By Emma Cummings-Krueger (Original URL)
Turn up the volume: Joel VanBrocklin ’02 has just released his fifth musical collection online and in stores. A native of Northern New York, VanBrocklin began composing and recording music independently in his dorm room as a sophomore. After a career of nearly 15 years under the pseudonym Ender Bowen, he dropped his latest Lemonymix last Tuesday.
VanBrocklin released his first collection Neon Apocalypse while still a student at St. Lawrence, and his second album dropped the year after his graduation. The initial music reviews may be found in 2001 and 2003 editions of The Hill News, respectively. This SLU support is continued through the sale of his 2015 album, now available at the Brewer Bookstore. In the years since graduation to date, VanBrocklin has released five albums, three EPs and one single.
Lemonymix is, according to VanBrocklin, “a remastered 10th anniversary reissue of my third album, Lemonymous, along with Lemonymix, a completely new companion CD of remixes and alternate takes.” As an electronic and synthetic compilation, Lemonymix is comprised of 12 full-length songs.
Following his graduation from SLU, VanBrocklin relocated to Nashville in 2006 to pursue his dream of music production. After a record deal leading into 2008, he tired of the industry and shifted his focus away from music toward television. But, with the birth of his daughter in early 2014, VanBrocklin decided to revisit his dream.
“I felt a renewed sense of who I am and what I wanted to do – primarily to show my daughter that you should never give up on your dreams no matter how hard it gets or what’s stacked against you,” he said. “At 35, with a child and a mortgage, the table is stacked against me and it will be harder than it ever was to make this happen, but I’m not giving up, and I’m going to show my daughter that no matter what she’s passionate about, you stick through it to the end.”
In reference to his most recent release, VanBrocklin said: “I chose to reissue Lemonymous before anything else because I feel it best exemplifies what I am capable of. It’s dancy and electronic in some places, experimental and ambient in others, and just plain pop/rock in areas, too. In many ways, it’s the best of what I have done and a precursor to what’s to come.”
Those here at The Hill News agree with VanBrocklin. The mix of sounds and genres featured in Lemonymix is quite striking. Starting off on a dark and emotional track in “Hide and Seek,” the playlist progresses quickly toward upbeat tunes and low heart-pumping beats.
“I could definitely study to some of the tracks, the instrumentals take a front seat in some of my favorite songs,” said Elizabeth Lucas ’16.
VanBrocklin’s Ender Bowen releases are available online (via iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and others) and on shelves at the Brewer Bookstore… Learn more of his story [on his website].