Section: Arts

Mile$ and Hoolian fuse hip-hop, R&B and jazz at Kenyon

Mile$ and Hoolian fuse hip-hop, R&B and jazz at Kenyon

As musicians, Kenyon seniors Mile$ and Hoolian (Miles Shebar ’20 and Julian Shaw ’20) draw inspiration from a variety of genres, blending them to develop a unique style of sound.  The music they create ranges from transient and dreamlike to energetic and dynamic. They each produce their own music in addition to collaborative work.

Shaw and Shebar met each other before coming to Kenyon, during a visitation weekend. Shaw saw Shebar wearing a Fool’s Gold record label T-shirt and they began talking. They quickly realized that they shared similar music tastes and interests.

When Shaw started at Kenyon as a first year, he was a trombonist for the Kenyon Jazz Ensemble. Shebar wasn’t directly involved with any music program at Kenyon, but he was quickly drawn into the music scene on campus. “We made some goofy rap songs in my Lewis dorm room,” said Shebar. “I went to the first Horn open mic and just played a set of the things I’d been working on in high school and over the summer.” Over the course of their first year at Kenyon, both Shebar and Shaw began experimenting with the production side of music.

Now, as seniors, Shebar and Shaw continue to collaborate and support each other’s musical endeavors. “We are each our own musicians, but since the year started, I’ve been supporting Julian’s solo material as his DJ,” Shebar said “We’ve worked together in the past on instrumentals and we’ve been working together since freshman year in general. We don’t always come as a package. He sings and plays guitar and produces. I produce and mix and master and DJ.”

Shaw describes himself as both a producer and a songwriter. He likes for his music to transition from an ambient sound into something more melodic. For Shaw, the draw of production and mixing is the ability to control his own sounds and effects.

He and Shebar both characterized their music as hip-hop-inspired, but Shaw added that he is also influenced by R&B, jazz and Brazilian styles of music.

Shebar and Shaw are always striving to experiment and try new styles, but they still draw from their past experiences. “I think that playing in a jazz band, or really any band, orchestral or jazz … with a bunch of people who are playing different parts, you start to realize how they weave together. It gives you an ear for arrangement,” said Shaw.

Music is an important part of life at Kenyon for Shaw and Shebar. They both plan to continue pursuing music in some form after they graduate.

Together, they cultivate a dynamic sound that utilizes a combination of instruments and samples to create a surreal energy. Aside from frequent performances on campus, both Mile$ and Hoolian’s music are accessible on Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music.

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