Virtual Nelsonville Music Festival Interviews: The D-Rays

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Early on in the COVID-19 crisis, the 2020 Nelsonville Music Festival announced its cancellation due to the infectious disease outbreak. In its place, Ohio University School of Media Arts & Studies Director Josh Antonuccio and Nelsonville Music Festival Executive Director Tim Peacock created the Virtual Nelsonville Music Festival, an online presentation of the popular festival, which is being produced by Stuart’s Opera House, WOUB Public Media, the Scripps College of Communication and the Ohio University School of Media Arts and Studies, in partnership with OU Performing Arts, the Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Haden DeRoberts Foundation. Under the direction of Antonuccio, Ohio University students and recent graduates are on location around the region with school faculty Andie Walla and Brian Plow filming performances for the virtual fundraiser supporting Stuart’s Opera House. WOUB producers Adam Rich, Evan Shaw, and Emily Votaw are providing post-production on the project, which will go live on Stuart’s official YouTube page August 21-22.

In addition to gaining critical audio and video production experience, students and recent graduates are also learning the ins and outs of music journalism, promotions, and publicity: interviewing performers and creating a myriad of content related to their unique experience. This interview was conducted by VNMF Publicity/Promotion team Lauren McCain, Weiler Harmon, and Madyson Lewellyn and was produced by WOUB’s Arts and Culture producer Emily Votaw. 

The D-Rays

Athens locals D-Rays have been jamming around southeast Ohio since 2010! The band is made up of drummer Maceo Gabbar, guitarist Erick Coleman and his wife Missy Pence on bass. The Appalachian surf rock group, like our other VNMF friends, Water Witches, actually came to life when the three members were working together over a decade ago. This time it took a company Christmas party to spark the idea of forming a band, and a few months later they were popping up at live shows around town.

Coleman says D-Rays’ sound is rooted in the ’60s surf movement, but they like to give their music a faster and more aggressive tone. Over the last few months, the group have kept themselves busy by revisiting some old song ideas, writing new content and dreaming about the day they can play The Union again. As much as they miss live shows, Coleman says the D-Rays aren’t going to take any risks with the virus anytime soon, even if some bands across the country are starting to. They have been practicing social distancing at rehearsals while waiting for the world to be safe enough for them to bring rock and roll to the good people of southeastern Ohio. Hear more about D-Rays’ history and how they have been overcoming new obstacles in our interview with guitarist Erick Coleman!