Ryan McDermott, of Sound Check
There’s a new kid in blog town. Ryan McDermott was lured away from finishing his Master’s in Journalism to launch Sound Check, DC Style Magazine's newest blog feature.
The former Onion intern explains that he wanted to spend the summer somewhere other than New York. Following a friend's suggestion, he checked out some pubs (publications, that is…) in Washington. Ryan says that after discussing the idea of writing about music with the editors at DC Style, he got really excited. “I left NYU and saved myself $26,000.”
Sound Check launched on June 16, 2006. He writes reviews and plans to incorporate band interviews. He lists upcoming shows on Mondays, and is open to receiving emails from readers about what is happening in town. “Some people say there’s a lack of a music scene in DC but I don’t believe that at all. I think it’s very fertile. People take the easy way out not to look for things.”
Ryan says that his goal is to not only demonstrate that there is a music scene in Washington but guide them toward what he thinks is good. He praises DC’s “legendary music history” ranging from jazz to punk to hip-hop.
McDermott grew up in southern New Jersey and went to Rowan University where he was a journalism-major and Editor of his college paper. Upon graduation, he took a year off and did ‘hard news’ at a daily publication but says, “It wasn’t for me, so I went to grad school.”
According to Ryan, studying at NYU had intimidating moments. “The teaching staff is made up of professionals. When someone from The New Yorker is editing your paper, it’s scary – horrific! It comes back with notes all over it. But, it helped me so much.”
At first, music writing was a hobby for Ryan. He contributed 2000-word essays to onefinalnote.com, a jazz website, and popmatters.com, a journal of pop-culture. Writers span from the well-known to people who passionate about music and write well. Ryan admires music critic Greil Marcus who compares bands to other art forms such as literature, film or art, and ensuing effects on pop culture, rather than just judging them as “good or bad.”
Writing ‘short’ to fit with DC Style’s format is a challenge for Ryan, but says he feels he's a better writer for it. And, he is no longer looking at Washington as a summer stop over. Durng out interview he declared, “I’m here for good. I just signed a year lease.”
The Liquid Muse, on behalf of music-lovers in the District, is damn happy to welcome him!
Where does this new transplant like to go to unwind?
“I like that downstairs bar at the Big Hunt. Asylum was interesting. And, I love Kramers. When I went there, I thought, ‘Drinking AND books – this is incredible!’” Ryan also likes dive bars with old-time juke boxes, exclaiming, “Cds are ok but searching the internet on a juke box is crap!”
What does he like to drink?
“I like Makers on the rocks, but for a 24-year old student, it’s a little pricey. Hipsters in New York and Brooklyn drink Pabst, I guess because its cheap and artistic types are usually broke. One place had a Happy Meal, which is a Pabst and a shot for 5 bucks. I like Pabst and I’m sticking to it.”
Email Ryan: email@example.com