Freshman DJ Sterling Flow drops dorm room grooves smooth enough to get through any study session.
Sterling Flow, also known as Gary Ellison, (freshman-secondary education) had been making beats for less than a year in his hometown of Oaks, Pa., when he came to Penn State this fall. He’s been gradually releasing a genre of electronic music he calls “chillwave” onto his bandcamp.com profile, he said.
Ellison said he pulls his influence from 90s hip-hop.
“I’m more inspired by old school, stuff like Wu-Tang Clan,” he said.
Ellison said the Sterling Flow production process expresses a different take on the recent explosion of electronic dance music all over the nation. Ellison starts by building his beat around an original idea or sample.
“I like to find new sounds and try to incorporate them into whatever I’m working on,” he said.
He then adds his own instrumentals, playing bass, guitar, drums and piano, all within the four walls of his dorm room.
This genuine twist on an often-repetitive genre comes from his background in music.
Sianna Tecco said Ellison was in two bands before his solo music ventures.
“I think his new stuff has a different vibe,” Tecco (freshman-business management) said. “I like it a lot. It’s a good direction.”
Tecco added that the instrumentals are ideal for studying or walking from one class to another.
One fan, Zane Matsko, said he also appreciates Ellison’s sound.
“I really like how mellow a lot of it is, but it doesn’t get boring or repetitive,” Matsko (junior-English) said.
His electronic accents stray away from the bass-wobbling club bangers that have become more present in the mainstream music scene.
“I have to like Skrillex,” Ellison said. “I respect it, but I’m not trying to make dubstep.”
According to a July Rolling Stone article titled “Ecstasy Rising,” “ecstasy is now making a major comeback--–– along with the dance music it’s long been associated with,” but Ellison doesn’t think drugs should be a staple in the DJ world.
“Drugs can help enhance, but you shouldn’t need to rely on them to listen,” he said.
After performing at venues near his hometown, Ellison hopes to take Sterling Flow to the underground venues of Penn State’s music scene.
In the meantime, he continues to upload tracks to his music profile, which can be found on his twitter account, @sterlingflow. Gary said he hopes he can take his music somewhere in the future and looks forward with an honest eye.
“I’m just trying to make music that I enjoy. If other people want to listen and enjoy, that’s even better,” he said.