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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Alec Sherwood gears up to release debut album

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Sherwood has been playing music since he was five. “You don’t lose anything by not looking at it,” says the Winchester, Mass. native about audio. “You don’t have to look at a guitar to play it.” 

Alec Sherwood, a junior from the University of Massachusetts Boston, is a musician who was born with an underdeveloped optic nerve, which caused the blindness of his right eye along with other vision impairments.
Sherwood has been playing music since he was five. “You don’t lose anything by not looking at it,” says the Winchester, Mass. native about audio. “You don’t have to look at a guitar to play it.” 
He moved from guitar to drums and never bothered much with sheet music. He simply relies on “which notes sounded good with others.” Now, he channels most of his creativity into Electronic music.
Sherwood has a friendly disposition and cheerfully refers to his eyesight as all he has ever known. He appears humble and self-aware; he wears a leather jacket over a black t-shirt of a futuristic man with a red mohawk and Spoc-style glasses carrying a woman in front of an asteroid. Sherwood’s blue-green irises zig-zag energetically as he talks.
“Celldweller,” he says, referring to the name of the musician whose shirt he is wearing. Celldweller, known for his fusion of rock and electronic music, is Sherwood’s primary influence as he also plays in metal and indie rock outfits. “They are mostly just for fun”, he says, and he considers his Electronic project, Company Z, to be his main focus.
Sherwood doesn’t know how to classify his own music but says that it draws upon a variety of Electronic genres and his background in Rock. “An amorphous blob of influences,” he says of himself. The music he listens to ranges from Trivium to The White Stripes to Bassnectar.
Sometimes a track of his will have characteristic of the electronic sub-genre Dubstep and other times the sub-genre House. He sometimes “chops” and uses vocal samples percussively as an instrument. He likes to manipulate the nuances of a sound wave, resulting in original noises.
Recently, the most significant change in his music is the addition of his own voice. The new vocal element has lead to writing lyrics, and with that, a new way to express. His lyrics usually take the form of social commentary, observations, and are often satirical in nature. “I like to look for the good in things, I just often don’t find it,” he jokes.
Originally from Spokane, Wash., Sherwood moved to Massachusetts and spent a couple of years living in different areas around Boston. His family settled in Winchester, Mass., where he has spent most of his life. In high school, he played guitar in the school orchestra. Through the Mass Commission For The Blind, he landed an internship with marketing company, Constant Contact, based out of Waltham, Mass. There, he worked under a blind superior, an experience he describes as “interesting.”
Currently attending UMass Boston as an Information Technology major, Sherwood says he likes the school but not the long commute from Winchester, which involves switching between modes of public transportation. He doesn’t drive on account of his lack of vision. After he completes his degree, he is hoping to find a job related to his major at a company. Further in life, he fancies that he will take on entrepreneurial ventures — something that runs in his family.
His uncle invented an anvil used for building prosthetics, selling them through a website Sherwood built. Web design, game design, and programming are also hobbies of Sherwood’s, who says he has a general love of computers.
The musician is gearing up to release Company Z’s debut album, something that he predicts will be done sometime next spring. He has altered his production setup to include a software called Ableton Live, which he says has brought an overall improvement to his sound and sparked an interest to DJ events. Sherwood also has another goal in mind, working with artists from other media. 
He is set to score a film by a Massachusetts College of Art and Design crew in the coming months, although he said he couldn’t give any more information on the subject. Sherwood is also producing a score titled Soundtrack for the Imagination, which he intends to make available to game developers and filmmakers for purchase. Commenting on this form of profiting off his art, he says that in this fast and changing world, it’s a smart idea for musicians to rethink the traditional business model.