San Francisco Student Housing Gives Pyramind Students a Living Space to Collaborate

  |  Jeff Straw  |  

When Jordan Sanford decided to attend Pyramind instead of Berklee College of Music there was one part he wasn’t looking forward to: housing. He found it impossible to navigate the Craigslist market in San Francisco from his home 2,500 miles away in Northern Kentucky.

Jordan creating a DJ mix

Jordan creating a DJ mix

When he got to the Bay Area, he was told about Pyramind’s Bonny House, but it had filled up before he arrived. Sanford then discovered and chose San Francisco Student Housing (formerly Summer of Love) in Lower Nob Hill that has a wide array of students across schools. Embedded in the resident population is a quorum of Pyramind students, a supportive group Sanford relies on to keep his workflow going outside the classroom.

“It’s really nice to be able to come home and still have somebody that I can bounce ideas off of. We’re up all night. I can always count on somebody to be awake,” Sanford said from the common lounge area.

Collaborations flow freely between schoolwork and personal projects. Diego Perez, an aspiring DJ and producer, received a gig to provide the music for a video shot in his home country of Uruguay. The creative light bulb came from a snippet his roommate Fernando Aragon composed.

“It started as a homework assignment for theory class that was just a piano part,” recalled Aragon from the couch of their apartment-style cottage. “The next thing I know we are up until 8 a.m. doing this orchestral composition for the video.”

Beyond shared productions, the Pyramind students at San Francisco Student Housing use each other as motivation and insight, regardless of their musical sensibilities. Sanford doesn’t focus on the progressive house and trance music that is Perez’s staple, but he still gleans techniques and arranging ideas first-hand that apply to his own tracks. A point his classmate and fellow resident AJ Marcotte echoes.

“Diego is a big motivation. Seeing what he is doing, his workflow, his lifestyle; makes me want to crackdown harder,” Marcotte said.

Even though the music production Pyramind students craft is between man and machine, human connection is paramount in both an artistic and business sense. One of Fernando Aragon’s roommates is his brother Federico, who also attends Pyramind. The siblings have been into electronic music since they discovered how to sequence and arrange beats, but until now they have lived in separate places. For years, they worked over the Internet, having the online world put unnecessary constraints on their art.

Aragon brothers working on music

Aragon brothers working on music

 “We tried to work through Skype and Dropbox, but it’s just not the same,” Fernando explained. “We always wanted to be together in one space where the only thing we’re doing is music.” 

Post Pyramind, the Aragon brothers want to move to Los Angeles in order to live in close proximity of EDM’s established players. Although Perez is more flexible with location, he understands the draw.

San Francisco Student Housing helps to stabilize student life. By cutting out the external stresses of the city—long commutes, expensive rents, isolated classmates—the Pyramind crew can focus on their passion. The musical dividends come in many forms—working on more collaborations, remixing later into the night at the on-campus studio, taking a short walk to Ruby Skye to check out a touring DJ and growing your network with musicians and artists from other schools.

Marcotte, a seasoned musician who is well-versed on a number of acoustic instruments, makes use of the residence’s unique perk: free use of its sister site Music City Rehearsal, a 16-room rehearsal space complete with drum sets and backlines in each room. Marcotte treats the space as kind of a therapy zone, a place to chill out and play without the stresses he experienced as a touring musician. In the future, he hopes to make use of the full backlines to hear out tracks.

Marcotte practicing on the drums

Marcotte practicing on the drums

All the Pyramind students at San Francisco Student Housing have different goals, some specific others more general. Marcotte’s ambition is to open up a home studio where he’ll compose music for video games and movies while being a stay at home dad; Fernando wants to make enough money to sustain himself; Perez just wants to perform; Federico hopes to be the next Skrillex; Sanford drives to keep getting better at whatever Pyramind has to offer.

“Pyramind is the only place I’ve ever been where if I leave school I’m upset,” Sanford said.

Lucky for him both the school and his classmates are close by.