsure if they should be happy or sad at the end. I also appreciate the line “The war outside our door keeps raging on”. Because of the in-verse rhyme the listener focuses on how a door is such a weak defense from a war and adds a sense of vulnerability to the lyrics. The words “Safe and Sound” really show how hopeful and potentionally in-denial the narrator is about their future with this other person. It is somewhat uplifting from the overall negative mood of the song. It implies that the narrator would do anything to protect the person they’re with which really adds an emotional layer to the whole song. The lyrics of this song are incredible and emotionally in-depth. They take the listener on a mildly confusing but still great journey as the narrator tries to protect the other person they love. The song is beautiful and sad but still has a layer of optimism that keeps the listener thinking about the song long after it ends, which is a great technique to use as a songwriter. Three key production moves: simple music when Swift is singing, ambient instruments, waiting to add the drums until halfway through the song Three key songwriting moves: close rhyme, in-verse rhyme, contrast between happy and sad lyrics.

Rubber Tracks

When we first arrived at Rubber Tracks I was quite confused. The idea of a recording studio being hidden was something I have never heard of before. When we walked in I was in complete awe. The way the studio was simultaneously casual and classy was really cool to me. The visual aesthetics of the place was very pleasing and made it feel like a relaxed environment. Also, the way the studio works is incredible. The concept of allowing almost anyone come record for the whole day really impressed me. It felt very fair and allows for art and music to be of a higher quality than it would without the studio. I found Rubber Tracks to be an amazing place and it would be great to record there one day.

Post Dinner Chat

The ability to leave an impact on people and to build relationships with them is a talent that shouldn’t be underestimated. Errol and Justin showed just how important this is by explaining that people will treat you in all kinds of ways but that you should always be respectful and charismatic no matter what. Also when Justin said to just do what you want to do and to stop worrying about it, I felt inspired. I often spend too much time wondering if I’m capable or ready to do something instead of just doing it and I now realize that’s just wasting my time. Being aggressive isn’t bad, as long as getting what you want doesn’t harm others. Overall the chat was eye-opening and enjoyable, and I’ve definitely learned a lot to help me in the industry.

Punk at the Met Review

Admittedly, I was quite excited for the Punk exhibit at the Met. I was hoping for some sort of historical walkthrough of punk and how it evolved and influenced culture throughout time. However, it did not live up to my expectations. The exhibit felt empty, as if it were missing a very important element of what punk is about. I felt like I was simply walking through a try-hard clothing store. The visual display was somewhat interesting, but I feel as if the overall exhibit did not match the standards of the museum as a whole.

Kinky Boots Review

Wow. It’s hard to explain this show in another way besides “wow”. But I’ll try. Kinky Boots is a show that is the perfect combination of humor, glitz, and a tug on your heartstrings. The humor was well-timed and clever and the dialogue was well-done. The lyrics were occasionally cheesy but I never noticed during the upbeat songs because I just wanted to get up and dance. Speaking of dancing, the choreography was phenomenal. The actors all were able to pull off the most incredible of moves in such a chaotic environment. Everything was over-the-top (in a good way) and had me leaving the theatre fulling satisfied. All in all it was a fantastic performance and makes me wish I could see it again.

Legends of the Summer

Jay Z and Justin Timberlake are a combination that surprising works, perhaps due to them both being highly talented music artists. The energy radiating of off them both is highly contagious and makes for a fantastic show. The performance of the musicians and backup singers was also phenomenal. I never once noticed them messing up, which is incredible to do for an entire concert. My only complaint was the lack of visual performance. I found myself staring at the light display frequently because there wasn’t anything of interest happening on stage. However, overall it was an enjoyable and entertaining time and I would definitely go again if given the chance.

Once The Musical

I have to say, I have never seen a show quite like Once. Once approached the concept of a musical unlike anything I have ever seen or heard of before. From things as simple as starting the show before the lights go down, to the complex idea of having all the music played by the performers, Once felt incredibly fresh. When most people think of “Broadway music” things like keeping the beat by banging on a box do not come to mind. I think this shows how truly creative everyone involved with the show is, and that’s quite amazing to think about. The lyrics were deep, the acting was simultaneously humorous and serious, and the emotion displayed through the music and characters was moving. All in all Once is a fantastic musical and an experience one should not go without.

Social Media

Today I learned just how truly social media represents an artist’s brand, and how you can launch an entire business or career largely due to websites like Tumblr. Having a captivating, unique voice is important to gain attention and loyal followers, but it’s also important to be discoverable through the use of SEO, frequent tweets, and using tags that can let people have easy access to your content.


My name is Connor McCarthy and I am from Cleveland, Ohio. I am primarily a producer but I also sing and do a little bit of song-writing. I make all my music on Garageband but will occasionally use Logic Pro. I’m still trying to learn how Logic Pro works though! My music is in simple terms dance pop, but I’m all for taking influences from different genres, primarily techno, disco, and hip-hop. I consider myself a performance artist, believing that being entertaining live is one of the most important aspects of being a music artist (especially since it’s a major source of income). I have a Youtube channel, however it is primarily remixes and instrumentals with only a few demos, most of which are several years old, as I don’t want random people to copyright my original music. Here is one of my remixes. 

And here is an instrumental of Masquerade by Nicki Minaj I made.

- Connor McCarthy, Class of 2013