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When the right conditions converge, special things happen. For Berklee student band Mr. Adam Marks, Valencia provided the inspiration to form and the momentum to pursue a professional path. All five members of the band met thanks to the Berklee Study Abroad program as they enjoyed a six-month stay at Berklee’s Valencia, Spain, campus, between January and June 2016.
“I could not say for sure that we would not have formed if we weren’t in Valencia, but I do think the freedom for us to perform, rehearse, and record gave us the tools we needed,” shares Guillermo Goldschmied, 20, the bass player and backing vocals for Mr. Adam Marks.
Band members credit their progress to the access they had to facilities like the recording studios, ensemble, practice, and equipment rooms. “The equipment room had four electric basses from the Canadian manufacturer Godin and I loved all of the ones I played,” Goldschmied explains.
Lead vocalist and keyboard player Adam Marks, the band’s namesake who is studying electronic production and design, says the Valencia facilities make “a monumental difference” in the level of education and create a much more explorative experience for students, a factor that only contributed to the band’s growth as well.
During its time in Valencia, the band also recorded videos and a radio program in collaboration on campus—something lead guitarist Imam Hamdani, who is majoring contemporary writing and production, says led to resourceful connections on campus as well as from around Spain and Europe. “I was the station manager of my high school’s radio station so it was refreshing to be a part of live radio once more,” says Goldschmied. In fact, Mr. Adam Marks’ song, “Dance with You,” was aired at local radio stations, including Gestiona Radio and 99.9 Valencia Radio.
Conquering the crowds
Of course, there is nothing a band enjoys more than performing live. Mr. Adams Marks had the opportunity to take advantage of Valencia’s lively music scene, playing in eclectic electronic rock venues such as Sala Wah Wah and at festivals such as Palo Market Fest or Un Lago de Conciertos. “These opportunities allowed us to express ourselves musically,” says Marks highlighting the connection between the college and the Spanish city and the fact that Valencia is extremely receptive to Berklee musicians.
For Goldschmied, who is studying professional music, performing live provided the chance to learn about stage presence. The Palo Farket Fest festival, for example, was “a real treat,” and featured crowds who were very involved with the band’s performance. Marks also noted that he was pleased to find that small acts receive the same open ears that big names do, something encouraging for artists who are starting out.
Joining the Berklee Study Abroad program was an easy choice to make for all band members. Marks highlights Valencia’s gastronomy, affordable living, language, and good weather, while Hamdan emphasizes the ease of travel in and around Spain and Europe.
Since returning to the U.S., band has built on the momentum from its time in Spain, writing new material and playing in cities such as New York and Boston. Mr. Adam Marks is also part of the line-up for the "Gilded Fest" festival, which takes place in October in Canton, Massachusetts. As Marks puts it: “We have a family of musicians with a motivation to succeed together.”