The Maroon

Loyola students burst onto the New Orleans music scene

Skylar+Allen%2C+Derek+Taylor+and+Max+Taylor+perform+at+the+Republic+NOLA+on+Feb+8+2018.+The+Loyola+music+industry+students+opened+for+rapper+Riff+Raff.+Photo+credit%3A+Calvin+Ramsay
Skylar Allen, Derek Taylor and Max Taylor perform at the Republic NOLA on Feb 8 2018. The Loyola music industry students opened for rapper Riff Raff. Photo credit: Calvin Ramsay

Skylar Allen, Derek Taylor and Max Taylor perform at the Republic NOLA on Feb 8 2018. The Loyola music industry students opened for rapper Riff Raff. Photo credit: Calvin Ramsay

Calvin Ramsay

Calvin Ramsay

Skylar Allen, Derek Taylor and Max Taylor perform at the Republic NOLA on Feb 8 2018. The Loyola music industry students opened for rapper Riff Raff. Photo credit: Calvin Ramsay

Calvin Ramsay

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Loyola music management students Max Taylor, Skylar Allen and Derek Taylor performed at the Republic NOLA concert hall on Thursday, Feb. 8, alongside American rap and television star Riff Raff.

The three musicians have been gaining traction recently thanks to music streaming platforms like SoundCloud and Spotify that promote the discovery of new, local and underground artists.

With Derek Taylor (who goes by Dii Tii onstage) as a DJ and Max Taylor and Allen singing, the niche crowd of Riff Raff fans and underground rap enthusiasts head-banged while rocking the barricades back and forth to the beats and rap lyrics. The performance also included a surprise guest: Loyola freshmen rapper HeartbreakP.

This was the trio’s second time performing at a Riff Raff concert. They said the success of their previous show made them excited to blow up the stage.

“The Riff Raff show last year was probably the most receptive audience we’ve had ever,” said Max Taylor.

Many in the crowd filed into the venue after the end of Krewe Du Muses, one of the biggest Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans.

“There’s something about his [Riff Raff] fans that just appreciated the quirkiness of our music,” said Max Taylor.

Allen, Max Taylor and Derek Taylor said their recent success has been due to the connections they’ve made while studying music management at Loyola. It was through another Loyola student and employee at the Republic, Ryan Mader, and through the Republic’s public event director, Chris Folse, that they were able to get this chance to perform.

“I think the top resource [for student musicians] is the vast connection pool that you’re tapped into with students past and present,” Derek Taylor said.

The rising stars also gave credit to the recording studios available at Loyola and the help of their professors.

Allen, Max Taylor and Derek Taylor all came from musical backgrounds before starting their rap and DJ careers.

Allen played drums in a rock band during his middle and high school years. Before he started rapping during his freshmen year of high school, he listened to and gained inspiration from artists such as Linkin Park, Lil Wayne, Eminem and Drake. It wasn’t until he got to college that he was introduced to underground SoundCloud rappers such as Lil Peep and Denzel Curry.

Derek Taylor grew up playing the trumpet in jazz band in middle and high school and was regarded as a top-tier musician among seniors his freshman year. The young prodigy grew up listening to hip-hop and classic rock bands such as 808 Mafia and Rush. In middle school he began mixing and creating his own beats, taking inspiration from spacey electronic artist Cashmere Cat. He still enjoys listening to hip-hop and rap artists such as Chief Keef, Kodak Black and Sauce Walka.

Max Taylor started out as an electronic dance music artist in high school. He learned to play piano and guitar at a young age and has lived a musically inclined life since. For the past five months, he has been working to release one song a week. He gathers inspiration from artists on SoundCloud and has been listening to music on the platform for the past five to six years.

“I like SoundCloud because it’s all independent creators and people that upload their music that wouldn’t be able to be put elsewhere,” Max Taylor said.

Despite their differing backgrounds, the three musicians work together to collaborate and support each other’s music. Whether it’s serious music or songs that make people laugh, the three believe that all music has a purpose in the industry.

“The purpose is to impact the culture. So it can be a silly song or it can be trying to spit Martin Luther King. Either way, its gonna have its place and impact as long as people can bob their head to it or get something out of it, it’s serving some kind of purpose,” Derek Taylor said.

Allen, Max Taylor and Derek Taylor said they are all working towards new and bigger things in the near future. They want to produce merchandise, music videos and an exclusive bagpipes-only mixtape produced by none other than DJ DiiTii.

All of their music can be found on SoundCloud or Spotify. Their handles are: maxtaylor, skylarallen, and Dii Tii.

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Loyola students burst onto the New Orleans music scene