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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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February 20, 2024
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February 12, 2024

Interview with Musician and UMass Boston Grad Student Andrew Eckel


Eckel’s fascination with music began at an early age when he embarked on years of professional training in both piano and percussion. Fully armed with musical knowledge and skill, Eckel knew there was no turning back – he was hooked.

While some people feel overwhelmed with the pressures of college, UMass Boston graduate student Andrew Eckel may be considered an exception to the rule.

In addition to earning his master’s degree in computer science, Eckel has built up an impressive résumé showcasing his career as a musical innovator.

Eckel released his debut album, “Summer Love Song,”in 2006, followed by 2007’s “Winter Love Song” and most recently 2009’s “Make A Laser Sound.” He single-handedly wrote, arranged, recorded and mixed the music performed on each record.

Eckel defined his style and genre as “pop music with a lot of surprises.” He added that it can be classified as pop in the larger sense of the genre. However, rock is included within his particular style as opposed to traditional pop or dance music.

Eckel sings lead vocals on all tracks in addition to playing the piano, percussion, drums, vibraphone, marimba, vibes, bells, chimes, whistles, among others that creates a funkadelic instrumental harmony.

Although Eckel is the powerhouse behind this trippy musical fantasy, he collaborates with multiple musicians on other instruments, evoking a dynamic synchronization.

Eckel’s fascination with music began at an early age when he embarked on years of professional training in both piano and percussion. Fully armed with musical knowledge and skill, Eckel knew there was no turning back – he was hooked.

Eckel’s inspirations include an array of diverse bands and solo artists. “My biggest influences are Beck, The Beatles, Tori Amos and The Beach Boys,” Eckel said. “There are ten thousand other musicians I want to add to that list, but I’ll stop there.”

Considering Eckel’s primary influences, it is no surprise that his favorite album is Beck’s “Odelay”, and he admits his most admired song is Al Green’s rendition of “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?”

Originally from Bethlehem, N.Y., Eckel relocated to Boston in 2006. That year, he expanded his enterprise by releasing the first of three solo albums and establishing a composing business called “PoetryToMusic” with songwriter/composer Colin Summers.

PoetryToMusic is a service in which people can email poetry or words to the website, and Eckel and Summers will then create a song from the proposed words.

Frequent customers of PoetryToMusic wish to present the personal songs as a gift to a significant other, for an anniversary or for holidays. On the other hand, Eckel shares a heartwarming aspect of PoetryToMusic, noting that some customers make their poems into songs to reconcile a severed relationship.

In September 2009, Eckel created an Insider’s Mailing List in which he sends subscribers a brand new song for free on the first day of each month.

“The MP3s are always brand new tracks that no one has heard before,” Eckel said. “Monthly MP3 songs can either be a PoetryToMusic song, song from an upcoming album, non-album track or something I made for fun.”

The Insider’s Mailing List also notifies subscribers of Eckel’s upcoming shows in the Boston area. This includes solo shows and performances with his band Andrew Eckel and The Undertones. Eckel is looking forward to booking prospective concerts in 2013, and he is currently working on two new albums.

The first album is a rap-inspired collection of spoken word tracks over beats. Eckel wrote his lyrics in a stream of consciousness, and his main influence for the album was alternative hip-hop rapper and producer El-P.

Eckel’s second new album will be comprised of pop songs with syncopation and harmony accompanied by contemporary electronic sounds. He is also including a style of love songs inspired by The Beach Boys and The Beatles.

Aside from his obligation to a wide variety of music projects, Eckel enjoys studying at UMass Boston for his Masters in computer science.

“I think computer science is fun to study,” said Eckel. “It’s like solving a puzzle when you have to write a computer program.”

In spring 2013, Eckel looks forward to taking two database classes as well as a course in the analysis of algorithms.

Although Eckel separates his academic life from his music career, he would like to combine computer science with an art project in music or video at some point in the future.