UTA’s Recording Studio helps students gain experience

UTA’s Recording Studio and Band Cherry Mantis get together and discuss their hopes for both the record label and band. 

In the Fine Arts Building, UTA’s Recording Studio sits behind a dark blue door.

Behind the door sat the Record Label Studio Management class, gathered with Luis Moreno, leader of indie band Cherry Mantis.

Moreno said he and the band’s drummer Justin King started the band in 2017, and it’s gone through many changes through the past year.

He said he wanted the band to be interesting to many people and described the sound as pop music influenced by punk, jazz and soul. He said Cherry Mantis’ goal is to create newer, fun music, with an indie-rock style.

“[It’s] simple music performed by outstanding musicians,” Moreno said.

Jenna Watenpaugh, music media senior and Cherry Mantis member, said she didn’t know what she signed up for when she entered the class, but was pleasantly surprised after seeing that it used a real-world approach to the music industry.

This is Cherry Mantis’ first album, music business senior Tori Varnes said. Her role in the class is to record the music, which makes this album special to her.

“First albums, a lot of times, can display the biggest range of emotions because you’ve had all your life until that album to experience things that go into it,” she said.

The messages with their songs have a common theme that in the end, everything will work out, Moreno said. 

He said the band is called Cherry Mantis because of the previous bass player. Moreno said he actually hated the name beforehand and still does, but it’s starting to catch on.

“Me and Justin wanted to name it, like, Kid Pineapple or something at that point,” Moreno said.

The name stuck, and Moreno said he was okay with that, describing it as indie and creative.

Music business senior Matt Smiley said the class doesn’t have any albums out this semester, so there wasn’t anything to market or sell. That is the focus for next semester.

Even though the class has been around for two years, Smiley said it’s finally starting to pick up pace.

“We just want to get music out from UTA,” Smiley said. “We want it to affect people, we want it to have an emotional impact.”

Being able to record music and send it out to the public is how he can affect people, he said.

“This is an internship before our internship,” he said.

Varnes stressed that the recording studio wants people, especially students outside of the music program, to know about what they do. It provides opportunities for others right on campus.

“People deserve to hear their music,” Varnes said. “And it sucks that so many people have so much talent but not the ability or the equipment or anything to make it sound good.”

Watenpaugh said the class provides an opportunity for Cherry Mantis to create their album with people she knows and allow them to record for free.

“I feel like if we went somewhere else, we wouldn’t be able to see it through as much,” she said. “I get to help mix it and help, like, with the recording process, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do, is see something through from the first phase all the way to the very end.”



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