Jack Klotz, vice chair of the department of media studies and production, has big goals for Bell Tower Music, Temple’s student-run record label.
“To make a million dollars,” said Klotz, instructor of the course Bell Tower Music is operated through. “No, I jest. Basically, the shorthand way I like to put it is, our mission is to celebrate Temple musical talent.”
Bell Tower Music is operated through the media studies and production department’s Recording Industry Practicum within the Klein College of Media and Communication and aims to provide students with real-world experience in preparation for entering the music industry. The label has three artists currently signed: RUSHIL, Grace Torna and Blood Bücket who all release music on Spotify and Apple Music and have upcoming music projects in the works.
Klotz uses his prior experience as a musician, sound engineer and label executive to make the course similar to the music industry.
He refers to Bell Tower Music as a music brand development agency because of the wide variety of services the label manages. The label has a television series through TUTV, titled “Live From Studio G,” which features live performances from signed artists. The agency also manages all of the marketing of its artists’ music.
Bell Tower Music artists are scouted by students working in the agency’s artists and repertoire department. Artists are offered a one year, non-exclusive contract in which they split half of the profits with the label, wrote Klotz in an email to The Temple News.
Rushil Vishwanathan, a senior entrepreneurship and innovation management major, started singing when he was six years old, but did not start to pursue music seriously until he came to college.
Today, Vishwanathan’s music blends R&B, pop and hip-hop. Although some songs are based on lived experiences, Vishwanathan often writes music based only on a chord progression.
“I love just sitting down and like laying down a minor chord progression and building off of it and making a song out of that, even though it’s not really something that I’m going through at the time,” Vishwanathan said.
Vishwanathan released his single “Paranormal” with Bell Tower Music last November and recorded his own “Live From Studio G” session, which will be released this spring. He is currently working on producing another single through Bell Tower Music to be released this semester.
Vishwanathan focused more on the creative aspect of his music instead of the technical process because of the support he has received through his work with Bell Tower Music.
Blood Bücket is a heavy metal band that began making music together in December 2021 and is composed of senior Dylan Ergott, junior Damian Marx and sophomores Dex Giglio and Benjamin Glassman.
Working with Bell Tower Music has made the recording process easier, especially for things that are more time consuming like drums, said Ergott, a history major.
The group will release two singles through Bell Tower Music, entitled “Protestant Altercation” and “Thralls of Hell.”
“We’re really looking forward to how the songs hear when they’re mixed because we’re really pleased with the way everything came out just while we were in there,” Ergott said.
Grace Torna, a senior political science and music double major, has made music her entire life, but did not emotionally connect with it until she started to find her own sound and move away from classical music.
Torna signed with Bell Tower Music in the Fall semester, writing and recording pop music with R&B influences. She also recorded a “Live From Studio G” session, which has not been released, and is working on an EP, which is planned to be released in April.
Working with Bell Tower Music has given Torna the opportunity to experiment more with her music and work outside of her comfort zone by providing a safe space, she said.
In addition to having more live performances and working in co-writing sessions, Torna looks forward to marketing her pieces through Bell Tower Music.
“I’m excited to get to the marketing side of it once we finish the EP too, like photoshoots and everything like that, just because we didn’t get to do that much last semester,” Torna said.
Klotz hopes that Bell Tower Music can exist as the first step toward working professionally in the music industry.
“Whether the people who want to be producers, engineers, marketers, managers, agents, what have you, we aim to be their first step,” Klotz said.