RPGS at Cook Farm

By Rebecca Davis

May 15, 2017

The end of the semester often brings warm weather, finals, late nights in the library, and sometimes, a student-run sound installation musical showcase. Graduate students Greg Sullo and Ryan Paluczac, also known by their collective band name ‘RPGS,’ organized a show featuring music from themselves, as well as bands from across the country, to end the spring semester on a high note.

“We organized the show as a culmination of sorts of the work we've been doing for the past two years, as I'll be leaving shortly after graduation,” Greg Sullo, who is completing his Masters in Visual Culture at ISU, said. “[People] can expect what I'm hoping is a pretty unique sound installation from us, where they'll be able to walk freely in the space as the sound moves pretty fluidly from part to part.”

Norwegian Arms performing at Cook Farm.

Norwegian Arms performing at Cook Farm.

The group worked together to organize a variety of performances and create a unique experience which mixes performance art and sound. Other bands making an appearance at the event include east-coast originated Norwegian Arms and Laser Background.

“We've built four open-baffle speakers for the show and designed the sound to play in 4-channel-surround, as opposed to the stereo setup of typical sound installations,” Sullo shared.  “Ryan's background is more of a healthy mix between fine art shows and experimental sound shows...I think we both continue to do so, because it's the best!”

Aside from building an art show/concert showcase combo, RPGS hope that their sound installation, and other similar events, will connect locals who share similar interests and provide alternative entertainment for the Bloomington-Normal art community.

Laser Background warming up on stage.

Laser Background warming up on stage.

“It's always better when people show up, but even if you're just getting together with your friends and playing music for each other, it's always a good way to spend your time...It's important to provide opportunities for people to gather together and share art, whatever that may look or sound like...and the more often you do that, the more people realize the opportunities available for them to do the same things,” Sullo said on behalf of the band. “If things go according to plan, that's how you build community.”

The members of RPGS bring to Saturday’s performance extensive backgrounds in music. Before meeting at ISU and beginning their collaboration, Paluczac and Sullo toured individually at many unique venues. A barn loft at Cook Farm is a noteworthy addition.

“I spent several years as a touring musician, playing both DIY shows and proper venues, and even a few barns,” Sullo said. “ We both started grad school here at the same time...People were telling us we had to meet one another and collaborate before we even met...We've both learned a lot from one another over the past two years, so it's been fruitful, both as a process and in terms of what we've been able to produce.”

Images courtesy of Felicia Cannon.